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The Dunbar Bite Scale and the reasons behind biting behaviours

We've written before about Dachshund behaviour and temperament, and shared owner data from our breed surveys. Dachshunds should be bold and outgoing. The Breed Standard describes them as being “Faithful, versatile and good tempered”. It also says they should be “Intelligent, lively, courageous to the point of rashness, obedient”.


The Breed Standard describes the breed's mouth as follows:

Teeth strongly developed, powerful canine teeth fitting closely. Jaws strong, with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.


This is a working breed, originally designed to confront prey such as badgers, and their powerful jaws with strong teeth mean they are capable of giving a serious bite. They can be a bit intimidated by other breeds and larger dogs, so it is important to ensure they are well socialised right from a young age.


Our advice for new owners discusses how to teach a young puppy not to nip or bite (which they almost inevitably do when they are playing). If you do happen to get bitten, Dr Ian Dunbar's Dog Bite Scale can be a useful tool to help understand the severity of the behaviour and possible courses of training to address this. AnimalWised has a useful blog post describing this in more detail.

Image from AnimalWised.

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