Dachshunds Barking Up Wrong Tree in Germany | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 10.03.2007
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Dachshunds Barking Up Wrong Tree in Germany

Nearly as closely connected with Germany as beer and sausages, the dachshund is a national emblem on the decline, but experts say there is hardly a danger of the "sausage dog" being woofed out soon.

There are fewer of these sweet little things around these days

There are fewer of these sweet little things around these days

The long sausage dog had it better back in 1972, living the high life and being sold by the thousand thanks in no small part to Waldi, the official Munich Olympic Games mascot.

Even after being mentioned in Florian Langenscheidt's 2006 book of 250 reasons to love Germany, the country's dachshunds have moved on to leaner times with just 7,300 being born in 2005 compared to 12,000 in 1996 and a whopping 28,000 pups in 1972.

Dackel Waldi p178

Things have gone downhill for sausage dogs since Waldi left the scene

A drop in whelp rates, however, isn't necessarily a bad thing, according to Dieter Honsalek, president of the World Teckel Union.

He said there is less danger of dubious dealers getting involved in breeding and selling the dogs when they are less popular. The average dachshund currently costs between 500 and 600 euros ($655 and $786).

Honsalek added that it was a dachshund's independence, and sometimes even stubbornness, that convinced him to have 15 of the dogs, careful to point out that not all dachshunds are the same.

Competition from abroad

Heavier dachshunds that can barely keep their stomachs from brushing the ground are members of an American breed and unlike slimmer German dogs that, at nine kilograms (19.8 pounds), weigh in a good five kilos less than their American cousins.

Dackel Hund

Don't let the prince of Denmark see you in there!

In addition to the American breed, the traditional German symbol is also facing competition from Denmark, where Prince Henrik, president of the country's dachshund society, dedicated a poem to royal sausage dog Evita: "I love to pet your fur / And see it fall smooth / You dear, you special dog."

Despite his professed love of the dachshund, which he said he would like to be if ever reincarnated, the dogs may still wish to keep out of Copenhagen for the time being. The prince also announced in May that he loved the taste of dog meat, likening it to slightly dry veal and adding that it tasted best when sauteed or grilled and cut into thin slices.

Birgit Bütter of the German Dog Association, however, said the German dachshund is getting on just fine.

"No one needs to worry about the breed," she said.

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