Word of the Week: Wackeldackel | Culture | Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 21.09.2015

Visit the new DW website

Take a look at the beta version of dw.com. We're not done yet! Your opinion can help us make it better.

  1. Inhalt
  2. Navigation
  3. Weitere Inhalte
  4. Metanavigation
  5. Suche
  6. Choose from 30 Languages
Advertisement

Culture

Word of the Week: Wackeldackel

What's that little dog doing in your car window? German has a quirky word for it.

Listen to audio 00:01

Listen to the word

You have probably seen them before - small dolls with wobbly, oversized heads attached to a spring, so that their heads bobble with every light tap. In the United States they are called bobbleheads and they often depict a famous baseball or football player and you might just find them in your McDonald's Happy Meal.

But in Germany these bobblehead dolls go by the name of Wackeldackel, which translates to "wobbling dachshund." Why? Because they are literally little wobbling dachshund toys.

Created in the 1970s as an accessory for German cars, Wackeldackel are short-legged, long-bodied bobbing dachshund toys that usually sit in the rear window of a car and wobble their heads with every bump on the road.

Wackeldackel celebrated their comeback in the late 1990s when the gas station Aral used a Wackeldackel in an advertising spot leading to more than 500,000 of the bouncing dogs to being sold within eight months.

These days you can also use the word Wackeldackel as a metaphor for a person who always agrees with their superior and dutifully nods their head to whatever the boss says.

DW recommends

WWW links

Audios and videos on the topic