The dachshund or wiener dog is recognizable by its short stature and long body. Of all the dogs in the American Kennel Club it has the most combinations, as there are six different types of the animal, with three coat types and two sizes. As well, while the AKC classifies the dachshund as a hound, it shares many characteristics with the terrier: compulsive digging, attitude, and the ability to hunt vermin.
The two sizes a dachshund comes in are standard and miniature. Miniature dachshunds generally weigh below 11 pounds (However, it should be noted that dachshunds often have diet problems and frequently are overweight). Standards weigh between 16 and 32 pounds.
The three coat types are:
Each coat type was created with a special purpose. The smooth or shorthaired was likely the first dachshund to appear and is used in warm areas. Longhairs are used in colder areas, and the wirehair's coat makes it suitable for work with heavy underbrush, such as brambles and thorns.
Along with the great variety of coats, comes a great variety of colors. There are four main types:
- One Colored - red or cream
- Two Colored - black, chocolate, grey (almost to blue), or fawn (mouse like color) make the base color, with tan points on the quarters, above the eyes, and on the bottom of the mouth
- Dappled - Splotches of light and dark areas. Dappled dachshunds can also have blue (wall) eyes. May also come in a double dappled, where areas of white mix with the pattern. This shouldn't be confused with piebald, where the dog is predominatly white
- Brindled - Dark stripes along the body, usually only seen through the tan points on the two-colored
The primary use of the weinerdog is to hunt the underground vermin, particularly the badger. It is ment to enter the animals's lair and then corner it, alerting the hunter to the location.
Unique to the dachshund is its voice, which must be pitched so that it can be heard from underground, and so it is less yippy than dogs of a similar size. Anyone who has lived near one of these creatures can appreciate this fact, as the bark can be heard through several walls.
Dachshunds are very clever and willful, which makes them difficult to train. Quoting from the AKC breed specification:
The Dachshund is clever, lively and courageous to the point of rashness, persevering in above and below ground work, with all the senses well-developed. Any display of shyness is a serious fault.
During an obedience trial, a shorthair had been given the stay command, and the owner retreated from the dog about ten feet, and gave it the come command. The dachshund executed it perfectly, except it kept walking right on past the owner, and left the circle. He headed right to a young girl who was eating a hotdog, and then stared her down.