The dachshund is a short-legged, elongated dog breed of the hound family. The breed's title is German and strictly means "badger dog," from (der) Dachs "badger" and (der) Hund "dog".
The standard size was developed to scent, pursue and hunt badgers and other hole-dwelling animals, while the miniature was to hunt rabbits.
Due to the long, narrow shape they are occasionally referred to in the United States and elsewhere as a wiener dog, hot dog, or sausage dog, though such terms are sometimes considered derogatory.
However the German origin of the dachshund's name, within Germany the breed is known—both formally and informally—as the Dackel or Teckel.///
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According to kennel club standards, the miniature variety differs from the
full-size only by size and weight, however, offspring from miniature parents
must never weigh more than the miniature standard to be considered a miniature
A full-grown standard dachshund averages 16 to 28 pounds.(7 to 12.7 kg),
while the miniature variety typically weighs less than 11 lb. (5 kg). As early
as the 1990s, owners' use of a third weight class became common, the "tweenie,"
which included those dachshunds that fell in between standard and miniature,
ranging from 10 to 15 lb. (4.5 to 6.75 kg).
H. L. Mencken said that "A dachshund is a half-dog high and a dog-and-a-half
long," which is their main claim to fame, although many poems and songs refer to
them as "two dogs long." This characteristic has led them to be quite a
recognizable breed and featured in many a joke and cartoon, particularly The
Far Side by Gary Larson.
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Coat and color
Dachshunds have a wide range of coloration. Dominant colours and patterns are
red and black-and-red (often referred to as black-and-tan). Also occurring are
cream, blue, wild boar, chocolate brown, fawn, and a lighter "boar" red. The
reds range from coppers to deep rusts, with somewhat common black hairs peppered
along the back, tail, face, and ear edges, lending much character and an almost
burnished appearance; this is often desirable and is referred to among breeders
and enthusiasts as a "stag" or an "overlay."
Solid black and solid chocolate-brown dachshunds occur and, even though dogs
with such coloration are often considered handsome, the colours are nonstandard –
that is, the dogs are disqualified from conformance competitions in the U.S.
Light-colour dachshunds usually sport light grey, light hazel, green or blue
eyes, rather than the various shades of brown. They can also have eyes of two
different colours; in rare cases, such as the double-dappled coloration,
dachshunds can have a blue and brown eye. Colour aside, this eye condition has
led to the double-dapple coat being disfavoured among breeders and owners.
Dachshunds come in three coat varieties. The most common and associated with
the dachsund is the smooth coated dog. The next most recognised is the long
coat. The wire haired dachshund is least common. Many people cannot even
recognize it as being a Dachshund. Wire Dachshund owners often hear people
saying that their dog is a schnauzer or even a yorkie, which is just not the
Dachshunds are playful, fun dogs, known for their propensity to chase small
animals, birds and tennis balls with great determination and ferocity. Many
dachshunds are strong-headed or stubborn, making them a challenge to train.
Dachshunds are known for their devotion and loyalty to their owners. If left
alone many doxies will whine until they have companionship.
According to the American Kennel Club’s breed standards, "the dachshund is
clever, lively and courageous to the point of rashness, persevering in above and
below ground work, with all the senses well-developed. Any display of shyness is
a serious fault." Their temperament and body language give the impression
that they do not know or care about their relatively small and comical stature.
Indulged dachshunds may become snappy. Fanciers of the breed often say that
"Dachshunds are big dogs in small packages.
Black-and-light brown miniature dachshund, smooth coat
The dachshund's temperament may vary greatly from dog to dog. Although the
dachshund is generally a energetic dog, some are laid back. Due to this dog's
behaviour, it is not the dog for everyone. A bored Dachshund will become
destructive. If raised improperly, dachshunds can become aggressive or fearful.
They require a caring owner that understands their need to have entertainment
The dachshund is known for its deep and soulful eyes and complex and telling
facial expressions, the eyes having an allure that is commonly mentioned in
writings about the breed. Because of the breed's characteristic barrel-like
chest, the dachshund's lungs are unusually large, making for a sonorous and
richly timbred bark that belies the dog's true size.
The breed is known to have spinal problems, especially intervertabreal disk
disease, due in part to an extremely long spinal column and short rib cage. The
risk of injury can be worsened by obesity, which places greater strain on the
vertebrae. In order to prevent injury, it is recommended that dachshunds be
discouraged from jumping and taking stairs, and encouraged to instead take the
elevator (though some veterinarians say that slow stair-climbing is unlikely to
lead to injury). Holding the dog properly is important, with both front and rear
portions of the body fully supported.
As it has become increasingly apparent that the occurrence and severity of
these spinal problems, or intervertebral disk disease, is largely hereditary,
responsible breeders are working to eliminate this characteristic in the breed.
Treatment consists of various combinations of crate confinement and courses of
anti-inflammatory medications (steroids). Serious cases may require surgery to
remove the troublesome disk contents. Riskier forms of treatment may be
prevented by taking the dog to a chiropractor that has experience with canines.
Dapple dachshunds, mostly double dapples, have a problem with deafness. This
does not mean they do not make good pets. They just need an owner who
understands a disabled dog's special needs.
Some have theorized that the early roots of the dachshund go back to Ancient
Egypt, where engravings were made featuring short-legged hunting dogs. But in
its modern incarnation, the dachshund is a creation of European breeders, and
includes elements of German, French, and English hounds and terriers. Dachshunds
have been kept by royal courts all over Europe, including that of Queen
Victoria, who was particularly enamoured of the breed.
The first verifiable references to the dachshund, originally named the "Tachs
Kriecher" (badger crawler) or "Tachs Krieger" (badger warrior), came from books
written in the early 1700s. Prior to that, there exist references to "badger
dogs" and "hole dogs", but these likely refer to purposes rather than to
specific breeds. The original German dachshunds were larger than the modern
full-size variety, weighing between 30 and 40 lb. (14 to 18 kg), and originally
came in straight-legged and crook-legged varieties (the modern dachshund is
descended from the latter). Though the breed is famous for its use in
exterminating badgers and badger-baiting, dachshunds were also commonly used for
rabbit and fox hunting, for locating wounded deer, and in packs were known to
hunt game as large as wild boar and as fierce as the wolverine.
Double Dapple Dachshunds are prone to eye disease and therefore are rare. It
is generally believed that the breed was introduced to the United States between
1879 and 1885
Symbol of Germany
Dachshunds have traditionally been viewed as a symbol of Germany, despite
their pan-European heritage. During World War I many Americans began referring
to dachshunds as "liberty pups." Political cartoonists commonly used the image
of the dachshund to ridicule Germany. The stigma of the association was revived
to a lesser extent during World War II, though it was comparatively short-lived.
German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel was known for keeping dachshunds.
The dachshund, for this association with Germany, was chosen to be the first
official mascot for the 1972 Summer Olympics with the name Waldi.
The flap-down ears and famous curved tail of the dachshund have deliberately
been bred into the dog. In the case of the ears, this is so that grass seeds,
dirt and other matter do not enter into the ear canal. The curved tail is
dual-purposed: to be seen more easily in long grass and, in the case of
burrowing dachshunds, to help haul the dog out if it becomes stuck in a burrow.
Some people train and enter their dachshunds to compete in dachshund racing,
such as the Wiener Nationals. Several races across the country routinely draw
several thousand attendees, including races in Buda, Texas, Davis, California,
Los Alamitos, California, and Findlay, Ohio. Despite the popularity of these
events, the Dachshund Club of America opposes "wiener racing", as many greyhound
tracks use the events to draw large crowds to their facilities. The DCA also is
worried about potential injuries to dogs, due to their predisposition to back
Another favourite sport is earth dog trials, in which dachshunds enter
tunnels with dead ends and obstacles attempting to locate an artificial bait or
live but caged and protected mice. Dachshunds, being true scent hounds, also
compete in scent tracking events, with a national championship sponsored every
year by the DCA.
Dackel versus Teckel
In Germany these dogs are widely named as 'Dackels'. To be classified as a
full Teckel, these dogs must undergo Blood Tracking tests. Classically, any dog
of dackel heritage is given an official tattoo upon one ear. After suitable
training, the dog must then follow a blood trail, that is at least 48 hours old,
successfully to it's conclusion. Once this is completed, another tattoo is
marked on the other ear to denote full Teckel rank. As Teckels are bred for
hunting purposes, teckels tattooed or not, tend to be visibly larger in their
chests than their dackel counterparts, though marginally shorter in length.
The naming of the modern American hot dog was supposedly influenced by the
dachshund. In 1852, the butcher's guild in Frankfurt am Main created a smoked,
spiced sausage in a thin casing, dubbed a "little-dog" or "dachshund sausage"
for its obvious resemblance to the low-riding German dog. The popular legend on
the etymology of hot dog holds that a cartoonist named Tad Dorgan attended a
polo match in New York in 1901 where vendors roamed the aisles imploring patrons
to "get your red-hot dachshund sausages." Amused, Dorgan drew a smiling
dachshund nestled in a long bun; however, as he was unsure of the breed name's
spelling, he simply captioned it "hot dog." While popular, the
veracity of this account has never been confirmed.
Dachshunds are a popular pet in the United States, ranking 6th in the most
recent AKC registration statistics.
They are popular with urban and apartment dwellers, ranking among the top ten
most popular breeds in 39 of 50 major US cities surveyed by the AKC.
One will find varying degrees of organized local dachshund clubs in most major
American cities, including New York, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
American dachshund enthusiasts will enjoy their visits to overseas, as the
breed's popularity is legion in places such as Germany, France, Switzerland,
Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic Slovak Republic and Japan.
Having been bred at one point as Wild Boar hounds, the Teckel breed of these
dogs have a tendency to roll on their backs. This 'cute behaviour' has rather
morbid beginnings. The dog would be sent into the undergrowth, to flush out the
boar. The boar would, upon seeing the smaller dog, give chase. The dog would
lead the boar towards the huntsman, whereupon it would throw itself upon it's
back. The boar would then run over the dog, who would then attempt to either
attack the throat of the passing boar or attempt to attack the genitalia, thus
wounding the boar sufficiently for the huntsman to kill their prey.
During World War I the dachshunds' numbers declined because they originated
in Germany and anything having to do with Germany was disliked. However, the
dachshunds' charm brought a resurgence during the Roaring Twenties.
Old-style dachshund showing the longer legs. Walter Rothschild Zoological
Museum, Tring, England
Famous and Fictional Dachshunds
- Lump, the pet of Pablo Picasso, who was thought to have inspired much of his
- Wadl and Hexl, Kaiser Wilhelm II's famous ferocious pair. Upon arriving at
Archduke Franz Ferdinand's country seat, château Konopiste, on a semi-official
visit, they promptly proceeded to do away with one of the Austro-Hungarian Crown
Prince's priceless golden pheasants, thereby almost causing an international
- Senta, Kaiser Wilhelm II's companion during World War I and his exile to
Huis Doorn. Senta died in 1927 at age 20 and is buried in the park of Huis Doorn,
near the Kaiser's grave.
- Hot Dog in Krypto the Superdog
- Schotzie in That 70s Show
- Itchy Itchiford in All Dogs Go to Heaven
- Boots in Emergency!
- Little Dog in 2 Stupid Dogs
- Slinky in Toy Story
- Buster in Toy Story 2
- Wiener Dog, the name of Norm Henderson's (Norm MacDonald) dachshund on
The Norm Show
- Mr. Weenie in Open Season
- Jorge in Clifford's Puppy Days
- Oscar, Irwin's pet in The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy
- Waldi, the mascot of the 1972 Summer Olympics
- Dinah the Dachshund
- Pretzel in Pretzel by H.A. and Margaret Rey
- Hundley in Curious George by H.A. and Margaret Rey
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