Yes, Dachshunds were originally bred to be hunting dogs in Germany as long ago as the fifteenth century. They are specifically used to hunt burrowing animals such as badgers because of their small size and strong noses.
Though you may not initially think of the “sausage dog” as a keen hunter, they have been used to chase down burrowing animals such as badgers, rabbits, and squirrels for centuries.
We’ve compiled a list of the most important facts to know when it comes to the common question, “are Dachshunds hunting dogs?”. By the end of this article, you will know everything there is to know about these small but mighty pups.
What Kind of Hunting Dogs are Dachshunds?
Dachshunds are one of the most distinguishable dog breeds because of their short legs and long bodies. And it is this stature that makes them such impressive hunting dogs.
Because Dachshunds are low to the ground, they are ideal for spotting ground-dwelling burrowers. They are mainly used to hunt animals that tunnel and burrow as they smell them out and chase them up from the ground.
Additionally, they have an excellent sense of smell. This trait is only further magnified by their proximity to the ground. Their short legs and long snout make it so that their nose is nearly touching the ground and much closer to the burrows of their prey than other dog breeds.
In addition to their height and smell, they are independent and known for thinking on their own. They make quick decisions which is an essential quality for hunting animals, especially fast ones like rabbits and badgers.
Are Dachshunds Lone Hunters?
As previously mentioned, Dachshunds are very independent animals. They think on their own and make decisions on their own. Any Dachshund owner will know this as they can prove rather hard to train due to their stubbornness.
Sometimes, however, Dachshunds work with other animals and humans when hunting. Their independent nature may make this seem strange. However, it is exactly this quality that makes them work so well with other independent hunters.
In fact, they are commonly paired with falcons. They chase their ground-dwelling prey into the open so the falcon can attack. It is the two animals’ independent natures and focuses that allow them to flourish together. Each is determined to do their job and to do it with precision.
Finally, Dachshunds are easy to take along on hunting trips because of their small size. Hunters can bring them on the journey without the hassle of crates, loads of extra food, and large vehicles.
What Makes Dachshunds Good Hunting Dogs?
Now, that we have discussed the type of hunters that Dachshunds are, let’s explore why they excel at their job.
They Respond to Positive Re-enforcement
Dachshunds learn from doing well. When they succeed and are then rewarded by their master, they will continue to strive to do well.
Thus, a Dachshund with a master that understands this trait of the breed and rewards the dog with freedom, independence, and treats after they hunt well, will have a well-behaved hunting dog. Further, their pup will be committed to their job as they know they will be rewarded if it is completed successfully.
They Love the Chase
Though the thought of these pups running for hours with their short legs seems rather far-fetched, they actually have very impressive stamina.
Plus, they love the excitement derived from a good chase. So they will run for ages and will enjoy it!
Their Floppy Ears are Protective
The floppy ears that make Dachshunds so adorable also have a protective element.
Running so close to the ground can be dangerous with sticks, rocks, and the like popping up unexpectedly. So, their floppy ears serve as protectors of their ear canals and eyes for these elements as well as if their prey decides to fight back.
They’re Fearless and Unstoppable
When Dachshunds are given a task, they make sure it is finished even if it is to their detriment. They will chase a fox until they are completely breathless. Or they will sniff away at the ground until they have surfaced a hiding rabbit.
Dachshunds are fearless even when it comes to animals that are bigger, faster, and stronger than them. Picture a Dachshund chasing a fox. This may seem unlikely but it is very common!
No animal is safe when a Dachshund sets its mind on capturing it.
What Do Dachshunds Hunt?
Dachshunds hunt various types of burrowing and tunneling animals. These include:
- Other small ground-dwelling game
Do Dachshunds Have Any Weaknesses?
When it comes to hunting, Dachshunds are almost flawless. However, there are just a few notable areas where they may fall short.
If a Dachshund is chasing a rabbit, they will chase it until it is caught. This may mean they are putting themselves in danger or pushing themselves too hard but they will keep going, nonetheless.
This is an excellent trait for a hunting dog, but it could mean they hurt themselves on the job.
They Can Develop Back Issues
Dachshunds are notorious for developing back problems. This is usually genetic and made worse by their love for running with such short legs and long bodies.
If a Dachshund develops a bad back, it will hinder its hunting ability.
Now That You’re An Expert
It may be hard to believe that your cute and cuddly Dachshund was originally bred for hunting. However, they were made for the job and are very, very good at it!
In fact, in Germany, they were once called “badger dogs” rather than Dachshunds as an homage to their innate ability to hunt burrowing animals such as badgers.
Their closeness to the ground, keen sense of smell, and independent nature, amongst other assets, make them the ideal hunting companion for humans.
So, even if your sausage is just a house-dwelling member of your family, now you know about its extraordinary hidden talents!