“Dachshund” comes from two German words: dachs, which means badger, and hund, which means dog. Dachshunds also are known as “wiener dogs,” because of their long bodies and short legs. They were bred in Germany to hunt badgers and other small underground animals. Although dachshunds are the smallest and weakest of the hunting dogs, they are viewed as the most courageous.
There are three kinds of dachshunds; shorthaired, longhaired, and wire-haired dachshunds. Shorthaired dachshunds were the first kind to be commonly known. Their short front legs made them good at tunneling, but their short hair couldn’t protect them from bites and thorns. The silky coats of longhaired dachshunds protected them from thorns, rain and cold. The wirehaired dachshunds have a bristly coat to protect them from rain, mud and thorns. They are the least glamorous, but are the best hunters.
Dachshunds look small because they are built so close to the ground. A standard dachshund can weigh up to 28 pounds, while a miniature dachshund can weigh up to 10 pounds. Dachshunds are compact and muscular. Their chests are big because they were originally bred to hunt. Large chests allowed room for big lungs and big hearts. When they cornered a badger underground, dachshunds needed strength to hold out against their prey. They also needed enough endurance to keep on barking until the hunters located them. Dachshunds come in many colors. The most common are red and shades of red, tan, chocolate, gray and black. A common two-color dachshund is black and tan. It often appears as if dachshunds waddle when they walk. A well-bred and healthy dachshund is agile and vigorous. Its back is almost level, and its chest is close to the ground. Its tail is fairly short, straight and strong. Its head is long and tapers to a narrow muzzle.
Dachshund’s ears are broad and rounded. They are set far back on the head to keep them safe from the jaws of the dog’s