Dachshund now and then - Dear Cooper

Dachshund now and then


We love cuddling up with our little dachshund, but have you ever wondered how this cutest creature has evolved through times?

The dachshund had longer and more functional legs

Many of us would know that dachshund originated in Germany as a hunting dog but what else is so interesting about them?

Apparently, the dachshund's origins can be traced as far back as the 15th century but the actual development really began in the 17th century Germany when a group of foresters were developing a breed of hunting dog, mostly used to hunt badgers as the land owners at those times considered badgers a pest. The hunters needed a hardy dog that could follow quarry through thick undergrowth and even underground with fearless spirit and a build suitable for fitting into narrow burrows. They needed short legs but strong and speedy, and with a loud bark let the hunters stay on the trail.

In the 19th century, Dachshunds were spotted as hunting dogs of German Nobility and Kings. Because of their hunting nature, dachshunds' legs are longer and strong.

There was record of dachshunds being brought to the United States as early as 1885 when the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) but its popularity didn't increase until in the 1930s and 1940s.

Dachshund in 1906 vs now
photo source: dachshundlove.blogspot and rearranged by the author  

Early days dachshund has functional legs and necks for their size and as time goes by, their backs have gotten longer, chest jutted forwarded, and legs have shrunk to such proportions as if their chest is touching the floor.

Tough times

It is very hard to believe any human beings would do harm to our these teeny wiener dogs. Unfortunately, dachshunds did suffer greatly during the First World War due to their origin. Once the US government declared war on Germany in 1917, everything in Germany seemed to be devil and needed to be destroyed, including our beloved sausage dogs.

That is why when the war ends, it took sometime for dachshund to regain its popularity and towards the end of the Second World War, Dachshunds have now been bred mainly for the show ring and their body shape has started to change.

How dachshund's shapes changed in 100 years
Dachshunds changed in 100 years (photo source from Pinterest)

The Glorious Moments

Dachshunds may have little legs but they have been tied to a number of sports events as their popularity grows. In the 1970s, Australia was the first country to introduce dachshund racing. Whether you agree with the racing or not, this has become so popular and have since spread around the world, The Wienerschnitzel Weiner Nationals have been going on every year in Southern California since 1995. While it is not a serious sport, it has certain gather a lot of attention to our little short legged friends, and people often amazed at how fast these sausage dogs can run.

Dachshunds also became the first official mascot at the 1972 summer Olympics in Munich. Wadi, the Dachshund, represented the three main qualities of an athletes: tenacity, resistance and agility. Apparently, even the marathon route of the Olympics resembled the shape of a dachshund. Not sure about you but I kind of feel proud owning a dachshund.

Dachshund Waldi's multicolored body featured some of the Olympic colors
Dachshund Waldi's multicolored body featured some of the Olympic colors (olympics.org website)

Dachshunds today

There is no doubt that the Dachshund is one of many countries' most popular dog breeds. In 2018, the breed came 12th in the most popular dogs in the USA list of AKC. Due to their loving and affectionate nature, many breeders also started to breed dachshunds differently as a pet dog. Their ears become bigger, body become longer and legs become shorter, making their chest very low to the ground. While dogs may look cuter this way, that imposed a lot of health related issues including the infamous IVDD - Intervertebral disk disease, which triggered a number of interventions from the kennel clubs and dachshund breeding authorities, putting in guidelines in place over the years, with the latest update in 2021 to ensure breeders adhere to the standard, protecting our beloved little legs from suffering health problems due to bad breeding.

Today, most of our dachshunds are indoor pets, they have a different job from a hunter in the wild, to an instagram worthy fashion model in different clothing and accessories. I agree I am the type of urban city girl walking my dachshund in his cute outfit (as much as to making and selling them) but whether you agree with how dachshunds have evolved, you can't argue these beautiful creatures, once came into our life, they stole your heart and changed you life completely.


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