This tenacious four legged friend originally hails from Germany, although it is ranked #12 in popularity among dog breeds in the US. They belong to the hound group, although their appearance is slightly different than their fellow hounds. It’s this unique short legged, long body style that has made the breed iconic among dogs. Although they are short in stature, they make up for the height difference with big personalities. There are two different sizes of dachshund, 3 coat types, and an assortment of color variations making them very versatile in appearance. The standard dachshund is 8-9 inches in height, and 5-6 for miniature dachshunds. They weigh between 16-32 pounds in standard size or less than 11 for miniatures with a life expectancy of 12-16 years.
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The Dachshund, aka, the wiener dog originated in Germany, where dach means badger, and hund means hound or dog. So the literal translation is badger dog. The standard size was bred to scent, chase, and flush out badgers and various other burrow dwelling animals. The miniature size was used to hunt smaller prey like rabbits. Meanwhile, here in the US, they’ve been used to track wounded deer and hunt prairie dogs.
It is believed the German dachshund may have early roots that go all the way back to ancient Egypt. But in its modern incarnation, the dachshund is believed to include elements of German, English, and French hounds and terriers. They have been kept by royal court members all over Europe, including by Queen Victoria who was rumored to be quiet a dachshund fanatic.
Grooming the Dachshund
The Dachshund not only has two sizes, but also a myriad of coats and colors. The three coat types are short haired, long hair, and the even more unique, the wirehair.
The short hair tends to be the easiest as far as grooming maintenance, only requiring baths and brushing, and routine nail clipping and ear cleaning. The long coat variety require a bit more regular grooming, with the cut typically being up to the owner’s preference. Their coats are long and tends to pick up dirt and other debris due to their close proximity to the ground. They are also prone to tangles in their tails, behind the ears, the hair by the “pants” or rear, or anywhere else that there may be friction. This requires a bit more brush maintenance than the short haired variety. The third variety is the wire hair dachshund, who has a coarse, long wiry coat. They also require regular brushing like their long-haired brethren, but their grooming style is natural, and can be approached by two differently methodologies. The first is for the coat to be hand stripped, or essentially plucked. Wire coated dogs have a different growth cycle where the hair becomes thicker and darker as it grows. You need to remove the dead hair from the top-coat by the root. When the wiry top-coat is removed, they are left with a dense, soft undercoat, which is short and easy to maintain. The second practice for grooming with wire hair dachshunds, is clipping them with clippers or scissors, but you risk losing the coats nature luster and vibrance.
These iconic shorties are big dogs in little bodies. Intelligent and athletic, with a big boy bark, these little guys are sure to steal your heart. They are popular family dogs, and are well suited for both city and rural life. Although, if living in an apartment, their big boy bark could cause problems with your neighbors. These guys aren’t built for running distance, leaping or swimming, but are otherwise tireless and full of zest. Bred to be hunters, they can be absolutely fearless and a bit stubborn, but their unique low silhouette and endearing nature has won the hearts of millions.