Wieners - Small Bodies with mighty Souls

Mimi A Chi-Weenie that was only two years old and HW+ when she was dumped in a kill shelter!
Mimi A Chi-Weenie that was only two years old and HW+ when she was dumped in a kill shelter! | Source
Shelby.  We call her a Golden Weenie. She is the sweetest thing, but she was considered 'too' loving!
Shelby. We call her a Golden Weenie. She is the sweetest thing, but she was considered 'too' loving! | Source
Emma. She has a Beagle face and face markings, but who cares what she is. She is also disabled and the most loving loud-mouth Wiener ever!
Emma. She has a Beagle face and face markings, but who cares what she is. She is also disabled and the most loving loud-mouth Wiener ever! | Source
Beauregard aka Beau or Bo.  Also a mix and unwanted that was too close to death when he found his ticket out of the kill shelter.
Beauregard aka Beau or Bo. Also a mix and unwanted that was too close to death when he found his ticket out of the kill shelter. | Source
Esmeralda.  She has a true Napoleon complex combined with the constant fear of pain. What must she have encountered to always be that afraid!
Esmeralda. She has a true Napoleon complex combined with the constant fear of pain. What must she have encountered to always be that afraid! | Source

History

Dachshund, Dackel, Wienerdog, Teckel, Wiener... They have many names. The translation of the German word 'Dachshund' is 'Badger-Dog' and would not surprise those that have encountered them before. Their courage, bordering on suicidal tendencies to overestimate themselves and underestimate their opponents, would make it very possible that they are willing to even attack a predator as fierce as the Badger.

According to AKC they were first in the early parts of the 1600s in Germany. The goal was to create a miniature warrior; a dog elongated and fearless. A dog so courageous that it would dig into the ground, track down the vicious badgers and fearlessly attack it!

Wikipedia instead suggests that the early roots of this fearless creature go as far back as ancient Egypt; based on multiple engravings featuring a short-legged dog on hunts. This was further supported by the discovery of mummified dogs closely resembling Dachshunds; made by the American University in Cairo.

Despite that discovery, it was the Germans that created what we now know as Dachshunds. These dogs were very well liked by all royal courts across Europe and included the blood of German, English, and French terriers and hounds. The end result was a fierce hunter that could track any badger above and under ground.

The 'Dachs Kriecher' ('Badger Crawler') or 'Dachs Krieger' ('Badger Warrior') was first verifiable mentioned in books from the early 18th century. Before that they were rather mentioned for their purpose, not their breed.
Originally they were mend to be between 14-18 KG or 30-40 lbs. this was a size that would allow them to fight the closely sized Badger. They came with both straight- or crooked legs (our modern Dachshund is based on the crooked type) and were also used for the hunting of foxes and rabbits; or even to find wounded deer.

There are multiple more opinions out there about the origins of the Dachshund. Both of the leading American 'Clubs' disagree on the exact time frame of their origins, but since they are a German breed, I use the German information as basis for my article!

As sadly with so many of the breeds, breeding for certain standards often comes with health problems.
The 'floppy' ears were mend to protect the ear canal from 'intrusions' and the curved tail as a 'flag' to be able to spot it easier in tall grass. When more 'visual' effects came into play, issues surfaced. One of the beautiful looking Double-dapple, which is prone to have eye-diseases all the way to blindness and/or hearing problems (not that most Dachshund 'listen' well to begin with). Dachshunds are also prone to back issues that can leave them paralyzed and eventually wheelchair bound if their owner cares enough to allow them to continue to live. Too many are euthanized young because of health issues.

There are some guesses on how the different types of Dachshund came together.

The smooth hair Dachshund is said to be the oldest style and possibly a cross between a Pinscher, a Bracke (a Bloodhound type dog) and the German Shorthair Pointer. It could also be a cross between a Pinscher and a Bruno Jura Hound.
Other breeds like the St. Hubert Hound and the Basset are thrown into the basket of possible choices.

The theory about the long-haired Dachshund is equally controversial. Some belief that they were 'accidents'; occasionally produced puppies with slightly longer fur. Breeding these 'accidents' with each other could have produced a long-haired variety.
Others belief that the long-haired breed is a result of introducing many small dog breeds from the Spaniel to each other; including the smooth-haired Dachshund and the German Stoberhund.

Last, but not least, the wire-haired Dachshund. It is the 'youngest' variety and said to have been created in the 19th century. The common guess is that besides the smooth-haired Dachshund several hard-coated terriers and/or wire-haired Pinschers were used to create this coat. Schnauzers, German Wirehaired Pointers, Scottish Terriers and Dandie Dinmont Terriers may have also been involved.

Usually Shelby goes for the much larger dogs such as my 80lbs giants. It is also surprising that ol' Liz was willing to play. She is usually a refined Lady.
Usually Shelby goes for the much larger dogs such as my 80lbs giants. It is also surprising that ol' Liz was willing to play. She is usually a refined Lady. | Source

Character and Temperament

This is not a toy breed or should be considered a toy based on its size.

These dogs are hunters and working dogs; meaning that they have a very strong hunting instinct and a seemingly never ending stamina. They can chase and play for hours and will leave a lot of my other dogs tired.

Their hunting instinct and small size can easily get them in trouble. When I grew up I would walk the neighbor's dogs. Lanka, a black Dachshund mix, was quite the hunter. She would disappear for hours into rabbit holes to dig. She never caught anything, but that surely didn't discourage her.

They also have a character trade often lovingly and frustrated called 'Napoleon Complex'; they are quite unaware of their size compared to their courage. One could liken them to a Grizzly bear in attack mode in the body of a over-sized football! Just make sure to remind them of that or look out for them. Mine have gotten themselves in a few close situations when their courage outweighed their usually fat and happy bodies.

Their energy can be another issue that makes people dump them into kill shelters. They are working dogs and as such always on a mission. I have 2.5 acres of fenced in 'front yard' and my Wieners will cover that area long before any of their up-sized counterparts.
Many have found the 'Wiener' races a great cause of fun. I have to proudly say that mine offer me that enjoyment every day. Especially if a intruder is spotted... Such as a school bus, tractor trailer, dump truck, trash truck or other over-sized vehicle.

And they always have to say something about anything! Wieners can be loud. It comes with their always happy personality; unless they are into serious business like tracking something! They love to talk and are an endless object of entertainment; causing my children to do all kinds of things to make them 'go off'! I gave up long ago to try to walk in my house and talk on the cell phone at the same time; I never get to hear myself think anyway!

Wieners are a lot of fun and entertainment. And their giant personality in small bodies have so much love to give. Just be sure of what you are getting yourself into! Like with any breed you have to research it and see if you can co-exist! A dog is a life and for life! Not just until you tire of it or realize that it isn't what you wanted! And with a Wiener there is a good possibility that their love comes at you with all their might! Just be ready for it!

Oktoberfest Wiener Dog Races

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Comments 4 comments

Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

This is a wonderful hub. My mom had a miniature long-haired dachshund when I was growing up. She was quite a character and did not like being left home when we went somewhere. She would shred Kleenex when she did or TP. She had 6 discs rupture when she was 5 years old and had to have back surgery. It was successful and she ran all over the place with never a problem. The vet said she had 2-3 years left but she finally had to be put down at 15 years. She got a low grade fever and it caused brain damage and she was not 'in' there anymore.

She was a feisty little dog and would regularly get caught swinging on our German Shepherd's tail. The shepherd treated her like a puppy and ignored her. She also had a prude, old lady mentality. She would look at a puppy playing in her living room as if she thought they were pond scum.


DonnaCosmato profile image

DonnaCosmato 4 years ago from USA

Awesome hub on some of the best dogs ever! I've had the privilege of the loving companionship of two Dachshunds over the years, and they are everything you have mentioned and so much more. Great information on these valiant dogs, and I've shared it with my animal loving friends and voted it up and useful:)


justateacher profile image

justateacher 4 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

I love dachshunds! You have described them very well. My favorite dachshunds were miniatures named Gidget and her brother Gadget. They were wonderful little pets with big hearts. We lived in a small house with a smaller yard, so we would go for long walks every night. I was always tired long before they were, but boy did I get my exercise!!


stephaniedas profile image

stephaniedas 4 years ago from Miami, US

My sister just got a dachshund! She says he has "little man syndrome" because he thinks he's a lot fiercer than he looks! Not only is he brave, he is always incredibly affectionate and thrives on human touch.

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