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Dachshund basic information

The Dachshund is a short-legged, elongated dog breed of the hound family. The breed's name is German and literally means "badger dog" (der Dachs—"badger"; der Hund—"dog"). The breed was developed to scent, chase, and hunt badgers and other hole-dwelling animals. Due to the long, narrow build, they are sometimes referred to in the United States and elsewhere as a "wiener dog", "hot dog", or "sausage dog". Although Dachshund is a German word, it is rarely used in Germany, where the Dachshund is known most commonly as the Dackel or Teckel.

A full-sized Dachshund averages 16 to 32 lb (7 to 14.5 kg), while the Miniature variety typically weighs less than 11 lb (5 kg). As early as the 1990s, owners' use of a third weight class became common, the "Tweenie", which included those Dachshunds that fell in between full and miniature, ranging from 10 to 15 lb (4.5 to 6.75 kg). Modern Dachshunds are characterized by their crooked legs, loose skin, and barrel-like chest, attributes that were deliberately added to the breed to increase their ability to burrow into tight spaces, as well as the long tail, which in hunting situations, is often used by the owner as a handle, to aid in extracting the Dachshund from the burrow hole after capturing its prey. They come in three coat varieties: Smooth, Longhaired, and Wirehaired; the Wirehaired variety is generally shorter in spine length than the other two. H. L. Mencken said that "A dachshund is a half-dog high and a dog-and-a-half long," which is their main claim to fame, although many poems and songs refer to them as "two dogs long". This characteristic has led them to be quite a recognizable breed and featured in many a joke and cartoon.

Dachshunds have an enormous range of coloration. Dominant colors and patterns are red, or black & red, (the latter often being referred to informally as black & tan), but also occurring are cream, blue, wild boar, chocolate brown, fawn, and a lighter "boar" red. The reds range from coppers to deep rusts, with somewhat common coarse black hairs peppered along the back, tail, face, and ear edges, lending much character and an almost burnished appearance; this is often very desirable and is referred to among breeders and enthusiasts as "stag", or an "overlay". Solid black and solid chocolate-brown Dachshunds occur and, even though quite handsome, their colors are nonstandard; that is, the dogs are disqualified from conformance competitions in the U.S. and U.K. Older traditional patterns such as piebald and sable have recently been gaining popularity. Other color and pattern combinations have been developed; it is not uncommon to see Dachshunds with brown & red, chocolate & red, dapple, double dapple, and even white coats. Unfortunately, some of these colors require extensive inbreeding to obtain, and double dapples are often born eyeless or with severely underdeveloped eyes. Dapples of either kind usually sport light grey, light hazel, green or blue eyes, rather than the various shades of brown. Color aside, this eye condition has led to the double dapple coat being extremely disfavored among responsible breeders and owners.

According to kennel club standards, the Miniature variety differs from the full-size only by size and weight, however, offspring from Miniature parents must never weigh more than the Miniature standard to be considered a Miniature as well.

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