Dachshund, the breed

Dachshund, the breed

I can’t think of a better time to write about the dachshund – this breed so very popular – than now when I started fostering one. Much loved in Europe and The UK these dogs are smart, feisty and stubborn. There is more to these incredible sausages than meets the eye, so let me just delve in.

The Origins

Recent discoveries show that the origins of these dogs date back to ancient Egypt. In its modern form the breed originates from German breeders and includes elements from German, French and English hounds and terriers. Royal courts all over Europe favorited the breed, including Queen Victoria who was particularly fond of them. In their original forms German dachshunds were larger than the modern version and were bred for badger-baiting. Due to their small body size and slightly bent forelegs they were perfect for exterminating badgers. Traditionally hunting dogs, they were also used for rabbit and fox hunting, and thanks to their fierce temperament in packs they can take on larger animals, like wild boars.

The long, flappy ears were deliberately bred into these animals to keep grass and dirt away from the ear channels. So was the long tail, which is perfect to signal the owner from the long grass. The exact origins of the breed are little known, but the smooth haired doxie was the first one. According to one of the theories, short haired dogs from time to time produced longer haired offsprings and the breeders deliberately separated and bred them. That’s how the long haired variation appeared. As for the wired haired ones, they were the last one to appear. Some believe they were developed by mixing dachshunds with various wire haired breeds, like schnauzer or german shorthaired pointer.

Appearance

A typical dachshund is long-bodied and muscular with short, stubby legs. Its front paws are disproportionately large and paddle-shaped, suitable for digging. The dachshund has a deep chest which provides appropriate lung capacity for stamina when hunting. They come in three different coat varieties, short, long and wire haired. From all the color varieties the most common is red, but they also come in black and tan, chocolate and tan, blue and tan, harlequin and piebald. This is a very interesting pattern of white base with chocolate and tan patches. It only occurs when both parents carry the piebald gene. And in fact if both of the parents are piebald colors, then the entire litter will inherit this very interesting color variation.

dachshund

 

They come in three sizes: standard, miniature and kaninchen which is German for rabbit. A full grown standard dachshund weighs around 15 kg while the miniature is around 6 kg. The kaninchen is smallest in size and weighs about 5 kg, which makes it a preferred family pet.

Temperament

Lately we have come to choose our four legged friends based on their looks only. Therefore I think this part is incredibly important to read carefully, because there is more to a dog than just its looks. Dachshunds, originally bred to hunt and exterminate badges are incredibly smart, feisty yet very stubborn. They are well known for their capacity to chase birds, small animals and toys for hours on end. Due to their stubbornness they can be a challenge to train. Despite their size they are feisty, can be loud barkers and can get aggressive toward strangers or other dogs. They are loyal family dogs and are devoted to their owners. When left alone they tend to bark until they get companion, and if left alone too much or in irregular periods they can develop separation anxiety. To relieve their stress they go about and chew up their toys or any other things in the house.

They love to snuggle under blankets and love to sleep in tunnel beds. Their trainability doesn’t rank the highest compared to other dogs. Although frequent training and consistency is key, especially when it comes to house training. When not socialized in time they can become shy or aggressive. They are very protective of their family and can easily bite people who are unfamiliar. We can teach them to be patient with children, but generally speaking they respond well to consistent, firm training and a strict owner. According to a recent survey in The States, 20% of all dog bites came from dachshunds. Dachshunds on average are stubborn, feisty and can get aggressive when threatened. If you choose them, be mindful that they require consistent training and a firm hand.

Health

As all breed dachshunds are prone to develop a number of health issues. Some of these include spinal problems, loss of vision or hearing, hereditary epilepsy, dental issues, cherry eyes, glaucoma, retinal degeneration, congenital heart defect and the list goes on. First and most importantly I would like to address the spinal problem, which is a very typical issue for this breed. The cause of these spinal problems is the very long spine supported by a small ribcage. According to studies, 20-25% of dachshunds develop a IVDD, intervertebral disk disease, some of them recover fully, some will need operation and some might not be able to walk again. To minimize the risk try to avoid obesity, harsh handling, jumping or any heavy exercise that puts too much strain on the vertebrae. Taking the stairs is not recommended. If your pup already developed this problem, your vet will be able to suggest a number of options to recover. These might include medication, swim therapy, massage or surgery. Another health issue quite specific for doxies is the dislodging of the kneecaps. Interesting facts

  • Dachshunds are one of the most popular dogs in the United States, ranking 13th in the 2016 registration statistics.
  • Thanks to their German heritage, during World War I dachshunds were often used to portray Germany in propaganda.
  • Out of all the hunting breeds dachshunds are the smallest.
  • A dachshund was the first olympic mascot ever, during the 1972 Olympics in Munich and was called Waldi the Dog.
  • They have a long lifespan. Chanel a doxie living in New York held the world record with 21 years.
  • A study ranked the Dachshund as one of the most aggressive breeds toward both humans and other dogs.
  • They don’t know they are short.
  • They are notorious diggers.
To sum up

Dachshunds are amazing and loyal companions and they do make people smile with their small body and big attitude. However, they are not for everyone. These dogs are energetic, feisty and can be very stubborn and are prone to develop a number of health issues. So please, consider carefully before you choose one.

Hope you guys enjoyed this read and I helped to make up your mind. If you have anything else to add or ask, please let us know and don’t forget to leave your feedback below. Stay tuned!

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One comment

  1. Nathalie
    1 year ago

    Very well and detailed written. As a dachshund owner I can agree in all points, especially concerning their temperament. I especially like this one ‘They dont know theyre short”. Haha, so true and I sometimes whish they knew.

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