April 1st 2016: Revisions to the Dachshund Breed Standard

It has become increasingly obvious that the concept of “Fit for Function” has no place in the modern show-ring and therefore it is necessary to amend the Dachshund Breed Standard accordingly.

The following changes will become effective from 1st April 2016. It is anticipated that most judges will have little difficulty in adopting the revisions since, in practice, these are the standards they have been judging to for some years.

Fit for Function was originally promoted by the Kennel Club as a reminder to breeders and exhibitors that dogs (of all breeds) were developed with a specific purpose in mind and that exaggerations in conformation which undermine that purpose were to be avoided.

The proposed revisions emphasise that the main purpose of showing is as a beauty parade and therefore extremes of construction, movement, temperament and grooming are all features to be encouraged. The new mantra will be “more is better” and reflect the fact that the purpose of show dogs is to be show dogs, not some historical relic, loosely connected to the real world.

It is hoped that the revisions will put an end to uninformed debates about “the old Breed Standard” (referring to the pre-2009 Standard) and “the new Breed Standard” so that breeders and judges can simply focus on what is required to win in the show-ring.

Not all clauses in the Dachshund Breed Standard have been revised, so we are only listing those which have been amended, together with updated guidance on their interpretation.

General appearance:

A sausage-shaped dog that is two-dogs long and half a dog high. Long dog

Characteristics:

Essential that functional build reflects the dog’s role, which is to be a pet and companion. The dog requires very little exercise, therefore legs are unimportant. Since the dog will spend most of its time confined to a small space, temperament is also of little importance.

Temperament:

A nervous disposition is to be preferred as this will enable the dog to scuttle round the show-ring like a clockwork toy, giving an impression of great energy.

Forequarters:

S short UAShoulder blades should be upright and clearly running well up into the neck, ideally giving an abrupt right angle into the topline. Upper arm should be short, so that limited reach can be achieved when moving. A correctly placed foreleg should be directly under the middle of the dog’s neck, thus emphasising the upright shoulder placement.

Body:

The body should be very long and very deep. The topline may be either dipping behind the withers or may run in a direct line, downhill to the croup. When stood, the topline should present an angle of 30 degrees to the horizontal (see images below). When viewed from the side there should be virtually no clearance between the bottom of the keel and the ground. The dog is not required to “cover the ground” or to work underground, so any more than a hint of fresh air is to be discouraged.

Sloping toplinesHindquarters:

W over-angulated rearThere should be no muscling over the rump; a dog that is in soft condition will be far better suited to a sedentary lifestyle and will be untroubled by the need for exercise. The lower thigh should be extremely long, with “hocks in the next county”.

Gait/Movement:

When viewed in profile, the front legs should “pitter-patter”, with little extension either forward or under the body. This will allow the dog to be moved extremely quickly on a tight lead, giving the impression of “flashy movement”. The hind legs should be tucked under the body and not extending with drive to the rear. This tummy-tapping appearance will, again, give an impression of great activity and energy when the dog is seen moving in profile.

Coat – Long-haired:

The more profuse the coat, the better. It should not be possible to see the overall shape of the dog. Ideally, the legs should not be evident at all, so that on the move, the overall impression should be one of an animated floor-mop. The KC will be introducing a “Special Hair-dressing” class to enable the practice of extreme grooming to be developed more fully.

Coat – Wire-haired:

As with the long coat, in order to encourage extreme grooming, the whole body should be covered in a profuse, soft coat, with bushy eyebrows and a fluffed-out beard. Hair on the legs should be profuse, so that it can be sculpted and trimmed.

Size:

Miniatures: any size will do. Dogs between 10 and 11 pounds have been known to go to ground and therefore larger sizes are to be preferred as they are less likely to get stuck in a hole.

Standards: a new size will be introduced. “Small donkeys” will be judged on the floor in order to avoid giving exhibitors a hernia when lifting them onto the judging table.

Faults:

Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault. In particular, dogs in hard, muscled, condition that look like they could do a day’s work should be severely penalised.

Implementation of these revisions

The above revisions are to be implemented from 1st April 2016 and will be subject to review on 1st April 2017. It is hoped that, by then, all judges will have had an opportunity to apply the amendments and it will become the norm. Breeders and exhibitors should find little difficulty in adopting this standard and are encouraged to carry on doing what they have always done.

A spokesperson for the Kennel Club said “We were happy to support the proposed revisions because we know that very few people read the Breed Standard, let alone attempt to understand it. We fully expect the changes to make no difference whatsoever”.

In a surprise announcement, the Canine Alliance said it would be calling on the Kennel Club to extend compulsory vet checks to any breed where changes to the Breed Standard were being implemented. A spokesperson said “It is clear that veterinary surgeons see far more dogs than any judge can ever hope to, even in a lifetime of judging. They are therefore far better placed than judges to be the final arbiter of quality at shows. This is particularly important where Breed Standards are being amended, to act as a ‘check and balance’ for the future health and wellbeing of dogs. We call on the KC to implement these additional vet checks with effect from 1st April 2016”.

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