We want to know everything about dogs. Everything! But there are countless breeds of dog out there, and each one is a unique animal with its own history. That's why every week, we shine a spotlight on a different breed. This week, learn some fun facts about Dachshunds.
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THE DACHSHUND BREED WAS CREATED TO HUNT BADGERS
We all love the wiener dog’s amusing and unique body shape, but the breed wasn’t designed that way just to maximize cuteness. Originally bred to hunt badgers, these hounds are shaped to allow easy access in and out of badger setts. The named “Dachshund” is German for “badger dog.”
THE AKC RECOGNIZES TWO VARIETIES OF DACHSHUND
The American Kennel Club classifies and shows Dachshunds in two separate types: Standard Dachshunds and Miniature Dachshunds. Beyond this official division, Dachshunds come in a variety of coat types (smooth, long, wire) and colors.
Pictured: Standard Dachshund (top) and Miniature Dachshund (bottom)
DACHSHUNDS ARE THE SMALLEST DOG BREED USED FOR HUNTING
Dachshunds are not as tiny as Chihuahuas or Yorkshire Terriers, but those other breeds were never meant for more than companionship. Dachshunds, who excel at hunting small game, are the smallest hounds. Don't let the Doxie's cuteness allow you to underestimate how scrappy it is. The American Kennel Club's breed standard even includes this tough-as-nails note: "Inasmuch as the Dachshund is a hunting dog, scars from honorable wounds shall not be considered a fault."
DACHSHUNDS MAKE GREAT WATCH DOGS
This breed is notorious for being hyper alert. A Dachshund will unleash a gale of barking to let you know when a stranger is at the door or walking by on the sidewalk. In fact, a 2008 study in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science ranked the diminutive Dachshund as the most aggressive of all breeds.
DACHSHUNDS ARE THE 10TH MOST POPULAR DOG BREED IN AMERICA
According to the AKC’s registration statistics, the Dachshund currently is the 10th most popular dog breed in the United States. That position remains the same from the previous year, but it represent a popularity drop from seventh in 2008 and fifth in 2003. Will Dachshunds fall out of the top 10 this year?
DACHSHUNDS WERE TO QUEEN VICTORIA WHAT CORGIS ARE TO QUEEN ELIZABETH II
Queen Victoria was a dog lover who owned many dogs of different breeds. Her consort, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg, introduced her to Dachshunds around the time of their marriage in 1840. The breed soon became a favorite of the queen, which raised its profile and popularity around England.
ANTI-GERMAN SENTIMENT DURING WWI DESTROYED THE DACHSHUND’S POPULARITY
When the United States entered World War I in 1917, anti-German sentiment spiked, and the Dachshund’s popularity as a companion animal took a serious drubbing due to its image as an icon of Germany. U.S. and British propaganda posters routinely used Dachshunds to represent the enemy. “I like dogs, but not this breed,” one poster read pointedly. It took decades for the Dachshund’s popularity to recover.
E.B. WHITE HAD SOMETHING TO SAY ABOUT DACHSHUND STUBBORNNESS
The great writer E.B. White was a lover of Dachshunds and wrote frequently about his own Doxie, Fred. Although his affection for Dachshunds is unquestioned, White wrote frankly about the breed’s shortcomings: “Being the owner of Dachshunds, to me a book on dog discipline becomes a volume of inspired humor. Every sentence is a riot.”
DACHSHUNDS HAVE INSPIRED THE WORK OF FAMOUS VISUAL ARTISTS
Pablo Picasso was a dog fanatic, and owned several breeds. His favorite was Lump, a Dachshund, whose story is told in the book, “Picasso and Lump: A Dachshund's Odyssey.”
Andy Warhol also was a great fan of Dachshunds, although at first he adopted one only because it was what his boyfriend wanted. But Warhol fell in the love with the breed. He often was seen in public with his dog, Archie, until he got a second Dachshund, Amos, to keep Archie company.
Both artists incorporated their favorite dog breed into their paintings.
Next: Cool Facts About Great Danes!
A DACHSHUND WAS USED AS THE MASCOT FOR THE 1972 OLYMPICS IN MUNICH
German graphic designer Otl Aicher designed Waldi the Dachshund as the mascot for the 1972 Summer Games. In this photo, Waldi is displayed in a special 2008 Olympic exhibition in the German Sports and Olympic Museum in Cologne, Germany.