Conformation and health

The conformation of the Dachshund needs to be understood in context in order to assess any risks of exaggeration.  The short-leg gene is a naturally occurring modification to the genetic make-up of the dog which appeared about ten thousand years ago.   Short legs particularly suited these dogs for certain types of hunting and the Dachshund breeds evolved from them.

Read our article "Why Dachshunds are the shape they are".

Those of us who live with Dachshunds know that they are generally healthy, long-lived and active dogs who, despite their conformation, will happily take as much exercise as their owner is willing to give them.  As a breed community we keep the health status of the breed under constant surveillance and we are committed to taking action, on the basis of evidence, to ensure the breed's health is not compromised as a consequence of exaggeration. 

The show ring should be a place where we are proud to demonstrate how fit, healthy and temperamentally sound they are and "Fit for Function".  We have produced a guide for judges which should be read in conjunction with the Breed Standard to explain what they should expect to find when examining a healthy Dachshund in the show ring.  It's very simple...

  • They should be good tempered – we don't want nervous or aggressive dogs
  • Height at the withers should be half the length of the body, measured from breastbone to rear of thigh – we don't want excessive length
  • Enough ground clearance to allow free movement – we don't want excessively deep chests or short legs

Neither the Breed Council, nor the Kennel Club, expects judges to apply the knowledge or level of diagnosis that a vet would be capable of.  We do expect judges to be knowledgeable about the anatomy and sound movement of the Dachshund and, as experienced dog owners, to be able to recognise potential health and welfare issues in the ring AND ACT ACCORDINGLY.

As a judge, you will have the full support of the Dachshund Breed Council and Kennel Club when you act to protect the health and welfare of the Dachshund.

Dr. Ron James presented "The role of Judges and Exhibitors" at our 2012 Breed Conference.

See also: Colour and Health