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First recognized as part of the Hound Group by the American Kennel Club in 1885, the Dachshund began as an eager working dog and hunter. However, today it has become a very popular family pet, ranking as the 10th most popular as of 2012 in the United States. Although its history is somewhat muddy, many say that the Dachshund was bred specifically to hunt badgers; in fact, the English translation of the German word "Dachshund" is "badger dog." Currently, these beloved family pets are rarely used as working dogs and instead simply serve as great companions to those who can manage this little dog's determined, curious and stubborn, but exceedingly affectionate and proud, personality.
Historical accounts place the Dachshund in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries for certain, although some speculate that this breed’s predecessors may go back as far as ancient Egypt. There, shortlegged hunting dogs much like the Dachshund were depicted in engravings, and the American University in Cairo recently found the mummified remains of Dachshund-like dogs in ancient Egyptian burial urns. The modern Dachshund was created by German breeders and includes interbreeding with hounds of various types, including English, French, and German, as well as various Terriers. Queen Victoria was a loyal Dachshund owner, as were many others in the royal courts of Europe.
In the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries, illustrations showed Dachshund-like dogs hunting badger; these dogs had short legs, long bodies, and ears that were definitely "hound like." These dogs were prized for their similarly hound-like tracking ability, even though they had more of the physicality and temperament of the terrier, meaning that they had the focus and determination to pursue badgers as their main objective.
In the early 17th century, the term "Dachshund," or "badger-dog," was specifically coined to designate a breed of dogs that had both smooth and long-haired coats; wirehaired Dachshunds were added as a third designation in 1890. While German developers tried to interbreed smooth-coated, long-haired, and wirehaired Dachshunds, they found that this was not acceptable and subsequent interbreeding of this type was banned from registration. When wirehaired Dachshunds were in early development, some interbreeding with smooth Dachshunds was allowed, which established the wirehaired variety in greater numbers.
As the breed was evolving, two different sizes were established, based upon the type of game each dog hunted. Dachshunds who weighed 30 to 35 pounds were used to hunt wild boar and badgers, while smaller dogs weighing 16 to 22 pounds were used to pursue the hare and the fox. The American Kennel Club shows importations of Dachshunds in its studbook as early as 1885. In 1895, the Dachshund Club of America was established, and in 1935, the American Kennel Club recognized the Dachshund in its field trials, because of its hunting capacity, stellar conformation, and good temperament.
The Dachshund's long body and short legs have given it the perhaps unfortunate modern moniker of "wiener dog." And indeed, some may think this particular characteristic funny. However, this muscular, long little dog with short legs and long tail is also beautiful to many, with a sleek, elongated head, deep chest, trim and athletic build, long muzzle, and expressive, intelligent eyes that are either dark, light brown, amber, green, and occasionally blue. They can also have eyes of two different colors.
There are three specific sizes of Dachshund: Standard, miniature, and a size called "rabbit," or "kaninchen," in German. It should be noted that the "rabbit" size is not recognized by any official clubs in the United States or United Kingdom, but is included within the World Canine Federation (the Fédération Cynologique Internationale) where 83 clubs recognize this smallest of Dachshund sizes.
The standard Dachshund weighs between 16 and 32 pounds; the miniature weighs less than 12 pounds; and the rabbit or kaninchen weighs between 8 and 11 pounds in adulthood. The smaller miniature Dachshund and the "rabbit" Dachshund, where recognized, are identical to the standard Dachshund with the only difference being the size and weight. Therefore, if miniature parents have one or more puppies that are bigger than the miniature standard (by weight in the AKC, or by chest circumference and/or weight in other kennel clubs), those offspring will not be considered miniatures.
The coat can be smooth (short-haired), long, or wirehaired. The wirehaired variety is most common in Germany. Coat colors can be single-colored; single-colored with spots ("dappled" – or "merle" in other breeds); or single-colored with tan points with or without a pattern. Piebald-colored Dachshunds (having a white base and the presence of large solid-colored spots) are also acceptable, with the most common color being red, although black and tan are also common. Dogs can be chocolate, wild boar, black, or fawn, with either tan or cream points or markings over the paws, tail, ears and eyes. Solid chocolate or solid black Dachshunds sometimes occur, but these colors are considered nonstandard in both the US and Canada.
Playful, intelligent and stubborn, the Dachshund is a wonderful family pet but can be difficult to train because of its independent and tenacious personality. Should you adopt one of these little dogs, you'll find it exceedingly devoted and affectionate – but you will need to have a firm hand to control it. If you don't, the Dachshund is a breed that will most definitely take over. This dog is a prime example of what can develop into "small dog syndrome," becoming a little “terror” who behaves as if it is your boss. To avoid having that happen, make sure you exhibit firm leadership traits at all times, and maintain your status as the alpha dog. Firm, gentle, consistent discipline is necessary. Once that's established, you can be sure that your pet will be a devoted family member for life.
Be advised that Dachshunds can be especially difficult to house train. Although not impossible, this is simply part of your dog's sometimes obstinate and very clever, intelligent nature. Obedience courses are highly recommended for Dachshunds (and their owners), with the added essential benefit of your learning how to be pack leader.
The Dachshund is actually not a particularly good pet to have if you have small children. The Dachshund can be temperamental, and although older children will generally have the wherewithal to be gentle and patient with your little pet, smaller children may not understand this need and may end up getting bitten simply because the Dachshund does not handle this kind of stress well. With a devoted owner or owners and older children around, however, the Dachshund makes a wonderful family pet.
Dachshunds are prone to spine problems because of their long backs, and can be susceptible to Dachshund paralysis. They can also develop mast cell tumors and are especially at risk of becoming overweight as they get older – something to be avoided especially because this will put strain on their already delicate spines. Still, they live a relatively long time, 12 to 15 years, with regular veterinary care and careful attention to any back problems that may occur.
If your Dachshund is long-haired, brush and comb daily; if wirehaired, trim professionally twice a year; and rub down your shorthaired Dachshund with a damp cloth regularly. Your pet sheds an average amount.
AKC Meet the Breeds®: Get to know the Dachshund.
Retrieved April 14, 2013.
Retrieved April 14, 2013.
Dachshund (Standard Dachshund) (Miniature Dachshund) (Toy Dachshund) (Doxie). http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/Dachshund.htm.
Retrieved April 14, 2013.
WiseGEEK: What is a Dachshund?
Retrieved April 14, 2013.
Group Classification: Hound
Country of Origin: N/A
Date of Origin: N/A
Shedding: Moderate Shed
Body Size: N/A
Weight M: 9-20 pounds
Height M: 14-18 inches
Weight F: 9-20 pounds
Height F: 14-18 inches
Litter Size: 1-3 puppies.
Life Expectancy: 12-15 years
Recognized By: CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR
Two colored varieties include chocolate, black, wild boar, blue (gray) and fawn. These dogs will have tan markings over the eyes, on the sides of the jaw, underlip, inner edge of ear, front, breast, throat, paws insides of the legs.
Dachshunds are very good indoor dogs. They are typically quite active, but because of their size, they can get their needed activity indoors, without requiring a yard. Dachshunds are extremely good diggers, so if you're planning to leave them unsupervised in the yard, be certain that your fence is secure, particularly at the bottom. If the dog becomes bored, he is quite likely to dig out. Because the Dachshund is prone to obesity, you should watch their food intake. Don't allow them to free feed or over eat. Dry food is lower in calories than canned food and is better for the teeth, as well.