The dachshund: specific breed or breed dwarfism?

Featuring a long back and short legs, the dachshund makes up for its small size with a strong character. Because this miniature dog is not afraid to face bigger than him! Far from being a defect, his dwarfism was obtained with a view to improving his qualities of hunter. Explanations.

The origins of the dachshund

The name dachshund comes from the German “dachshund” meaning “badger dog”. In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, European literature began to refer to small, short-legged dogs. This is the case in the first treatise on venery, dedicated to Charles IX, and written in 1561 by Jacques du Fouilloux, a French gentleman from Poitou. The specimens mentioned in the work were described as quite long, relatively low on legs, with floppy ears and a high tail. Although sporting a morphology and different colors from today’s dachshund, this type of dog appears in hunting scenes in paintings, woodcarvings and tapestries.

Start of dachshund selection

According to several sources, the furry dachshund ras would have been selected from the XVIIe century from the bassette form of brachet, a small Germanic hound adorned with powerful flair and admirable perseverance. The aim is to obtain specimens specially intended for digging up. Among these bassets, the dachshund has established itself as one of the most versatile hunting breeds. The hairy variety long was created in the XVIIe century by a contribution of spaniels and hair hard in the XIXe century by crossing with the Dandie Dinmont terrier.

Dwarf and kaninchen dachshunds

Since the beginning of the XIXe century, dwarf dachshunds and kaninchen dachshunds (meaning rabbit in Germanic) are selected in Central Europe, more particularly in Germany and the Czech Republic. Far from fashion effects, the miniaturization of the dachshund allowed it to adapt to underground hunting to dislodge foxes, polecats, ferrets and other mustelids. As for the kaninchen, the smallest of dachshunds and a recent variety, it was created with the aim of chasing the rabbit into and out of its galleries. The breed was definitively recognized in 1955.

Birth of the first breed clubs

During the second half of the XIXe century begins the breeding of the dachshund and the creation of breed clubs, especially in England where the dog is very successful. The first ones pedigrees established in the Anglo-Saxon countries constitute the founding stones allowing, even today, to direct and control the breeding. In Germany, 54 dachshunds are registered in the Book of origins (Deutscher Hunde Stammbush) which was founded in 1840. The English Daschshound Club was founded in 1881 and the German DTK (Deutscher Teckel Klub) in 1888. The first large exhibitions are held in 1891 in Berlin and are gradually associated with tests on and underground as well as blood research on artificial tracks. At the end of the XIXe century, dachshunds conquer the hearts of other continents and their importation is often followed by the creation of clubs and associations. In France, it was not until 1925 to see the birth of the Club of Dachshund lovers.

Dachshund: the breed standards

The dachshund alone represents the 4e group of the classification established by the Federation Cynologique Internationale. Within this classification, the FCI distinguishes dachshunds according to their cut :

  • Standard: chest size from 35 cm to 45 cm (female) and from 37 cm to 47 cm (male);
  • Dwarf: chest circumference from 30 cm to 35 cm (female) and from 32 cm to 37 cm (male);
  • Kaninchen: chest measurement from 25 cm to 30 cm (female) and from 27 cm to 32 cm (male).

Besides the size, the FCI subdivides the 3 sections according to the hair: short, hard and long. Dachshund breeding therefore includes 9 varieties. At the same time, there is three colours basic for the dress:

  • Fawn: all hair;
  • Black and tan: all hair;
  • Wild boar: rough coat only.

To the three basic colors are added 3 genes modifiers:

  • Chocolate: all hairs, all colors (tolerated in wild animals);
  • Brindle: fawn short hair only;
  • Harlequin: all hair, only on tan black and tan chocolate.

Description of the dwarf dachshund

Smaller than the standard, the dachshund is no less muscular and powerful. It has a wide and deep chest as well as strong forelegs. Its wide legs – in proportion to its body – allow it to better dislodge its game. The morphology of the dwarf dachshund indeed facilitates an agile work on and under the ground. It is said of him that he displays a proud head carriage and an attentive expression. Its weight is between 3.5 kg and 4 kg. In terms of weaknesses, the disproportionate dwarfism of the breed can generate sensitivity in the vertebrae and a tendency to herniated discs. In addition to these degenerative pathologies of the spine, the dachshund can presentobesity (factor worsening the risk of herniated disc) and diabetes, conditions that must be watched.

Character of the dwarf dachshund

In terms of temperament, the dachshund shows willpower and bravery and can show itself stubborn, even a bit disobedient. Lively and mischievous, he has a strong personality combined with a developed hunting instinct. This breed is deeply attached to its family and can become possessive with respect to a particular member. Provided with a balanced mind, he displays a temperament player and affectionate allowing him to get along very well with children and cats. Given its strong character, the dachshund requires a mixed education of sweetness and firmness. It will take authority and benevolence to instill orders in him. Sometimes dominant with his congeners, able to stand up to more imposing than himself, he will have to start his socialization as soon as possible. Daily physical exercise is essential to his well-being.

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