Description & History

The Dachshund is considered to be a German breed although its origin is not known.

Some authorities have claimed that Dachshund type dogs have existed for many centuries and came from countries as far apart as Egypt, Mexico and China. The first evidence of the breed's existence is possibly a wood-cut dated 1637. It depicts a Dachshund-like dog, with a heavy hound-type body - similar to a Basset Hound - with fairly short legs and pendant ears.

It is probable that the Dachshund and the Basset Hound share the same ancestry. An illustration in a German book of 178O shows two dogs that give every indication of being a cross between these two breeds. The dogs have the long ears of the Basset as well as heavy shoulders and strong quarters but the smaller face of the Dachshund. The illustration is called 'Dachshunde'.

The breed which was once used as a sporting dog in the forests of Germany, was larger and more hound-like than the present breed. Gradually changes came about and a picture in a German Dog Book, dated 1876, shows Dachshunds looking more like the breed that is known today.

Although further development took place to improve the breed, it has retained certain Basset characteristics. It has the same long body, short legs, long pendant ears and it also has hound traits.

These traits include its fine scenting power and the ability to track. The breed still possesses the terrier-like characteristics that it once used against the fox and the badger. Smaller members of the breed are able ratters and rabbiters.

Dachshund in German means 'badger dog'. The breed is known universally by this name except in its own country where it is called "Dackel" or "Teckel". It may also be referred to as Waldmann ( forest dog).

The breed first appeared in Great Britain in the 1840's. It was about this time that the Prince Consort received a number of smooth-haired Dachshunds from Prince Edward of Saxe-Weimar. Most of these small hounds were kept at Windsor and took part in pheasant shoots in Windsor Forest.

There are six varieties of this breed: three Standard sizes (Smooth-haired, Long-haired and Wire-haired) and three corresponding Miniatures.

Rosamund Walters.

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