The dachshund is a long dog with very short legs. A small dog with a big bark, it was originally bred as a hunter of badgers. Its name means "badger dog" in German. Badgers are a formidable opponent for their size, and the dachshund, perhaps accordingly, has earned a reputation for "extraordinary courage and endurance as a hunter". (reference The Reader's Digest Illustrated Book of Dogs page 120)
Hound or terrier?
The 'hund" in the word Dachshund is derived from the original German, and does not signify that this breed is a hound. Instead, dachshunds are sometimes considered terriers, specifically, an earthdog that is willing to "go to ground" and hunt its quarry in tunnels. Hound or terrier, the dachshund makes a good hunting dog, in or out of a tunnel, and will bay while it follows the tracks of the hunter's prey.
Dachshunds are very muscular dogs. No matter which variety of dachshund, their shapes are relatively the same: short legs on a long body - crowned with a head sporting a long nose. Their chests protrude slightly, and in specimens of a healthy weight, their stomachs are somewhat defined and tucked up. Most have black-rimmed eyes and black noses, but their noses can sometimes be brown or a shade closer to their coat color.
There are two sizes that all dachshunds can be categorized into: miniature (or toy) and standard. A standard dachshund is considered to be 16 lbs and above in weight and 8"-9" in height. A miniature would weigh 11 lbs and under and be 5"-6" tall. Both males and females are sized similarly.
There are three coat types, all of which can be found on standard and miniature dachshunds.
- Smooth: This is the most common in the US- short, shiny and smooth
- Long hair: The long hair variety is also shiny and soft. It is often wavy.
- Wire hair: The hair is typically rough, short and tight on top with a softer undercoat.
Colors and color patterns
All six varieties of dachshunds come in a wide variety of colors and color patterns. The colors vary from black, dark brown, light brown, tan, red, grey, cream. The color patterns can either be a solid of one of these colors or a mixture of many of them with two-colored and dappled patterns.
Known health problems with this breed
Obesity is a failing of the breed, said to occur because this relatively small dog has a relatively voracious appetite. It is a well known fear of dachshund owners that allowing their dogs to gain too much weight can mean paralysis due to the dogs natural form.