by Michelle Jones

The Dachshund is Germany’s national dog, where he is called a “Teckel.” Dachshund means “badger hound;” this is what this long, low and completely fearless little dog was bred to do. A Dachshunds is firm in his belief that he owns the world! Don’t let his size fool you; the Dachshund can hold his own against his hunting prey, other dog, or human!…

Dachshund Photo
Dachshund Puppy Poses 

Although pictographs in ancient Egypt show a dog looking remarkably like a Dachshund, he was bred in Germany a century ago to hunt badgers by digging his way into the badger’s burrow and dragging the cranky mammal out and shaking it to death. He is the perfect “earth dog” with his long body, short legs, big “shovel paws” and prominent breast bone. Along with his loose, wrinkly skin, the Dachshund gives the badger no vital organs in which to sink it’s sharp teeth. As mean-tempered as badgers are, they are no match for a fearless Dachshund packed with “attitude!”

Dachshunds come in two sizes, standard (16-22 pounds) and miniature (less than 11 pounds) and three coats; smooth, wirehaired and long haired. Wirehairs have a lively, humorous disposition, long hairs are more regal and laid-back, and the smooth coats are all business. His coat colors vary considerably, from mahogany, black, black and tan, chocolate, cream, golden, sable, brindle, piebald, dapple and double-dapple. They were brought to America after the first world war and recognized by the AKC in 1930. During WWII, Dachshunds were killed by the thousands; owning a German dog was considered to be un-American. Today, he is the 5th most popular AKC breed.

In temperament, the Dachshund is bold, robust, clever, assertive, independent and stubborn. He can be very affectionate and loyal with the right family that understands his “I’m king of the world” attitude. He’s a fearless hunter on the scent trail of badgers, rabbits, squirrels and foxes. He’s quite talkitive and opinionated and can become a nuisance barker. He gets along well with children as long as they treat him with respect. He should be strictly supervised in a home with pet hamsters, gerbils, ferrets and guinea pigs lest his hunting insticts take over. He likes other dogs if he’s introduced to them slowly. He is not fond of strangers and makes an excellent watch dog. He does well in apartments and city life as long as he is briskly walked each day, or has a backyard where he can run, dig, and make noise! The sweet-natured part of his temperament makes him a devoted, beloved companion dog. He’s seen more frequently as a gentle therapy dog.

Training a Dachshund in obedience is a challenge; the only agenda that matters is his own! Housebreaking, socialization and putting limits on his behavior must begin in puppyhood. Unless he’s trained early, a Dachshund can be very destructive; he’s been known to tear up carpets and linoleum flooring, chew table and chair legs, and any forbidden object carelessly left within his reach. Owners scoff at toys that are described as “indestructible;” makers of these toys have obviously never had a Dachsie; “mischevious” is an understatement!

Dachshunds are formidable opponents in earth dog trials; even terriers can barely keep up with a tunneling Dachshund who can very quickly wind his way through the most difficult burrows as he was bred to do. Many show-quality Dachshunds are also earth dog champions. Because of his short legs, he doesn’t do well in agility trials, but still loves to run at top speed after a ball or other toy. What he lacks in swift agility, he makes up for in persistence and boldness.

Dachshunds are sturdy, tough hounds with few serious health concerns except one: the”Dreaded Dachshund Disease,” or invertebral disk disease. His long back is prone to painful herniated disks that can cause mild to severe paralysis. A Dachsie with paralyzed hindquarters can do very well in a specially built cart that allows him freedom of movement in the house or yard. Disk disease often responds well to immediate surgery and total crate rest with antinflammatory and pain medication. However, with a severe paralysis that is unresponsive to treatment, the owner must make a difficult decision about the dog’s quality of life.

We’ve all seen “beware of dog” signs on neighborhood fences; the sign that best sums up life with this bold, territorial and keenly intelligent little warrior is, “I can make it to the fence in 2.8 seconds. Can you?”

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

mrporth January 15, 2009 at 10:19 pm

Very nice description. One of the best I have seen.

Missy Porth
Porth Kennels AKC Miniature Dachshunds