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Monday, February 23, 2009

The Dachshund as a blood tracker

By John Jeanneney

The standard sized dachshund, at 9 or 10 kilos, is the smallest dog regularly used for tracking wounded big game in North America. In 2009 they are the most widely used dog in the midwest and northeast, where state laws require that the dog be kept on a tracking lead at all times. Most of the dachshunds being used are of the wirehaired coat variety, and the great majority of these are directly descended from European hunting stock. As you can see from the photo they are higher on the leg and shorter in the body than the type of dachshund favored by American and Canadian show judges.

Above - FC Billy von Moosbach-Zuzelek comes from the European hunting stock. He does not have excessive length of the body, and his ground clearance is very functional.

Ch. Raydachs Do Me A Favor SW is a good example of the American show type (longer body, shorter legs) Source:

Dachshunds bred for field work have the stamina and the agility to work long, difficult tracking assignments in rough terrain.

Advantages of the European type dachshund are:

  • It is a small, user-friendly dog that fits well into family life;

  • It is relatively easy to train and develops faster psychologically than some of the larger breeds;

  • Its small size lends itself to easy transport on a pack horse, ATV or bush plane;

  • With training and experience they learn to track individual game animals when there is little or no visible blood. Under normal conditions they are good for scent lines up to 24 hours old on deer and 48 hours on bear.

Disadvantages are:

  • It has insufficient size and power to bay or pull down deer-sized game;

  • Due to small size it loses body heat faster in icy water than larger dogs;

  • Not all wire coated dogs develop the warm double coats that are important for cold weather conditions;

  • They do not make a good outdoor kennel dog. To work well in partnership with the handler, this breed needs considerable personal attention.

There is currently a strong demand for dachshunds as tracking dogs, but they are easier to find and purchase than individuals of the specialized European tracking breeds.


Albert A Rasch said...

I was telling my wife that when the time comes, I want one of these fellows. I also explained that I would need to take two or three weekend courses too. I figure I keep on working her and I'll be able to add a new member to our family!

Albert A Rasch
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
Proud Member of Outdoor Bloggers Summit
Southeast Regional OBS Coordinator

Jolanta Jeanneney said...

It sounds like a good, time-proven strategy!