The dachshund is a short-legged, long-bodied dog breed belonging to the hound family. The standard size dachshund was bred to scent, chase, and flush out badgers and other burrow-dwelling animals, while the miniature dachshund was developed to hunt smaller prey such as rabbits. In the American West they have also been used to hunt prairie dogs. Today, they are bred for conformation shows and as family pets. Some dachshund participate in earthdog trials. According to the AKC, the dachshund continues to remain one of the top 10 dog breeds in the United States.
The name “dachshund” is of German origin and literally means “badger dog”, from Dachs (“badger”) and Hund (“dog”). Although this is not the modern German name for the breed, in German this word would be pronounced. Because of their long, narrow build, they are often nicknamed wiener dog or sausage dog. Although “dachshund” is a German word, in modern German they are more commonly known by the name Dackel or, among hunters, Teckel.
While classified in the hound group or scent hound group in the United States and Great Britain, there are some who consider this classification to be arguable, speculating that it arose from the fact that the word Hund is similar to the English word hound – and the word “Dachshund” has even been anglicized as “Dash Hound”. Many dachshunds, especially the wire-haired subtype, may exhibit behavior and appearance that are similar to that of the terrier group of dogs. An argument can be made for the scent (or hound) group classification because the breed was developed to use scent to trail and hunt animals, and probably descended from scent hounds, such as bloodhounds, pointers, Basset Hounds, or even Bruno Jura Hounds; but with the persistent personality and love for digging that probably developed from the terrier, it can also be argued that they could belong in the terrier, or “earth dog”, group. In the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (World Canine Federation), or FCI, the dachshund is actually in its own group, Group 4, which is the dachshund group. Part of the controversy is because the dachshund is the only certifiable breed of dog to hunt both above and below ground.
Photo by Soggydan