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Group: Hounds
Breed Family: Dachshund

The Dachshund, or Teckel as it is known in its native land, is one of the most German of all dog breeds. Short-legged hunting dogs with elongated bodies and pendant ears have been used in the woods and mountains by German and Austrian huntsmen since the Middle Ages. They were employed for numerous hunting duties, among them for going after vermin, to follow badger to earth (dachs is the German for badger) and to chase rabbits.

The origins of the Dachshund are not known. Some authorities believe it descended from the short-legged, long-backed dogs which existed in ancient Egypt. Others trace it to the French Basset Hound, and still others believe it is related to the old Turnspit dog, long of body and short of leg. Dr. Caius wrote of the Turnspit 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." Whatever its history, through the centuries there have been references in European history to small hounds, from which the Dachshund probably evolved.

Dachshunds have been developed into a number of sizes, coat varieties, and colors. Early in the seventeenth century, Dachshund referred only to the smooth-coated and long-coated varieties. Wire-haired dog have been registered since 1890 as the third variety.

Obviously the best, if not the only, early Dachshunds imported into England were from Germany. The Ladies' Kennel Journal, for instance, mentions that, "That country held then, as indeed for many years later, the monopoly of first class dachshunds, and moreover, the monopoly was in the hands of the nobility who did not care to part with even a puppy, except perhaps as a present occasionally to a relative or friend in their own sphere of life."

The Dachshund was closely associated with the Royal Family in the nineteenth century, and avidly admired by Queen Victoria who, as the quotation above implies, received several as gifts from her own family as well as from German Royals./


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