The dachshund (sometimes called the “wiener dog” or “hot dog”), meaning badger dog in German – is a short-legged, long-bodied dog breed belonging to the hound family. The standard size dachshund is bred to scent, chase, and flush out badgers and other burrow-dwelling animals, while the miniature dachshund is developed to hunt smaller prey such as rabbits. In the American West they have also been used to hunt prairie dogs. Today, they are bred for conformation shows and as family pets. Some dachshunds participate in earthdog trials. According to the AKC, the dachshund continues to remain one of the top 10 dog breeds in the United States of America.
The Breed History
The dachshund as we know it today originated in Germany over 400 years ago, where it is called Teckel. They were larger than the dachshunds we know today – averaging between 30 and 40 pounds.
It is believed that the dachshund was developed slowly, over a hundred years or so, and it was bred specifically to hunt badgers.
Selective breeding by German foresters developed a breed of hunting dog, mostly used to hunt badgers, as the land owners at this time considered badgers a pest. The dachshund was also used to hunt foxes, rabbits and when working in packs, bigger animals such as deer and boar.
The hunters needed a hardy dog that could follow quarry through thick undergrowth and even underground with fearless spirit and a build suitable for fitting into narrow burrows. Even with their short legs they could cover distances at speed, with a loud bark to let the hunters stay on the trail.
Based on a chest measurement taken at the age of fifteen months, there are two types of those breeds:
- The standard Dachshund: Standard dachshunds were used in packs to hunt and catch wild boar and to go into badger dens. The Dachshund would chase the badger out of the den and corner it for the hunter. This helped the hunter because then the badgers were not attacking their horses.
- The miniature Dachshund: As Dachshund history is told German foresters reduced body size of the Dachshund by selective breeding to create a miniature version of the Standard Dachshund. The Foresters did this so the Dachshund could go into rabbit holes easier.
The Dachshund would chase the rabbit out of the hole and the hunter would then kill the rabbit. History also states that miniature Dachshunds were also used for hunting fox and tracking deer that were wounded from the hunter.
The first appearance
According to Dachshund history these small dogs first appeared in UK in 1840 when Prince Consort received a number of smooth haired dachshunds from Prince Edward of Saxe-Weimar these dogs were kept at Windsor and took part mainly in pheasant shoots.
The first Dachshund dog show was in England in 1859, another royal to show interest in the Dachshund breed was Queen Victoria, her interest in dog shows improved the dachshund dogs popularity.
Popularity of the Breed
During the First World War, because of their German origin they went out of fashion as anything to do with Germany was not popular and it has only been by the efforts of dedicated breeders that they are now one of the most popular small dog breeds.
The first Dachshund arrived in United States in 1870 by 1895 the Dachshund Club of America was established. Initially they were used for hunting rabbits and other small game but over some years evolved into a household companion, while still retaining their hunting instincts they really enjoyed being with people, and the fun and interaction they can create. They are now one of the most popular small dog breed in America and it’s easy to see why. With their big fearless personalities and sweet nature with the ones they love, dachshunds can make a great addition to the family.
Feature Image Source: Wikipedia