Mini Smooth Dachshunds feature in Kennel Gazette (Oct. 2016)

ms-kc-gazetteThis month’s Kennel Gazette has Miniature Smooth Dachshunds as their featured breed.

There are some great photos of Minis “at play” as well as “show pose” pictures for the Judges’ Choice section where respected judges select their top 3 dogs.

I wrote the following piece as an introduction to the feature:

The origins of the Dachshund can be traced back to working dogs that could go to ground after badgers, foxes and, in the case of Miniatures, rabbits. Miniature Smooth Dachshunds are very popular as pets and make loyal companions. We have seen an enormous rise in registrations; in 2015 they accounted for just under a quarter of the Hound Group.

This increase in popularity has no doubt been fuelled by their frequent appearance in television and press advertising campaigns. Mini Smooths also have a number of celebrity owners and are seen regularly on programmes such as Gogglebox. We worry that a combination of today’s celebrity culture and “must have one now” attitudes are leading to unsuitable owners buying from unsuitable breeders and importers who are driving up prices.

The breed is described as moderately long and low; compact with a well-muscled body; bold, defiant carriage of head and intelligent expression. In 2008 we amended the Breed Standard to define the expected ratio of length to height, making it clear that adequate ground clearance is required to ensure dogs are fit for function. Eight years on and some judges still do not seem to have grasped the importance of these requirements and we see too many awards given to dogs with exaggerated length and chests/keels that barely have any daylight under them.

Under BreedWatch, Mini Smooth judges should report any concerns about body condition. Education programmes run by the Dachshund Clubs provide guidance on how judges should interpret and apply the Breed Standard and always stress the importance of weighing Miniatures and assessing their body condition. Judges are now fortunate to have some leeway in assessing the weight of a Miniature, with clear guidance in the Breed Standard on the Ideal Weight (4.5 kg), Desired Maximum Weight (5.0 kg) and Body Condition. Countless breeders have shown, over decades, that it is perfectly possible to breed fit, healthy and typical Miniatures that do not exceed 5 kg.

Although not a current BreedWatch Point of Concern, during 2015 some judges reported “Weak Hindquarters”. Mini Smooths should have a long stride with the drive coming from the hindquarters when viewed from the side. Viewed from behind, the legs and feet should move parallel to each other.

The breed generally suffers few health problems providing they are kept well exercised and fed a healthy, balanced diet. DNA testing for cord1 PRA has helped ensure there are very few cases of blindness from this genetic mutation. On average, they live to 12 years old and it is not unusual for them to live well beyond 15.

As a dwarf breed, they have an increased risk of back problems (IVDD). Research by the RVC in 2013 suggested that exaggerated length and lack of height also contributed to an increased risk of IVDD. We recommend that puppy buyers ask about any history of back problems and avoid buying puppies from parents with exaggerated length of body or excessively short legs.

It’s easy to see how the breed has become so popular; they may be small dogs, but they have huge personalities and they are most definitely hounds (with a hint of terrier determination), not lapdogs or toys!

You can buy a single copy of the Gazette here.

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