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Are Dachshunds Smart? Here’s Why They Rank Low For Dog Intelligence

Dachshunds are smart, but not according to Stanley Coren's obedience working intelligence rankings.

If you’re planning to bring home a Dachshund, you’ve made a great decision! These German dog breeds are friendly, affectionate with a little bit of spunk. But potential owners may be wondering, are Dachshunds smart? How smart are Dachshunds? 

According to canine psychologist Stanley Coren, Dachshunds are classified as average dogs with average working / obedience intelligence. In fact, they’re ranked the 92nd smartest dog breed out of 138 purebred dog breeds. 

Though Dachshunds are considered “average” in dog IQ, there are many reasons why they’re actually smart dogs. Just because they performed average in Coren’s intelligence trials doesn’t mean they’re not an intelligent dog breed. 

RECOMMENDED: 100 Smartest Dog Breeds Ranked

How We Measure a Dachshund’s Intelligence

Dachshunds are more intelligent than Coren's rankings, but how do we measure how smart a Dachshund is?

To fully grasp why Dachshunds ranked so low in Coren’s dog intelligence rankings, we must first understand the criteria in which Coren used. 

Stanley Coren contacted all the North American obedience trial judges from the Canadian and American Kennel Club to ask for help. He asked the obedience judges to assess and rank dog breeds based on his own criteria. To his surprise, 199 judges responded.

Stanley Coren’s Obedience Trial Criteria:

  1. How many repetitions it took for a dog breed to learn a new, unknown command.
  2. The success rate in which a dog breed will obey a known command on the first attempt. 

Coren made sure that only dog breeds with at least 100 responses were considered for his final dog IQ rankings. With that said, 138 different dogs qualified for the ranking list. 

How the Dachshund Performed

Based on Coren’s criteria, the Dachshund was the 92nd best performing dog breed. This means that the Dachshund was able to understand and learn a new command with 25 to 40 repetitions

On the other hand, a Dachshund is able to successfully obey a known command on the first attempt with a 50% or better success rate. Not too bad at all – but still, this is considered “average” for dogs. 

For reference, other popular dog breed in the same intelligence class as Dachshunds include: the Australian Shepherd, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Siberian Husky, Great Dane, Havanese and the Boxer. 

Dachshund vs. Smart Dogs

Now that we have a good understanding of what an average dog is, how do Dachshunds compare to “smart” dogs? There’s a decent drop off in intelligence between the top 10 smartest dogs and “bright dogs.” However, both groups are still considered smart.

Breeds in the bright dogs group are able to learn a new command with just 5 to 15 repetitions. In addition, bright dogs are able to obey a known command on the first try with an 85% or better success rate

For reference, other dogs in the bright dogs category include: both Corgi breeds, Cocker Spaniel, Brittany and the Pomeranian.

The top 10 smartest dogs are on another level. They’re able to learn a new command with less than 5 repetitions! Also, the top 10 dogs are able to obey a known first command with a 95% or better success rate

The dog breeds in the top 10 category include the Rottweiler, Golden Retriever, German Shepherd and the Border Collie (at the number 1 spot). 

Owners: Is Your Dachshund Smart?

We asked real Dachshund owners: Is your dog smart?

To get a better ideal of how smart Dachshunds are, we asked real Dachshund owners what they thought. We surveyed the popular Dachshund sub reddit forum for responses to this question.

Here’s what the Dachshund owners had to say:

1. Jvfricke says [YES]: “This might just be because I talk to [my Dachshund] a lot (I live alone, he’s basically my roommate) but he has a huge vocabulary and I’ve become very good at reading his reactions so that I know he hears most of what I say.”

2. Thathockeychick23 says [NO]: “These dogs are very tough to train. Trust me, I have a mini dachshund. We have to have someone come in and train him cause obedience school did not do anything for him.”

3. Perplexed89 says [YES]: “My Frodo-Dodo dachshund is the best bud I’ve ever had. So smart and loyal. Never leaves my side.”

4. Maloohree says [YES]: “My doxie talks all the time. She does this little howl when she wants her toys out of the toy bin or when she wants them brought to her on the couch. She will howl when I walk in the door. Also when she wants food, water or to go outside.”

5. Ioakuas says [MIXED]: “I’ve had two doxies in my life… and of the two, one was very intelligent and the other was colossally stupid.”

6. Kjohnson says [NO]: “I just don’t think these dogs are a very smart breed. Ours is dumber than a rock. He’s almost 4 and still has accidents in the house, even after we give him plenty of outside time. He’s a brat too!”

7. Calmiche says [YES]: “Mine has quite a few words she recognizes. Including; Walk, Outside, Treat, Food, Water, Shower, Bed Time and several names of her favorite toys. She’ll actually go and find specific toys if I name them, which is interesting.”

8. Lish says [YES]: “Dachshunds are very smart dogs. Dachshunds can be very stubborn, but very loving dogs.”

9. Joannaduplessess says [YES]: “Dachshunds are in no way dumb. They can be stubborn and strong willed, but it’s because they like to do things on their own time. They learn very well when you least expect it.”

10. Anonymous says [NO]: “I bought 2 mini dachshunds last year.I never could get them potty trained.I would take the outside,and they would wait until we came back into the house to use the bathroom.They also like to tear up everything in my house.”

Dachshund Owners Survey Recap

Most of the owners tell us a different story when it comes to the Dachshund’s intelligence. Though it’s a small sample size, 6 out of 10 owners believed their Dachshund was smart!

On the other hand, 3 Dachshund owners thought their dog was not very intelligent. Only one owner experienced mixed results. In his case, one Dachshund was smart and the other wasn’t. 

Why Dachshunds Rank Low in Intelligence

There are a number of reasons why Dachshunds performed so poorly in Coren's intelligence trials.

One of the biggest complains from Dachshund owners is that they’re stubborn little dogs. In fact, one owner said, “I’ve fostered tons of dogs in my lifetime, but none as stubborn as the Dachshund.” Though not all Dachshunds are stubborn, it’s more common than you think. 

The problem with stubborn Dachshunds is that they’re not always willing to cooperate in obedience training. Because Coren’s intelligence tests are heavily based on obedience, we can understand why Dachshunds would perform poorly.

Just because your Dachshund doesn’t obey your command on the first try doesn’t mean they don’t understand you and what you’re saying. They do what they want to do, and not because you (the owner) have given a command. 

There are certainly some limitations to the way Coren designed his test trials. Though we think it’s a good place to start, it certainly doesn’t truly measure a dog’s intelligence. 

Solution to a Stubborn Dog

When it comes to Dachshunds, the key is to shower them with a lot of affection and love. If you love your Dachshund unconditionally, they’ll begin to start opening up and cooperating.

This won’t happen overnight and will require some patience with your Dachshund. Always train with positive reinforcement, as it works (by far) the best with Dachshunds. 

Why Dachshunds Are Smart

Dachshunds are smart in more ways than just obedience training.

Real owners will tell you that Dachshunds are fantastic at communicating with them. They understand their owners very well and are unusually good at telling them what they want. 

Some Dachshunds understand a huge vocabulary, which is why they’re so adept in the communication department. If you are willing to put in the effort to teach your Dachshund, your relationship will thrive.

A Reddit user tells us exactly what we mean. He posted:

I could tell he wanted something because he jumped up on me when I was on the computer and wouldn’t calm down. So I ran through in escalating order of things he likes to see if that’s what he wanted. When I went to “water” he lost his mind and ran to his bowl and sure enough, he just ran out of water.

This Dachshund made sure that the owners knew exactly what he wanted. What a smart dog indeed!

Why Get a Dachshund?

It’s important that when you choose a dog breed, you don’t decide based on an “expert” calling one dog breed intelligent. Dogs really don’t need to be that smart. Most dog breeds, including the Dachshund, are more than capable of giving you what you need. 

Instead of asking how smart Dachshunds are, you should be asking, does a Dachshund’s personality and temperament fit mine? It’s more important that Dachshunds are compatible with you and your family.

With that said, Dachshunds are one of the most loving breeds you can find. They can be a little mischievous at times, but it’s all part of their charm. They’re the ultimate German lap dog.

If you still feel like Dachshunds are right for you, then you should absolutely get one! 

Do you own a Dachshund? Let us know, is your Dachshund smart? Leave a comment in the section below!

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6 Comments

  • I’ve had three Dachshies, two girls (Nubia and Caira) who already passed away of old age 🙁 and my current one Anubis, my boy. In my experience, all three where very mischievous from a couple months old through the age of 2-3 years where they transition from their “youth” stage to adulthood. Once that transition occurs you will experience a companion like no other. Dachshunds can be what I call Velcro-dogs! They can become your shadow, being with you all the time, going with you everywhere, even sleeping with you if allowed. They are very funny companions as well. All three had the tendency of communicating extremely well. For example, when Anubis wanted something, he comes to me, gets my attention and then looks or points to the area of his interest repeatedly until you catch on. Anubis also watches me have conversations with my mother and even starts to make noises that give the impression he’s trying to speak! Some patience is required but ultimately worth it!

    • Have a beautiful one year old dachshund beagle mix. She does look mostly dachshund and chairs some personality traits of both breeds. She was extremely smart and I was able to train her to ring a bell to go to the bathroom within three weeks of having her. When I come home she rips around the house super excited to see me as if to impress me with her speed and agility. When she gets out of breath finally I tell her go get some water Hazel, she immediately turns for her water bowl. She knows many commands and tricks including the all difficult rollover harder for long dogs lol and she demonstrates a very affectionate loving relationship now wait for me but her boyfriend Hans my large beige cat. She’s even smart enough to know that every day at a certain time if someone’s not home the fake a potty bell ring just to go outside and stare at the driveway to see if all the cars look like they there. You asked me she’s too smart for her own good and far more often the not knows what I’m saying another wants to do it or decides to completely ignore me lol 😂😅

  • We have a blue piebald (one year old), Charlie, and an 11 year old Chihuahua, jojo. We just purchased an 8 week old, creme male piebald.

    I had never had a dachshund (mini) and I just adore them. Charlie started bringing his bowl to me when he’s hungry. This was last week, which was why I googled your sight. He is like a little mischievous child but obeys me practically 100% of the time.
    He sleeps with my daughter and has been since we brought him home. He follows us everywhere, sleeps on our lap during television time. He’s incredibly playful. He’s potty trained to use the backyard and wee wee pads.
    Now with our new puppy, I can say that the breed is very determined and lives to explore the world. Our melee puppy already does his business on the wee wee pads, so hopefully it will stick.
    We just wanted Charlie to have a companion.

  • If I was a dog I’d ignore my owner and be whatever the breeds DNA dictates. In fact dogs of any breed are way smarter than man will ever be. The main problem with this survey it’s useless in the fact that the numbers are way to low. You’re going to judge a particular Dog after reviews of a couple hundred people is NOT a reliable survey. Now if you would like to know if a particular dog is smarter than the other I’d start a survey with at least 10,000 reviews. I had a Dachshund, smart as a whip. I fish a lot and after 3 boating days fishing he figured out with no push from me , he already had the fishing bug. He learned to watch the bobber and when it went down he would go nuts. Another example is that we visit Copper Harbor in Michigan. At the marina surrounded by trees there was a small opening there to access the trails around Lake Superior, after a couple of trips there he hightailed to the small opening.upon seeing this I began to park father away to see if it was just a lark and wherever I parked he ran for the opening. Pretty good for being 10 inches tall.

    • Hey Josh, we agree with you that the way Stanley Coren measured “dog intelligence” is flawed in many ways. What’s more important are adaptive and instinctive intelligence, which unfortunately, is not easy to objectively measure. I have no doubt your Dachshund was one smart dog!

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