"I'd love to be an Oscar Meyer wiener; that is what I'd truly like to be, for if I were an Oscar Meyer wiener, everyone would be in love with me." If you're of a certain age, you're bound to recall that jingle. Whether you're fond of hot dogs or not, it's likely a smile forms on your face when you see the wiener dog, better known as the dachshund. These brave little dogs have that effect on people.
They are indeed brave. Dachshunds go by lots of nicknames, but dachshund means "badger dog." Badgers are vicious animals, but they aren't a match for a doxie in full hunting mode. Although dachshunds still possess a strong hunting instinct, they are now more often companion animals, and there are lots of types from which to choose.
Standard and miniature
Doxies come in two sizes: Standard and miniature. The American Kennel Club standard for the larger size decrees a dog weighing between 16-and-32 pounds at maturity, while the miniature cannot weigh more than 11 pounds once it has passed the first birthday. There is no height limit for either type, but doxies are famously low to the ground. Other than size, standard and miniature dachshunds are much the same in appearance.
The three coats
Doxies are found with three distinct coat varieties. The short, smooth coat is probably the best-known, but the breed may also sport a wirehaired or longhaired type. Canna-Pet notes that the wirehaired variety likely resulted from crossing the original dachshund with a wirehaired terrier. Because the doxie was bred as a hunting dog, this rougher coat offered additional protection while out in the field.
The wirehaired dachshund sports facial hair, much like terrier breeds. There is a rough outer coat with a softer undercoat. The longhaired doxie also came about as a cross with other hunting breeds, most notably spaniels. The result is straight or somewhat wavy hair that is long on the abdomen, the rear of the legs, the neck, and those hound-like dachshund ears.
Although red and black-and-tan are the most common doxie colors, they are just the tip of the wiener dog color palette. The breed standard allows for a single color cream coat, and double shades of black, chocolate, gray, fawn, and "wild boar," the latter of which is only found on wirehaired doxies and is a mix of black, gold, and brown hairs. Double-colored doxies have points of tan or cream markings over the eyes, on both sides of the jaw, the inner ear, the breast, behind and inside the front legs, the paws, and the anus. One-third to half of the tail also consists of these lighter shades.
Doxie coats may appear in four specific patterns. Merle, also known as dapple, is a lighter pattern contrasting with the dog's darker base coat. Brindle occurs when dark stripes are present over the entire body, although in some dogs brindling is only visible in their tan points. Sable dachshunds possess a red base coat with a "uniform dark overlay," as per the AKC. The piebald pattern is that of white spots over another primary coat color.
Official versus unofficial
The AKC standard doesn't permit doxies of certain shades or markings to appear in the show ring. The standard points out that pure white dachshunds are disqualified, as are most colors other than piebald with any amount of white other than a small spot on the chest. The same holds true for doxies with blue eyes. These animals exist, and make good pets, but are not recognized by the AKC.