When you imagine service dogs, you probably imagine larger breed dogs such as Labradors. But service dogs1 can technically be from any dog breed and any size, so long as they have been trained to do specific tasks pertaining to their owner’s disability or to be alert for medical issues such as seizures or anxiety. That means if you aren’t a fan of larger dogs but need a service animal, you can choose a dog breed on the smaller side, so long as it can do what you need it to.
Maybe you’re a fan of Dachshunds or already own one and would like to register it as a service animal. Since any dog breed will do, Dachshunds can absolutely be service dogs. However, due to their size, the Dachshund will be a bit limited as to what kind of service dog it can be. Also, keep in mind that Dachshunds have a tendency to be, so properly training them to be service dogs could take a lot of patience and time.
Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering a Dachshund as a service dog.
What Are Service Dogs?
Service dogs are dogs trained to do tasks for their owners with disabilities (whether those are physical or mental) or to be alert dogs for medical conditions. Service dogs can also be working dogs who work with the military, police, or other similar jobs. There are four types of service dogs:
- Working (dogs that work with the military, police, on farms, etc.)
- Service (dogs trained to perform tasks for those with disabilities or to alert for medical conditions such as seizures)
- Emotional Support (dogs trained to support those with PTSD, anxiety, and other mental health issues)
- Therapy (dogs trained to provide support for people such as those staying long term at the hospital or those dealing with stress)
- Bipolar Disorder
- Eating Disorders
- Mood Disorders
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Neurocognitive Disorders
- Psychotic Disorders
- Substance Abuse Disorders
The Type of Service Dogs Dachshunds Are Most Suited For
Because of their small stature, Dachshunds are better suited to be certain types of service dogs than others. For example, if you needed a service dog that could fetch larger objects or open doors for you, a Dachshund couldn’t really do the job. But Dachshunds tend to make wonderful therapy and emotional support dogs and might be suitable for such tasks as alerting one to seizures. One thing to note, though, is that under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), therapy and emotional support dogs don’t technically count as service dogs, so you would need to check your state laws to find out where these types of dogs would be allowed in when it comes to public spaces.
Just keep in mind that training a Dachshund to be a service dog may be a bit of a struggle due to their independent and stubborn nature. You might want to have your dog professionally trained rather than doing it yourself.
How Do I Get a Service Dog?
To get a service dog, you’ll be required to both have a disability that falls under the Americans with Disabilities Act’s definition of a disability, as well as documentation from a medical professional stating your need for one. Once you’ve qualified for a service dog, the next step would be either finding an already trained dog or training your own. Then, you would need to register your pup as a service dog.
If you’re looking into a service dog, but prefer smaller breed dogs, then a Dachshund is absolutely an option. However, the breed will be limited in what they can do due to their smaller size. Dachshunds tend to be better options for therapy and emotional support dogs rather than the type of service dog that needs to meet a lot of physical demands. However, they may be a bit more difficult to train than other breeds.
If you’re interested in applying for a service dog, you’ll need to get documentation from a medical professional, find a trained dog (or train your own), and register your animal as a service dog.