The Dachshund is a short-legged, elongated dog breed of the hound family. From German, Dachshund literally translates to "Badger Dog", referring to their use in badger (as well as rabbit) hunting. A full-sized Dachshund averages 30-50 lbs, while the Miniature variety is typically under 12 lbs. Dachshunds are loyal, playful dogs, known for their propensity to chase birds.
The early roots of the Dachshund may go back as far as Ancient Egypt, where engravings were made featuring short-legged hunting dogs. In its modern incarnation, the Dachshund is a creation of European breeders. Dachshunds have been kept by royal courts all over Europe, including that of Queen Victoria.
Dachshunds come in three coat varieties: Smooth coat, Longhair and Wire coat. Typical colorings include Red and Black & Tan. Recently, other color combinations have been developed; it is not uncommon to see Dachshunds with Brown & Tan, speckled, and even white coats.
Dachshunds are known to have spinal problems, due in part to their extremely long spinal column and short rib cage. The occurence and severity of these problems is largely hereditary, and is worsened by obesity, which places greater strain on the vertebrae. In order to prevent injury, it is recommended that they be discouraged from jumping and taking stairs.
Dachshunds have traditionally been held up as a symbol of Germany, despite their significant English heritage. During World War II, many American political cartoons used the image of the Dachshund to ridicule Nazi Germany. The stigma of the association was not long-lived.