The hot dog

The dachs­hund has ap­par­ently won over our hearts, but its rise in pop­u­lar­ity means there are rea­sons to be wary

EDP Norfolk - - PETS - WORDS: Amy No­ton

Ev­ery dog has its day – and the dis­tinc­tive dachs­hund, with its un­mis­tak­able sil­hou­ette, is Bri­tain’s lat­est hot dog. Whether it’s in your lo­cal card shop or on your In­sta­gram feed, there’s no es­cap­ing the diminu­tive breed.

Nearly 9,000 dachshunds were re­port­edly reg­is­tered with the Ken­nel Club last year – a rise of 40% in the last three years. Caro­line Kisko of the Ken­nel Club thinks part of the resur­gence is due to mod­ern life­styles. ‘It’s only spec­u­la­tive, but we can pre­sume the pop­u­lar­ity of small dogs is about prac­ti­cal­ity, be­cause many peo­ple are liv­ing in towns or cities and are lim­ited on space,’ she says.

The dachs­hund – of­ten re­ferred to as a sausage dog – whether stan­dard or minia­ture, with its smooth, long or wiry coat, is the 16th most pop­u­lar breed of dog in the UK.

But of the thou­sands of reg­is­tered dachshunds, thou­sands more un­reg­is­tered dogs are be­lieved to be bred by un­of­fi­cial breed­ers, who seek to cap­i­talise on the grow­ing de­mand.

Dogs Trust recog­nises dachshunds as one of the most pop­u­lar breeds to be smug­gled into the coun­try il­le­gally, with the breed ac­count­ing for 26% of those brought in through its Puppy Pi­lot project, an ini­tia­tive work­ing to track dogs il­le­gally brought into the UK.

It’s feared de­mand could also lead to a rise in ir­re­spon­si­ble breed­ing and health and be­havioural prob­lems. Caro­line says: “We saw it with breeds like the Dal­ma­tian af­ter the re­lease of 101 Dal­ma­tians and the old English sheep­dog, used in Dulux ad­ver­tise­ments. At the time, peo­ple raised con­cerns about the tem­per­a­ment of those dogs be­cause un­scrupu­lous breed­ers aren’t wor­ried about be­havioural prob­lems – but it’s a huge is­sue for the puppy’s owner.”

Though their elon­gated bod­ies are ad­mired, dachshunds are pre­dis­posed to spinal prob­lems re­lated to their long-backed and short-legged con­for­ma­tion, says Han­nah Baker of Dogs Trust. “Own­ers should con­sider the pos­si­ble im­pli­ca­tions of this not least in terms of pos­si­ble ve­teri­nary treat­ment that may be re­quired, but also on the qual­ity of their dog’s life,” she adds.

Peo­ple are urged to adopt in­stead of buy­ing, or to pur­chase dogs from re­li­able sources such as the Ken­nel Club As­sured Breeder Scheme.

Han­nah says: “There is no deny­ing the cute-fac­tor that in­evitably in­flu­ences peo­ple’s choices. How­ever, it’s im­por­tant that a de­ci­sion to get a dog, and which breed to choose, is based on more than just face value.”

ABOVE:Black and tan minia­ture dachs­hund

BELOW:Talk about cute... a puppy dachs­hund

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