The Dachshund is a variety of the Scent Hound that was invented in Germany to hunt badgers, rabbits, foxes and other burrowing animals. Its unique physique never fails drawing attention but canine fanciers love this breed first and foremost for its gentle disposition, quick-wittedness and uncompromising loyalty to its masters. The breeds’ adaptability makes it an excellent apartment dog.
There are three types of the breed:
· the Rabbit Dachshund (chest circumference - up to 30 cm, weight – under 3,5 kg),
· the Miniature (Rabbit) Dachshund (chest circumference - 30-35 cm, weight – 4 to 7 kg),
· the Standard Dachshund (chest circumference - from 35 cm, weight – 7 to 9 kg).
Each type has three varieties: the Smooth-haired, the Wire-haired, and the Long-haired.
The progenitors of the modern-day Dachshund were so-called «earth dogs» whose origin dates back to the XV century. The description of these canines frequently appeared in German hunting literature since the XVI century under the names «badger creeper» and «dachsel». Nonetheless badger was just one of the early Dachshund’s quarries. It was also highly effective in hunting den animals as well as a wild boar. These first breed’s specimens weren’t uniform in size as 13-16-kilo dogs were used to hunt boars and badgers, the dogs that weighted 7 to 10 kilograms primarily hunted foxes and deer, and its smallest 5-kilo members were proficient hare and weasel hunters.
The process of the breed’s improvement continued in the XVIII and XIX centuries. German gamekeepers strived for creating a courageous, elongated Scent Hound that could easily squeeze into the narrow badger dens, then corner the animal and effectively confront it. The smooth-haired Dachshund was developed first by crossing the original breed version with the Braque and the Pinscher. It’s also highly probable that the French Basset Hound was included in the breeding program. To create the long-haired variety German foresters may have also used crosses with various Spaniels. It’s speculated that the wire-coated type appeared as the result of crosses with terriers.
The constitution of the Dachshund enables it to easily pursue the prey underground. Its short yet strong legs are provided with broad paws so it can dig fast and tirelessly trace the animal in its burrow. Its elongated and hard tail plays the role of a handle when the hunter wants to draw the dog out of the den. Thanks to its sonorous voice its master can quickly determine its position after it has dived into a hole. This tenacious and brave dog also possesses very sensitive nose and great endurance that allow it operate as a Scent Hound.
In the XIX century the Dachshund acquired huge popularity in the role of a companion animal in many countries particularly in Great Britain. Its specimens were kept in royal households throughout Europe and it enjoyed special favour of the Queen Victoria. Because of such international acknowledgment as a pet, the dog was finally scaled down by approximately 4 kilograms. In the end breeders invented an even more compact variety, the miniature dachshund.
A breed standard was drawn up in 1879 and by 1885 the first Dachshunds had been imported to America. At the same year it was officially recognised by the American Kennel Club (AKC). In the wake of the start of the World War I the breed fell out of favour in England and the U.S because it brought up association with Germany. Its breeding in European countries resumed in the post-war years only to be once again interrupted by the eruption of the World War II.
The popularity of the Dachshund spiked in the 50-s of the XX century and ever since it has never lost its position in America and Europe. Today the vast majority of members from the U.S. are exclusively family pets while in other countries this breed is widely esteemed as a hunting companion.
The Dachshund is sometimes referred as a big dog in a small body because of its reckless bravery and self-assurance. It usually develops the greatest affection towards only one person although it can also become a wonderful pet for a family. Despite its overall friendly personality it hates when someone approaches its food or toys and therefore should never be completely trusted around toddlers. However, this breed is fond of older kids who don’t encroach on «its» things and respect its authority.
The Dachshund prefers to keep aloof from strange people and usually avoid their touches. Early and sufficient socialisation helps to avoid issues with excessive shyness or even aggressiveness in the presence of strangers. This breed is a noisy animal that will notify its masters about every more or less interesting activity in the vicinity with its loud bark. So this dog commonly becomes a very dependable watcher. Some of these dogs are also inclined to be very protective of their masters and households although in general this breed makes a mediocre guardian.
The Dachshund established reputation of a canine-aggressive breed. Nonetheless its aggressiveness usually confines itself to unrestrained yapping and it rarely goes into an open clash with its counterparts. This dog can easily get itself into trouble because of its quarrelsomeness and be seriously injured by larger and more powerful canine. A sturdy leash will secure the Dachshund from such a situation and will guarantee that it won’t finish off some neighbourly cat. Actually it can live in harmony with a household cat if animals were brought up together since an early age.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· sick sinus syndrome;
· patent ductus arteriosus;
· pattern baldness;
· cutaneous asthenia;
· immune-mediated thrombocytopenia;
· congenital deafness;
· intervertebral disc disease;
· atlantoaxial subluxation;
· eye problems.
The grooming of the Dachshund includes just standard procedures although its wire-haired variety may need somewhat extensive care. It’s sufficient to brush the smooth-coated dog once a week but its wire- and long-haired counterparts requires more regular brushing, preferably every other day. Moreover the fur of the wire-coated Dachshund must be plucked out manually at least twice a year. This operation helps to remove dead hair and promotes the growth of a new coat.
The breed is a moderate shedder and systematic grooming will make this process almost unnoticeable. This dog is notoriously famous for its propensity to wallow in stinky substances so be prepared to bath your pet fairly frequently.
On the whole, this dog needs only occasional bathing. Large pendent ears of the Dachshund easily trap dirt and debris so clean them on a weekly basis. Trim the dog’s nails as needed, usually every month.
The Dachshund can’t stand following orders and therefore its training is a quite time-consuming task. It’s quite possible to teach this dog basic commands but if you plan to participate with your pet in obedience trials this breed isn’t the right choice for you.
Patience, consistency and lots of tasty treats are essential ingredients of the successful training of the Dachshund. It’s totally useless to force it to obedience because it ignores any command that is uttered by a rough voice. It’s also very hard to house train this dog so be prepared to invest lots of efforts in this task.
The Dachshund is a lively yet small dog that usually requires average amount of physical exercise. As a rule a long and brisk daily walk suffice to make this dog content with its existence. The breed member easily adapts to apartment living although it will be very happy to have occasional chance to frisk freely in a securely enclosed yard.
But without some obligatory minimum of physical activity your Dachshund will quickly become overweight and will acquire lots of behavioural problems including destructiveness and hyper excitability.