Size of a Standard Dachshund – interesting European discussions

I am grateful to Minna Hagan, Secretary of ECDA, for providing this translation of an article recently published in a Finnish Dachshund Club Newsletter.

Size of standard Dachshund

Recently there has been a lot of discussion about the size restriction for Dachshunds. Both the German Dachshund Association as well as Welt Union Teckle has been involved in the discussions. One point that everyone agrees on is that changing the breed standard will be a long process.

Every FCI country adheres to the same German standard and all judges are expected to measure all miniature dachshunds. According to the German breed standard judges are allowed to give adult miniatures 2cm leeway which does not affect the quality grade. A fully grown up adult miniature dachshund can therefore be 2cm larger than the breed standard. A standard dachshund is allowed to be 1kg heavier than the breed standard, i.e. a fully grown adult that weighs 10kg is considered to be within the breed standard.

According to Perttu Stahlberg, member of the Finnish DBC, this means that the highest possible award for a standard dachshund that weighs over 10kg is “Very Good”.  All though in reality this is different and same dog can be awarded “Very Good” or ”Excellent” due to the differences in the way dogs are perceived.

According to Perttu Stahlberg especially in Scandinavia the measuring tape is pulled much tighter than e.g. in mainland Europe, this would count for 1-2 cm difference in the circumference of a miniature dachshund.  Perttu also adds that when it comes to grading standard dachshunds the lack of scales and therefore deciding whether a dog is too heavy or oversized comes down to hands on experience as well as the visual impression.

This is a distinct inequality compared to miniatures which require to be measured, because the weight cannot be verified.  This can lead to larger/heavier dogs being found more acceptable as well as being awarded excellent award in the show ring.

Mr Stahlberg is of opinion that the increase in the size is a problem only with the standards. Due to the three size variations the miniatures are able to swap breed depending on the measurement. The standard variety of dachshund does contain quite a few large specimens and the common impression is that the dachshunds are larger especially in Scandinavia.

When it comes down to a working breed, the size is important. Too large of a dog is not fit for the original function of a dachshund concludes Mr Stahlberg.

Changes in the air

The size of standard dachshunds has triggered diatribe of discussion within the dachshund associations around the world.

The German Dachshund Breed Association e.g. has made a decision to support the changes for the breed standard around the size. One of the suggestions is that a different size limit would be applied to dogs and bitches, i.e. dogs would be allowed to be larger than bitches. On top of this it has been suggested that the weight limit would be scrapped and standards would be measured, max size would be 48 cm.

These changes to the standard sized variety are mainly due as weighing is not practically feasible in all shows and therefor the judges do not have a clear method to prove the size, explains Stahlberg.

The German proposal was also discussed in the Welt Union Teckle meeting but majority of the WUT member countries opposed the proposal.

According to Stahlberg the opposition argument was down to the inaccuracies in the method of establishing the results. The other argument was that some dogs could fit the agreed max 48cms due to miss developed ribcage. Stahlberg’s own proposal was to include both, weighing and measuring. He emphasises that the will for changes is there and the time is now right due to the pressure from breed organisations.

There are as many opinions as there are member countries, the only thing that is certain is that in the end Germany will decide what the breed standard will say.

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