Did you know that Dachshund translates to “badger dog” in German? Indeed, there are many similarities between a Doxie and a badger: From their long and low bodies to their abilities to hunt both above- and below-ground.
Dachshund Field Trials (“competitions”) are held in fenced-in areas, and the objective is to “track the game,” meaning to follow a scent trail that a rabbit or hare has left behind. The goal is not to actually catch any prey and no animals are harmed in field trials. Dogs run in packs of two (called a “brace”) and are judged on their ability to search and explore; to pursue and keep control of a trail; the accuracy in trailing; obedience to commands; their “willingness to go to earth” (into a tunnel or underground); courage; and more.
Almost everyone knows the Dachshund’s sausage-like body — but when you see them running after a rabbit’s trail, and squeezing his body down into tunnels and holes, you’ll realize they’re not just adorable: They pretty serious athletes as well.
To compete, your Dachshund must be:
- At least 6 months of age.
- Physically sound and up-to-date on all inoculations and health check-ups.
- Have an AKC number.
- Spayed and neutered hounds and hounds with limited registration are eligible to compete in these events and are welcome.
- Blind dogs are not eligible.
- No dog can compete if it is taped or bandaged or in any way has anything attached to it for medical purposes.
Most Dachshund field trials are held at local AKC clubs so find one near you. Some clubs offer practice sessions or someone might be willing to take you out to work your dog.
As with any field trial, your dog should be socialized; in good physical shape; and have basic obedience training that gives you control over him. To practice, just find a field with some rabbits! Take your dog there at dusk, when the rabbits will come out to feed – but always keep him on leash. Remember, this is not a coursing competition; it’s a scent hound competition, so you do not want to encourage the dog to actually capture the rabbit.
We also recommend you attend a few field trails in person to get the rulebook for the event of your choice because the more hounds you see work, the better you will understand how a Dachshund should work.
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