Confirmation and Structure

Standard of the Dachshund

General Appearance: Low to ground, long in body and short of leg, with robust muscular
development; the skin is elastic and pliable without excessive wrinkling. Appearing neither
crippled, awkward, nor cramped in his capacity for movement, the Dachshund is well-balanced
with bold and confident head carriage and intelligent, alert facial expression. His hunting spirit,
good nose, loud tongue and distinctive build make him well-suited for below-ground work and
for beating the bush. His keen nose gives him an advantage over most other breeds for trailing.
NOTE: Inasmuch as the Dachshund is a hunting dog, scars from honorable wounds shall not be
considered a fault.

Head: Viewed from above or from the side, the head tapers uniformly to the tip of the nose. The
eyes are of medium size, almond-shaped and dark-rimmed, with an energetic, pleasant
expression; not piercing; very dark in color. The bridge bones over the eyes are strongly
prominent. Wall eyes, except in the case of dappled dogs, are a serious fault. The ears are set
near the top of the head, not too far forward, of moderate length, rounded, not narrow, pointed,
or folded. Their carriage, when animated, is with the forward edge just touching the cheek so that
the ears frame the face. The skull is slightly arched, neither too broad nor too narrow, and slopes
gradually with little perceptible stop into the finely-formed, slightly arched muzzle, giving a
Roman appearance. Lips are tightly stretched, well covering the lower jaw. Nostrils well open.
Jaws opening wide and hinged well back of the eyes, with strongly developed bones and teeth.
Teeth – Powerful canine teeth; teeth fit closely together in a scissors bite. An even bite is a minor
fault. Any other deviation is a serious fault.

Neck: Long, muscular, clean-cut, without dewlap, slightly arched in the nape, flowing gracefully
into the shoulders without creating the impression of a right angle.

Trunk: The trunk is long and fully muscled. When viewed in profile, the back lies in the
straightest possible line between the withers and the short, very slightly arched loin. A body that
hangs loosely between the shoulders is a serious fault. Abdomen – Slightly drawn up.

Forequarters: For effective underground work, the front must be strong, deep, long and cleanly
muscled. Forequarters in detail: Chest – The breast-bone is strongly prominent in front so that on
either side a depression or dimple appears. When viewed from the front, the thorax appears oval
and extends downward to the mid-point of the forearm. The enclosing structure of the well
sprung ribs appears full and oval to allow, by its ample capacity, complete development of heart
and lungs. The keel merges gradually into the line of the abdomen and extends well beyond the
front legs. Viewed in profile, the lowest point of the breast line is covered by the front leg.
Shoulder blades – long, broad, well-laid back and firmly placed upon the fully developed thorax,
closely fitted at the withers, furnished with hard yet pliable muscles. Upper Arm – Ideally the
same length as the shoulder blade and at right angles to the latter, strong of bone and hard of
muscle, lying close to the ribs, with elbows close to the body, yet capable of free movement.

Forearm – Short; supplied with hard yet pliable muscles on the front and outside, with tightly
stretched tendons on the inside and at the back, slightly curved inwards. The joints between the
forearms and the feet (wrists) are closer together than the shoulder joints, so that the front does
not appear absolutely straight. The inclined shoulder blades, upper arms and curved forearms
form parentheses that enclose the ribcage, creating the correct “wraparound front.” Knuckling
over is a disqualifying fault. Feet – Front paws are full, tight, compact, with well-arched toes and
tough, thick pads. They may be equally inclined a trifle outward. There are five toes, four in use,
close together with a pronounced arch and strong, short nails. Front dewclaws may be removed.

Hindquarters: Strong and cleanly muscled. The pelvis, the thigh, the second thigh, and the rear
pastern are ideally the same length and give the appearance of a series of right angles. From the
rear, the thighs are strong and powerful. The legs turn neither in nor out. Rear pasterns – Short
and strong, perpendicular to the second thigh bone. When viewed from behind, they are upright
and parallel. Feet – Hind Paws – Smaller than the front paws with four compactly closed and
arched toes with tough, thick pads. The entire foot points straight ahead and is balanced equally
on the ball and not merely on the toes. Rear dewclaws should be removed. Croup – Long,
rounded and full, sinking slightly toward the tail. Tail – Set in continuation of the spine,
extending without kinks, twists, or pronounced curvature, and not carried too gaily. Gait: Fluid
and smooth. Forelegs reach well forward, without much lift, in unison with the driving action of
hind legs. The correct shoulder assembly and well-fitted elbows allow the long, free stride in
front. Viewed from the front, the legs do not move in exact parallel planes, but incline slightly
inward. Hind legs drive on a line with the forelegs, with hock joints and rear pasterns
(metatarsus) turning neither in nor out. The propulsion of the hind leg depends on the dog’s
ability to carry the hind leg to complete extension. Viewed in profile, the forward reach of the
hind leg equals the rear extension. The thrust of correct movement is seen when the rear pads are
clearly exposed during rear extension. Rear feet do not reach upward toward the abdomen and
there is no appearance of walking on the rear pasterns. Feet must travel parallel to the line of
motion with no tendency to swing out, cross over, or interfere with each other. Short, choppy
movement, rolling or high-stepping gait, close or overly wide coming or going are incorrect. The
Dachshund must have agility, freedom of movement, and endurance to do the work for which he
was developed.

Temperament: The Dachshund is clever, lively and courageous to the point of rashness,
persevering in above- and below-ground work, with all the senses well-developed. Any display
of shyness is a serious fault.

Coat Varieties: The Dachshund is bred with three
varieties of coat: (1) Smooth; (2) Wirehaired; (3) Longhaired

There is also a fourth coat type not accepted by the AKC that occurs when wire and a long hair are bred together. This coat commonly referred to as silky or soft wire resembles something akin to Benji. While loveably cute this coat type does require more intensive care than the other three types.

Sizes: The two AKC accepted sizes are Miniature (11 pounds and under at 12
months of age and older) and Standard (between 16 and 32 pounds). This leaves a gap between 12-16 lbs which is commonly referred to as tweeny size by breeders.

It is our personal experience that dogs under 10 lbs tend to have more chihuahua type temperament (yippy and nippy), and conformation (more bulgy eyes and shorter backs) even when purebred. If you are looking for a calm yet active family dog or hiking buddy our suggestion is between 10-14 lb range. This is the range in which most our pups mature.

For more information on Dachshund colors, and markings feel free to visit our Colors/Patterns page as well.

The “ideal dog” is one that will not exist in real life, but as breeders we try to come as close as possible to achieving that ideal….along with the other factors we consider including health, temperament, and personality.

The following pictures provide an illustrated look to help you learn to interpret the AKC/DCA dachshund standard as described/pictured in “Sayer’s Illustrated Standard of Points” (1939) The copyright for these images is owned by the UK Dachshund Club.

Figure 1: the ideal head and skull. Eyes should be dark (except in chocolates) and oval. Round eyes are a fault.
Figure 2: excessively pronounced stop, low set and folded ears.
Figure 3: short, snipy jaw, with high-set ears.
… Figure 4: ideal head, seen from above, with the jaw tapering uniformly to the nose.
Figure 5: faulty jaw, pinched in between the eyes and nose.
Figure 6: shows dewlap (baggy skin under the neck). The skin should fit closely all over the body.

Figure 7: correct

Figure 7: correct “Scissor” bite, with closely fitting top and bottom canine teeth. Any deviation from this is a fault.
Figure 8: incorrect “overshot” jaw which is more common than…
Figure 9: incorrect “undershot” jaw
… Figure 10: shows a “pincer” bite where both upper and lower teeth meet exactly edge to edge. This too is incorrect
There should be 22 lower teeth and 20 upper teeth. Number and alignment should both be examined by judges
There should be 6 incisors in each jaw (Faults: missing incisors – typically one missing, but occasionally two missing. Judges should check these.)

Figure 11: shows the ideal profile view of the forequarters; the dotted line indicates the extent of the breastbone. The point of the breastbone should be prominent and high up.
Figure 12: shows the correct shape and length of the breastbone. It should form a graceful curve down through the forelegs and well back towards the abdomen. There are 9 full ribs and 4 floating ribs on each side.
Figure …13: shows the ideal front view of the forequarters. The chest should be very oval and comparatively broad. The legs are close fitting to the ribcage down to the wrists. Below the wrists, the legs are straight and well apart. The feet may be turned slightly outwards or quite straight.
Figure 14: shows a chest that is too narrow (“chicken-breast”). The forelegs are too close together at the wrists and the feet are splayed out (“10 to 2”).
Figure 15: shows a breastbone that starts too low and is not prominent. It is short and comes down to a point behind the legs
Figure 16: is an even more exaggerated example of a faulty breastbone and forechest.
Note that a very deep chest is a fault as insufficient ground clearance will restrict the dog’s movement and ability to do a day’s work. At its lowest point (between the forelegs) it should be no lower than the wrist (knee). Low to ground means lowness from the withers, not lack of ground clearance.

Figure 17: shows the correct angulation of the shoulders and upper arm (set at 90 degrees). The correct form can be gauged by the width between the point of the breastbone and the back of the shoulder (as shown by the dotted lines).
Figure 18: shows the shoulder blade too steep and the upper arm joined at an angle greater than 90 degrees. Note also the less prominent forechest (“flat front”) which… often accompanies upright shoulders; and the forelegs that are placed too far forward. The dotted lines also highlight the lack of width between the point of the breastbone and the top of the shoulder.
Figure 19: shows further exaggeration, leading to knuckling over of the forelegs.
Figure 20: seen from the front, upright shoulders may, in bad cases, also cause the elbows to stand out from the ribs. The body should not hang loosely between the legs.

Figures 21, 21a and 21b: show the correct form of the feet. Forefeet should be large, round and close-knit, with firm pads and a distinct arch to each toe. There are 5 toes, but only four in use. The skin on the forelegs should not be wrinkled. The feet may be turned slightly outwards or quite straight.
Figures 22 and 22a: show an incorrect, long, narrow foot (“hare foot”). A small, round “terrier foot” is also incorrect.

Figure 23: shows the ideal outline. The line of the back from withers to rump should be level. The body should be long and muscular. Too short a body gives a “cloddy” appearance. The underline should not be “tucked up” to the abdomen (like a Greyhound). One head length equals neck length; tail length, and body depth. And, three head lengths equal length of the body from breastbone to hock.
Figure 24: shows a hollow back (sometimes known as “soft in back”).
Figure 25: shows hindquarters higher than the shoulders.
Figure 26: shows a roach back, where the back is arched between the withers and the rump.

Figure 27: shows the long pelvis, with the upper thigh set on at a right angle to it. The lower thigh (shinbone) is of such length that the hock joint stands just clear of the back of the thigh. The foot bones stand vertically, up to the hock joint. The correct angulation can be gauged by the width shown by the dotted lines.
Figure 28: shows the correct hindquarters from behind, with good width. T…he hind legs are lighter in bone and the feet are smaller than the front ones.
Figure 29: shows a short pelvis and upper thigh set at an angle greater than 90 degrees. The lower thighbone is also too short. The back of the thigh overhangs the hock in this case. The dotted lines show the narrowness of this construction. This will result in cramped movement.
Figure 30: shows the same angulation, but with a more normal length of lower thigh, resulting in the hocks projecting too far behind the thigh.
Figure 31: shows narrow hindquarters, with the legs too close together and the feet turned outwards.
Figure 32: shows the pelvis bone set too sloping and with a long lower thigh and long foot bones, resulting in a “sickle-hock”. Note also, the low-set tail.
Figure 33: shows “cow hocks”, with the hock joints close together.
Figure 34: shows “bandy hocks”, with the feet turned inwards.

The Logic of Dachshund Structure
by Laurence Alden Horswell
as printed in The Pet Dachshund, 1958 edition
Functional design –

Badger earths were not air-conditioned. As oxygen was reduced by repeated breathing, it became necessary to breathe a larger volume of the depleted air to support maximum exertion. Lungs extend back as far as the soft ribs, which help the diaphragm act as a bellows: the oval cross-section of the chest provide liberal room for the lungs and heart without extending the shoulder structure to excessive width. The longer the rib-cage, the more air could be processed; and a long rib-cage also helps support the long back, resembling in design, box girders under the southern approach to the N.Y., N.H. & H.R.R. Hell Gate bridge.

To move this long body freely through badger setts, it was necessary for the legs to fold to a minimum length. Anyone experimenting with a carpenter’s rule can convince himself that three sections of equal length can fold shorter, and extend longer than any comparable sections of unequal lengths. In the forequarters, the shoulder blade, upper arm, and forearm (elbow to wrist) do this folding. In the hindquarters, the thigh and shin bones and the ‘bone’ from hock joint to foot, are so folded in crawling through a burrow or under a bureau. Fully extended at a gallop, these same short Dachshund legs can cover an unexpected amount of ground.

Horswell’s sketch of the Dachshund running full out and in a burrow

When wild animals digging their tunnels encountered a rock or a large root, they dug around or over it, leaving a constriction. If an eager dachshund forced its chest past such an obstruction and had to back up to get clear, it becomes important that the breastbone of the after chest have the same gradual sled-runner up-curve as the forechest; like a shoehorn to ease the chest over the obstruction in either direction. A cut-up (chicken-breasted) afterchest could be ‘hung’ over such an obstacle as though by an anchor fluke. A properly constructed dachshund, with forelegs at the deepest point of the hammock-shaped keel can crawl through a tunnel which just clears its depth from keel to withers, equally able to move its legs ahead or back. Turned-out ‘digging’ front feet (once said to ‘throw dirt to the sides’ where there is no room for it in a tunnel) have been replaced by snug arched feet with forward alignment. Too heavy a chest, or too coarse bone are as much of a handicap as underdevelopment. A properly proportioned dachshund suggests the symmetrical build and lithe agility of the middle-weight boxing champion.

A long head provides suitable accommodation for the organs for keen scenting ability; and for strong jaws and teeth of maximum effectiveness, with scissor fit of incisors, interlocking fangs, and shearing capacity of molars. Eyes are protected by a deep setting, and well-developed surrounding bone structure. Ears set on high and well back can be drawn up over the neck out of harm’s way, like small braided pigtails. A neck of good length serves the thrusting and parrying purposes of a fencer’s nimble wrist. Even a tail of good size and length, in continuation of the spine, has been used by a hunter’s long arm forcibly to rescue many a dachshund from places of great tightness.

Further to adapt it to work in constricted space, a dachshund whose skin was elastic enough to stretch and slip like a loose glove, had an advantage. But as soon as released the skin should snap back to a slick fit, like the modern two-way stretch foundation garment; for a wrinkle of loose skin, by folding over, could (like a clutch) grip a dog in tight quarters. Loose skin around head and throat could be grasped or torn by an adversary with dangerous loss of blood; skin hanging around the ankles, like wrinkled socks, is also undesirable.

To avoid fatigue, straight legs, viewed from front or rear with gait parallel like locomotive side-rods make efficient use of muscular energy. Viewed from the side, front- and hind-leg action suggesting a broad capital ‘A’, expends this energy on desirable reach and thrust walking or trotting with surprising, apparently effortless speed, and split-second rocket-like ‘low gear’ getaway. The ninety-degree upper-arm to shoulder-blade angulation (each forty-five degrees from the vertical) provides ‘shock-absorber’ action, running or jumping. A fair clearance under the breastbone is needed, as under an automobile crankcase, to clear rough ground, or the treads of a staircase. Pawing the air, like the goose-step, under chin or belly, or throwing feet in or out waste energy and are undesirable. So are ‘dancing’ or ‘weaving’ gaits, or short stilted steps, or too many other variations from the correct gait above to be pictured. The back should stay level in motion, neither roach, sag or bounce.