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The Dachshund, or the German dachshunds (as there are nine breed varieties characterized by three different coat varieties and by three different sizes) is one of the most recognizable breeds for its appearance: a long body with short, stubby legs. It may seem funny according to its peculiar morphological characteristics, and even burlesque at a first superficial glance. Carefully watching the Dachshund in its entirety, we will easily discover what they really are: a small masterpiece of dog breed selection.

 APPEARANCE

 The general appearance of the Dachshund fits perfectly to the purpose for which it was selected: the long head with a triangular shape is supported by a long, but not thin neck, the body is muscular, proportioned and sustained by short, straight and strong legs which allow an extreme fluidity of movement. All these features make the Dachshund particularly harmonious and elegant thanks to the balance between the various parts of its body. Demeanor and expression show a bold and secure temperament which complete the portrait of this little dog, emerging always as a prominent character.

The Dachshund was first selected in Germany between Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century. From local short legged hounds were obtained smaller and lighter dogs, which were able to work over the ground trailing and hunting animals, following blood traces of wounded preys and even able to flush out wilds from underground burrows.

The first Dachshunds were standard short-haired, maybe the real ancestor of the actual nine breeds.

After cautious couplings between Dachshunds and small German spaniels, was first selected the long-haired breed then (in Nineteenth Century) after many crossings with other rough-haired breeds, as small size Schnauzer and Scottish terrier, it has been possible to select the wire-hired breed. During the same period, coupling particularly small Dachshunds with small Pinscher, the breed size has been further decreased with the aim to obtain an auxiliary dog capable to hunt underground small preys, selecting first the miniature and then the Kaninchen size.

As time went by, thanks to the breeders’ skills, new sizes and new coats have been introduced maintaining the original morphological structure. By now, the new breeds are selected according to a single standard and differ only in size and coat.


COAT

The Dachshund’s coat can be:

- Short-haired, with dense hair tight to the body.

- Long-haired, the coat adhering on the body with fringes at the neck, the ears, the back of the limbs and tail.

- Wire-haired, always adherent, with beard and mustaches at the muzzle, bushy eyebrows and bristly hair all over the body.


SIZE

There are three Dachshund’s sizes:

- Standard, with a weight between seven and ten kilos.

- Miniature, with a chest circumference between thirty-one and thirty-five centimeters.

- Kaninchen, with a chest circumference up to thirty centimeters.

 

TEMPERAMENT

As the nine different Dachshund breeds have been selected to obtain good auxiliary hunters, these dogs can’t be considered only as a prissy home companion. Its fiery, dynamic and vital temperament demonstrates that it’s an athletic mate, always happy to share lazy moments on sofas and beds (always beloved by Dachshunds) but also long walks in woods, mad runs in meadows together with hunting more or less legitimate prays.

The Dachshund temperament has been settled after a long selection period, during which the breeders have looked for a possible excellent auxiliary hunter: a loyal, independent, responsive, courageous, combative dog, bound to its owner and cooperating as a good companion and helpmate.

All these features are also essential in practical use of the dog in hunting:

- Loyalty, because the Dachshund is always working with and for its master.

- Independence, allowing the dog to make independent decisions when in the burrow, on the track or driving out preys without any support and help and, at the same time, resolving mostly unexpected situations.

- Reactivity, enabling a fast response to sudden and unforeseen external stimulation.

- Courage, required to face wild animals which are often bigger than the Dachshund and equally combative.

- Fighting spirit, essential to accomplish the driving out of wild particularly aggressive wild.

- Obedience, that consents the use of an auxiliary even in situations where the command is required to allow or not actions that may be contrary to the natural behavior of the dog.

Clearly these features are equally important in the less sporty role of a pet dog, with a significant inclination to become a good guardian, and a cheerful companion during excursions.

 

EDUCATION

Educating a Dachshund puppy, in order to get the best of its temperament we must keep in mind all its peculiar features. With the purpose to fully and profitably exploit them it’s necessary a loving, clear and frank relationship with this little companion. It’s also fundamental to have a certain firmness in restrictions, allowing the dog to understand clearly who is the boss, what is possible to do and what is not, thus giving it security and allowing it to be always sure of the limits in which to move.

 

CONCLUSIONS

Therefore, the Germans Dachshunds can be absolutely defined one of the most eclectic breeds and, maybe, among the most popular in the world.