Dachshunds possess a long body due to deliberate selective breeding.
The distinctive body shape of the Dachshund, often likened to a hot dog on legs or a sausage dog, sets it apart from many other dog breeds 🐶.
To comprehend the origins of the Dachshund's elongated form, we must delve into its history.
It turns out that this breed was purposefully bred to possess this shape because it served a crucial role in the task for which it was originally bred... any guesses? 😜
Additionally, it's worth noting that this lively and dynamic breed is further characterized by three different coat types, each corresponding to the three available sizes:
- Coat: hard hair, long hair, short hair.
- Sizes (from the smallest to the largest): the Kaninchen dachshund (or miniature), the dwarf dachshund, the standard dachshund.
A Look at the Dachshund's Physionomy
The Dachshund has gained fame due to its characteristic dwarfism, which is associated with a condition known as chondrodysplasia.
This condition leads to an abnormal development of cartilage in the long bones, resulting in shorter-than-average extremities.
Although being chondrodystrophic may initially sound unfavorable, this trait is actually essential and desired in certain breeds, such as the Dachshund.
In fact, it is one of the defining characteristics that endears them to their devoted fans 😊.
The Dachshund's distinctive long and low body shape is a result of its short legs. The American Kennel Club's breed standard for the Dachshund describes it as a "close to the ground, short-legged" dog with a muscular body, making it well-suited for ground and underground hunting.
Other breeds such as the corgi, basset hound, and Pekingese are also known to exhibit chondrodysplasia.
However, in other dog breeds, chondrodysplasia is often associated with problems, as it indicates an interruption in cartilage development, which can lead to disabling consequences.
The Doxie, an ideal length for Terriers
As you're already aware, badgers typically reside in burrows.
To effectively hunt this game, foresters required a specific type of hunting dog that possessed the appropriate physical characteristics. These desired traits included short, sturdy legs resembling paddles that could firmly dig into the ground, as well as a long body enabling the dog to enter the badger's burrow.
The Dachshund's small size and short-legged structure provided an additional advantage: it had a superior ability to track scents by positioning its snout close to the ground while in motion!
With its low-to-the-ground body, heightened senses, and courageous temperament, the Dachshund excelled not only in badger hunting but also in pursuing other game such as rabbits, foxes, and even formidable creatures like wild boars or deer.
An image from the past
The Dachshund's physical appearance isn't the only reminder of its past as a badger hunter. These dogs still display behaviors that hark back to their hunting heritage.
Dachshunds have a strong inclination for digging and thoroughly enjoy engaging in this activity whenever the opportunity presents itself. It's important to be vigilant of the holes they may dig in your vegetable or flower garden.
Furthermore, when it comes to sleep time, be cautious about where you choose to lay down with your furry companion. Dachshunds have a penchant for creating "tunnels" in their blankets and beds, as they have an instinctual desire to burrow and nestle themselves within.
On the other hand, Dachshunds are known for being lively, determined, and courageous, sometimes to the point of recklessness. This fearlessness has played a significant role in their effectiveness as skilled hunters.
Their deep and strong barks are a reminder of their hunting days and allow their owners to locate them when they are deep in a hole.
On occasion, Dachshunds can display assertiveness towards unfamiliar individuals, even those much larger than them! This behavior carries potential risks, necessitating precautions to ensure the well-being of this small yet spirited canine.
Beware of the Dachshund Back
Above: A three-dimensional illustration depicting a degenerated intervertebral disc in the spine of a dog.
While the elongated back is a desirable characteristic in Dachshunds, it also poses a significant vulnerability for this breed.
Intervertebral disc disease occurs when the cushioning discs between the vertebrae in the neck or back protrude and rupture, leading to nerve compression, pain, and potential paralysis.
In fact, Dachshunds are at a significantly higher risk 10 to 12 times more likely of developing intervertebral disc disease compared to other canine companions. It is therefore important to provide them with a ramp from a young age to help them navigate furniture and stairs, and also teach them how to use it properly 😊.
As we've seen, the elongated body of Dachshunds serves a purposeful function.
Their long backs enable them to enter burrows and effectively hunt badgers. However, this strength can also be their weakness.
Before we proceed, let's dispel a common misconception: Dachshunds do not possess additional vertebrae. Like other dogs, they have the same number of vertebrae.
You are undoubtedly familiar with the unique and endearing back structure of your beloved pet. For more detailed inquiries, it is best to consult your veterinarian, who possesses the expertise to provide you with precise and accurate information 😊.
The Teckelshop Team - 🧡💚