A Brief History of the Dachshund
The Dachshund is a short-legged, long-bodied, hound-type dog breed. The standard size Dachshund was developed to scent, chase, and flush out badgers and other burrow-dwelling animals, while the miniature Dachshund was bred to hunt smaller prey such as rabbits. Dachshunds also participate in conformation shows, field trials and many other events organized through pure-bred dog organizations.
The name "Dachshund" is of German origin and literally means "badger dog," from Dachs ("badger") and Hund ("hound, dog"). Although "Dachshund" is a German word, in modern German they are more commonly known by the name Dackel or, among hunters, Teckel. The German word is pronounced dakshunt. Because of their long, narrow build, they are often nicknamed wiener dog or sausage dog. "Dachshund" may be erroneously pronounced and/or spelled "dash hound," "dash-hound," or "dashound" by some English speakers.
While classified in the hound group or scent hound group in the Britain, the breed actually has its own group in the countries which belong to the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (World Canine Federation). Many Dachshunds, especially the wire-haired subtype, may exhibit behaviour and appearance that are similar to that of the terrier group of dogs. An argument can be made for the scent (or hound) group classification because the breed was developed to use scent to trail and hunt animals, and probably descended from the Saint Hubert Hound like many modern scent hound breed such as bloodhounds and Basset Hounds; but with the persistent personality and love for digging that probably developed from the terrier, it can also be argued that they could belong in the terrier, or "earth dog", group.
A typical Dachshund is long-bodied and muscular with short, stubby legs. Its front paws are unusually large and paddle-shaped for extreme digging. It has skin that is loose enough not to tear while tunneling in tight burrows to chase prey. The Dachshund has a deep chest that provides increased lung capacity for stamina when hunting prey underground. Its snout is long with an increased nose area that absorbs odours. There are three Dachshund coat varieties: smooth coat (short hair), longhaired, and wirehaired. Longhaired Dachshunds have a silky coat and short featherings on legs and ears. Wirehaired Dachshunds are the most common coat variety in Germany) and the most recent coat to appear in breeding standards. Dachshunds have a wide variety of colors and patterns. Their base coloration can be single-colored (either red or cream), tan pointed (black and tan, chocolate and tan, blue and tan, or Isabella and tan), and in wirehaired dogs, a color referred to as wildboar. Patterns such as dapple (merle), sable, brindle and piebald also can occur on any of the base colors. Dachshunds in the same litter may be born in different coat colors depending on the genetic makeup of the parents. The dominant color in the breed is red, followed by black and tan. Tan pointed dogs have tan (or cream) markings over the eyes, ears, paws, and tail. The reds range from coppers to deep rusts, with or without somewhat common black hairs peppered along the back, face and ear edges, lending much character and an almost burnished appearance; this is referred to among breeders and enthusiasts as an "overlay" or "sabling". Sabling should not be confused with a more unusual coat color referred to as sable. At a distance, a sable Dachshund looks somewhat like a black and tan dog. Upon closer examination, however, one can observe that along the top of the dog's body, each hair is actually banded with red at the base near the skin transitioning to mostly black along the length of the strand. An additional striking coat marking is the brindle pattern. "Brindle" refers to dark stripes over a solid background—usually red. If a Dachshund is brindled on a dark coat and has tan points, it will have brindling on the tan points only. Even one single, lone stripe of brindle is a brindle. If a Dachshund has one single spot of dapple, it is a dapple. Dogs that are double-dappled have the merle pattern of a dapple, but with distinct white patches that occur when the dapple gene expresses itself twice in the same area of the coat.
There are three types of Dachshund, which can be classified by their coats: short-haired, called 'smooth'; long-haired; and wire-haired
Dachshunds come in three sizes: standard, miniature, and kaninchen (German for "rabbit"). Although the standard and miniature sizes are recognized almost universally, the rabbit size is not recognized by clubs in the United States and the United Kingdom. The rabbit size is recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (World Canine Federation) (FCI), which contain kennel clubs from 83 countries all over the world. An increasingly common size for family pets falls between the miniature and the standard size, frequently referred to as "tweenies," not an official classification. A full-grown standard Dachshund averages 16 lb (7.3 kg) to 32 lb (15 kg), while the miniature variety normally weighs less than 12 lb (5.4 kg). The kaninchen weighs 8 lb (3.6 kg) to 11 lb (5.0 kg). According to kennel club standards, the miniature (and kaninchen, where recognized) differs from the full-size only by size and weight, thus offspring from miniature parents must never weigh more than the miniature standard to be considered a miniature as well.
H. L. Mencken said that "A Dachshund is a half-dog high and a dog-and-a-half long," although they have been referred to as "two dogs long". This characteristic has led them to be quite a recognizable breed, and they are featured in many a joke and cartoon, particularly The Far Side by Gary Larson. Light-colored Dachshunds can sport amber, light brown, or green eyes; however, kennel club standards state that the darker the eye color, the better. They can also have eyes of two different colors; however, this is only found in dapple and double dapple Dachshunds. Dachshunds can have a blue and a brown eye. Blue eyes, partially blue eyes, or a blue eye and a brown eye are called "wall" coloring, and are considered a non-desirable trait in kennel club standards. Dappled eyes are also possible.
Dachshunds are statistically more aggressive to both strangers and other dogs. Despite this, they are rated in the intelligence of dogs as an average working dog with a persistent ability to follow trained commands 50% of the time or more. They rank 49th in Stanley Coren's Intelligence of Dogs, being of average working and obedience intelligence. They can have a loud bark. Some bark quite a lot and may need training to stop, while others will not bark much at all. Dachshunds are known for their devotion and loyalty to their owners, though they can be standoffish towards strangers. If left alone, many Dachshunds will whine until they have companionship. Like many dogs if left alone too frequently, some Dachshunds are prone to separation anxiety and may chew objects in the house to relieve stress. Dachshunds are burrowers by nature and are likely to burrow in blankets and other items around the house, when bored or tired. Dachshunds can be difficult to housebreak, and patience and consistency is often needed in this endeavor.
Some writers and Dachshund experts have theorized that the early roots of the Dachshund go back to ancient Egypt, where engravings were made featuring short-legged hunting dogs. Recent discoveries in Cairo of mummified Dachshund-like dogs from ancient Egyptian burial urns may lend credibility to this theory. In its modern incarnation, the Dachshund is a creation of German breeders and includes elements of German, French, and English hounds and terriers. Dachshunds have been kept by royal courts all over Europe, including that of Queen Victoria, who was particularly enamored of the breed. The first verifiable references to the Dachshund, originally named the "Dachs Kriecher" ("badger crawler") or "Dachs Krieger" ("badger warrior"), came from books written in the early 18th century. Prior to that, there exist references to "badger dogs" and "hole dogs", but these likely refer to purposes rather than to specific breeds. The original German Dachshunds were larger than the modern full-size variety, weighing between 14 and 18 kg (31 and 40 lb), and originally came in straight-legged and crook-legged varieties (the modern Dachshund is descended from the latter). Though the breed is famous for its use in exterminating badgers and badger-baiting, Dachshunds were also commonly used for rabbit and fox hunting, for locating wounded deer, and in packs were known to hunt game as large as wild boar and as fierce as the wolverine. The flap-down ears and famous curved tail of the Dachshund have deliberately been bred into the dog. In the case of the ears, this is to keep grass seeds, dirt, and other matter from entering the ear canal. The curved tail is dual-purposed: to be seen more easily in long grass and, in the case of burrowing Dachshunds, to help haul the dog out if it becomes stuck in a burrow. The smooth-haired Dachshund, the oldest style, may be a cross between the German Shorthaired Pointer, a Pinscher, and a Bracke (a type of bloodhound), or to have been produced by crossing a short Bruno Jura Hound with a pinscher. Others believe it was a cross from a miniature French pointer and a pinscher; others claim that it was developed from the St. Hubert Hound, also a bloodhound, in the 18th century, and still others believe that they were descended from Basset Hounds, based upon their scent abilities and general appearance.
The exact origins of the Dachshund are therefore unknown. According to William Loeffler book, in the chapter on Dachshunds: "The origin of the Dachshund is in doubt, our best authorities disagreeing as to the beginning of the breed." What can be agreed on, however, is that the short-haired Dachshund gave rise to both the long-haired and the wire-haired varieties. There are two theories about how the standard longhair Dachshund came about. One theory is that smooth Dachshunds would occasionally produce puppies which had slightly longer hair than their parents. By selectively breeding these animals, breeders eventually produced a dog which consistently produced longhair offspring, and the longhair Dachshund was born. Another theory is that the standard longhair Dachshund was developed by breeding smooth Dachshunds with various land and water spaniels. The long-haired Dachshund may be a cross among any of the small dog breeds in the spaniel group, including the German Stoberhund, and the smooth-haired Dachshund. The wire-haired Dachshund, the last to develop, was bred in the late 19th century. There is a possibility the wire-haired Dachshund was a cross between the smooth Dachshund and various hard-coated terriers and wire-haired pinschers, such as the Schnauzer, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier, the German Wirehaired Pointer, or perhaps the Scottish Terrier.