Do Dachshunds Smile?

You may have noticed your dachshund looking like he/she is grinning or giving you a cheeky smile. Do dachshunds smile or is it something else?

Yes, dachshunds do smile, although not in the same way as people do. When a dachshund smiles, it’s likely just imitating its owner’s happy smile or panting due to being hot, rather than a sign of it being happy. Your dachshund’s body language is how it shows its feelings, not by its facial expression.

That said, it does look very cute when a dachshund looks like it’s smiling so let’s dig deeper into the topic and look at the key signs of a happy or unhappy dachshund.

Can Dachshunds Actually Smile?

Yes, technically speaking dachshunds can smile. When it comes to their facial muscles, they do indeed have the ability to turn those cute little snouts into smiles.

The bottom line is that dachshunds can and do actually smile. It might look a little odd, but most would call it a smile. 

What Does A Smiling Dachshund Look Like?

a dachshund smiling
A smiling dachshund

Why Do Dachshunds Smile?

Now, exactly why dachshunds smile is unfortunately up for debate, but there are some pretty good theories.

That said, beware that it’s not like there are many scientific studies that have been done on smiling dachshunds.

One of these theories is that dachshunds have learned to mimic the smiles and other facial expressions of their owners.

When their owners are happy, the owners smile, so the dachshund also smiles. The leading theory as to why dachshunds mimic the smiles of their owners is because whenever they do, they get a good reaction from their owners, whether it be some pets, a belly rub, or some treats. 

With that being said, some also think that a dachshund may also smile when it is actually happy, just like us humans do.

It could indeed be an emotional thing, with dachshunds letting you know that they are happy by showing you those pearly whites. 

How Do You Know If Your Dachshund Is Happy?

Ok, so if your dachshund is happy, then it could very well smile. However, there is a little more to it than that, because judging whether or not your wiener dog is happy depends on more than just that smile.

For instance, when it comes to dogs, what you really need to look for is body language. Body language is always the best way to tell what a dog is feeling like. 

For example, a relaxed and happy dachshund will have a relaxed body, as well as a relaxed face, eyes, and ears, as well as a high tail that wags as its whole body wiggles, as well as a soft mouth.

This tail wagging, body shaking, and relaxed attitude is what most dachshunds will display if they are happy. 

What you also need to realize here is that every dog is different, just like humans, and dogs can have varying body language too. In other words, you might not immediately be able to tell if your dog is happy, at least not when you first get it.

However, over time, as you familiarize yourself with your pet, telling what its emotions are like will become easier.

That said, you do need to pay close attention here, because if your dachshund looks like it is smiling, but it also panting heavily with its tongue hanging out, then it may just be too hot and looking to release some body heat. Heavy panting in dogs can also indicate that they are stressed out or anxious. 

On that same note, if your dog is smiling, but also baring its teeth to you, thus making it look more like a snarl then anything else, then it may very well actually be a snarl, a sign of aggression or just general unhappiness.

It could also mean that the dog is scared or submitting to you, but generally a teeth-baring snarling grin is a good indication that you don’t want to get your fingers too close to those sharp teeth. 

How Do You Know If Your Dachshund Is Sad?

If you are looking to find out whether or not your dachshund is sad, its smile is definitely not what you should be looking for.

Instead, when it comes to telling if your dog is unhappy, you need to look at its body language. 

There are many different signs or indications that your dachshund may be unhappy, and they could all indicate many different things, including aggression, pain, stress, anxiety, fear, general unhappiness, or it could also feel threatened. 

Take a look at the shortlist below for the top indications that your dachshund is unhappy. 

  • Ears flat back against the head
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Head held low with no or little eye contact
  • If the body is rigid, stiff, or tense
  • If the tail is tucked between the legs
  • If the tail is slowly wagging in a low position
  • If the tail is upright and straight 
  • If the dog is smiling and baring its teeth 
  • Growling and snarling
  • Turning its head away from you

Can All Dachshunds Smile or Just Some?

It is thought that all dachshunds do technically have the ability to smile, but that said, not all do it.

However, many dachshunds are known for this odd looking smile. Whether or not all dachshunds can smile is a very different question from whether or not they all do smile.

Not all of them smile, but we are fairly sure that they could. 

Will My Dachshund Know If I Am Sad?

One of the things that dogs are well known for is being very comforting and empathetic when their owners are sad, and yes, this goes for dachshunds as well.

There are many studies out there which prove that dogs can indeed sense when their owners are sad, distressed, or depressed. 

Dogs are thought to have the mental abilities of a two or three year old child, and they can indeed sense emotions, even if they can’t actually understand the exact emotion.

For one reason or another, dogs of all sorts do seem to be sensitive to emotional changes in their human companions.

Whether or not a dog can really sense your energy, or if it is just smart and picking up on your body language is not known. 

The bottom line is that although exactly how dogs know that you are sad is not really known, they do know that you are sad.

However, one prevailing theory here, besides the fact that dogs can also observe your body language, is that they can actually smell your distress.

When humans are stressed and sad, we generally release various hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, and yes, it is thought that dogs can smell and detect elevated levels of these hormones in humans. 


When all has been said and done, the most important takeaway here is that dachshunds often do smile, but it doesn’t always mean that they are happy.

Depending on the body language of the dog, that smile could mean a few different things. Remember folks, although we like to humanize our pets, dachshunds are still dogs.