The Dachshund also called Doxin Dog or short Doxen/Doxie is known for his famous short legs and long body. They were originally bred in Germany 300 years ago to hunt badgers which gave them their unique name: Dachs = badger + Hund = hound/dog ⇨ Dachshund means “badger dog”.
But they were not always referred to with that name. During World War I, the dachshund was being used to portray propaganda as the “liberty pup”. The American Kennel, however, tried to rebrand them as today’s well known “badger dog” to counteract their decline in popularity in the USA.
If you want to learn more about the Dachshund’s heritage, history and other facts that you have probably never heard before, then just keep on reading.
1. Unparalleled Intelligence (So They Thought)
Dogs and especially the Dachshund had a high social standing in Germany during World War II. Canines were believed to be nearly as intelligent as humans, so the Nazis claimed that they successfully taught a Dachshund to speak, read and spell.
They set up a special program, the Hundesprechschule Asra to further educate these intelligent creatures. Kurwenal was one of these dogs and he even had a personal biographer that would record his daily life.
Nazis claimed that dogs graduated with the ability to write poetry and some could say the words “Mein Führer”. Sadly, this unparalleled intelligence is not completely true, it’s quite the opposite.
Dachshunds are only the 49th most intelligent breed so it’s not one of their strongest points but they have many other attributes that make them lovely pet dogs.
2. Longevity: World’s Oldest Dog
Due to their small size and light weight, the Dachshund has a long lifespan of 12 to 16 years. They have such strong longevity that the two oldest dogs to ever wander this earth were both Dachshunds.
Chanel is the world’s oldest dog and lived to be 21 years and 114 days old when she died due to natural causes. Otto, a Dachshund-Terrier mix died at the age of 20. He was euthanized after his devastating diagnosis of stomach cancer.
A third Dachshund held the world record until 2013 and also lived to be 20 years old. Scolly came from Mexico and ranks at number 18 on the list. The owners stated that a healthy diet, lots of affection and regular check-ups at the vet.
But age doesn’t only come with white whiskers especially not for Dachshunds. These little dogs are extremely prone to spinal problems and it affects about 25% of the population. Furthermore, knee and joint issues can cause a lot of pain and suffering.
My guide about How to Help a Dog With Arthritis at Home not only shares tips for dogs with arthritis, they also apply to any joint or back disorders.
3. The First Olympic Mascot
1972, the Olympics were held in Munich, Germany which was largely overshadowed by the Munich massacre that took place during the second week.
Waldi the dog was announced to be the first-ever mascot at an Olympic game and they even designed the marathon route to resemble the Dachshund shape. He perfectly portrayed the athlete’s attributes: agility, resistance and tenancy.
Waldi was created by Otl Aicher who used Cherie von Birkenhof, a long-haired Dachshund, as his model. Different color schemes were created for the design but the most popular one represents the colors of the Olympic rings.
Aicher deliberately excluded the colors black and red which were associated with the National Socialist Party. His work was shown in an exhibition in London in 2007 including Waldi.
4. Infinite Variety
When you think about Dachshunds, you probably see them as short-legged Wieners with red fur. This coat is the most common and most popular color you can find on a Dachshund. But besides the three base colors red, chocolate & tan and black & tan there is an infinite appearance variety:
Additionally, there are three different coat types, smooth (most popular), wirehaired and long-haired which were both achieved through selective breeding. The American Kennel Club has noted 15 standard colors and six different kinds of markings.
They also come in three different sizes (standard, miniature and kaninchen = rabbit in German) and three different weights:
- Standard: 16 lb – 32 lb
- Miniature: < 12 lb
- Kaninchen: 8 lb – 11 lb
The kaninchen size is not recognized by the US or the UK although 83 other countries accept it. You will be served with a lot of choices when choosing a Dachshund so make sure to not only take the appearance into consideration.
The most important thing is to find a healthy Dachshund from a responsible breeder. But how do I know if the breeder is responsible? Look into my 17 Questions You Need to Ask Your Potential Breeder.
5. Maybe Not So German
Remember that I told you that the Dachshund was firstly bred in Germany? Well, some people believe that this is not completely true despite the great association the Doxen has with Germany.
The Dachshund might originate from Northern Africa, Egypt to be more precise. Ancient engravings have been found that resemble a short-legged dog in various settings.
The hunting breed has been discovered in several burial urns, completely mummified. Until today, the true origin of the Dachshund stays a mystery. Even the American Kennel Club and the Dachshund Club of America disagree and state two different breeding periods.
6. Britain’s First Cloned Dog
The Seol based company Sooam Biotech held a competition in 2014 where you could win a cloned version of your pet. Rebecca Smith from west London won the chance to clone her 12-year-old Dachshund Winnie which would have normally cost her about £60.000.
They successfully conceived a healthy Minnie Winnie in a test tube in South Korea and flew her to the UK where she could meet her future owners. Sadly, Winnie died not long after at the of 15 years old when she was hit by a car.
After Winnie’s death, Rebecca was devasted and decided to consult a breeder on mating her dog. On November 4, 2018 Minnie Winnie gave birth to two healthy puppies. After being in labor for three hours without any offspring, the vets decided to perform a C-section.
Cloning has always been a highly controversial topic and many animals are born with mutations or die soon after birth. Researchers warn that a cloned dog might look similar to your pet but the more time passes the more behavioral traits will begin to differ.
Robin Lovell-Badge, a geneticist at the National Institute for Medical Research in London made a strong statement regarding the cloning process:
“I see no valid justification for cloning pets. It is a ridiculous waste of money and hope as well as being ethically very dubious.”Robin Lovell-Badge
7. Incredible Popularity
The Dachshund is a very popular breed especially in the US where they even build Dachshund clubs in some cities. Many artists owned this breed including Pablo Picasso and David Hockney and they were subject of many artworks throughout time.
Andy Warhol was obsessed with his Doxie and he even brought him to interviews to answer questions for him. David Hockney featured his two dogs Stanley and Boodgie in 45 oil paintings.
Many celebrities own the dog including Adele, David Hasselhoff, Audrey Hepburn, Clint Eastwood, John Wayne and Doris Day. But also presidents loved the short-legged breed like Grover Cleveland.
8. Some Coats Are Banned
Apart from those many varieties, there are also colors and patterns that are clearly discouraged by the American Kennel Club and some are even being penalized.
The strict breed standards disqualify any variations that are not outlined or stated. Markings like the “double-dapple” are known to be accompanied by many health issues including blindness, missing eyes or deafness and are declared as “unacceptable” to breed.
9. The Many Dachshund Mixes
Dachshunds are very popular dogs to mix with other breeds and most of them carry unique names. For example the Dorgi (Dachshund x Corgi) or the Dorkie (Dachshund x Yorkshire Terrier).
But it doesn’t stop there. These tiny dogs are even mated with large breeds such as the Golden Retriever (Golden Dox) or the Siberian Husky (Dusky). A local animal shelter close to my area is even breeding a Rottweiler x Dachshund mix (Dachsweiler) which I think is incredibly questionable.
If you want to learn more about all the different Dachshund mixes then click on the following link: List of Dachshund Mix Breed Dogs
10. Inbreeding Depression
“Inbreeding depression is the reduced survival and fertility of offspring of related individuals. This implies that genetic variation exists in species for alleles that affect fitness. It is important for the evolutionary maintenance of outcrossing mating systems.”The genetics of inbreeding depression
The number of stillborn puppies is rising and it concerns many breeds that are being mated with relatives. A study of 42,855 litters conducted that the inbreeding rate directly correlates with the number of stillborn offspring and the overall production of a smaller litter.
But why do we even inbreed dogs if it’s so dangerous? Usually, breeders will use selective breeding to achieve their desired physical or behavioral traits. Once these traits have been successfully bred over generations, they want them to stay exactly like that.
If you want your female dog to have the exact same appearance, well you will probably have to mate her with her brother. Show dogs have been inbred for millennia and health oftentimes will be ignored.