Hound or a Terrier?

When Dachshunds started showing up in show rings in mid 19th century Great Britain, they were recorded in the English stud book as the German Badger Hound, possibly because “dach” (badger) and “hund” (dog) was poorly translated. That was the least of the controversy surround the breed.

In 1906, a breed expert wrote: “That it [the Dachshund] is used occasionally as a hound in the sense that it follows rabbits and hares by scent as does a beagle, does not alter the fact that it is essentially a dog that goes to earth and is therefore a terrier. Its name of badger dog is all the evidence needed on that point, and that it can be made use of as a beagle does not alter the fact that it is properly an earth dog, any more than the occasional use of fox terriers for rabbit coursing makes them Whippets.”

Nineteen years later, Edward Ash, a canine historian, split hairs by saying, “A Dachshund is, in fact, a terrier with very crooked legs, but possessing in a very great degree both the appearance and fine nose of the beagle.” Needless to say, this breed has fine qualities of both the hound and terrier!”

In the AKC family, the breed takes its place in the hound group, but it is one of only four non-terrier breeds eligible to participate in AKC earthdog trials (can you name the other three?)*

So which is it?

Dachshunds are adroit at hound work, and can run raccoons, squirrels, rabbits, and even track large game with the best of them. They also go to ground and will follow some very prickly critters into their den (it’s the only breed that hunts above and below ground). To complicate matters, there are also reports that a Dachshund can actually function as a retriever or spaniel, (though they fall short of either when it comes to swimming).  In the spirit of compromise, there are those who shrug their shoulders and opine that the best way to settle the hound-versus-terrier argument is to concede that the Dachshund has the best qualities of both, and that he is a hound that became a terrier. While this doesn’t seem to settle the debate, it does highlight the versatility of this breed, and we leave the debate to Dachshund experts.

*The other three non-terrier breeds eligible to participate in AKC earthdog trials are the Miniature Pinscher, Silky Terrier (in the Toy Group), and Miniature Schnauzer

Image: “The Long And Short Of It” by Sarah Batalka is available for purchase as wall art, home decor, and lifestyle items here

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