You may think Dachshunds are just funny-looking sausage dogs, their long bodies and short legs actually have a purpose. People bred the long-body trait into Dachshunds so they could fit down animal burrows and retrieve prey, making them desirable for hunters.
Even if you’re not totally clued up on dog-breeds, you’d be able to spot a Dachsund a mile off! Their unmistakable long bodies and tiny legs are the absolute giveaway characteristics and completely set them apart from any other dog.
You may have come across Dachsunds before but know them by another name. Because of their unique physical characteristics, these little guys have nicknames such as weiner-dogs, sausage dogs, even slinky dogs.
They may look like a sausage on legs, which is absolutely adorable, but they were actually bred like that deliberately and are quite the hunting dog!
Why Do Dachshunds Have Long Bodies?
With one look at a Dachshund, it’s easy to see why people coined the nickname sausage dog. Let’s face it, their long, thin bodies do make them look like a cute little hot dog on legs.
In all seriousness, they only look long because their legs were actually bred to be shorter. The rest of their body is really well developed.
Dachshunds belong to the hound dog group of dog breed. They were initially bred to hunt badgers. When we break their name down, we see that the direct translation of the Dachshund means “badger dog”. In German, “Dachs” means badger, and “hund” means dog.
Dachshunds have quite a flexible spine which helped in hunting as it allowed them to twist and turn into tight spaces when retrieving prey for their owners. As they primarily hunted tunneling animals, the ability to wriggle was a very necessary trait.
The elongated spine also meant they could run faster. Although small, these pups were fundamentally bred as hunting dogs, so a little bit of speed was essential.
Do Duchshund’s Long Bodies Hurt Them?
Overall, Dachsunds are a strong breed and have a life span of around 15 years. Because of the stunted growth in their legs, there are certain things you should look out for as an owner.
Because Dachshunds have a gene that is a form of dwarfism, it may cause their legs to grow in strange ways. You may have seen a Dachshund with feet that turn out to the side. This is an example of one of the abnormalities that may occur in Dachshunds.
If owners ignore conditions such as these, it may hurt your Dachshund so it is best to seek medical advice on how to get them treated.
Why Do Dachshunds Have Tiny Legs?
Dachshunds were first bred in Germany about three hundred years ago. The gene breeders used is called chondrodysplasia, which is effectively a dwarfism gene. This gene affects the growth of the cartilage in the dog’s legs, which disables them from growing any longer.
Their small, long bodies and small legs allowed Dachshunds to quickly get down the burrows of badgers, rabbits, and foxes, just like their name suggests! Although it looks like they have long bodies, in reality, their breeding just gives them short legs.
The chondrodysplasia gene was bred into Dachshunds to stop their legs from growing and developing as normal. Their short legs allow them to retrieve prey quickly burrows and stops them from getting stuck in holes.
Tiny legs are a classic characteristic of the Dachshund breed. However in reality they were actually much larger dogs when they first came into existence. They used to weigh between 31 and 40 pounds. The Dachshunds we know today generally only get up to about 30 pounds.
Why Do Dachshunds Have Long Tails?
They were bred to assist their owners who were hunting for animals that lived in burrows. Even their long tail is an intentional feature. It is there because it made it easier for owners to see where their dog was and to pull them out of holes if they went down a burrow a bit too deep.
Dachshunds were bred to have long straight tails to make it easier for their owners to basically use as a handle when rescuing their loyal companions out of the ground. Any curve that now appears in the tail is actually a mutation. Purebred Dachshunds have straight tails.
Why Do Dachshunds Have Long Snouts?
Their long snout demonstrates their keen sense of smell. It also gave them some extra reach when they were down animal holes, allowing them to stretch and catch whatever they were in pursuit of.
Their long, pointy snouts also helped with burrowing as it allowed them to clear the ground in front of them, and keep track of the prey they were hunting in dark, underground spaces. With limited sight in burrows, their sensitive smell was useful when they caught smaller animals.
Dachshunds are the furthest away from looking like a vicious hunting machine. However, amazingly, due to their incredible and precise sense of smell, hunters have been known to use whole packs of just Dachsunds to track down larger prey such as wild boar.
Are There Different Types Of Dachshunds?
Yes! There are different kinds of sausage dogs. Over the years, people have found characteristics in dogs they consider appealing and cute. The desire for particular features has led to breeders creating varieties of certain dog breeds.
All types of Dachshunds still have small legs and long bodies. They simply wouldn’t be the lovable sausage dogs we know without these bodily traits! The types of Dachshunds you can get are:
- Tweenies, the miniature version of a Dachshund.
- Smooth Haired, the traditional Dachshund we know today.
- Long Haired, normal Dachshunds but with long, soft hair.
- Wire Haired, Dachshunds with longer harder hair. These characters typically have mustaches!
The types of fur may vary, but Ducshunds will always have long bodies and small legs. Why would we change the very thing we love so much about them?
Now that hunting is no longer a trendy sport, Dachshunds are popular with families and have even been known to be the preference of many a royal family. Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth were both famously Dachshund fans!
So Why Are Dachshunds So Long?
Dachshunds were bred for hunting burrowing animals like rabbits, badgers, and foxes. Their long, flexible spines allowed them to wriggle in and out of narrow tunnels to retrieve their prey and take it back to their owners.
Dachshund’s long tails were bred into the dog to allow their owners to pull them out of the ground if they burrowed a bit too deep. As they are hunters and burrowers by nature, they may dig up some of the plants in your garden. You have been warned!
The long about of a Dachshund was bred into them also to help with hunting but primarily it helped with their very keen sense of smell.