Dachshunds were originally bred in Germany. They first started showing up around the 15th century but became more popular around the 17th century. This may surprise you, but they were originally bred as hunting dogs for catching badgers and rabbits.
Dachshunds are believed to have been a breeding mutation from taller hunting dogs, which allowed them to hunt smaller animals. Their short legs have served a new purpose in modern times, becoming a favorite dog breed of many pet lovers.
Where is the Origin of the Dachshund?
As mentioned, Dachshunds originated in Germany for the purpose of hunting small, burrowing animals. Due to the origin and birthplace of this breed, they were in danger of being cut off during the panic of World War 1 and 2. Thankfully, owners temporarily called them “badger dogs” instead, in order to preserve the breed, and they are loved by thousands of people today.
Why Were Dachshunds Considered the “Symbol of Germany”?
Dachshunds have often been recognized as the national symbol of Germany due to their origination. During the World Wars, there were many political cartoons that depicted the Dachshund in a negative light due to the events in Germany. Americans even took to calling them “Liberty Hounds” as an anti-German sentiment.
As you might expect, the popularity of Dachshunds decreased greatly during the world war era but rose again as tensions ceased. However, despite its deep Germanic roots and associations, some theorize that the breed was around way before they popped up in Germany.
Early History of the Dachshund
Some breeding experts suggest that Dachshunds may have been around as early as ancient Egypt, as drawings have been found of a dog looking quite similar to the breed. Archaeological digs have also found mummified remains of dogs who look oddly like Dachshunds.
Wherever the true roots of the Dachshund come from, it is difficult to determine. However, most experts agree that the Dachshund we know and love today is most likely a descendant of the German breed.
When Did Dachshunds Come to the United States?
Dachshunds were first spotted in the United States around 1885, far before they were almost ostracized during the second world war. In 1885, the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the Dachshund as a new breed. From that time on, their popularity began to spread as Americans fell in love with the nicknamed “weiner dogs”.
Where Does the Name “Dachshund” Come From?
In German, Dachshund translates to “badger dog”, which is directly related to their role in hunting. Due to having such small and slender bodies, Dachshunds were deemed ideal for crawling down holes and tunnels to hunt prey. They were also known to be very reliable and independent, which were ideal traits of a hunting dog.
In addition, the Dachshund has paddle-shaped paws which are ideal for digging, as well as a deep chest that served for an extended period of time to hunt underground before coming up for air.
Some of the breed variations of Dachshunds were specifically created to serve their purpose as hunting dogs. For example, the wire-haired Dachshund was bred due to the ability to crawl and burrow easier. This type of Dachshund is not as common today, as they now serve as pets instead of hunters.
As with many dog breeds, Dachshunds have maintained a great deal of the characteristics that made them good hunters at one time. Let’s discuss some of these further.
What are Some Characteristics of Dachshunds?
Because of their nature, Dachshunds frequently enjoy burrowing into blankets and other household items. Dachshunds are also very smart dogs, and some owners report that they can make a game out of anything. As a result, Dachshunds are very playful and enjoy puzzles and games. Dachshunds are also known for being very independent dogs, due to having to be strong hunters.
Another characteristic you may think of when it comes to the Dachshund is their bark. While many may think of it as being a weak or yippy bark, It actually comes from their role as underground hunters. Dachshunds would often utilize their high-pitched bark to alert their owner above ground of their location during the hunt.
Lastly, breeding experts agree that Dachshunds, though small, were bred to be tough. Badgers were no easy foe even for larger dogs, and Dachshunds often had to put up a good fight to come out on top. Their courage, intelligence, and determination served them well during a hunt and allowed them to be strong hunters. These positive attributes still persist today and make them an adored pet by many.
What is the Temperament of a Dachshund?
As previously mentioned, Dachshunds are known for being very playful, but they can also be extremely stubborn. Some believe that this may be due to their previous nature as hunters, having to be determined and persistent to catch prey.
Due to this stubborn nature, some Dachshunds can be a challenge to train. However, many owners report that despite their sometimes difficult nature, Dachshunds are very loyal and loving towards their owners, and are great with children. They are known for having notable personalities and actually make great watchdogs.
In Summary, the modern Dachshund that we know and love originated in Germany prior to the World Wars. They were bred as hunting dogs, designed to chase and capture small burrowing animals underground such as badgers.
There were some negative associations with the Dachshund due to the negative view of the Germans, but this was mostly resolved once the World Wars ended. Dachshunds have a potential early history in Ancient Egypt, based on archaeological finds. However, it is difficult to pinpoint one true origination point of the beloved Weiner dog.
Dachshunds have maintained a majority of the traits that they were bred to possess for hunting. This makes them stubborn, independent, playful, and loyal. They can be difficult to train, but most owners feel that the struggle is worth it, as Dachshunds make great pets and companions.