By Fiona Douglas
In my early years as a pet dachshund breeder I was ‘enthusiastically’ approached by some show breeders who were aghast that I was not abiding by the various show standards for the miniature dachshund. Why, didn’t I know that there are different show rule books for America, England and Australia? That different colours and patterns are and aren’t allowed in different countries? Feathers were ruffled – and probably still are – that I had the temerity to cross these various nationalities to each other.
My reasoning was, and still is, to bring hybrid vigour and health to the breed by widening the gene pool. By my way of thinking, a show rule book counts for squat and dog health and temperament are what truly matter. My aim is to breed healthy happy pets who will hopefully enjoy a long, loving life with their human families. Plus they are good looking too!
I remain puzzled to this day by this veneration of show rule book breeding over the breeding of sound family pets. Particularly when you consider the vagaries of the show ring; what is taboo today was a prize winning trait in times past.
To illustrate this point, take a look at the images below of dachshunds from 100 to 120 years ago (1880-1910), many of them prize winners in the show ring.
Rule books, judge’s opinions and fashions change. Sound breeding does not.
I am lucky enough to have collected all the images you see below original to the day. Mostly they come from books of that time. Postcards were popular too.
Click on each image to read the caption.