Did you know that ‘Dachshund’ is a German word for badger dog? Doxies were originally bred to hunt badgers, and they’ve proven to be on top of their game, literally. It’s for this reason that they earned their recognition by the AKC as the only breed for on-ground and underground hunting.
So, if you thought dachshunds’ body shape, bravery, intelligence, and other incredible traits were for humans to fall in love with them, then you are wrong.
Hunting was once more of a necessity than just an activity for fun. It’s during this period that Germans realized that hunting smaller prey was easier than hunting bigger ones. However, they were hard to capture.
The hunters, therefore, needed a dog that could barrow down the holes and fearlessly bring out prey. So they made Dachshunds. Their fearlessness, small bodies to enter even tiny holes, and incredible stamina made them perfect for the job.
7 Traits That Make Duchshands Incredible hunters
The following are some of the distinctive traits that made doxies kick-ass badger hunters;
1. Strong sense of smell
Dachshunds are ‘scent hounds.’ Armed with 125 million scent receptors and an olfactory bulb that is 40 times larger than humans’, their sense of smell is something out of this world.
Still not convinced? How about this – dachshunds can detect a smell up to a week old!
While their big ears help in sweeping the ground to bring the scent to their noses, their dewlaps, the loose skin under their chins, helps in traping and keeping scent as they find their way to prey.
Their superb smelling ability gives them an edge when hunting underground. Dachshunds bring out badgers from their hiding in a matter of seconds.
Their long noses also help to draw in smell from miles away.
Doxies are extremely good at following scent trails. Because of this, hunters were guaranteed to locating badgers that attempted to escape.
They also helped in blood tracking to locate injured prey.
However, picking up a scent is one thing, but keeping on track with the same, especially when there other conflicting scents, is another.
Though confusing, a properly trained doxie could still be able to stick to the original scent and pursue the prey.
It is for this reason that apart from hunting, doxies today are used for blood tracking missions to locate victims during such disasters as hurricanes.
Badgers are one of the most dangerous prey to hunt with doxies. In some cases, it ends with the dog injured, or worse, dead.
However, dachshunds’ bravery and aggressiveness come in handy here. They fearlessly dig their way underground to where the badger is.
In some cases, hunters would carry more than one doxie to have the upper hand over badgers. The dogs would fearlessly surround and corner the prey, immobilizing it completely.
Badgers are equally aggressive and very defensive. They fight back, protecting their necks more than any other part.
However, this is not enough to stop the dachshund. Determined to catch the prey, a doxie doesn’t stop till the same is on the hunter’s hands.
Doxies are also armed with strong teeth at their muzzles’ forefront, and powerful jaws to immobilize prey, keeping it away from its torso to avoid fatal injuries.
The level of a dachshund’s aggression makes it go for prey even three times bigger than its size!
It’s, therefore, no surprise that doxies kept as pets can turn out to be aggressive to strangers and other pets. While this is a good trait in hunting, it could be dangerous at home. It’s in their instinct, but persistent training will do you good.
3. Intelligence and Independent thinking
The notable intelligence of dachshunds is what makes them perfect human companions.
Their ability to differentiate between prey and other animals makes them perfect badger hunters.
Dachshunds would act quickly at the sight of prey, even without a command from the hunter.
They single-handedly chased the prey, and even after getting it, they knew it’s not their work to kill it, but corner it for the hunter to make the kill.
Their intelligence makes them easier to train. However, their independent nature makes the process hectic. Fighting instinct isn’t the easiest thing, and this is one of them.
Dachshunds also know when to keep quiet when hunting – a move that gave them an advantage over prey. They quietly followed the trail till they got to it.
– and, isn’t it just incredible how dachshunds embrace teamwork? When hunting with many dogs, one would chase the prey to its nest, and another drives it out while the rest immobilize it for the hunter to call the final shots. Cool, right?
Dachshunds’ incredible stamina is a trait you can’t trade for anything on the hunt.
Their strong drive for prey would make them incredible hunters both on and below the ground.
Doxies are very tenacious. They would chase down badgers and other prey for as long as it takes. With their small bodies, they would go to the deepest part of the bushes with minimal injuries.
The small bodies also enable the dogs to maintain a low center of gravity when chasing prey on sloppy areas, as their short legs help them barrow underground and corner prey.
Their paddle-like paws helped dig for hours into the barrows for prey.
Further, their deep chest and long back give them more room for bigger lungs for extra stamina when hunting. For this reason, doxies can continue breathing even while inside the barrows.
The larger lung capacity also enables the doxie to get continuous energy supply for an endless fight with the prey. Is that all? No.
Their small bodies, long backs, and large lungs make them pretty fast runners on the hunt – making them a gem.
As pets, they can prove stubborn – barking endlessly, digging your lawn, et cetera. Fighting this instinct is not easy. But with persistence and proper training, things can improve.
5. Doxies are loud barkers
One of the most notable things about doxies is their barks.
Dachshunds can get real noisy sometimes. Their small bodies and large lungs make their barks pretty loud.
They bark because of various reasons. When bored, depressed, anxious, excited, but most importantly, in an encounter with a stranger.
Their loud barks came in handy during a hunt. They barked to alert the hunter of possible danger and presence of prey.
They also used their barks as a defense mechanism to scare prey that proved dangerous.
Because they are territorial, their first reaction to anything that could be a threat to its peace and that of the hunter would be a bark.
Further, in case they got separated from the hunter, their barks helped in locating them.
So, your doxie barking too much? Not to worry. He’s just trying to pass a message – that he’s happy, hungry, bored, or doesn’t want you to leave. Find out what it is, and train it appropriately.
6. Undying loyalty
Dogs have enjoyed a good relationship with humans for the longest time. The historical and archaeological evidence shows that dogs could have been the first animals kept by humans as pets.
Dachshunds’ story is not any different. Doxies have enjoyed a friendship with humans ever since they came into existence in the 1500s in Germany.
All this while, they have been loyal to man, a vital trait in hunting.
During a hunt, a dachshund would stick to the hunter and his pack. They would jealously protect the hunter of any possible dangers on the field.
When taken out to hunt badgers and other prey, they diligently obeyed the hunter’s command.
On the field, their main focus is the prey, and at this, they’re unstoppable. They would make a catch and deliver it to the hunter.
They identify the hunter as their boss, thus following him around and obeying his commands.
Dachshunds are still loyal to date. If you keep a doxie as a pet, you’ve probably noticed his exceptional and undying loyalty to a specific family member, who perhaps adopted him, or first fed him.
They develop a strong bond towards this person, one that they jealously protect.
If you thought cats are the only curious pets, well, think again.
Doxies are too – and this made them incredible hunting dogs.
Dachshunds are simply adventurous. With their powerful sense of smell, doxies would go on sniffing and digging till they get prey, and when they did, they would stop at nothing till it’s on the hunter’s hands.
If you have a doxie, you’ve probably noticed how adventurous they can get. A few minute’s walks will do. When you take your dachshund out, you’ll notice he gets jumpy.
Running from one place to another while sniffing. It gets harder to control him sometimes.
Wrapping it up
Dachshunds were, and still are incredible hunters – there’s no doubt about that. These brave, curious, intelligent, loyal hunters, with an incredible sense of smell, are badgers’ worst enemy.
Today, dachshunds’ personalities have made them adorable pets that make a perfect human companion. Get one already!