The delightful Dachshund makes for an endearing and loyal pet. For all its current pampered lifestyle, the Wiener dog (The nickname gained notoriety after an American artist drew a dachshund in a hot dog bun in the early 20th century) harks back to a crude beginning.
The dog was developed by the foresters of Germany to track and kill a variety of games in the 1700s. The modern smooth dachshund originated from the mixing of the French Braque, a small pointer type, and the pinscher, a vermin killer of terrier type.
The dog’s long, low body enabled it to enter and move freely inside a tunnel or den without sacrificing jaw and body shape, while its fluid, smooth gait provided agility and endurance.
As the huntsmen discovered the value of these low-slung yet energetic hounds, they began to breed coat varieties to suit different uses: the dachshund was crossed with spaniels to produce the Longhaired Dachshund, and with the Dandie Dinmont Terrier to create the Wirehaired. Small-sized dachshunds were probably always used to hunt rabbits and other smaller games and eventually became established as Miniatures of all three coat types.
The dachshund found its way to America throughout the 1800s with European immigrants. The Dachshund Club of America was formed in 1895 and is the eighth oldest breed club member of the AKC. Today the dog stands tall as the 7th most popular breed listed in the American Kennel Club.
The dachshund comes in three distinct types and two different sizes. The smooth dachshund – the most familiar type and probably the original dachshund – features a short, shiny coat.
The wire-haired dachshund is covered with a uniform thickness, short outer coat. Bushy eyebrows and a beard give the wire-haired an appearance that is strikingly different from an appearance that is strikingly different from other dachshunds. The longhaired Dachshund is disting by its elegant, long, sleek, wavy coat.
The original dachshund weighed about 30 pounds –a perfect size for challenging a 35-pound badger.
Smaller dachshunds, weighing about 20 pounds, were bred to hunt foxes and trail larger game that had been wounded by the hunter, and still smaller ones were developed to draw rabbits from their warrens. Today, dachshunds are bred and shown in two sizes-miniatures, which are 11 pounds or less at 12 months of age or older, and standards, which usually weigh 16-32 pounds.
The American Kennel Club (AKC), however, does not consider miniature dachshunds to be a separate classification.The Dachsie can be one-coloured (red or cream), or two-coloured (black, chocolate, wild boar, grey or blue and fawn or Isabella with tan markings). The coat can also come in a variety of patterns – dapple (light areas and darker base colour), brindle and piebald are some common colour patterns.
The American Kennel Club Dachshund Standard describes the dog as “low to the ground, long in body and short of leg, with robust muscular development; the skin is elastic and pliable without excessive wrinkling. Appearing neither crippled, awkward, nor cramped in his capacity for movement, the Dachshund is well-balanced with bold and confident head carriage and intelligent, alert facial expression.”
The dachsie is a wonderful pet for an owner who understands and accepts the breed’s dynamic personality and works hard to train his pet to be a loving and well-behaved animal.
Did you know
The list of Dachshund aficionados borrows names from the ‘Rich and Famous’ ledger in Hollywood. Brooke Astor, Isabella Rossellini, John Wayne, Carol Lombard, Madonna and Clark Gable are just some of the people who fell under the spell of the Dachshund (pronounced dacks-hoont).
The perky little dogs also served as muses for artists Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol, and provided inspiration for playwright Noel Coward and author EB White. England’s Queen Victoria developed an affection for dachshunds shortly after her husband, Prince Albert, brought the dogs with him from Germany. She owned dachshunds for the rest of her life, having tiny tombstones and statues erected whenever one of her beloved friends died.
The breed’s fanciers have festivals for their beloved pets. The semiannual gathering of the Dachshund Friendship Club often draws more than 1,000 of Manhattan’s most ardent dachshund enthusiasts. In Soldotna, Alaska, dachshunds celebrate their status as the town’s favourite pooch by marching in the annual “Weenies on Parade”.
In Richmond, Virginia, the yearly “Bark in the Park” draws dachshund lovers from as far away as New York and Indiana. Members of the San Diego Dachshund Club pay homage to their favourite canines at the Dachshund’s Picnic held each year at the city’s Mission Hills Park.