In this dog breeds article Holidays 4 Dogs looks at the dachshund. Dachshunds make delightful companions for those people looking for a small dog in a big dog package! While small and handy to take around, they can are also an energetic and entertaining little breed of dog – popular with enthusiasts the world over. Read on to find out more about these wonderful little dogs.
Dachshunds originated in Germany as hunting dogs. They were primarily used to hunt badgers – an animal considered to be a pest at the time. They also tackled foxes and rabbits and, when hunting in packs, they were used to hunt larger game, such as deer and wild boar.
‘Dachs’- means ‘badger’ and ‘hund’ means ‘dog’. Translated, dachshund means ‘Badger Dog’. They are widely and affectionately referred to as, ‘sausage dogs’ amongst owners of these gregarious little hounds.
The dachshund’s low stature enabled them to enter thick cover and narrow burrows. Their tenacious attitude meant they were fearless hunters, capable of covering ground very quickly, despite their short legs.
Indeed, their powerful short legs, and strong claws, meant they were capable of taking on a bigger animal, such as a badger. Nowadays, most dachshunds are kept as pets and companions.
Dachshunds first appeared in the U.K in 1840. Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria, was gifted a number of smooth-coated dogs. The dogs lived at Windsor where they were used on pheasant shoots. The late Queen Elizabeth owned several dachshunds and, of course, the famous ‘Dorgis’ – dachshund cross corgis – as well as Labrador retrievers.
Remarking her fondness for the dachshund, the late Queen was reputed to have said, ”
“nothing will turn a man’s home into a castle more quickly and effectively, than a Dachshund.”
There are several different types of Dachshund in the U.K. The Standard Dachshund variety are sturdier than their miniature counterparts weighing in at around 20 – 26 lbs. The miniatures weigh a lighter 10, or 11 lbs. Both the standard and miniatures have three coat types – smooth, long-haired and wire-haired.
The true working dachshund is referred to as the Teckel in both Germany and the U.K. There are a few dedicated followers of the working dachshund in the U.K. and in Germany.
Teckels are generally wire, or rough coated, and are quite distinctive from show types in both looks and personality.
Some would say the Teckel is a much hardier, sturdier type and they they have very strong hunting instincts. They are agile and quick, being somewhat longer on the leg than some show bred dogs. However, an experienced and patient owner can really bring out the best in them.
Some dachshunds have been successful in obedience and agility in various places throughout the world; notably the US and Japan. However, dachshunds are quite an independent breed of dog and, as such, they are perhaps not one of the easiest dogs to train.
The standard sized dogs are probably more suited to family life, being that little bit sturdier. The long coated variety are a little ‘softer’ in nature. This could be due to the introduction of spaniels in early breeding programmes, (and which accounts for the longer hair).
It is said the smooth variety were, at one time, crossed with pinschers. Indeed, the smooth coated dogs can sometimes be a little feistier in nature, particularly the miniatures, who can be quite fearless. The wire-haired variety also tend to have more outgoing personalities. The standard size have deep barks, too, – reminiscent of a much larger dog, while the miniatures tend to be a little more on the yappy side. All varieties will enjoy a reasonable amount of exercise, but most are happy to live in either a town, or rural environment.
They do need to be socialised well as puppies to ensure they are not nervous of new situations and grow into confident adults. Training is important too, although they can be challenging when it comes to recall training because they can become fixated on scenting.
Because of their stature, some dachshunds can suffer from Intervertebral Disc Disease. The miniature dachshund is also prone to Progressive Retinal Atrophy – an inherited disease of the retina in the dog’s eye. It is important to buy puppies from health tested parents.
Despite their short stature, these hardy little dogs are known for their jumping abilities. However, due to their elongated spines, they can suffer accidents and injury readily.
Despite their ungainly stature and small size, these pocket rockets, have lots of energy. They also tend to live very long lives. The record for the oldest living dog was, Chanel, a Dachshund living in New York, who died at the age of 21.
All in all, Dachshunds make lovely family pets. Always buy from reputable breeders and health tested animals. With proper up-bringing and care, dachshunds are hardy and long lived animals, who have the most enchanting and versatile personalities – from lap dog, to hunting dog.
If you’re looking for holiday care for your dachshund we have lots of lovely carers who just adore this breed – follow the paw and find out more about our dedicated carers.