20 May, 2016
- The Dachshund was created in Germany where he was known as the badger dog, dachs meaning badger and hund meaning dog. Illustrations of dogs resembling Dachshunds date to the 15th century, and documents from the 16th century mention the “earth dog,” “badger creeper,” and “dachsel.” Badger wasn’t the Dachshund’s only prey. He was also used on den animals such as foxes, and packs of Dachshunds trailed wild boar. Those early Dachshunds varied greatly in size. The dogs used on badgers and boar weighed 30 to 35 pounds. Dachshunds used to hunt foxes and deer weighed 16 to 22 pounds, and smaller 12-pound Dachshunds hunted hares and weasels. For a brief time in the early 20th century, 5-pound Dachshunds were used to bolt cottontail rabbits.
- Known as the Teckel in Germany, the breed was refined over the course of many years by German foresters in the 18th and 19th centuries. They wanted to develop a fearless, elongated dog that could dig into badger burrows, and then go into the burrows to fight the badger to the death if necessary. The Smooths were the original type, created through crosses with the Braque, a small French pointing breed, and the Pinscher, a small terrier-type ratter. French Basset Hounds may also have played a role in the Dachshund’s development. The long-coated Dachshunds were probably created through crosses with various spaniels and the wirehairs through crosses with terriers.Carefully sculpted through years of breeding, today the Dachshund is the only AKC-recognized breed that hunts both above and below ground. Their short, powerful legs enabled Dachshunds to go deep into narrow tunnels to pursue their prey. Their long, sturdy tails, extending straight from the spine, provided hunters with a “handle” to pull the Dachshund out of the burrow. The Dachshund’s unusually large and paddle-shaped paws were perfect for efficient digging. The Smooth Dachshund’s loose skin wouldn’t tear as the dog traversed into tight burrows. Their deep chest with ample lung capacity gave them the stamina to hunt, and their long noses enabled them to be good scent hounds. Even their deep, loud bark had a reason – so the hunter to locate his dog after it had gone into a burrow.
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