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Dachshunds – the ‘hottest’ dogs in town

September 20, 2012

As cute and small as they are, Dachshunds are fearless hunters.

FEATURE

Called lap cheong, trailer dog, weiners and hot dogs, the Dachshund is known for her long body and short legs that make her look very much like a sausage.

Originating in Germany, Dachshunds were bred to hunt badgers. In fact their very name in German says it all – ‘Dachs’, which mean badger and ‘Hund’, which mean dog.

As cute and small as they are, Dachshunds are fearless hunters, burrowing bravely down long, dark and narrow tunnels in search of badgers and moles for their masters. So unique is this breed that the American Kennel Club recognises Dachshunds as the only breed that hunts above and below the ground.

Place in history

During World War I, the Germans used the image of the Dachshund in many of their wartime propaganda pieces in the United States, England and France, resulting in a rather steep decline in her popularity during the post-war era. Yet decades later, the Dachshund was picked as the first official mascot for the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, going by the name Waldi. To this day, many consider the Dachshund the national dog of Germany.

Superb engineering

Everything about the Dachshund’s body has a purpose – her short legs allow her easy access into deep tunnels as she ferrets out a badger while her long and sturdy tail gives her visibility above tall grasses and doubles as an effective ‘handle’ with which her hunter can retrieve her when she gets stuck. Her large and webbed paws on the other hand are efficient digging tools. Even her deep, proud chest is structured so as to maximise her lung capacity while in the throes of hunting. Her long, floppy ears are not for vanity alone (although she is undeniably adorable with it) but do the job of keeping long grasses, dirt and other matter from entering her ear canal while on the job. That unmistakeable ear-splitting bark? All the more to hear her when she’s down under!

Pretty Dachshunds all in a row

Dachshunds come in a variety of colours and patterns. The most common we see in Malaysia are the black-and-tans, but they also come in single colours like reds and some are dappled (with spots). There is also the odd chocolate-coloured Dachshund although she is somewhat rare. Some are smooth-haired while others are wire-haired and long-haired but each a picture of cheekiness and perfection.

Personality

Dachshunds can be a handful. Energetic and playful, they do have a streak of stubbornness that only Dachshund lovers can put up with or truly appreciate. They play the same way they hunt – with great ferocity and determination. It helps to be firm when dealing with a Dachshund as once they spot a weakness in you they’ll stand on your head. It’s not uncommon for Dachshunds to turn against their owners or even kids who they take a dislike to.

Despite this little personality flaw, Dachshunds are generally known for their devotion and loyalty to their owners although they can be a tad aloof with strangers. They thrive on the companionship of their humans and dislike being left alone so much so that many display separation anxiety, which they may act out by being destructive. So if your slippers are in tatters, just remember that she was actually just pining for you.

Beware her spine

Dachshunds are prone to intervertebral disk disease (IVDD) because of their extremely long spinal columns and short rib cages. To lessen the risk of her developing IVDD, ensure she is not obese, limit her jumping and rough playing and don’t exercise her too intensely. Also leave the agility training to the Jack Russell!

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