Dachshunds are bred in two sizes - the Standard (right, Ch Bronia Conquistador) and the Miniature and three varieties - Smooth Haired, Long Haired and Wire Haired. There are minor differences between them but basically they conform to the same breed standard, the only important differences being that of coat and size.
In Germany, their homeland, size is measured by chest circumference; this refers back to their original use as badger hunters and the size of hole which they would have been able to enter. However, the Kennel Club defines size by weight. The Standards should be between 9 - 12 kg and the Miniatures have an ideal weight of 4.5kg, and certainly not in excess of 5kg; in the show ring they are weighed as part of the judging process.
The translation from the German means "badger dog" and flushing badger was his original purpose, though he will also go to ground after other animals and he was used to flush out game from thick cover.
The immense courage required in facing a badger is very much part of his personality and makes him a hard dog to train; he is highly independent and his sensitive nature means that training must be fair and consistent. This is particularly important in the early days whilst the ground rules are being set. It is all too easy, with a small dog, to allow them to misbehave but if he is allowed to get away with it you will end up with a little tyrant.
Happy and friendly with their families - and they frequently bond with one family member more closely - they are fairly indifferent to strangers and will certainly guard their territory fiercely. However, he will need socialisation with children and other members of the household early on if he is to be on good terms with them as an adult.
The length of the back can cause problems. Stairs should be avoided, as should jumping, particularly from cars. He is small enough to be lifted in and out of cars easily and he should be trained to expect this from an early age, or alternatively trained to use a ramp. Because of the potential weakness in his spine and his fondness for food, his weight should be watched carefully as even a little too much weight substantially increases the stresses on his back.
As a hunter he will be deaf to your calls if he is in pursuit; remember that having been trained to go to ground he is a ferocious digger and indeed his overall front structure is designed to enable him to dig freely. Therefore, it will be the base of the fence that will require your closest attention; it is usually when dogs become bored that they start to look for ways to escape so it is advisable not to leave them to their own devices for too long. A case of the Devil finding work for idle paws!
Prince Albert kept Dachshunds, but with the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 there came a view that it was unpatriotic to own a German dog, and they did not regain their earlier popularity until the 1950s.
The different coat types are the only significant difference between the six varieties. The Smooth has a very smooth and dense coat, the skin showing no wrinkle, though not appearing to be tight either. The Long-haired has smooth, straight and soft hair, longest on the chest and brisket with full trousers and a heavily feathered tail. The Wire-haired should have a short, straight and harsh coat with a dense undercoat; the ears are almost smooth and there is a distinct beard and eyebrows.
All colours allowed except white, though a small patch is permissible on the chest. Dapples are allowed to have white but should be evenly patterned all over. The Smooths require a fairly simple grooming routine of brushing to remove dead coat, followed by a polish with a chamois leather; the Long-haired varieties need a little more attention, particularly as they are so close to the ground and tend to acquire rather muddy underparts in the winter. The Wire-haired should be stripped out as necessary. A small amount of boiled linseed oil in the feed will help the coat gleam, though it should not be given to the Wire as it may soften the coat. To see the Kennel Club Breed Standard click here.
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Standard Long Hair Dachshund Breed Clubs
CAMBRIAN DACHSHUND CLUB Miss Z Boyle Tel 01938 500199
DACHSHUND CLUB Mrs Ann Moore 01530 271796
DACHSHUND CLUB OF WALES Mrs C G Brace Tel 01222 614339
EASTERN COUNTIES DACHSHUND ASSOC Mr I Seath Tel 01628 529936
LANCASHIRE & CHESHIRE DACHSHUND CLUB Mrs G Raine Tel 01274 405138
MIDLAND DACHSHUND CLUB Mrs F Winchurch Tel 01902 790276
NORTH EASTERN DACHSHUND CLUB Mrs P A Hancock Tel 0191 370 9322
NORTHERN DACHSHUND ASSOC Mr Chris Moore 01530271796
SCOTTISH DACHSHUND CLUB Avril Kennedy 01563 829495
SOUTHERN DACHSHUND ASSOC Mrs R Clifford Tel 01380 729449
ULSTER DACHSHUND CLUB Mrs Patton Tel 02891 463829
WEST OF ENGLAND DACHSHUND ASSOC Mrs Jeffery Tel 01297 32502
WEST RIDING DACHSHUND ASSOC Mr K P Hirst Tel 01924 829422
Standard Long Hair Dachshund Rescue and Rehoming
Contact a Breed Club. They should all be able to give you information about hounds requiring homes and procedures for re-homing; if you are in the unfortunate position of having to re-home your own hound, please go through breed rescue. They will not be judgmental and are best able to find the right permanent home for your hound.