The dachshund gets its name from the Germans for "badger dog." This is because the dog was adept at hunting badgers and digging the badger out of its burrows, then fighting ferociously against the creatures. Dachshunds are a popular breed, frequently placing in the top five breeds.
Evidence of dachshunds appears going back thousands of years in art depicted on tombs and rocks in areas such as China, South America and Egypt. While these drawings are not definitively linked to the breed, the build is similar enough to theorize that dachshunds may have been around far sooner than the early 14th century in Europe.
While a type of dachshund or ancestor of dachshunds appeared in ancient Egyptian art, the origins of the modern dachshunds appear in medieval accounts in Europe. Dachshunds were bred for their build to hunt and fight badgers particularly, as these were considered pests by landowners. They were sturdy, tenacious and capable of tracking prey and entering the burrows with their smaller build and short legs. They also needed a loud bark to give hunters a clear sound to follow.
Dachshunds may take their name for their intended purpose to fight badgers, but they were also used to hunt rabbits and foxes, and in packs to hunt deer or boar. These dogs were noted for their ability to track prey through thick undergrowth or underground burrows and then to fight ferociously. They were considered a hunter along the lines of hounds, yet possessed the size and temperament of a terrier.
Dachshunds are recorded as first arriving in Great Britain in 1840. Prince Edward of Saxe-Weimar gave the Prince Consort a gift of some smooth haired dachshunds. Queen Victoria's interest in the dog boosted the popularity of the dachshund. The arrival of the breed in America took place in 1870 and by 1895 the Dachshund Club of America was established.