Wire-haired dachshunds, like their smooth-haired counterparts, have a reputation for being brave, mischievous dogs. The breed has a history going back centuries, but the wire-haired coat was the last to be developed.
History of the Breed
As you might guess from its name, the dachshund breed was developed in Germany. "Dachs" is the German word for badger, so a dachshund is literally a badger hound. From the early 18th century, these dogs were bred in Germany for the specific purpose of hunting badgers above and below ground. Early German dachshunds weighed as much as 30 to 40 pounds, but their weight was reduced through breeding in the U.S. and U.K. over the course of the 19th century.
The original dachshunds were short-haired dogs -- their smooth coats allowed them to hunt in burrows without getting their fur caught or dirty. As dachshunds began to be bred as pets rather than hunting dogs, long-haired dachsies developed either through selective breeding of dogs with naturally longer fur, or through interbreeding with spaniels. The wire-haired dachshund developed after the smooth and long-haired varieties, first appearing in the latter 19th century. The wiry coat texture may have come about through interbreeding between dachshunds and wire-haired dogs such as a terrier or a pinscher.
Dachshunds in America
Dachshunds were introduced to the United States in 1887 and became increasingly popular as pet or show dogs. By 1914, dachsies were among the top ten breeds shown at the Westminster Kennel Club. However, the First World War and Second World War diminished the dachshund's popularity -- the breed was strongly associated with Germany and the dog was often used by political cartoonists to represent the German wartime enemy. From 1950 through the present day, the dachshund regained its place as one of the most popular pet dogs in the United States.
Sizes and Wire-Hair Coat Colors
The wire-haired dachshund continued to get generally smaller through breeding as a pet dog. In the U.S., standard size dogs are those between 16 and 32 lbs. at adult size -- adult dogs weighing up to 11 lbs. are considered miniatures. Dogs between 11 and 16 pounds are called tweenie dachshunds. Wire-haired dachshunds can come in any of these sizes, as well as a wide range of colors. Some of the most popular coat colors of wire-haired dachshunds are red, black and tan or wild boar.
Jae Allen has been a writer since 1999, with articles published in "The Hub," "Innocent Words" and "Rhythm." She has worked as a medical writer, paralegal, veterinary assistant, stage manager, session musician, ghostwriter and university professor. Allen specializes in travel, health/fitness, animals and other topics.