Gracie, a diminutive wiener dog, was hanging out on her people’s kayak on Florida’s Banana River when she spied a dolphin. Like any good “badger dog” — the literal meaning of “dachshund” – she jumped into the water to give that dolphin a piece of her mind. Fortunately, neither canine nor dolphin was the worse for wear.
Herding goats, herding dolphins
The Huffington Post reports that Gracie’s owner, Tina Calderin, said her dog likes to chase and herd the family goats, and that the little doxie was trying to either herd the dolphin or play with the sea creature. Since the dolphin and the dog are the same shade, Calderin theorized that Gracie may have thought the dolphin was a member of her species
Long, low and brave
Doxies are the thirteenth most popular breed in America, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). Even people not that familiar with dog breeds are likely to recognize the long, low “wiener dog.” What they may not know is that inside this relatively small and slightly comical-looking canine beats the heart of a brave hunter. In their native Germany, these dogs were bred not only to take on vicious badgers, but to hunt wild boar. What’s a dolphin compared to that? The Dachshund Club of America’s breed standard for the showring notes, “Inasmuch as the Dachshund is a hunting dog, scars from honorable wounds shall not be considered a fault.”
Standard and miniature
Dachshunds appear in two sizes: standard and miniature. The breed standard is the same for both varieties, with size being the only difference. Doxies weighing less than 11 pounds past the age of one year are considered miniatures, while those weighing over 11 pounds are standard.
Coat and colors
Dachshunds come in three distinct types of coats:
Smooth coat — single coated and short-haired
Wirehaired — except for the ears, jaw and eyebrows, the entire body is covered with a tight, rough, thick outer coat and a softer undercoat. These doxies sport eyebrows and a beard.
Long-haired — the coat is longer only on the neck, ears, chest and abdomen, and behind the legs.
Doxie coats appear in one and two shades. Solid-colored coats are red or cream, while two-tone coats include black, chocolate, fawn and gray base coats with cream or tan markings. These markings, or points, appear:
- Over the eyes
- Under the jaw
- On the paws
- Behind and inside the front legs
- On the inner ear edge
- Around the anus
- On up to one-half of the tail’s under side.
There’s also a doxie color called “wild boar,” which only appears in wirehaired dogs. It’s a blend of black, gold and brown hair on the body, along with tan points. Since Gracie is “dolphin-colored,” she’s likely a gray doxie.
If there’s a quality known as doxietude, Gracie certainly embodies it. The AKC refers to the dachshund personality as “curious, friendly and spunky,” and dachshund lovers know that last adjective is especially noteworthy. It’s spunk that makes a doxie take on a badger, boar or dog five times his size — and the occasional dolphin. If you share life with a doxie, sometimes you’ll have to protect him from his own audacity. The breed standard states that “any appearance of shyness is a serious fault.” Some doxies take this to the extreme.
Fun with doxies
Dachshunds make loyal family pets, and they’re excellent watchdogs. They usually get along with other dogs, but cats are often a different story. For many doxies, kitties are just another prey animal, like a rabbit or squirrel. They’re smart dogs and somewhat independent. Although your doxie enjoys long walks and spending time with you, there are other canine activities that are right up his alley. If you want to have real fun with your dachshund, consider these:
Field trials — these trials allow dachshunds to use their hound heritage to track, but not kill, rabbits.
Racing — wiener dog races are fun for dogs, owners and spectators. While the winner is the dog who reaches the finish line first, that can take a while, even though the races are only between 25 and 50 yards long. Doxies like to socialize, sniff other participants and generally care little about going faster than another dachshund.
Perhaps Gracie will help start a new doxie sport — dolphin chasing.
Jane Meggitt graduated from New York University and worked as a staff writer for a major New Jersey newspaper chain. Her work on pets, equines and health have appeared in dozens of publications, including The Daily Puppy, The Nest Pets, Horse News, Hoof Beats and Horseback magazines