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The Dachshund








Persons unfamiliar with the sporting properties of this long-bodied
breed are apt to refer smilingly to the Dachshund as the dog that
is sold by the yard, and few even of those who know him give credit
to the debonair little fellow for the grim work which he is intended
to perform in doing battle with the vicious badger in its lair.
Dachshund means badger dog, and it is a title fairly and squarely
earned in his native Germany.

Given proper training, he will perform the duties of several sporting
breeds rolled into one. Possessing a wonderful nose, combined with
remarkable steadiness, his kind will work out the coldest scent, and
once fairly on the line they will give plenty of music and get over
the ground at a pace almost incredible. Dachshunds hunt well in a
pack, and, though it is not their recognised vocation, they can be
successfully used on hare, on fox, and any form of vermin that wears
a furry coat. But his legitimate work is directed against the badger,
in locating the brock under ground, worrying and driving him into
his innermost earth, and there holding him until dug out. It is no
part of his calling to come to close grips, though that often happens
in the confined space in which he has to work. In this position a
badger with his powerful claws digs with such energy and skill as
rapidly to bury himself, and the Dachshund needs to be provided with
such apparatus as will permit him to clear his way and keep in touch
with his formidable quarry. The badger is also hunted by Dachshunds
above ground, usually in the mountainous parts of Germany, and in
the growing crops of maize, on the lower slopes, where the vermin
work terrible havoc in the evening. In this case the badger is rounded
up and driven by the dogs up to the guns which are posted between
the game and their earths. For this sport the dog used is heavier,
coarser, and of larger build, higher on the leg, and more generally
houndy in appearance. Dachshunds are frequently used for deer driving,
in which operation they are especially valuable, as they work slowly,
and do not frighten or overrun their quarry, and can penetrate the
densest undergrowth. Packs of Dachshunds may sometimes be engaged
on wild boar, and, as they are web-footed and excellent swimmers,
there is no doubt that their terrier qualities would make them useful
assistants to the Otterhound. Apropos of their capabilities in the
water it is the case that a year or two ago, at Offenbach-on-Main,
at some trials arranged for life-saving by dogs, a Dachshund carried
off the first prize against all comers.

As a companion in the house the Dachshund has perhaps no compeer.
He is a perfect gentleman; cleanly in his habits, obedient,
unobtrusive, incapable of smallness, affectionate, very sensitive
to rebuke or to unkindness, and amusingly jealous. As a watch he is
excellent, quick to detect a strange footstep, valiant to defend the
threshold, and to challenge with deep voice any intruder, yet sensibly
discerning his master's friends, and not annoying them with prolonged
growling and grumbling as many terriers do when a stranger is
admitted. Properly brought up, he is a perfectly safe and amusing
companion for children, full of animal spirits, and ever ready to
share in a romp, even though it be accompanied by rough and tumble
play. In Germany, where he is the most popular of all dogs, large
or small, he is to be found in every home, from the Emperor's palace
downwards, and his quaint appearance, coupled with his entertaining
personality, is daily seized upon by the comic papers to illustrate
countless jokes at his expense.

The origin of the Dachshund is not very clear. Some writers have
professed to trace the breed or representations of it on the monuments
of the Egyptians. Some aver that it is a direct descendant of the
French Basset-hound, and others that he is related to the old
Turnspits--the dogs so excellent in kitchen service, of whom Dr. Caius
wrote that when any meat is to be roasted they go into a wheel, where
they, turning about with the weight of their bodies, so diligently
look to their business that no drudge nor scullion can do the feat
more cunningly, whom the popular sort hereupon term Turnspits.
Certainly the dog commonly used in this occupation was long of body
and short of leg, very much resembling the Dachshund.

In all probability the Dachshund is a manufactured breed--a breed
evolved from a large type of hound intermixed with a terrier to suit
the special conditions involved in the pursuit and extermination of
a quarry that, unchecked, was capable of seriously interfering with
the cultivation of the land. He comprises in his small person the
characteristics of both hound and terrier--his wonderful powers of
scent, his long, pendulous ears, and, for his size, enormous bone,
speak of his descent from the hound that hunts by scent. In many
respects he favours the Bloodhound, and one may often see Dachshunds
which, having been bred from parents carefully selected to accentuate
some fancy point, have exhibited the very pronounced peak (occipital
bone), the protruding haw of the eye, the loose dewlap and the colour
markings characteristic of the Bloodhound. His small stature, iron
heart, and willingness to enter the earth bespeak the terrier cross.

The Dachshund was first introduced to this country in sufficient
numbers to merit notice in the early 'sixties, and, speedily
attracting notice by his quaint formation and undoubted sporting
instincts, soon became a favourite. At first appearing at shows in
the Foreign Dog class, he quickly received a recognition of his
claims to more favoured treatment, and was promoted by the Kennel
Club to a special classification as a sporting dog. Since then his
rise has been rapid, and he now is reckoned as one of the numerically
largest breeds exhibited. Unfortunately, however, he has been little,
if ever, used for sport in the sense that applies in Germany, and
this fact, coupled with years of breeding from too small a stock (or
stock too nearly related) and the insane striving after the fanciful
and exaggerated points demanded by judges at dog shows, many of whom
never saw a Dachshund at his legitimate work, has seriously affected
his usefulness. He has deteriorated in type, lost grit and sense,
too, and is often a parody of the true type of Dachshund that is to
be found in his native land.

To the reader who contemplates possessing one or more Dachshunds a
word of advice may be offered. Whether you want a dog for sport, for
show, or as a companion, endeavour to get a good one--a well-bred
one. To arrive at this do not buy from an advertisement on your own
knowledge of the breed, but seek out an expert amateur breeder and
exhibitor, and get his advice and assistance. If you intend to start
a kennel for show purposes, do not buy a high-priced dog at a show,
but start with a well-bred bitch, and breed your own puppies, under
the guidance of the aforementioned expert. In this way, and by rearing
and keeping your puppies till they are of an age to be exhibited,
and at the same time carefully noting the awards at the best shows,
you will speedily learn which to retain and the right type of dog
to keep and breed for, and in future operations you will be able to
discard inferior puppies at an earlier age. But it is a great mistake,
if you intend to form a kennel for show purposes, to sell or part
with your puppies too early. It is notorious with all breeds that
puppies change very much as they grow. The best looking in the nest
often go wrong later, and the ugly duckling turns out the best of
the litter. This is especially true of Dachshunds, and it requires
an expert to pick the best puppy of a litter at a month or two old,
and even he may be at fault unless the puppy is exceptionally well
reared.

To rear Dachshund puppies successfully you must not overload them
with fat--give them strengthening food that does not lay on flesh.
Lean, raw beef, finely chopped, is an excellent food once or twice
a day for the first few months, and, though this comes expensive,
it pays in the end. Raw meat is supposed to cause worm troubles, but
these pests are also found where meat is not given, and in any case
a puppy is fortified with more strength to withstand them if fed on
raw meat than otherwise, and a good dosing from time to time will
be all that is necessary to keep him well and happy.

Young growing puppies must have their freedom to gambol about, and
get their legs strong. Never keep the puppies cooped up in a small
kennel run or house. If you have a fair-sized yard, give them the
run of that, or even the garden, in spite of what your gardener may
say--they may do a little damage to the flowers, but will assuredly
do good to themselves. They love to dig in the soft borders: digging
is second nature to them, and is of great importance in their
development.

If you have not a garden, or if the flowers are too sacred, it is
better to place your puppies as early as possible with respectable
cottagers, or small farmers, especially the latter, with whom they
will have entire freedom to run about, and will not be overfed.

If you intend to show your puppies, you should begin some time in
advance to school them to walk on the lead and to stand quiet when
ordered to. Much depends on this in the judging ring, where a dog
who is unused to being on a lead often spoils his chances of appearing
at his best under the (to him) strange experiences of restraint which
the lead entails.

During the past five-and-twenty years the names of two particular
Dachshunds stand out head and shoulders above those of their
competitors: Champions Jackdaw and Pterodactyl. Jackdaw had a
wonderful record, having, during a long show career, never been beaten
in his class from start to finish, and having won many valuable
prizes. He was credited with being the most perfect Dachshund that
had ever been seen in England, and probably as good as anything in
Germany.

Ch. Jackdaw was a black and tan dog, bred and owned by Mr. Harry
Jones, of Ipswich. He was sired by Ch. Charkow, out of Wagtail, and
born 20th July, 1886. Through his dam he was descended from a famous
bitch, Thusnelda, who was imported by Mr. Mudie in the early
'eighties. She was a winner of high honours in Hanover. The name of
Jackdaw figures in all the best pedigrees of to-day.

Ch. Pterodactyl was born in 1888, and bred by Mr. Willink. He was
in a measure an outcross from the standard type of the day, and his
dam, whose pedigree is in dispute, was thought to have been imported.
After passing through one or two hands he was purchased by Mr. Harry
Jones, and in his kennel speedily made a great name in the show ring
and at the stud, and was eventually sold for a high price to Mr.
Sidney Woodiwiss, who at that period had the largest kennel of
Dachshunds in England.

Ptero, as he was called, was a big, light red dog, with wonderful
fore-quarters and great muscular development. He also possessed what
is called a punishing jaw and rather short ears, and looked a
thorough business dog. He had an almost unbroken series of successes
at shows in England, and being taken to Germany (in the days before
the quarantine regulations), he took the highest honours in the
heavy-weight class, and a special prize for the best Dachshund of
all classes. This dog became the favourite sire of his day and the
fashionable colour.

The black and tan thereupon went quite out of favour, and this fact,
coupled with the reckless amount of inbreeding of red to red that
has been going on since Ptero's day, accounts largely for the
prevalence of light eyes, pink noses, and bad-coloured coats of the
Dachshunds, as a class, to-day.

There are, strictly speaking, three varieties of Dachshund--(a)
the short-haired, (b) the long-haired, and (c) the rough-haired.

Of these we most usually find the first-named in England, and they
are no doubt the original stock. Of the others, though fairly numerous
in Germany, very few are to be seen in this country, and although
one or two have been imported the type has never seemed to appeal
to exhibitors.

Both the long-haired and rough-haired varieties have no doubt been
produced by crosses with other breeds, such as the Spaniel and
probably the Irish Terrier, respectively.

In the long-haired variety the hair should be soft and wavy, forming
lengthy plumes under the throat, lower parts of the body, and the
backs of the legs, and it is longest on the under side of the tail,
where it forms a regular flag like that of a Setter or Spaniel. The
rough-haired variety shows strongly a terrier cross by his varmint
expression and short ears.

The Germans also subdivide by colour, and again for show purposes
by weight. These subdivisions are dealt with in their proper order
in the standard of points, and it is only necessary to say here that
all the varieties, colours, and weights are judged by the same
standard except in so far as they differ in texture of coat. At the
same time the Germans themselves do not regard the dapple Dachshunds
as yet so fixed in type as the original coloured dogs, and this
exception must also apply to the long and the rough haired varieties.

The following German standard of points embodies a detailed
description of the breed:--

* * * * *

GENERAL APPEARANCE AND DISPOSITION--In general appearance the
Dachshund is a very long and low dog, with compact and well-muscled
body, resting on short, slightly crooked fore-legs. A long head and
ears, with bold and defiant carriage and intelligent expression. In
disposition the Dachshund is full of spirit, defiant when attacked,
aggressive even to foolhardiness when attacking; in play amusing and
untiring; by nature wilful and unheeding. HEAD--Long, and appearing
conical from above, and from a side view, tapering to the point of
the muzzle, wedge-shaped. The skull should be broad rather than
narrow, to allow plenty of brain room, slightly arched, and fairly
straight, without a stop, but not deep or snipy. EYES--Medium in size,
oval, and set obliquely, with very clear, sharp expression and of a
dark colour, except in the case of the liver and tan, when the eyes
may be yellow; and in the dapple, when the eyes may be light or
wall-eyed. NOSE--Preferably deep black. The flesh-coloured and
spotted noses are allowable only in the liver and tan and dapple
varieties. EARS--Set on moderately high, or, seen in profile, above
the level of the eyes, well back, flat, not folded, pointed, or
narrow, hanging close to the cheeks, very mobile, and when at
attention carried with the back of the ear upward and outward.
NECK--Moderately long, with slightly arched nape, muscular and clean,
showing no dewlap, and carried well up and forward. FORE-QUARTERS--His
work underground demands strength and compactness, and, therefore,
the chest and shoulder regions should be deep, long, and wide. The
shoulder blade should be long, and set on very sloping, the upper
arm of equal length with, and at right angles to, the shoulder blade,

strong-boned and well-muscled, and lying close to ribs, but moving
freely. The lower arm is slightly bent inwards, and the feet should
be turned slightly outwards, giving an appearance of crooked legs
approximating to the cabriole of a Chippendale chair. Straight,
narrow, short shoulders are always accompanied by straight, short,
upper arms, forming an obtuse angle, badly developed brisket and
keel or chicken breast, and the upper arm being thrown forward by
the weight of the body behind causes the legs to knuckle over at the
knees. Broad, sloping shoulders, on the other hand, insure soundness
of the fore-legs and feet. LEGS AND FEET--Fore-legs very short and
strong in bone, slightly bent inwards; seen in profile, moderately
straight and never bending forward or knuckling over. Feet large,
round, and strong, with thick pads, compact and well-arched toes,
nails strong and black. The dog must stand equally on all parts of
the foot. BODY--Should be long and muscular, the chest very oval,
rather than very narrow and deep, to allow ample room for heart and
lungs, hanging low between front legs, the brisket point should be
high and very prominent, the ribs well sprung out towards the loins
(not flat-sided). Loins short and strong. The line of back only
slightly depressed behind shoulders and only slightly arched over
loins. The hind-quarters should not be higher than the shoulders,
thus giving a general appearance of levelness. HIND-QUARTERS--The
rump round, broad, and powerfully muscled; hip bone not too short,
but broad and sloping; the upper arm, or thigh, thick, of good length,
and jointed at right angles to the hip bone. The lower leg (or second
thigh) is, compared with other animals, short, and is set on at right
angles to the upper thigh, and is very firmly muscled. The hind-legs
are lighter in bone than the front ones, but very strongly muscled,
with well-rounded-out buttocks, and the knee joint well developed.
Seen from behind, the legs should be wide apart and straight, and
not cowhocked. The dog should not be higher at the quarters than at
shoulder. STERN--Set on fairly high, strong at root, and tapering,
but not too long. Neither too much curved nor carried too high; well,
but not too much, feathered; a bushy tail is better than too little
hair. COAT AND SKIN--Hair short and close as possible, glossy and
smooth, but resistant to the touch if stroked the wrong way. The skin
tough and elastic, but fitting close to the body. COLOUR--One
Coloured:--There are several self-colours recognised, including deep
red, yellowish red, smutty red. Of these the dark, or cherry, red
is preferable, and in this colour light shadings on any part of the
body or head are undesirable. Black is rare, and is only a sport
from black and tan. Two Coloured:--Deep black, brown (liver) or
grey, with golden or tan markings (spots) over the eyes at the side
of the jaw and lips, inner rim of ears, the breast, inside and back
of legs, the feet, and under the tail for about one-third of its
length. In the above-mentioned colours white markings are
objectionable. The utmost that is allowed being a small spot, or a
few hairs, on the chest. Dappled:--A silver grey to almost white
foundation colour, with dark, irregular spots (small for preference)
of dark grey, brown, tan, or black. The general appearance should
be a bright, indefinite coloration, which is considered especially
useful in a hunting dog. WEIGHT--Dachshunds in Germany are classified
by weight as follows:--Light-weight--Dogs up to 16-1/2 lb., bitches
up to 15-1/2 lb. Middle-weight--Dogs up to 22 lb., bitches up to
22 lb. Heavy-weight--Over 22 lb. Toys--Up to 12 lb. The German
pound is one-tenth more than the English. The light-weight dog is
most used for going to ground.





Next: The Old Working Terrier

Previous: The Basset-hound



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