On this segment of The Jaded Dog Trainer, canine expert Matt Akenhead shares some little-known history about one of the most distinctive dog breeds around: the Dachshund. You might regard these vertically challenged “Wiener dogs” as a quiet, easy-going breed, but there’s a history to this breed that can shed some light on your Dachshund’s high level of energy and intensity.
Where do Dachshunds come from?
The modern Dachshund breed was created from the breeding of various German, French, and English hounds and terriers. The word “Dachshund” is a German word that literally means, “Badger dog.”
That’s the secret history of the Dachshund. This dog was literally bred to hunt badgers!
Badgers are notoriously ornery and invasive. When threatened, they can be fearsome fighters. They’re also proficient diggers, able to hide in underground burrows most hunting dogs would struggle to reach. Herein lies the reason for the Dachshund’s distinctive shape and size!
Dachshunds were bred to track badgers down in their burrows. Their short yet powerful legs make them capable diggers and able to reach compact spaces. Their “big dog” bark provides a level of intimidation that belies their stature. This makes the Dachshund the perfect breed for the job.
This hunting background can also help explain the Dachshund’s vivacious personality. They can be quite territorial, and both their bark and vigilance make them exceptional guard dogs, despite what you might think by their size.
They’re “brave to the point of rashness, and a bit stubborn,” according to the American Kennel Club. It’s those instincts that can make a Dachshund more difficult to train than the family lap dog you might’ve been expecting.
The Jaded Dog Trainer’s Hot Take On The Dachshund
If your Dachshund isn’t getting enough stimulation and exercise, those hunting instincts can manifest in undesirable behaviors. Examples include showing aggression and the destruction of property. For example, parcels and letters coming through the mail slot on the door are a common outlet for a bored Dachshund’s energies.
Because of their unique proportions, Dachshunds can be prone to mobility issues later in life. Regular exercise will help to alleviate this. Happily, “the Dachshund can be expected to live 12 to 16 years with proper care, so long as he's kept on a good diet and has enough exercise to maintain good muscle tone.”
Because of that strong urge to hunt prey, Dachshunds remain focused on whatever interests them most at the time. This can make them stubborn and hard to train. Still, if you’re able to direct their attention to your training with motivating rewards and plenty of affection, they make tremendous companions.
Fiercely loyal, Dachshunds have earned a reputation as warm, friendly family dogs despite their hunting heritage. The AKC says they’re affectionate, good with kids, and aren’t excessive shedders.
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