10 little-known facts about self-aware Dachshunds: the Germans are said to have taught some of them to speak and write poetry

László Enikő

2023. October 30 - Source: Photos by Getty Images Hungary

Many people are a big fan of Dachshunds, and for good reason. They are true individuals who think much bigger than they are, and that's what makes them so charming. If you're a fan too of these long-bodied, four-legged creatures, read ten interesting facts about them in our article!


Dachshunds have a big personality for their size and will not let you ignore them. With their surprisingly loud barks and enthusiastic, affectionate personalities, they are small in stature but huge in personality. They have to be, as they used to do very dangerous work. Here are ten interesting facts you may not have heard about these self-aware puppies!

1. Bred for badger hunting

Originally his name in German means “badger hunter”. Dachshunds have short legs that keep them low to the ground to track scents, and their narrow bodies allow them to crawl into cavities in search of badgers. Despite their small size, these dogs are brave and fierce. They were once bred in different varieties to hunt different prey.

2. They come in three sizes

The breeders have created three different sizes of dachshund – standard, miniature and kaninchen. Standard dachshunds weigh 10-13 kg and are used to hunt badgers and wild boar. Their height at the withers is 35-47 cm. Miniatures weigh up to 5 kg and are 30-37 cm tall. Rabbits weigh up to 3 kg and have a maximum height of 25-32 cm.

3. They exist in three different hair types

Dachshunds can be smooth, wirehaired or longhaired. Originally, all Dachshunds had short coats, and this is still the most popular. Breeders probably crossed the short-haired dogs with other dog breeds to produce the two other coat types.

4. Hot/dog

Dachshunds are sometimes called “wiener dogs” because their long bodies resemble hot dogs. But would you believe that the original name for a hotdog was dachshund sausage? The food was so named because it resembled the breed of dog. The name was later shortened to hotdogra. Allegedly because the word daschund was difficult to spell.

5. They were temporarily renamed during the First World War

Dachshunds were associated with Germany during World War I because they were used for propaganda purposes, and during World War II they were used as a weapon of warfare. The German Emperor William was known to be a fan of them. Two bad-boy pets, Wadl and Hexl once made the headlines after they attacked Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s prized golden pheasants during a visit. The German connection led to a decline in the breed’s popularity in the United States. To counteract this effect the AKC tried to rename the dachshund “badger dogs”, a translation of its German name or “liberty pups”.

6. Nazis claimed to have taught a Dachshund to talk

If the First World War was tough on Dachshunds, what followed was just plain weird. The Nazi scientists boasted that they had successfully taught dogs to speak, read, spell and even communicate telepathically. The Germans believed that dogs were almost as intelligent as humans, so they created a special programme called Hundesprechschule Asra to take advantage of this potential. Among the unusual feats on show were a dog who said “mein Führer” and another who could write a poem.

Kurwenal was a dachshund that could “talk” to different letters with different numbers of barks. It was like a dog telegraph. According to Jan Bondeson’s Amazing Dogs: A Cabinet of Canine Curiosities, the dog even had his own biographer who detailed the puppy’s daily life. He is said to have loved pink roses, illustrated zoology books and attractive women. When asked if he ever wanted to be a father, he said, “No!” Many were impressed by the fat puppy’s display, but others suspected he was getting his cues from his owners.

Shortly before his death, Kurwenal barked poetically, “I am not afraid to die; dogs have souls, and they are like the souls of men.” The Dachshund was buried in the garden of his owner’s house.

7. The Dachshund was the first Olympic mascot

The 1972 Munich Olympic Games official mascot was a coloured Dachshund named Waldi. It was the first time he was a mascot at the Olympics. Olympic officials actually designed the marathon route in the shape of a Dachshund.

8. There are Dachshund races

The Dachshund races started in Australia in the 1970s and have since spread around the world. The Wienerschnitzel Weiner Nationals has been held every year in Southern California since 1995. This is not a very serious sport, as the Dachshund was never meant to be a racing dog. Some animal rights activists have expressed concern about the strange sport, but race organisers have assured them that it is not about performance, but about fun, and that all events are professionally supervised.

9. Two Dachshunds were the “oldest dogs in the world”

Dachshunds usually live 12-15 years, longer than most dog breeds. Of the 23 dogs holding the Guinness World Record for the oldest living dog, two are Dachshunds and one is a Dachshund mix. A dog named Chanel held the record until 2009, when he died at the age of 21. He then kept a 20-year-old Dachshund terrier mix named Otto until 2010. In 2013, another Dachshund, Scolly, who also lived 20 years, held the title.

10. Britain’s first cloned dog was a Dachshund

The first British dog to be successfully cloned was a Dachshund called Winnie. Winnie’s owner entered her in a competition to win of cloning his dog a procedure that usually costs more than $60 000. Scientists took skin samples from Winnie and created Mini-Winnie. According to her owner, Mini-Winnie looks exactly like the adult version when she was a puppy. Mini-Winnie is quite healthy and is expected to live a long life.

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