The History Of The DACHSHUND
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Wiener dog. Hot dog. Sausage dog. It’s easy to find plenty of nicknames for this tiny, super cute breed with deeply rooted hunting instincts.
The Dachshund may be a small and unbelievably cute breed with their long backs and short legs, but don’t be fooled by their adorable looks. They are a hunting breed, and although their use as a family pet these days is widely spread, they have been bred for centuries and the hunting instincts to hunt are still strong.
The breed was created to hunt and were used in various situations. What we quite automatically think of today when thinking of Dachshunds, is how they courageously go into badger and foxes’ dens and then bark to let their human hunter friend know where they are. But these tiny hunters have also been known to hunt in packs, where the prey was much larger than themselves; for example, wolverines and wild boar. Their usual prey, however, is rabbits, fox, badger and other smaller animals. Surprisingly (or not!) enough, they have also been used hunting deer, tracking wounded animals and sometimes, due to accidents and tragedies, tracking wounded or dead people – then they are called cadaver dogs.
The Dachshund uses the nose rather than sight to hunt. Because they go into nests and dens to find their prey, they belong to the earth hunting dogs.
Today, the Wiener dog is mostly used as a family pet and are immensely popular around the world. As pets, they are sometimes put into racing competitions, but the ethics of this is debated since the Dachshund don’t have the physical build to race, with their long backs and short legs.
There are many theories of the origin of the Dachshund, where most of them has been discarded. Because of images looking like Dachshunds found in ancient pharaonic Egypt, and the Egyptian word for these dogs – tekal and the german word teckel later used, some believe that the ancestors of the Dachshund lived in this era, but others believe this to be very unlikely. There has also been Assyrian reliefs of Dachshund-like dogs, and dogs has been described in ancient Greek literature just as or modern Dachshund.
A zoologist named Brehm thought the Dachshund may originate from Spain, since remains from a small, in-toed dog had been found in Peru, and also in ancient Mexico. Even in Denmark, through archeological diggings, were found the remains of short legged dogs.
The only thing that can be said with certainty is that small dogs with short legs has been breed in various places around the world.
The most commonly accepted theory is that the Dachshund was created in Germany, which is considered to be its homeland. German cynologists Richard Strebel and Ludwig Beckmann did extensive research and according to their conclusions, the Dachshund is closely linked to the German harrier, the deutsche bracken. This was confirmed by another German, Hilzheimer, who found remains after two Dachshunds during archeological excavations of a roman military camp in German Kannstadt. This is an area where the deutsche bracken is common and means that the Dachshund must’ve been around earlier than the roman invation. It is strongly believed that the Dachshund came from breeding these short-legged bracken, to hunt badger, beaver and fox.
It is very difficult to make a proper reconstruction of the evolution of the bracken to the modern Dachshund of today. The theory that the Dachshund originates from the bracken is unlikely, since the dachsbracken was formed through breeding Dackshunds and some harrier breed. Neither can the idea of relations between the Dachshund and French Basset or the English Dandie dinmont terrier be considered reliable.
The most likely theory comes from german Fritz Engelmann who believed that the Dachshund for starters was a small dward harrier and that it wasn’t until later it was first used to go into dens to hunt, or for tracking.
THE DACHSHUND IN THE MODERN ERA
The Dachshund we know and love today are strongly related to the dogs bred in 15th century Germany, but was refined in the late 19th century. German breeders spent time and effort in restoring the wire-haired Dachshund, which was almost extinct by the end of the 19th century. It was also at this time the breed standard for size, coat and colour was formed.
In America, the breed was accepted into the AKC in 1885, along with 14 other breeds. Many years later, the Dachshund was almost extinct in America due to its german origin – after WWII, people really hater Germany and wanted to get rid of everything german, including the tiny sausage dogs they had previously been so fond of. The result was that the number of Dachshunds in America decreased to only 12 surviving dogs in 1919. People walking their Dachshunds would be attacked in the streets, and dogs were killed everywhere – and it was thought to be a good thing.
Today, the Dachshund is as much a family pet as a hunting dog. Due to its history as a hunter, there are both good and bad sides with it for the regular pet owner. They are loyal and protective to their people, and if bored, they can easily dig up your entire backyard.
While the Dachshund can be one of the coolest, most adorable friend of your life, it still is a hunting dog. Please take care to really think through if you are ready to provide what the Dachshund need to be the amazing dog he or she can be.