Some theorists believe that Dachshund ancestors can be traced back to ancient Egypt, where the remains of similar looking dogs have been discovered. However, it is a widely accepted notion now that Dachshunds come from Germany and include bloodlines of German, French, and English hounds, as well as terriers.
The first verifiable reference to the Dachshund comes from 18th century literature, back when they were used to track and hunt badger, although they were also commonly used to track and hunt rabbits, foxes, deer, wild boar, and wolverines as well. This early form of the Dachshund, then called either the “Dachs Krieger” or “Dachs Kriecher”, was slightly larger than the modern day version.
The firs type of Dachshund (Double-dapple) was introduced to the United States between 1879 and 1885.
People continued to breed these dogs with a variety of other breeds, working up to today’s standard version of the Dachshund. Originally, the Dachshund was a short-haired dog. Now, there are two distinct types, thanks to both selective breeding and crossbreeding, known as the long-haired Dachshund and the wire-haired Dachshund, which was the last to develop (late 19th century). While, again, the exact origin of the Dachshund is unknown, it is a fact that these two types came from the original, short-haired type.
Probably one of the most famous features of the Dachshund is its bodily proportions. It has a very long, tube-like body and short, stumpy legs. This appearance has earned it the nickname “wiener dog” in many areas of the world. These dogs come in three different sizes; standard (16 to 32 pounds), miniature (less than 12 pounds), and kaninchen (German word for “rabbit”, 8 to 11 pounds), although the standard and miniature are the only two of the three sizes recognized universally. The Dachshund also has a deep chest and large, paddle shaped front paws.
The Dachshund’s ears are large and droopy. It also has a long snout and a very good sense of smell.
As for coat, the Dachshund can be either short-haired, long-haired, or wire-haired. The wire-haired variety is both the least common and newest to be recognized. They can be either single-colored, single-colored with tan patches, single-colored with spots (merle), or piebald (red with black and tan patches). Common colors regardless of pattern include black, wild boar, chocolate, and fawn. Color spots or patches usually appear on the eyes, paws, and tail. White patches may also occur.
The Dachshund can have amber, light brown, green, or blue eyes. In some varieties of Dachshund, heterochromia can occur where they have two differently colored eyes, such as one brown and one blue. However, certain eye colors or patterns will also occur with specific varieties.
The average litter size for the Dachshund is between 4 and 8 puppies. The average life span is just shy of 13 years.
Dachshunds are lovable and playful dogs. They are typically very loyal to their owners and will be very affectionate towards them. They are also very devoted to their owners and will do almost anything to make them happy. However, these intense bonds do have some drawbacks. For instance, they will often whine or bark when left alone. If someone does not return almost immediately, separation anxiety may set in. During this state the dog may bark, chew furniture, pace, etc.
As for trainability, Dachshunds actually can be quite stubborn, so training is often difficult. They are very headstrong and set in their ways, so when they do not want to do something, they will not do it. Going along these lines, this breed can also be quite difficult to housebreak, meaning they will often go to the bathroom in the house, chew furniture, explore places they are not supposed to, and more until the behavior is curbed. However, with a devoted and patient owner, these dogs can be trained to behave excellently.
The Dachshund, unfortunately, has also been known as one of the more aggressive dog breeds. While they are very affectionate towards their owners and people they are used to, they often lash out or become very defensive when confronted with strangers. They are also not the most patient of dog breeds, so households with young children are not usually suitable for these dogs. Although, if the dog is well trained and the child is very calm and well behaved, they could be a good match.
Dachshunds need to be watched carefully, even when outside, as they can still engage in destructive behaviors in their own yards. For example, these dogs love to chase small animals and birds, usually harming them. To fulfill their desire to chase and play, owners could throw around a Frisbee or tennis ball with them. Dachshunds also like to dig and could easily ruin a garden. However, with the proper training, most of these behaviors will not be an issue.
Dachshunds are no longer used in the hunt, except for in some nations. However, they are still viewed as very popular companion animals, for the right owner that is. Again, they tend not to get along well with other pets and small children, so only adults in the house is advised. Furthermore, the Dachshund owner needs to be extremely patient, devoted, and available, since they both require extensive training and a lot of play time.
These dogs could also serve as excellent watchdogs. First of all, they are wary of strangers and will not hesitate to alert their owners with a loud bark if suspicious activity occurs. Secondly, they can be aggressive and quite harmful to potential threats.
Owners may also choose to enter their Dachshund into sports competitions. Dachshund racing is a very popular sport among these people. The dogs compete in straight running races, of about 25 or 50 yards in length, and sometimes more. Races are held all throughout the nation, and in other countries as well.
They could also compete in earthdog trials. During these races, the Dachshund crawls through tunnels, which include dead ends and other obstacles, in order to track down either artificial bait or live, but caged and protected, rats.