The Dachshund or Doxy originated as a hunting dog in Germany, reports of the breed date back as early as the 15th century. However, development of the breed did not start until the 17th century. The name translates into English as “Badger Dogs” which is exactly what they were used for. Their statures were perfect for digging and entering tunnels whilst their feisty temperaments were effective when it came to attacking the badgers. Two sizes of Dachshund were eventually created, one to hunt badgers and boar and a smaller size to hunt hare and foxes. The breed was introduced to America in the 1880’s, yet the breed’s global popularity didn’t begin until the 1940’s.
Dachshunds come in all colours, markings, coats and sizes due to the variation in the breeding lines. Standard: 16-32 pounds, 8-9 inches tall Miniature: Under 11 pounds, 5-6 inches tall Life expectancy: 12 to 16 years
Character and Behaviour
Owners often choose this breed for their bold personalities, however be warned, they can be excessively vocal with their barking which goes alongside their stubborn and defensive behaviours. However, with effective obedience training, these issues can become positive traits. Alongside their tendency to bark, it is not uncommon for dachshunds to be aggressive towards strangers and other dogs. A recent report has shown that the miniature breed is actually one of the top three most aggressive dog breeds based on reports of bites in the UK along with Chihuahuas and Jack Russell’s. Yet, let it never be said that a Dachshund isn’t affectionate with their owners and energetic and intelligent during play.
Training and Education
Dachshunds were originally bred to be strong and independent to aid in their success when it came to hunting. They like to make decisions on their own, which can make it a little harder to train them. As with any breed, you’ll want to start the training early and equip yourself with a fair amount of patience, firmness and consistency before helping your pet to learn exercises which will help you share your home in harmony. Ensure that your dog sees you as the leader, otherwise they will take this role for themselves – this is what tends to happen when dachshunds start to become aggressive.
Dachshunds are prone to obesity, however a few short 10-minute walks and play time at home will keep them in lean shape. This will have to coincide with a strict nutritionally balanced diet. Dachshunds are also a relatively delicate breed with up to 25% of them suffering from intervertebral disc disease which can cause deterioration of the spinal discs or spinal injury. Always support the dog’s back when handling and discourage jumping up and down from furniture where possible.
Grooming and Care
The amount of grooming your Dachshund will require depends on their coat. Generally, they come in longhaired and smooth haired varieties. Whilst the long-haired variety will require brushing every day this treatment may cause skin sensitivity when it comes to smooth haired Dachshunds.
Children and Other Pets
A Dachshund isn’t recommended for families with small children due to their temperament, unless you are willing to undergo extensive training and socialising of the dog. Generally, they will tend to respond to children better if they have grown up around them, instead of being introduced to them later in life. As mentioned earlier, they have very sensitive backs, so you also have to ensure that your child won’t engage in rough play with your dog. Dachshunds tend to prefer to be the alpha, yet they will still socialise well with other dogs in the home.
Originally all Dachshunds were black and tan, but today the Kennel Club has registered 12 standard colours with three kinds of marking patterns. Dachshunds weren’t always as popular as they are today, back in World War 1 they were used in German propaganda and referred to as “Liberty Pups”. The Nazi’s even claimed that they taught one of their mascots to speak, whilst another was able to recite poetry. Well, we did say they were an intelligent breed, didn’t we? The hot dog was named after the dog, not the other way around! A Dachshund was Britain’s first cloned dog, and it’s safe to say the trend hasn’t caught on, or has it?