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Friday, October 3, 2008

Small Game Hunting Test for Dachshunds

In Europe the dachshund is valued for its hunting versatility, and is considered the smallest versatile hunting dog. In his psychological makeup the dachshund combines traits of a hound and terrier. He has an excellent nose and a strong drive to work the scent line. He is game aggressive, goes to the ground and is a superb choice for hunting foxes, badgers and, here in the States, woodchucks. Unlike the terrier though, the dachshund is supposed to open on the scent of live game, and open trailing is one of the hunting dachshund’s quintessential traits. Because of his small size the can penetrate brush and can be used for flushing. Of course, the dachshund can be also a very good tracker of wounded big game. And some dachshunds are competent waterfowl retrievers.

In the USA there is only one club that promotes dachshund’s hunting versatility according to the European tradition, and it is the North American Teckel Club. On September 26, the club held a Small Game Hunter Test at the Pocono Beagle Club in Leesport, PA. First the participating dogs were tested for gun-steadiness. A dog is supposed to hunt away from the handler and when the distance between the handler and dog is around 50 yards, two shots are fired. Judges observe the dog’s reaction. If a dog is sensitive to the gun sound, he will get another chance to take the test 30 minutes later. According to club regulations, a dog has to pass this test to be eligible to enter any other NATC field test. On September 26, almost all tested dachshunds passed the test, including our 7.5 moth old Joeri.

Cheri Faust shown here while firing the gun.

Susie Gardner with Greta and John with Joeri are waiting for their turn at the site of the gun-steadiness test.

The Small Game Test has two levels and this time only the first level test was conducted. It requires that the dog trails the rabbit flushed for him by the beaters for at least 50 yards. The dog is expected to give voice on a scent line, and the dog must be obedient to his handler. Basically the dog’s performance should be on the level that would be useful in the real hunting of small game. It is a pass/fail test, and dogs that pass it get the title of “Novice Hunter”.

John and I enetered three dachhunds and they all passed – Joeri vom Nonnenschlag, Asta von Moosbach-Zuzelek (“Emma”) and Darin von Moosbach-Zuzelek (“Bernie”). Greta (Melodie von Moosbach-Zuzelek) owned by Susie Gardner passed the test with flying colors as well. To hear dachshunds open on rabbits has always been a thrill for me. You can read more about voicing dachshunds at

Our 7.5 moth old Joeri passed successfuly the Small Game Hunting Test and received the Novice Hunter title.

Cheri Faust's Danika vom Nordlicht passed the Small Game Hunting Test as well.

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