Dachshunds, affectionately called Doxies, are famous for their adorable, funny shape. But their long bodies and short legs were meant for more than just making humans fall in love with them. Here are some interesting facts you didn't know about Dachshunds:
1. They Were Bred to Hunt Badgers
The name “Dachshund” is actually German for badger dog. Dachshunds' short legs keep them low to the ground to track scents, and their narrow bodies allow them to crawl into burrows, looking for badgers. Despite their small size, Dachshunds are brave and fierce. Over time, they were bred in different varieties to hunt different kinds of prey.
2. They Come in Two Sizes
Breeders created two different sizes of Dachshunds—standard and miniature. The standard Dachshunds weigh up to 35 pounds and were used to hunt badgers and wild boars. The miniatures weigh up 11 pounds and under.
3. They Have Three Different Types of Coats
Dachshunds can have smooth, wirehaired, or longhaired coats. All Dachshunds used to have smooth coats, and the smooth variety is still the most popular. Breeders probably crossed smooth Dachshunds with other dog breeds to produce the two other coat varieties.
4. The Dog, Not the Hotdog, Came First
Dachshunds are sometimes called wiener dogs because their long bodies resemble hotdogs. But would you believe that the original name for the hotdog was the Dachshund sausage? The deli product was so-named because it resembled the dog breed. The name was later shortened to hotdog.
5. They Were Temporarily Rebranded During WWI
Dachshunds were associated with Germany during World War I because they were used in a lot of propaganda, and Kaiser Wilhelm II had a well-known love for Dachshunds. This association led to a decline in the breed's popularity in America. To counteract this effect, the AKC tried rebranding Dachshunds as “badger dogs,” the translation of their German name, or as “liberty pups.”
6. A Dachshund Was the First Olympic Mascot
The official mascot of the 1972 Munich Olympic Games was a colorful Dachshund named Waldi. This was the first time the Olympics had a mascot. Olympic officials actually plotted that year's marathon route in the shape of a Dachshund.
7. There Are Dachshund Races
Dachshund races started in Australia in the 1970s and have since spread around the world. The Wienerschnitzel Weiner Nationals have been going on every year in Southern California since 1995. It's not a very serious sport, since Dachshunds were never meant to be racing dogs, but it sure is a hoot.
8. Two Dachshunds Have Been the “World's Oldest Dog”
Dachshunds typically live 12-to-15 years—longer than most dog breeds. Of the 23 dogs to hold the Guinness World Record for oldest living dog, two have been Dachshunds and one a Dachshund mix. A Doxie named Chanel held the record until 2009, when she died at 21 years old. A 20-year-old Dachshund-Terrier cross named Otto then held it until 2010. In 2013, another Dachshund named Scolly, who also lived to be 20, held the title.
9. Britain's First Cloned Dog Was a Dachshund
The first British dog to be successfully cloned was a Dachshund named Winnie. Winnie's owner entered a contest to win the chance to have her dog cloned—a procedure which would usually cost over $60,000. Scientists took a skin sample from Winnie and created Mini-Winnie. Her owner says Mini-Winnie looks exactly like Winnie looked when she was a puppy. Mini-Winnie is quite healthy and is expected to live a long life.