The Dachshund is a short-legged, elongated dog breed of the hound family. The breed's name is German and literally means badger dog (der Dachs--badger; der Hund--dog). The breed was developed to scent, chase, and hunt badgers and other hole-dwelling animals. Due to the long, narrow build, they are sometimes referred to in the United States and elsewhere as a wiener dog, hot dog, or sausage dog. Although Dachshund is a German word, in German the Dachshund is known most commonly as the Dackel or Teckel.
A full grown Dachshund averages 16 to 28 lb (7 to 12.7 kg), while the Miniature variety typically weighs less than 11 lb (5 kg). As early as the 1990s, owners' use of a third weight class became common, the "Tweenie", which included those Dachshunds that fell in between full and miniature, ranging from 10 to 15 lb (4.5 to 6.75 kg).
Modern Dachshunds are characterized by their crooked legs, loose skin, and barrel-like chest, attributes that were deliberately added to the breed to increase their ability to burrow into tight spaces, as well as the long tail, which in hunting situations, is often used by the owner as a handle, to aid in extracting the Dachshund from the burrow hole after capturing its prey. They come in three coat varieties: Smooth, Longhaired, and Wirehaired; the Wirehaired variety is generally shorter in spine length than the other two. According to kennel club standards, the Miniature variety differs from the full-size only by size and weight, however, offspring from Miniature parents must never weigh more than the Miniature standard to be considered a Miniature as well.
Some have theorized that the early roots of the Dachshund go back to Ancient Egypt, where engravings were made featuring short-legged hunting dogs. But in its modern incarnation, the Dachshund is a creation of European breeders, and includes elements of German, French, and English hounds and terriers. Dachshunds have been kept by royal courts all over Europe, including that of Queen Victoria, who was particularly enamored of the breed.
Dachshunds are loyal, playful fun dogs, known for their propensity to chase small animals and birds with great determination and ferocity. Many dachshunds are a little strong headed, making them not as easy to train. According to the American Kennel Club's breed standards, "the Dachshund is clever, lively and courageous to the point of rashness, persevering in above and below ground work, with all the senses well-developed. Any display of shyness is a serious fault.
Points of Interest
The breed is known to have spinal problems, due in part to an extremely long spinal column and short rib cage. The risk of injury can be worsened by obesity, which places greater strain on the vertebrae, but many an owner with an injured, skinny Dachshund will confirm that these problems are largely genetic. In order to prevent injury, it is recommended that Dachshunds be discouraged from jumping and taking stairs, and the importance of holding the dog properly cannot be stressed enough. Many veterinarians, however, indicate that as long as the Dachshund takes the stairs slowly, the dog's spine will manage just fine. The Dachshund should only be picked up when both front and rear portions of the body are fully supported.
Hunting, tracking, watchdog, and performing tricks.