history of the Dachshund

This singular breed has several unique traits. Starting with its name, which is different depending on the region of the globe. In its native Germany, and in several Central European countries, it is known as Teckel or Dackel. The Anglo-Saxon countries call it Dachshund, a German word describing its original work, “badger dog”. In Portugal, it is called Baixote, a derivative from the French word Basset, clearly recalling its size. Throughout the world, it is popularly known as the famous “wiener dog”, due to its unmistakable shape.

Another particularity of the Dachshund is having three different sizes and three types of coat – short, long and wire – for each size. So, in practical terms, instead of one, there are nine types of dog. Add to this a wide range of colours, and you’ll certainly find a flavour for each taste.

Actually, the Dachshund is so unique and special that out of Federation Cynologique Internationale’s (FCI’s) 10 recognized groups, one of them (Group 4) is exclusively dedicated to this breed, unlike any other dog type.

 

Some history

Some authors see the breed on the pictograms found in ancient Egypt, sometimes showing short-legged dogs. However, it is unlikely the Dachshund already existed by then, and at such a faraway place with no tradition with this type of breeds. Besides, those drawings are usually a stylized, rather than faithful, representation of reality.

Most likely, the breed appeared in Central Europe, especially in Germany, around the 17th century. The first solid references about the Dachshund, originally called “Dachs Kriecher” (“Dachshund crawler”) or “Dachs Krieger” (“badger warrior”) come from books written at the beginning of the 18th century. There are references to “badger dogs” and “hole dogs” before this time, but they probably regard purposes rather than specific breeds.

Dachshund circa 1875

Author: Karl Friedrigh Deiker, circa 1875 (public domain image)

Breed evolution

The first Dachshunds were short-haired, like most hunting dogs. This is still the best known coat type.

Later came the long-haired dogs, still not very well known by the public. There are 2 theories for how they appeared. The most popular mentions crossing Dachshunds to Spaniels, originating dogs with profuse coat. The other theory regards the selective breeding of long-haired pups that occasionally were born out of short-haired parents (long hair is a recessive trait). Both theories are viable, and not mutually exclusive.

The wire-haired variety, nowadays the most popular, was interestingly the last to appear. It comes from crossing Dachshunds and Terriers in the late 19th century.