The Dachshund has to be one of our favorite breeds to use as an illustration of form following function, and with this post, we touch upon the breed’s chest.
Dachshunds were bred to “go to ground,” and that means furiously digging towards prey that’s often an ill tempered badger holed up in a tunnel (or, as as D. Caroline Coile and Michele Earle-Bridges put it in their book on the breed, “35 pounds of fury in a hole”).
Breathing room? Not much of it, usually. The more furiously the dog digs, the more oxygen is used up, and it becomes necessary to inhale more of depleted air to support all that digging. A Dachshie’s chest, which should be oval and comparatively broad, has lungs that go back as far as its ribs, and this helps the dog’s diaphragm act like bellows. The longer the rib cage, the more air can be processed. That long rib cage also helps support the dog’s long back. In a wonderful piece written by Laurence Alden Horswell, he likened the dog’s design to, “box girders under the southern approach to the New York, New Hampshire and H.R.R. Hell Gate Bridge.”