The Dachshund’s origins can be traced back to Germany’s Middle Ages. During this time, personal firearms were not widely available to peasants and hunters, but dogs were. Therefore, German hunters relied heavily on dogs for their ability to provide for their families. Badgers, once a popular quarry in Germany, were prized for their pelts, meat, and fat. Badger hunting in itself presented hunters with a number of challenges, including the fact that badgers are nocturnal, sleep in extensive underground dens, and are notoriously aggressive when defending themselves. The Schweisshunds, or “trailing hounds,” could trail the badger, but were too large and leggy to follow it to ground. Terriers were excellent at going to ground and dispatching the badgers, but would do so at the expense of a greatly damaged pelt. This particular game required a dog that had scenting ability to track the animal down, was small enough to follow it to ground, courageous enough to confront it, and powerful enough to dispatch it and extract it, but not so “gamey” that it would mutilate the pelt. Thus, the smaller, shorter-legged varieties of the Schweisshunds became prized for their badger-hunting capabilities and were eventually dubbed “Dachshund,” which translates to “Badger Hound” in German.
The Dachshund is the only breed in which varieties are determined by chest circumference. In some organizations, such as Continental Kennel Club (CKC), Dachshunds are literally in a class (or breed group) of their own, due to their dual purpose of scenting and going to ground.
The Dachshund weighs 11-32 pounds and stands 13-18 inches in height. The Dachshund is an affable, friendly, and even-tempered dog. Once-valued hunting instincts, which include scenting, digging, and dispatch of smaller animals, can be quite strong in this breed. They are affectionate, loyal, and jubilant characters. Dachshunds should never appear timid or shy. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.
Want to learn more about the Dachshund? Click here to see the full breed standard.