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Of the one hundred and more breeds of dogs in the United States today, probably the most distinctive is the Dachshund. With its short legs and long body, the Dachshund has often been caricatured, but it is loved and admired by many, so many, in fact, that the breed has risen in popularity to second-ranking of all purebreds.
The Dachshund is a member of the Hound group of breeds, although its name in German (properly pronounced ''Dox-hoont" ) means "badger dog," not "hound." In Europe the Dachshund has been used for centuries to hunt the rabbit and the badger, a small but ferocious cousin of the mole and skunk, and was developed specifically for this sport. short, easily folded legs, a long body with plenty of breathing capacity and elastic skin were useful qualities for a dog built to hunt in narrow, twisting burrows.
The long head with powerful jaw was selectively bred to fight its prey. Even a long, strong tail comes in handy when the hunting dog must be forcibly removed backward from a dead-end burrow.
The courage and determination bred into badger dogs remain in the independent and often stubborn Dachshund which makes its home with, and readily adopts, your family. An individualist, yes, but not willfully disobedient or hard to train, the Dachshund is clever and quick at learning and can be a charming and enjoyable companion, especially when properly trained.
Dachshunds are clean little dogs, and have no doggy odor. They need little in the way of grooming, although an occasional brushing will take care of loose hair and prevent it from becoming a nuisance on the furniture. Because of their small size and neat ways, they make excellent dogs for city apartments, but are also at home in the country and can adapt to an unheated outdoor doghouse, provided it is snugly built.
History of the Dachshund Breed
It has been claimed that the Dachshund goes back to 2000 B.C. and one of its kind was painted on an Egyptian monument. Earliest modern records show that the Dachshund, often referred to as the Teckel or Dackel also, was first called by its current name in the 16th and 17th centuries. The breed has been developed along the same lines since that time. For a while two breeds, one a hound and the other a terrier type were bred. Today, there are three varieties, of which the Smooth is best known, although the elegant Long-haired is gaining favor, and the Wire-haired Dachshund is more often seen and less of a curiosity these days. Size has gradually been reduced so that Standards are under thirty pounds, usually around twenty, while the Miniature, which also appears in all three coat varieties, is under nine pounds.
The Dachshund is popular all over the world. It is the leading breed in Austria and Sweden as well as in its native Germany, and among the top ten most popular dogs in most European countries. As early as 1840, Dachshunds were registered in a stud book, and a breed club was founded in 1888. There was also a hunting Dachshund association which recorded dogs of proven hunting achievement and conducted field trials. The first Dachshunds imported into the United States were pets, however, and only recently has there been a revival of interest in hunting. The Dachshund Club of America, founded in 1895, sponsors a field trial in addition to show and obedience activities. Dachshunds in the three varieties, now judged separately, often form the largest entry of any breed at dog shows, including the nation's most famous, the Westminster.
Dachshunds come in a variety of colors, of which red, varying from tan to liver, is the most common, followed by black-and-tan. Equally acceptable are chocolate or gray with tan markings over the eyes, around the mouth and on the legs and underpart of the body and tail. Dapple and brindle are also attractive recognized colors.