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Berkshire Life - - Front Page - WORDS: Amy No­ton

Walkies with Dachshunds

The dachs­hund has truly won over our hearts, but its rise in pop­u­lar­ity

means more rea­sons to be wary

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 per cent 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. ‘We’ve also seen an in­crease in the pop­u­lar­ity of spe­cific small breeds such as French bull­dogs, pugs and dachshunds, and that tends to be be­cause these breeds fea­ture in pop­u­lar ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paigns.’

Dachshunds are classed in the ‘hound’ group­ing and were his­tor­i­cally used to hunt by scent and flush out bur­row­ing an­i­mals classed as pests. Of­ten as­so­ci­ated with Ger­many, the breed’s pop­u­lar­ity has fluc­tu­ated over the years, largely due to An­glo-Ger­man re­la­tions of the time. Queen Vic­to­ria was a fan, im­port­ing a dog called Deckel from Bavaria in the 1840s, but dur­ing the two world wars they were seen as un­pa­tri­otic and po­lit­i­cal car­toon­ists used im­ages of them to ridicule Ger­many.

To­day, the dachs­hund – whether stan­dard or minia­ture, with its smooth, long or wiry coat – is the 16th most pop­u­lar breed of dog in the UK. Celebrity own­ers in­clude the singer Adele and ac­tor Clint East­wood; Cru­soe, an in­ter­net­fa­mous dachs­hund, has over three

mil­lion so­cial me­dia fol­low­ers; and the worlds of fash­ion, gifts and home dé­cor have fallen in love with the breed.

But of the thou­sands of reg­is­tered dachshunds – of­ten re­ferred to as sausage dogs – many thou­sands more un­reg­is­tered dogs are be­lieved to be bred by un­of­fi­cial breed­ers.

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

It’s feared de­mand could also lead to a rise in ir­re­spon­si­ble breed­ing and an in­crease in 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. ‘There is po­ten­tial for poor breed­ers to can­ni­balise on the grow­ing de­mand for any breed of dog as the fo­cus shifts from pro­duc­ing healthy pup­pies to merely cre­at­ing a pro­duc­tion line of dogs, of­ten with no con­cern for health and well­be­ing.’

Peo­ple are urged to adopt in­stead of buy­ing, or to pur­chase dogs from re­li­able sources such as the Ken­nel Club As­sured Breeder Scheme. Han­nah sum­marises: ‘There is no deny­ing the cute­fac­tor 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.’

LEFT:Talk about cute... a puppy dachs­hund

ABOVE: Black and tan Minia­ture Dachs­hund

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