Dachshund originated in Germany and have a documented history going back as far as the 15th century. Most dog breed experts feel that Basset Hounds and some unknown terriers were the ancestors of the breed. The Bassets provided the long body, short legs, strength, good nose for scenting, and smooth coat. The terriers provided tenacity, stamina, the drive to hunt, and the wire coat to that variety. Other experts feel the Dachshund is simply a short-legged version of the German Schweisshund. In any case, the name Dachshund wasn’t given to these long-bodied, low-slung hunting dogs until the 17th century; the name reflects both the breed’s hunting ability and its prey drive (Dachshund means badger hunter).
Dachshunds are found in two sizes: standard and miniature. Standard dachshunds weigh between 16 and 32 pounds, while miniatures weigh less than 11 pounds. In Germany, there are three sizes that are determined by the dog’s chest measurement. The dwarf Dachshund measures no more than 13.8 inches around the chest, while the rabbit Dachshund measures no more than 11.8 inches. The standard is the largest, measuring more than 13.8 inches.
All Dachshund sizes have three coat varieties. The smooth coat variety is shiny and slick. The longhaired is silky and slightly wavy with feathers on the legs and tail. The wire-haired variety has a rough, coarse, wiry coat with a softer undercoat. In all varieties, the dog is long-bodied and muscular, with short legs and a long tail that continues the line of the spine. The head is carried high and boldly, and the eyes are almond-shaped and expressive. The ears are dropped and of moderate length.
Grooming depends upon the coat type. The smooth coat Dachshund is easy to groom; it should be brushed twice weekly with a soft bristle brush or curry comb. The longhaired Dachshund coat needs a little more work, as the feathers can get tangled. Every other day the coat should be brushed and combed. The wire-haired Dachshund coat should be brushed twice weekly, and several times a year it needs stripping to remove dead hairs. If you don’t know how to strip the coat, talk to your breeder or call a professional groomer.
Don’t let the Dachshund’s short legs fool you; these hunting dogs are athletes and need daily exercise. They need a good walk morning and evening, a chance to play ball, and a chance to run around the yard looking for squirrels. Because of their long backs and the potential for injury, exercise should not include any jumping onto, off of, or over high obstacles or leaping to catch a ball or flying disc.
Dachshunds are very devoted to their families and quite wary of strangers. It’s important that Dachshund puppies attend a puppy class where socialisation is incorporated into the lesson plans. Dachshunds can also be barkers; a training class begun when the dogs are young can help prevent or control this tendency. Dachshunds can be good with children who are not overly rough. Interactions with small pets should be supervised; after all, Dachshunds are still tenacious hunters. Health concerns include back problems, knee problems, and obesity.