The distinctive Dachshund can be seen strutting its stuff in almost every country in the world, but what is the origin of this delightful breed? The total devotees and aficionados of the breed refer to them to as the ‘Doxie’, and many just shorten the name to ‘Dax’. They are also known in Germany and some other European countries as the Teckel. Whatever we call them, they are growing in popularity.
Originating in Germany and reputedly in existence since at least the 16th century, the name Dachshund literally means ‘badger’ (from the word Dachs) and ‘hound’ (as in Hund). The larger of the two sizes of Dachshund (standard size) was bred to hunt badgers and foxes, whilst its smaller ‘cousin’ would more typically hunt smaller mammals such as mice or small rabbits.
The Dachshund is typically long in length with short curved front legs. The length of the body enables the Dax to turn round (or articulate) in a badger or fox den, whilst the short curved legs give it plenty of digging power to reach its prey. Known as scent hounds for their keen sense of smell, they were also known to trail wild boar – so you can see that they are a hugely courageous little dog – and perhaps not appreciating their own lack of size, does get them into trouble at times.
They come in two sizes (for show and breed standard purposes) standard (weighing between 16 and 35 pounds) and miniature (weighing less than 11 pounds) and three coat types – smooth, long haired and wire haired. The most commonly seen colours are red, black and tan, blue and fawn.
Personality-wise the Dachshund is a livewire with a fairly high activity level. They love to play and are also extremely smart and quick to learn, making them a great all-round small dog. They seem to fare well in either a city or rural environment, but as ‘hunting’ is in their blood, it’s not always wise to let them roam free in fields or forests, as you could find them stuck down a fox earth or badger hole. It may be surprising to learn that the Dax has one of the most powerful jaws of all dog breeds, probably due to its extended length, but also it would have naturally developed further as a ‘crushing machine’ in hunting situations.
The Dachshund is a lively, fearless and loyal dog with a comical nature and is suited to live as a pack or only-dog within a family environment.