The Dachshund breed originated in Germany in the 15th century and was primarily used for hunting badgers and other small game, which is why they are known as badger dogs (Dachshund translates to badger dog in German). The breed's unique physique, with short legs and a long body, was ideal for digging into badger dens. Selective breeding was used to produce Dachshunds with wiry coats to protect them from thorny briar patches, as well as Dachshunds with longer coats for colder climates. There are two sizes of Dachshunds: standard and miniature, that have a variety of coat types. The smooth-coated Dachshund was created by crossing them with a Braque French Pointer and a Pinscher. The longhaired version was the result of a cross between a smooth Dachshund and different spaniels, and the wire-coated variety resulted from a cross of smooth Dachshunds with Dandie Dinmont Terriers and German Wirehaired Pinschers.
Dachshunds may suffer from Cushing's disease, deafness, diabetes, patellar luxation, seizures, gastric torsion, and keratoconjunctivitis sicca. The primary health concern for this breed is intervertebral disk disease, and obesity will increase risk for spinal issues. Genetic testing for these and other conditions such as mucopolysaccharidosis IIIA, narcolepsy, neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis 1 and 2, osteogenesis imperfecta, progressive retinal atrophy, cone-rod dystrophy 4, and chondrodystrophy (with or without chondrodysplasia), and degenerative myelopathy can assist veterinarians with diagnosis and proactive care, as well as help breeders identify affected and carrier dogs.
Dachshunds are known for their lively and charming personality. They are typically bold and fearless, reflecting their historical role as hunters. They can also be stubborn and independent, which can make training a challenge. Nevertheless, they are generally friendly and affectionate with their families, making them excellent companion dogs. However, due to their hunting origins, they may not always get along well with other small pets and can be wary of strangers.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) shares that “Dachshund” is a German word meaning “badger dog,” and the breed’s German history is older than 600 years.
According to breed experts, packs of Dachshunds were often used for hunting wild boar.
During World War I, Americans who loved the breed started calling them "Liberty Hounds" to counter anti-German sentiment as it related to the Dachshund's German history.