Your Dachshund is no ordinary dog. The petite looking canine has an interesting history marked by royal favoritism showered by Queen Victoria. A Doxie was the first-ever Olympic mascot. However, the dog breed met unfair treatment during the two world wars with the American and British propaganda cartoons portraying Dachshunds as a symbol of the war-mongering Germany.
Here are a few interesting facts about the Dachshund that you may not be aware of.
Three Dachshund Varieties
According to the American Kennel Club, there are only two Dachshund varieties – standard and miniature. However, there is a third Dachshund type called Kaninchen in German. The English meaning of Kaninchen is “rabbit.” Miniature Doxies weighing less than 12 lb and having a chest size not exceeding 30 cm are categorized as Kaninchens.
You May See Dachshunds in 15 Colors
Black, red, and tan are original Dachshund colors. However, you can see Doxies in as many as 15 colors and 6 markings, which is more than the American Kennel Club website shows. It is really interesting to see Doxies colored blue, wheaten, wild board, cream, fawn, brown, gold, and chocolate colors with or without tan or black spots.
Some exotic markings include brindle, dapple, sable, and piebald. There are only three types of Dachshund coats – smooth, long, and wire-haired.
The First Olympic Mascot, a Dachshund
The International Olympic Committee opted for a Dachshund as its first-ever mascot for Munich Olympics in 1972. Waldi, a Bavaria Dachshund breed, was the chosen one. The organizing committee cited resistance, tenacity, and agility of the Doxie as a befitting tribute to its symbolism for athletes.
Otl Aicher, a German designer, created the colorful mascot showcasing athleticism and courage. Even the marathon route at the games was shaped like a Doxie.
UK’s First Cloned Dog Is a Dachshund
The first cloned dog of the United Kingdom, Mini-Winnie, is a Dachshund. Developed from the genes of 12-year-old Doxie Winnie in 2014, the dog bears a striking resemblance to its genetic mother. Unlike Dolly, the cloned sheep, the Dachshund has no known health issues and is expected to live a normal life for about 15 years.
Pablo Picasso’s Inspiration, a Dachshund
Renowned painter, sculptor, poet, and artist Pablo Picasso too had a Dachshund connection. He drew inspiration for many of his celebrated visual arts from his pet Doxie Lump. Although the artist had several dogs at his Cannes home, the Doxie was his favorite. Of his 44 “Meninas” series of paintings, Picasso did in 1957, the Dachshund appeared in 15.
The photograph book “Picasso and Lump: A Dachshund’s Odyssey” by American photographer David Duncan tells a lot about how the Doxie influenced the artistic impulse of Picasso.
Queen Victoria Patronized Dachshunds
The Dachshund had a brush with the royalty when Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom generously patronized the dog. Perhaps she is the most famous patron of these dogs to date and immortalized the breed through her quotes. The queen was enamored by her Doxie, Waldman, and had hundreds of photos with the dog.
Doxies were the first choice of Prince Albert, her husband. Queen Victoria, who ruled over half of the world under the British rule at that time, favored the German breed over the English varieties for decades. This helped petite Doxies acquire a global profile and fame.
Dachshunds are the Smallest Hunters
Unlike Yorkies or other small breeds, Dachshunds were originally bred to hunt down badgers. This makes Doxies the smallest hounds on earth.
In fact, the German word Dachshund refers to a badger dog in English. Though the Dachshund lacks the prowess of big dogs, athleticism, agility, and boldness allow the dog to become an excellent hunter.
Dachshunds Live Longer
Compared to many other dog breeds, Doxies usually have a longer lifespan. The average lifespan of a Dachshund extends up to 15 years. The Guinness Book of World Records has listed Doxies among the oldest living dogs in the world. A New York-based Dachshund, Chanel, lived for 21 years.
Dachshunds are Foodies
Although a small dog, the Dachshund is a big eater. He loves food and does not mind overindulging. The dog eats everything and loves begging for food. Unless you plan a proper dietary regimen for your Doxie, he faces the risk of obesity that may cut short his long lifespan.
The Dachshund is a Great Watch Dog Too
Dachshunds are not just sausage dogs. They are among the best watch dogs. Queen Victoria, the dog’s most famous patron, once said, “Nothing will turn a man’s home into a castle more quickly and effectively than a Dachshund.”
A 2008 canine research study published in the Applied Animal Behavior Science journal put the Dachshund over Doberman, Rottweilers, and other more fearsome breeds in terms of his stranger-directed aggression. The diminutive dog scored higher than others in watchdog barking and territorial defense assessment.
Dachshunds Too Fought for Survival During World Wars
When the entire world was engulfed in flames during the two world wars, the Dachshunds too had to fight to save themselves. During the wars, humorous propaganda portrayed the dog as a symbol of Germany due to his German origin. This forced the breed to endure backlash in the United States and the United Kingdom between 1917 and 1945. Even the American Kennel Club changed the name to “badger dogs.” The owners preferred to call Doxies as “liberty pups.”
The dog was the target for being favored by Kaiser, the German king, during the World War I. During the World War II, Hitler’s Nazi party had a Doxie named Kurwenal, which, the Germans claimed, could speak.
The Dachshund fought back the ignominy thrust on him and restored his popularity after the World War II was over. Since then, he is one of the 10 most popular dog breeds in the United States.