The idea of hunting has long been extinguished from our modern city lives as civilization continued to progress and hunting laws became stricter. Dogs, however, do not think the way we do. In some dogs, the dachshund, for instance, hunting is bred into their genes.
So, if you are a dachshund owner and frequently see your pet chasing some backyard animals, you might be thinking, are dachshunds hunting dogs? Whether you wish to hunt or not, it is always good to know all characteristics of your pet regardless of whether you have had it for years or are about to buy/adopt one. Read on to know more about the hunting trait in dachshunds.
Origin of the Dachshund
The first dachshund breeds can be traced back to the 17th century. Its name originated from a combination of two German words, ‘Dachs’, which means ‘badger’ and ‘Hund’, meaning ‘hound’. Needless to say, in olden times, these dogs were used to hunt badgers and similar animals.
The primary characteristic that made them great hunters were their strong limbs. Yes, do not be fooled by their short height, their legs seem to have all the power they need to track down a large variety of prey.
Apart from this physical characteristic, dachshunds were also bred to possess courage and tenacity. Swiftly moving smaller animals such as rabbits and ferrets could not escape the dachshund’s vigor and larger animals such as foxes were subdued easily, thanks to their short, strong legs.
Are Dachshunds Still Used as Hunting Dogs?
Although most dachshund owners in North America prefer to keep dachshunds as domestic pets, they are still used as hunting dogs in several parts of Europe. Originally, dachshunds were used to hunt down badgers, because, well, badgers were kind of pesky in certain parts of Europe and were difficult to get rid of. So, dachshunds, with their powerful limbs, dug up the burrows and found out those animals.
Fast forward to the 21st century, dachshunds are mostly used to track wounded deer. It helps that along with the robust legs, the dachshund also possesses the nose of a hound. In the United States of America, using dogs used for hunting used to be illegal (and still is in some states). Hence, they are not commonly used for sport. However, they are often part of search and rescue teams because these dogs can track wounded animals way before humans can, especially if they are in a pack.
How Good Are Dachshunds with Hunting?
There are several other breeds of dogs that can be used for hunting, but dachshunds are claimed to be one of the best, especially when it comes to hunting smaller prey. The doxies have particularly proven their worth in blood tracking, earthwork, and hawking.
There are some specific characteristics of these dogs that make them exceptionally good hunters. First of all, there is the shape of the dog. Its center of gravity is so low that they never lose balance, even when running on dangerous terrains.
Then, their long backs enable them to go on hunting for long hours and their long nose is to be thanked for their strong sense of smell.
Apart from these, another trait of doxies is that they love to dig. So, smaller, hiding animals cannot get away from these dogs. Most importantly, they let their powerful legs and strong jaws do the talking when cornered by some tough foe. In confined spaces, too, they get away with hunting quick animals much too easily.
Can You Train A Dachshund to Hunt?
Hunting is within the genes of a dachshund because that is how they have been bred for centuries. However, that does not mean that they do not require training. If your doxie is specially bred as a domestic pup, it might need a reawakening of its ancestral qualities through some field training.
Even if you have purchased an out-and-out hunting dachshund, be sure to train it so that it understands your field commands before you go deer-hunting with it. So, how do you teach a dachshund to hunt?
The basics are the same as any other form of training. Start small, such as with small rodents, in your backyard, or a neighborhood field. Ensure your dog already understands basic commands such as ‘wait’, ‘stop’, ‘run’, etc. Also, begin training when it is a pup. That way, it will sooner be able to hunt bigger animals when it grows up. As with any other training, reward successful hunts with treats or toys.
What Are Dachshunds Preferred Preys?
Most dachshunds are natural diggers and are suited to hunt animals that live underground or flee by making burrows. However, that does not mean that a dachshund will not hunt larger prey. To understand what kind of game your dog will prefer, it is first important to know that there are two types of dachshunds, namely, standard and miniature, and they like to hunt different groups of animals.
Standard dachshunds are typically above 16 lbs and were originally used as the only version of dachshunds for hunting. Their favorite prey was badgers and foxes. Nowadays, standard dachshunds are preferred for deer hunting, especially blood-tracking or tracking wounded prey. They also can (but not used so) chase smaller animals such as rabbits, woodchucks, and similar animals.
Miniature dachshunds were bred much later and categorized as those that weigh less than 11 lbs. Usually, they are also less than a year old. Breeding miniature dachshunds aimed to focus solely on smaller animals such as hares, moles, and prairie dogs, while the larger or the standards dachshunds could be specifically trained to hunt bigger prey.
Miniature dachshunds soon picked up steam and are commonly favored over standard dachshunds in many American households. Their size makes them suitable for smaller living spaces and their ability to hunt down tiny animals makes them efficient ridders of pests.
Hunting is no longer a necessity in our civilized world, unless, of course, you are an adventurer, who frequently runs out of provisions in the wild. But for most modern-day hunters, hunting is a sport.
Thankfully, if you are a dachshund owner, you already have a hunting buddy with an instinct for finding you the right kind of game. With a little bit of training, your dachshund could save you hours when trying to find your hunted game.
On the other hand, if all you wanted your dachshund was to be a household pet and companion, you can still unleash its natural hunting abilities to have a helping hand in making your garden rodent-free. Related Post: Hiking and Camping with a Dachshund