Meet the breed, which for centuries has been a thorn in the side for tunnel game like badgers, foxes and yes, Bugs Bunny. The Dachshund may look like a cute, yet awkwardly shaped lap dog, but this long, low and narrow bodied hound has a heart the size of many large sized breeds.
Originating in Germany, the “Hot Dog” was brought to the United States back in the late 1800’s primarily as a dog to hunt rabbits.
After the anti-German sentiment relaxed following World War 2, the Dachshund has continued to increase its stock as one of the most popular breeds in the U.S.
What makes this breed so special, and why is the breed such a popular dog?
Here is what you need to know about the Dachshund.
There are slight differing opinions between the American Kennel Club and the Dachshund Club of America, as to which century Dachshunds were bred for badger hunting. The breed’s official club maintains the 18th and 19th century, while the American Kennel Club claims as far back as the 15th century.
Adding fuel to the breed’s origins was a discovery found by the American University in Cairo, which believes the Dachshund goes further back than Germany and may perhaps have lived in ancient Egypt.
During the 18th Century in Germany, the breed was named by breeders, “Dachshund,’ which in translation means “badger hound.” Some dog enthusiasts debate to this day, which crosses were used to create the standard sized Dachshund. While most believe a combination of Beagles and Basset Hounds, some believe that the breed has a temperament much like a Terrier. Regardless, it is widely believe that the short haired gave rise to both the wire and long haired types.
During those years, the breed was used to get rid of badgers thanks to their size, digging skills and elastic pliable skin. They could hunt, flush, and track foxes and rabbits as well as wounded deer.
The breed found its way into the United States in 1870. They were imported from Germany specifically to hunt rabbits.
In 1885, the American Kennel Club officially recognized the Dachshund as a member of the Hound Group. In 1895, the Dachshund Club of America was founded.
The breed lost its popularity around World War 2, due to their origins of Germany. However, it only took two decades spawning between the 1930’s and 1940’s for the breed to go from 28th most popular dog to sixth.
Dachshunds haven’t looked back since. While some are still being used as eager hunting dog for above or below ground work, they are mostly acquainted as household companions.
This breed has been featured in popular culture throughout the 1900’s, and even today, a Dachshund named Crusoe, is a celebrity with over 2.5 million followers on Youtube.
According to the American Kennel Club, this fierce ‘weenie dog” is ranked 13th most popular dog breed.
A Dachshund is a breed that can be divided into three different sizes, however, the American Kennel Club only recognizes two standards. The miniature type, male or female, should weigh 11 pounds or less. This size type will generally stand between five and six inches.
A standard Dachshund can range from 16 to 32 pounds, and will reach a height of 8 to 9 inches.
A moderately active dog, that is often heralded as “spunky” and “lively.” Even as a companion pet, the Dachshund is likely to exude traits that made this breed famous. Those traits can be chasing smaller animals around including birds. They still enjoy digging and sniffing around the lot to appease their imaginative curiosities.
E.B. White once joked about the independent nature of the Dachshund and the difficulty a master can have training the breed. White remarked, “He (Fred, his dog) even disobeys me when I Instruct him in something he wants to do.”
Their stubborn attitude requires a lot of patience, but they can also be quite aggressive towards children, if they are handled improperly. In other words, this breed doesn’t have that much patience for rough housing. However, if the child is good with animals, expect a friendly and loving Dachshund towards your kids. Supervision works best.
They can adapt with the best of them. Clearly, they are happiest if they are out in the fields or on the farm, but the Dachshund can sustain an apartment life.
Strangers is another sour subject for this breed. Thy aren’t big fans of strangers approaching them or their property. They will use their loud and obnoxious bark if they feel the need to.
Expect your Dachshund to vocalize his or her discontent for being left alone at home. They will get anxious and bored if left alone for too long.
A Dachshund can live quite a long and fulfilling life between 12 to 16 years. If you buy this bred from a breeder, make sure they supply you with the proper documentation and clearances needed for the healthiest dog possible. You should send your Dachshund to the veterinarian regularly to ensure a healthy dog.
This breed has a ton of issues with their backs, as you can imagine, in how long and oddly shaped it is. That is why most Dachshund owners should be weary in who they allow to pick up their dogs, such as children.
The breed’s elongated can cause serious issues with the spinal cord such as IVDD or Intervertebral Disc Disease. A Dachshund with this health complication will see limited activity and most likely have to undergo some form of surgery to be treated. IVDD appears in roughly 20-25% of all Dachshunds.
Another common problem lurking around the breed is Progressive Retinal Atrophy. This can cause complete blindness in dogs including partial blindness at night. This condition is seen most with “Double Dapple” Dachshunds. These are dogs that typically have two different eye colors.
Congenital heart defects like Patent Ductus Arteriosus is a condition that demands a special surgery in order for the dog to be corrected. This breed is twice as likely to develop this defect than other dogs.
Aside from the back issues, the breed has been linked to the following health complications:
- Hereditary Epilepsy
- Cushing’s Syndrome
- Cherry Eye
Although, a Dachshund is fine for a novice dog owner, it will take a good deal of patience during the training process. They can either be stubborn or independent in though sometimes ignoring the wishes of their master. You will need to establish rule with this breed, and let them know that you are the pack leader.
Early socialization is vital with this breed because of their tendency to be aggressive and sometimes standoffish with strangers. In fact, a study by the Universty of Pennsylvania found that out of 6,000 dogs, the Dachshund was guilty of biting their owners, strangers and fellow dogs 20 percent of the time. This can be truncated with early socialization and a positive upbringing.
This breed does like chasing smaller animals as well as birds, so if you have those kind of pets, this dog may not be for you.
A Dachshund can be prone to severe health issues with their backs. Most owners of this breed recommend setting up a ramp or stepping platform for this dog. This will help relax the strain that their elongated body suffers.
Daily walks is always a good idea to keep this dog in tip top shape and not bored. Playing catch with a Frisbee or having them chase after a tennis ball will help keep them entertained and mentally stimulated.
Their ears should be checked and cleaned regularly to avoid infections from fungus, bacteria and mites. Those big ears that droop can attract all kinds of nasty critters.
A Dachshund that weighs 20 pounds can essentially be fed 1 cup of high quality dry food per day. You can break their meals up into half cups, so that they are eating twice per day just as their humans.
The recommended amount for this breed is around 1/2 cup to 1 1.2 cups of dry food a day.
A lot of how much your dog will eat daily is contingent upon their metabolism, age, and activity rate. Always go by the instructions from the packaging or consult with your veterinarian.
You should include a protein source such as white meat chicken or some kind of beer or liver.
As always, you should readily have available fresh drinking water for your Dachshund.
The American Kennel Club describes the coat of a Dachshund upon three varieties. These are: smooth, long haired, and wirehaired.
A Dachshund with a smooth coat can either sport a single color often red and cream. If the dog has two colors, it will usually be chocolate, wild boar, gray and fawn.
Wirehaired Dachshunds are almost a different looking breed altogether. Their double coat has a thick and harsh topcoat with a fine, soft undercoat. The topcoat of this type will cover the entire body of the Dachshund.
Finally, a longhaired Dachshund will boast a sparkling glow to their coat, with long and wavy hair adding to their appearance a form of elegance.
The American Kennel Club lists 12 color and three markings that are acceptable for this breed.
- Black and cream
- Black and tan
- Blue and cream
- Blue and tan
- Chocolate and cream
- Chocolate and tan
- Fawn and cream
- Fawn and tan
- Wild boar
However, there are three additional colors such as black, chocolate and fawn.
The three markings the American Kennel Club finds acceptable is brindle, dapple and sable.
This breed is fairly simple to groom. They are frequent shedders but are considered a lower maintenance dog. Wirehaired types do need regular brushing and to have their coats stripped twice a year for a healthier looking coat. While longhaired types mat up easily if you don’t keep their coat brushed regularly.
Fun facts about the Dachshund
- Waldi the Dachshund was the official mascot created for the 1972 Olympics.
- It was said that this breed inspired legendary painter, Picasso, who was said to have owned his own Dachshund.
- Not only does this breed come with a variation of coat colors and texture types, but they also have many nicknames including: Weiner Dog, Weenie Dog, Sausage Dog, Hot Dog, Datsun, Dotson, Doxie, Dox and many more.
- Many celebrities own the Weenie Dog, such as, Ashley Olsen, Adele, Christian Slater, Clint Eastwood, and Bret Michaels.
- Other famous people such as, Andy Warhol, Audrey Hepburn, and rock singer, David Bowie all had pet Dachshunds.
- This breed was originally named the “Badger Crawler” or “Dachs Krieger” in German.
- Although the Dachshund Club of America opposes annual “Weiner Racing,” many states throughout the United States train and compete their dogs.
It is true, that the Dachshund can be quite the animated and ‘barkative” character. But if you were to ask any Doxie owner like, E.B. White, they would tell you that they love them for it.
Unique in appearance, this breed burrows around in so many elegant variations. You’ll never have a hard time finding the perfect Dachshund, because there are so many to choose from.
The Dachshund is a spunky companion, and you’ll love them for it. Regardless of their coat type, or their color, the one constant about this breed is their dynamic ability to grow on people over time.