The Dachshund is a small and cute breed of dog that is well-known for its short legs and long body. This breed is a popular choice amongst pet owners as they have many positive attributes that make them great pets for many types of people and they have gained popularity internationally.
Although they are a well-known and easily recognizable breed, there are plenty of things that most people do not know about Dachshunds. They actually have an interesting history and unique characteristics that make learning more about the Dachshund intriguing. Here are 20 cool facts about Dachshunds that you probably do not know.
1. They Possibly Originate from Egypt
When people think of Dachshunds, they will usually link this breed instantly with Germany. However, there is some evidence to suggest that the origins of the breed did not even begin in Europe, least alone Germany. In fact, it is believed that early versions of this breed may have originated in the Northern African country, Egypt.
This is because there are early Egyptian engravings that depict a short-legged hunting dog that looks similar to the Dachshund. There have also been recent discoveries of mummified Dachshunds found in Egyptian burial urns. This adds credibility to the theory that Dachshunds may have originated from Northern Africa. This is information that surprises many people due to the breed association with Germany.
2. They Were Originally Bred as Working Dogs
Although Dachshunds are now kept predominantly as pets in many countries, they were originally bred as working dogs. However, there is some controversy over their exact origins and for what purpose they were originally bred. It is generally believed that Dachshunds were originally intended as badger hunters and were used by people who wanted to exterminate badgers.
However, there are other sources that say Dachshunds were used to bait and hunt larger game, such as Wolverine and wild boar. According to the American Kennel Club, Dachshunds were bred for badger hunting from as early as the 15th century. On the other hand, the Dachshund Club of America says that they were first bred by foresters in either the 18th or 19th century. A lack of concrete evidence has contributed to these differences in opinion about when this breed was first introduced and the working purpose of the breed.
3. Dachshunds Have Many Alternative Names
In the UK and the United States, this breed of dog is most commonly referred to as the Dachshund. However, this breed also goes by many other names. The first names by which they were known were ‘Dachs Krieger’, which translates as badger warrior, and ‘Dachs Kriecher’, which translates as badger crawler. As they are classed as a hound, this later became Dachshund.
They are also commonly known as either the sausage dog or the hot dog and this is due to their elongated appearance. Other names by which this breed is known include Weenie Dog, Wiener Dog, Bassotto, Sosis, Perro Salchicha, Jamnik, Badger Dog, Tax, and Takca. Which name is used often depends on the location as they have different names in different countries.
4. They Are Only the 49th Most Intelligent Breed of Dog
While Dachshunds have many attributes, intelligence isn’t necessarily their strongest point. They are considered a dog that is reasonably clever and has average intelligence for a working dog breed. Studies show that a Dachshund will follow a command the first time it is given approximately 50% of the time. According to Stanley Coren’s book ‘Intelligence of Dogs’, the Dachshund is the 49th most intelligent dog breed.
This means that they have a fairly average working and obedience intelligence. However, the American Kennel Club’s breed standards describe the Dachshund as a clever and lively breed. Despite this, they are often difficult to house train, and this requires patience and perseverance. Although they are only ranked as average, this does not make the Dachshund an unintelligent dog.
5. They Are a Symbol of Germany
The Dachshund is so widely associated with Germany that it is now an official symbol of this European country. Germany is the country with which the Dachshund is most commonly associated. They have even been used by political cartoonists as images with which they can make a mockery of Germany.
It is the association with Germany that led to the decrease in popularity of this breed in the United States following World War I and again after World War II. However, the Germans are very proud of their association with the Dachshund. For this reason, they chose a Dachshund called Waldi to act as their first official mascot for the Summer Olympics in Munich in 1972. This strengthened the association between Germany and Dachshunds.
6. They Are Classified as a Hound Breed
Dogs are classified into different categories of dog type and the Dachshund is considered by most dog organizations to fit into the hound category. This is certainly the case in the United States and the UK. However, in countries that belong to the World Canine Federation, Dachshunds have their own category.
The argument for keeping them in the hound or scent hound group is that they were originally bred as hunting dogs and are similar in many ways to the Basset Hound and the Bloodhound. Others argue that they should belong in the terrier or earth dog group due to their digging and burrowing. Due to these conflicting opinions about this breed, it is possible that the current category in which they are classified may change in the future.
7. Dachshunds Participate in Several Sports
Although they were originally bred as working dogs and are now a popular breed of dog for keeping as pets, Dachshunds also participate in a variety of competitive sports. The most common of these is Dachshund races, the best-known of which is the Wiener Nationals, as they are surprisingly quick despite having only short legs.
There are also many such racing events across the United States, including races in California, Arizona, Texas, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. However, although these races are popular, the Dachshund Club of America is opposed to these events as they are concerned that they may lead to back problems and they do not believe that the greyhound tracks are an appropriate setting as they attract huge crowds.
Another sport in which Dachshunds participate is the earth dog trials. This involves the Dachshund going down tunnels to find artificial bait or live rats that are secured in cages for safety.
8. The Curved Tail and Flap-Down Ears are a Deliberate Result of Breeding
Two of the features for which the Dachshund is well-known are its curved tail and their flap-down ears. This is not necessarily a natural feature of the dog as they are features that have been deliberately created through breeding for a variety of reasons. In the case of the curved tail, there were two reasons why breeders tried to add this feature.
The first was so that the tail could easily be seen when the dog was in long grass. The second was so the owner could pull them out of a tunnel if the dog was stuck. The purpose of the flap-down ears is to prevent grass seeds and other matter from entering the ear canal while the dog is hunting.
9. They Are Extremely Popular in the United States
Dachshunds have become a popular breed of dog around the world and are particularly popular in the United States and are consistently ranked in the top 20 popular breeds of dog. According to the American Kennel Club’s 2016 statistics, the Dachshund was the 13th most popular breed in the United States. They are particularly popular with those living in apartments in urban areas.
This is possibly because their small size makes them a good choice for people living in this type of accommodation. In 76 of the 190 major cities in the United States, the Dachshund ranks in the top 10 most popular breeds. This has led to many cities having organized Dachshund clubs. Some of the cities with one of these clubs include New Orleans, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Portland.
10. There Are Three Coat Varieties
The coats of Dachshunds are varied as they come in three types of coat and with several possible coat color variations. The three coat types are shorthaired, longhaired, and wirehaired. The longhaired variations of this breed have silky coat that features feathering around the ears and legs. The last variation to appear was the wirehaired Dachshund and it is the least common variety of the breed in the United States.
Although the most common coloring of a Dachshund is red, there are many other color variations of this breed. These include cream, chocolate and tan, black and tan, Isabella and tan, blue and tan, dapple, brindle, sable, and piebald.
There is also a color variation in the wirehaired variants of the dog called wild boar. The dapple and piebald variations are considered nonstandard by both the American Kennel Club and the Dachshund Club of America. However, this does not prevent dogs of this color from competing in dog shows and other events.
11. There Are Three Dachshund Sizes
Unlike many breeds of dog that come in just one standard size, the Dachshund comes in three size varieties. The three sizes of Dachshund are standard, miniature, and kaninchen. The latter translates from German as rabbit. Both the standard and miniature sized Dachshunds are almost universally recognized while the rabbit size is not recognized by clubs in the UK and the United States.
This size is recognized in the countries that are part of the World Canine Federation. A new, unofficial size is now becoming increasingly popular. This is between a standard and a miniature Dachshund and have been labelled as ‘tweenies’. An average standard Dachshund weighs between 16 and 32 pounds, while a miniature will usually weigh less than 12 pounds. The rabbit size is generally between eight and 11 pounds.
12. They Are the Subject of Famous Works of Art
Dachshunds have been the subject in many famous works of art and one reason for this is that there are several famous artists who have owned a Dachshund. Pablo Picasso had a pet Dachshund called Lump who it is believed inspired many of Picasso’s works. The story of their relationship is told in ‘Picasso & Lump: A Dachshund’s Odyssey’. David Hockney owned two Dachshunds called Stanley and Boodgie.
He immortalized them on canvas and included them in his book ‘David Hockney’s Dog Days’. Another artist who owned two Dachshunds was Andy Warhol. His pets were called Amos and Archie and these were frequently depicted in his paintings and he also mentioned them in his diaries often.
13. A Dachshund Called Crusoe is a Social Media Sensation
Although Dachshunds are often featured in the media, such as on television or in films, there are not many who become a celebrity in their own right. However, there is a Dachshund called Crusoe who has become a social media sensation. He has his own Facebook page on which he has achieved over two million likes.
Crusoe also has a YouTube Channel which has reached over 84 million views. He has since gone on to launch his own book in 2015 called ‘Crusoe: Adventures of the Wiener Dog Extraordinaire!’. This became a New York Times best-seller. Furthermore, he won the best animal category at the 9th annual Shorty Awards. This dog has achieved a level of celebrity and social media status that some aspiring actors can only dream of achieving.
14. The Fattest Dachshund on Record Was Called Obie
If a Dachshund is not fed a healthy diet, then they will put on weight. This is the same for all breeds of dog. Many people find it entertaining when they see an obese Dachshund because their bodies often touch the floor because of their short legs. However, there are serious implications for a Dachshund that is significantly overweight, not least the additional strain it puts on their spines.
The most obese dog on record was called Obie and he became infamous for his size. At his heaviest, he weighed 77 pounds. This is more than double the size of a healthy Dachshund. Although he is infamous for being so heavy, he then also became famous for the amount of weight he lost. By July 2013, he had reached his target weight of 28 pounds. That is a grand total of a weight loss of 49 pounds. That is certainly an achievement on the parts of both Obie and his owner.
15. Dachshund’s Are Prone to Spinal Disorders
Like all dog breeds, there are certain health conditions to which Dachshunds are prone. The most common of these is spinal problems. One particular spinal problem that is common amongst Dachshunds is intervertebral disk disease. This is caused by the breed having an exceptionally long spinal column compared to only a short rib cage.
It is so common that it is estimated that around 25% of all Dachshunds eventually develop this disorder. It is treated with anti-inflammatory medication and confinement to prevent the condition from worsening. Due to the length of the dog and the strain this puts on their back, they can also suffer from degeneration of the spinal structure and are more prone to suffering muscular injuries in their backs.
16. There Are Many Other Health Conditions to Which Dachshunds Are Prone
In addition to spinal problems, there are several other health conditions to which Dachshunds are prone. One such condition is patellar luxation. This is a problem relating to the knee joint where the kneecap can become dislodged. Another serious health condition to which this breed is prone is osteogenesis imperfecta. This is also known as brittle bone disease and is more commonly found in the wirehaired Dachshunds.
It is a genetic condition and as many as 17% of the wirehaired Dachshunds are carriers of the gene that cause this condition. There is a genetic test available to determine if a dog is a carrier. This is useful for breeders as they can prevent the condition from being passed on to a litter by not breeding with a dog that is a known carrier of the brittle bone disease gene.
Some of the other health conditions that are common in Dachshunds include granulomatous meningoencephalitis, epilepsy, thyroid problems, autoimmune disorders, and allergies. They are also prone to a range of eye problems, such as cataracts, glaucoma, acquired retinal degeneration, cherry eye, and progressive retinal atrophy. Most of these conditions are hereditary, as is the severity to which the dogs are affected.
Therefore, professional breeders are working on ways to eliminate many of these health conditions from the breed. This is predominantly being done by genetic testing and using only those dogs who are not affected by these conditions for breeding.
17. There Is No Difference Between a Dackel and a Teckel
Two terms that are used to refer to the Dachshund are ‘Dackel’ and ‘Teeckel’. This often causes confusion as people are unsure of the difference between these two terms. ‘Dackel’ is a common alternative name used by the general public to refer to the Dachshund. ‘Teckel’ is a term used by those who use Dachshund for hunting and by those who breed Dachshunds for hunting.
This has led many people to believe that ‘Teckel’ is a different variation of the breed that is more suitable for hunting and meets a special set of requirements for hunting dogs. However, this is not the case as there is absolutely no difference between a ‘Dackel’ and a ‘Teckel’. These words are simply a different use of terminology used to refer to the Dachshund rather than descriptions of two variations of the breed.
18. Many Celebrities Have a Dachshund
As they are such a cute breed, there are many celebrities who have decided that this is the perfect breed for them. English singer Adele is the owner of a Dachshund called Louie and the star has often been snapped out with her adorable pet. David Hasselhoff owned a Dachshund called Henry and Christian Slater’s pet is called Charley.
Other celebrities who have owned a Dachshund include Ashley Olsen, Audrey Hepburn, Clint Eastwood, David Bowie, Elizabeth Taylor, Fergi, Brigitte Bardot, Jack Black, Jacques Cousteau, Joan Crawford, John Wayne, George Harrison, and Doris Day. Each of these celebrities has proudly been photographed with their beloved pet.
19. Interbreeding Depression is a Concern for this Breed
There is some concern amongst experts about interbreeding depression in Dachshunds and studies have revealed worrying results. One study conducted focused on the various factors that influence the litter size of normal sized German Dachshunds and the number of stillborn puppies in each of these litters. The study included data relating to 42,855 litters.
The discovered that inbreeding was a significant factor in the number of stillborn puppies. As the inbreeding coefficient increased, so did the percentage of stillborn puppies within a litter. This indicated inbreeding depression. In layman’s terms, this means that the more times dogs are bred with members of their own family in sequence, the greater the risk there is of the death of puppies in a litter prior to their birth.
The same study also showed that younger and older Dachshund mothers, known as dams, were more likely to produce smaller litters. Furthermore, these younger and older dams were also at higher risk of giving birth to stillborn puppies.
20. They Are Popular Amongst US Presidents
Throughout history, many famous and notable people have owned a Dachshund and this includes some of the Presidents of the United States. While touring Europe in 1937, John F. Kennedy bought a Dachshund for Olivia, who was his girlfriend at that time. She instantly fell in love with the pup and called him Dunker. Unfortunately, Kennedy began to suffer with allergic reactions to the dog. For this reason, Dunker never left Germany. Another president who once owned a Dachshund was Grover Cleveland, who was the 22nd and 24th President of the United States.
You can also read:
- 20 Things Only Dachshund Owners Would Understand
- A Complete Price Guide for the Dachshund Breed
- 10 Dog Breeds Similar to the Dachshund
- Five Things You Didn’t Know about the Blue Dachshund
- 7 Things You Didn’t Know about the Wire Haired Dachshund