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The dachshund (UK /ˈdæksənd/ or US /ˈdɑːkshʊnt/ dahks-huunt or US /ˈdɑːksənt//dɑːkshaʊnd/ dahks-hound) is a short-legged, long-bodied, hound-type dog breed.
The standard size dachshund was developed to scent, chase, and flush out badgers and other burrow-dwelling animals, while the miniature dachshund was bred to hunt smaller prey such as rabbits. In the United States, they have also been used to track wounded deer and hunt prairie dogs.
Dachshunds also participate in conformation shows, field trials and many other events organized through pure bred dog organizations such as the American Kennel Club (AKC). According to the AKC, the dachshund remains one of the top 10 dog breeds in the United States.
The name "dachshund" is of German origin and literally means "badger dog", from Dachs ("badger") and Hund ("hound, dog"). The pronunciation varies widely in English: variations of the first and second syllables include /ˈdɑːks-/, /ˈdæks-/ and /-hʊnt/, /-hʊnd/, /-ənd/. Although "dachshund" is a German word, in modern German they are more commonly known by the name Dackel or, among hunters, Teckel. The German word is pronounced [ˈdakshʊnt].
Because of their long, narrow build, they are often nicknamed wiener dog or sausage dog.
A typical dachshund is long-bodied and muscular with short, stubby legs. Its front paws are unusually large and paddle-shaped for extreme digging. It has skin that is loose enough not to tear while tunneling in tight burrows to chase prey. The dachshund has a deep chest that provides increased lung capacity for stamina when hunting prey underground. Its snout is long with an increased nose area that absorbs odors.
There are three dachshund coat varieties: smooth coat (short hair), longhaired, and wirehaired. Longhaired dachshunds have a silky coat and short featherings on legs and ears. Wirehaired dachshunds are the least common coat variety in the US (it is the most common in Germany) and the most recent coat to appear in breeding standards. Dachshunds have a wide variety of colors and patterns. Their base coloration can be single-colored (either red or cream), tan pointed (black and tan, chocolate and tan, blue and tan, or Isabella and tan), and in wirehaired dogs, a color referred to as wildboar. Patterns such as dapple (merle), sable, brindle and piebald also can occur on any of the base colors. Dachshunds in the same litter may be born in different coat colors depending on the genetic makeup of the parents. The dominant color in the breed is red, followed by black and tan. Tan pointed dogs have tan (or cream) markings over the eyes, ears, paws, and tail. The reds range from coppers to deep rusts, with or without somewhat common black hairs peppered along the back, face and ear edges, lending much character and an almost burnished appearance; this is referred to among breeders and enthusiasts as an "overlay" or "sabling". Sabling should not be confused with a more unusual coat color referred to as sable. At a distance, a sable dachshund looks somewhat like a black and tan dog. Upon closer examination, however, one can observe that along the top of the dog's body, each hair is actually banded with red at the base near the skin transitioning to mostly black along the length of the strand. An additional striking coat marking is the brindle pattern. "Brindle" refers to dark stripes over a solid background—usually red. If a dachshund is brindled on a dark coat and has tan points, it will have brindling on the tan points only. Even one single, lone stripe of brindle is a brindle. If a dachshund has one single spot of dapple, it is a dapple.
The Dachshund Club of America (DCA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) consider both the piebald pattern and the double dapple (double merle) pattern to be nonstandard. However, both types continue to be shown and sometimes even win in the conformation ring.
Dogs that are double-dappled have the merle pattern of a dapple, but with distinct white patches that occur when the dapple gene expresses itself twice in the same area of the coat.