Are Dachshunds hounds or terriers? Most – if not all – kennel clubs consider Dachshunds as hounds. However, some enthusiasts insist that these long-bodied dogs are more of terriers and hounds.
Dachshunds are arguably the most varied dog breed in the world. These dogs come in more than 150 different colors and markings. They also come in three different sizes – the Standard Dachshund, the Miniature Dachshund, and the Rabbit Dachshund, which is only recognized in some parts of Europe. Apart from that, the breed also has three different coat types – smooth, long, and wire. Despite maintaining their adorable size and shape, the look of the breed also varies greatly.
But their looks aren’t the only things that vary – their purpose does, too. Dachshunds are bred to be hounds, but they mostly function as terriers. So, in which breed group do Dachshunds really come? Are Dachshunds hounds or terriers?
Dachshund Breed Category in Different Kennel Clubs
The Dachshund is recognized by most kennel clubs around the world. However, the traditional and most popular kennel clubs such are the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Australian Kennel Club (ANKC), the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC), the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), and the United Kennel Club.
In most kennel clubs, Dachshunds belong to the hound group. In the FCI, Dachshunds have a separate group dedicated to the breed’s varieties – the Dachshund Group. On the other hand, Dachshunds belong to the Scenthound Group of the UKC.
What are Hounds?
Dachshunds belong to the hound group in most kennel clubs. But what are hounds anyway? And how do hounds differ from terrier dogs?
Dogs that belong to the hound group either:
- have a powerful sense of smell
- incredibly fast and are able to keep an eye on prey
Basically, hounds are bred to follow and track a trail. Some hound breeds both have a great sense of smell and great speed. Hound dogs must also have the stamina to do hunting and tracking tasks.
Some breeds that belong to this breed are the Greyhound, Bloodhound, Pharaoh Hound, Otterhound, and the Beagle.
What are Terriers?
The name “terrier” is derived from the Latin word “terra”, which means earth. Terrier dogs are earth dogs and were generally bred to dig, hunt and kill vermin, such as rats, rabbits, foxes, and animals that hide under the ground or earth. They are energetic and courageous enough to fight off animals they were bred to hunt.
What’s the difference between Hounds and Terriers?
Although hounds and terriers are both hunting breeds, they were bred for different purposes.
Hounds were bred to track and locate game, prey, vermin, or other animals. On the other hand, terriers were bred to unearth, attack, catch, and even kill vermin and other burrowing animals.
So, are Dachshunds Hounds or Terriers?
Dachshunds both serve the same purpose. They track smells of their prey – mainly badgers and other burrowing animals – and catch them. This led some experts and dog historians to question why Dachshunds belong to the hound group instead of terriers.
Dog experts argue that Dachshunds’ behavioral qualities are more similar to terriers than that of hounds. They added that Dachshunds dig and go under the ground to hunt their prey – and this essentially makes them terriers.
Dog historian Edward Ash also commented on the topic in 1927. According to him, Dachshunds are terriers with crooked legs and has the looks and powerful nose like that of Beagles.
Despite these remarks about the terrier-hound debate, many major kennel clubs put the Dachshund in the hound group – most likely because of the breed’s genetics and history.
The Dachshund’s genetics and ancestors are hounds. In fact, they were once known as German Badger Hounds. But German hunters wanted their dogs to be versatile and useful in different ways. For this reason, other dogs were introduced to the line of Dachshunds to make them more courageous when facing potentially aggressive preys, such as badgers.
Despite introducing other blood into the breed, Dachshunds remained hounds by genetics. In fact, a genome-wide analysis found that Beagle, which is a hound, is closely related to the Dachshund. The genetic evidence showing terriers are related to Dachshund is yet to be found.
Therefore, we can say that Dachshunds really are hounds that developed or acquired the instincts and abilities of terriers.
What do you think? In your opinion, are Dachshunds hounds or terriers?