If you're a dachshund owner, you know how strange and adorable they are, but you might not know anything about their interesting history. Dachshunds have a varied and incredible career as a breed, and behave in very quirky ways. Here's some of the most interesting facts about dachshunds that might make you appreciate your favorite breed even more.
Somebody, who knows who, came upon a brilliant solution: breed a dog that would literally fit down burrow holes. After about a century of experimentation, they finally succeeded. Dachshunds (“dach” being German for “badger”) became incredibly popular hunting dogs almost overnight.
When a dachshund is on the hunt, it immediately goes into digging mode. It will find a burrow and immediately use its large and powerful front paws to expand the opening. Then, it will push its long and round body down the hole, completely blocking any escape.
Once it finds its prey, this normally friendly dog will turn fierce. A good hunting dachshund can easily out-fight even the meanest badger, and rabbits are no match for their fury. Once they were finished with their hunt, the owner can grab their long, stiff tail and easily pull them out.
This sudden distaste for their name wasn't helped out by German leader Kaiser Wilhelm II. As hatred for the Kaiser grew in America, his love of dachshunds became just as widely known. The name change suggestion by the American Kennel Club was an attempt to protect the breed from anti-German violence.
It might seem strange to imagine all that fuss over a dog breed name, but one only has to look at the recent infamy of the "freedom fries" incident to understand how powerful national outrage can be in times of crisis. Thankfully, the "badger dog" name didn't stick, and we still have the name we love to say (and misspell) to this day.
Unfortunately, there was a dark side to their service. Some armies, in desperation, would starve poor dachshunds for days, strap explosives to their bodies, and send the hungry dogs out towards enemies. Once the dog reached the enemy, their handlers would activate the bomb. Though this tactic may have saved some lives, it's still a little hard to justify that kind of cruelty.
Fun facts like this explain why the quirky and loving dachshund remains one of the most popular dogs in the world. The friendly personality and loyalty of the average dachshund also has a lot do with it.
Andrew D. Harris
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