Dachshunds at risk while owners are duped into buying from dodgy puppy farms abroad

The growing popularity of sausage dogs could put the diminutive breed at risk of health problems and illicit smuggling rings.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA), said dachshunds can suffer serious back issues that leave them unable to walk.

Respected breeders will perform DNA screening but potential owners could be duped into buying unhealthy pets from unscrupulous puppy farms abroad.

The dachshund – translated as badger hound – was bred originally in Germany in the 15th Century for underground hunting.

But their short legs mean they are at increased risk of invertebral disc disease, a painful condition that affects a quarter of dachshunds and can require costly surgery to fix. 

Daniella Dos Santos, president of the BVA, said: ‘The problems may not be immediately obvious to owners, but often cause lifelong misery for the pets.’

Helped by star owners like Declan Donnelly and adverts for insurance firm Vitality, the number of pedigree dachshund puppies registered by the Kennel Club has almost tripled in five years. Puppies can sell for up to £1,800.

The BVA said dachshunds were among the list of top breeds being illegally imported.