The Dachshund breed of dog has been seen in illustrations that are dated back to the 15th century. It is known that this breed was created for a specific purpose.
The German foresters had to find a way to control a varmint known as the badger, from ruining their master’s hunting parties. The badger was a nasty tempered predator that had its den underground.
What the foresters were looking for was a courageous dog that had a body slender enough to fit down the burrow, sufficiently lithe to manoeuvre into the den, and tenacious and strong enough to fight the badger to the death.
What they came up with was a remarkable dog that defined “form following function”.
The word dachs means “badger”. The word hund means “dog”
So the word Dachshund is interpreted to mean “badger dog”.
The Germans also refer to this breed as “Teckel”, which is actually Old German for Dachshund.
The Dachshund that we recognize today is a mixture of hounds and terriers.
This crossing was accomplished starting in the 17th century, when a formal breeding program could be recognized.
For centuries prior to that, historians tell us that goods and people were moving and flowing across the borders of European countries.
French hounds could be found in Germany.
It is thought that the French Braque (a small pointer type) and the Pinscher were used to develop the smooth-haired Teckel.
In the early part of the 18th century, this German Teckel was described as being “a peculiar low-crooked species”.
Late in the 18th century, the French Revolution caused many of the nobility to flee France to go to Germany.
With them they took their favourite hunting dogs, some of these being the French Bassets.
The German Teckel and the French Bassets were crossed and the puppies that resulted from this mix became Dachsbracke if they possessed long legs and Dachshunds if they had short legs, short ears and pointed muzzle.
At first there was the smooth-coated and the longhaired varieties of Dachshund. The wirehaired Dachshund is of more recent history.
Also there are two sizes of Dachshund, the Miniature (less than 11 pounds) and the Standard (about 20 to 26 pounds).
In Europe there is the third size, Kaninchenteckel. It is believed that the smooth-coated variety was crossed with other breeds, such as the German Stoberhund and spaniels, to create the long-haired Dachshund.
Evidence of the wire-haired Dachshund is found as early as the late 1700s, but this variety wasn’t truly bred to create the modern version until the end of the 19 th century.
This was done by crossing the smooth coat Dachshund with the Dandie Dinmont terrier and the German wirehaired pinscher. Each variety of the Dachshund was bred to hunt, but under different conditions.
This breed proved to be a tough, strong dog that was able to hunt small mammals including badgers, rabbits, and fox.
Miniature smooth-coated Dachshunds were eventually specifically bred by crossing the breed with toy terriers or pinschers.
The long-haired variety was crossed with the papillon, and the wire-haired type resulted from a cross with the miniature schnauzer.
The Germans use chest measurements taken at a certain age to determine the size of the Dachshund, they also breed to the standard of FCI.
Although this breed started out to be used for eliminating badgers, the German foresters discovered this dog was an excellent hunter of fox, rabbit, and for finding wounded deer.
In packs, the Dachshund could also hunt wild boar.
The breed turned out to be far more versatile than had been originally planned.
The English eventually became quite interested in this dog and imported it to the British Isles.
The development of the breed there caused a divergence of type, as compared to the European, specifically the German, Teckel.
The length of the dog became greater, the dog weighed more, and the legs got shorter. The fore chest also became considerably larger.
In the early 19th century, Dachshunds went to the United States with German immigrants.
There were imports taken from England as well at that time.
World War I had a terrible impact on the Dachshund breed, especially in Great Britain and in the United States.
People turned their hatred of anything German on this breed of dog and the result was the Dachshund numbers dwindled significantly.
After the war was over, breeders were able to slowly rebuild the breed again.
The Second World War did not have as significant impact as W.W.I.