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One of the most popular breeds and one of our favorites is the Dachshund. These little dogs are all personality, courage, and endless facial expressions.
The dachshund is a loyal companion and good with children, but because of its long back, dachshunds are prone to disk problems. Therefore this dog is not a good choice for anyone with many steps in the home. All three varieties of dachshunds — the smooth-, wire- and long-coated — are found in two sizes called standard and miniature.
All three types are known for their long backs and short muscular legs, which explains the unflattering nicknames "sausage hound" or "hot dog." They also have a long muzzle, long and droopy ears, and a tail carried in line with the back. The dachshund's coat can be shades of red, black, chocolate, white or gray. Some have tan markings or are spotted or dappled. Dachshunds live about 12 to 15 years.
Despite their size, dachshunds are known for their courageous nature and will take on animals much larger than themselves. Some may be aggressive toward strangers and other dogs. As family dogs, dachshunds are loyal companions and good watchdogs. They are good with children if treated well. They can be slightly difficult to train.
Some dachshund fanciers say there are personality differences among the different varieties of the breed. For instance, the long-coat dachshund is reportedly calmer than the smooth-coat variety, and the wire-coat dachshund is more outgoing and clown-like.
Dachshunds are scent hound dogs who were bred to hunt badgers and other tunneling animals, rabbits, and foxes. Packs of Dachshunds were even used to trail wild boar. Today their versatility makes them excellent family companions, show dogs, and small-game hunters. The breed is still used for hunting, primarily in Europe, but in North America this dog is usually a family pet. In fact, it is one of the most popular AKC breeds.
These little dogs were bred 300 years ago in Germany to hunt badgers—their name literally means “badger hound” (dachs means badger; hund means dog). Their short legs allow them to enter badger dens, and their fierce gusto gives them the courage to take on the 15-pound mammals. Originally all dachshunds were black and tan, but today, they sport a variety of looks. According to the American Kennel Club, dachshunds come in 12 standard colors and exhibit three different kinds of markings; some interesting colors include blue and tan, cream, and wild boar, a mixture of brown and gold. Their coats can be smooth, long, or wire-haired. They come in two sizes: standard and miniature.Today, dachshunds are the 11th most popular breed in America.
Dachshunds are generally a healthy breed with a life span of 12 to 16 years. Like all purebreds, however, there may be some health issues, like diabetes, joint problems, and decreased stamina. These issues can be minimized by working with a responsible breeder who knows the specific health concerns and diseases within the breed. Also, because of the dachshunds' long, narrow-build, weight control is especially important, since excess weight can cause back problems. Good nutrition, including proper food, is very important throughout a dachshund's life. Many dog food companies have breed-specific formulas, depending on the size of your dog. The dachshund is a small breed dog, so consider working with your veterinarian to determine the best diet to ensure your pet remains healthy.
The first official Olympic mascot for the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich was Waldi, a dachshund. He was a creation of the Olympic Organizing Committee for the 1972 Summer Olympics. During the Organizing Committee’s Christmas party in 1969, partygoers were given crayons and modeling clay to come up with a suitable mascot. Dachshunds are known for their athleticism and courage, so the colorful dog seemed like the perfect face for the Olympics.
Even the course of the marathon was designed to incorporate the Waldi design, and during the construction phase of the 1972 Olympic stadium and village, Waldi was used in unofficial satirical posters.
Famous artists have seemed to be drawn to the little dogs. Andy Warhol would often bring his doxie to interviews and let the dog “answer” the questions he didn’t like. When Picasso met David Douglas Duncan’s dachshund, Lump, in 1957, it was love at first sight. Their relationship was chronicled in Duncan’s Picasso and Lump: A Dachshund's Odyssey. David Hockney was another dachshund aficionado. His two dogs, Stanley and Boodgie, were featured in 45 oil paintings and a whole book. The Far Side creator Gary Larson even used the dogs for a parody book called Wiener Dog Art—a whole collection of classic art pieces with dachshunds added in for comedic effect.