The quaint appearance of the Dachshund with his long, low-slung body and short legs suggests to many that he is just another ornamental member of the canine race.
He is an extremely good little hunting dog and will hunt with the best of the terriers. He is of German origin and was bred originally for hunting and drawing badger in that country and is rightly included in the sporting group of dogs.
Badgers are vicious creatures, weighing considerably more than the average terrier or Dachshund, and a dog must be really courageous to go into a burrow and drag a badger from its underground home.
The Dachshund was known as the “German Sausage Dog” and his appearance on the street created much ribald comment and laughter. Now the breed is becoming much more widely known and his old nick name is dying out as the virtues of the breed are more widely appreciated.
The Dachshund is very easy to train and has many uses. He has an excellent nose and will find the most cleverly concealed rabbit hiding place or rats’ nest.
Unfortunately, the short legs of the Dachshund give the rabbit a decided advantage in the open, and he will often fail to catch the speedy bunny. But let him get close enough to a rabbit and he will prove that he can kill with the best of them.
Most Dachshunds are kept as pets in the US and they make really grand companions. Affectionate by nature, they become knowing and being possessed of very short smooth coats are accepted as house dogs more readily than the longer coated breeds.
A few minutes rubbing daily with a rough towel or hound glove will keep the Dachshund in first class bloom throughout the year.
Outstanding feature of the Dachshund is his extreme length compared with height. His body is long, muscular and very flexible and additional length is gained from his well-angulated forehand.
The breastbone is very prominent and the shoulder blade joins the upper arm well in front of the forelegs, which are well boned and slightly bowed.
The underline or “keel” carries backwards in a graceful line and should be very close to the ground. The natural length tail is carried gaily and the head is held in proud, defiant fashion.
The head is cone shaped when viewed from above and should not be overdone in skull or muzzle, but gradually taper from its widest point. Teeth are strong and level and the mouth is free from lippiness.
The eyes are dark, bright and expressive and the ears fairly large and well rounded. They are set high on the skull and drop forward close to the cheek. The short coat may be either red, black and tan, chocolate or dappled (tan with darker rounded markings).
Average height is about 8 inches and weight about 22 pounds in the standard variety. Miniature Dachshunds are about the 10 pounds mark and are becoming popular here for those who like a very small house dog.
Other varieties are the Long Haired Dachshunds which have a soft, lustrous coat, with good tail fringes and breechings. These are in two sizes, miniature and standard.
The latest variety to reach Australia is the Wire Haired Dachshund, which has a coat something similar to that found on wire haired terriers, together with the characteristic wire haired beard.
All types other than standard smooths are comparatively new to Australia. Although there is a keen demand for them, as he is known to most Australians, is unlikely to be troubled by his more exotic brothers for years to come.