Consider the Dachshund (#315)

Comedian Sarah Cooper started a funny dog thread on Twitter with this tweet:

Thousands of replies told Sarah all about dachshunds. About how they were bred to be small enough to fit into badger holes, but aggressive enough to drag badgers out of them. About how neighborhood and household dachshunds terrorized all other dogs.

Twitter, which never agrees on anything, agreed that dachshunds are assholes.

Even dog breeding groups, which put the best possible spin on all purebreds, concede that dachshunds are “more likely to be aggressive towards both people and dogs,” although the they do not specify more likely than what.

More likely than ANYTHING would be my guess.

My father had a dachshund. When two German shepherds tried to invade their yard, twenty-pound Ziggy Star Dachs attacked them. The German Shepherds fled, tails tucked between their legs.

So when Andy and I packed up our two big rescue dogs and went off to visit Dad, I had concerns. Not about Woofie; he could convince any dog to play with him.

Fey (orange) and Woofie (dark brown).

But Fey? Fey grew up starving on the mean streets of Los Angeles. While she was obedient for humans and would never start a fight, she’d sure as hell finish it–usually by biting an attacking dog’s ear with her sharp, almost serrated teeth.

Fortunately, Fey ignored well-behaved dogs. Most dogs ignored her right back.

But Ziggy Star Dachs wasn’t most dogs. Like many small dogs, Ziggy wasn’t well-trained. Or even remotely trained. Which is often typical for smaller breeds. If a small dog misbehaves, the owners simply scoop up the dog, removing him from any problem situation. When Ziggy tried to run off with the butter dish, all Dad had to do was take three steps and grab him.

With big dogs, training is crucial. I spent months training Fey and Woofie to “stay” and “come” when called (because if they decided to run, not even Usain Bolt could’ve caught them). I taught them “leave it” because I didn’t want to be dragged every time they spotted a squirrel, an aggressive Yorkie, or a fast food wrapper.

When we arrived at Dad’s, I had Fey and Woofie sit nicely for their introduction to Ziggy.

Ziggy charged ninety-pound Woofie immediately.  Woofie responded with a play bow, and followed up with a pounce. Ziggy darted under a table. Woofie bowed again and whined. Ziggy charged. Woofie danced back, then pounced again. Ziggy scooted under a different table. Woofie loved this new and awesome game.

Fey sat at my side and watched until the male dogs were tired. Dad brought out chewy treats to keep the canines occupied while the humans chatted.

Ziggy wasn’t content with his chewy. Bit by bit, the little dog scooted our way. Which would have been fine if Ziggy was after Woofie’s chewy. Woofie would have happily played chewy tug-o-war with for hours. But Ziggy had designs on Fey’s chewy. When he got within 2 feet, Fey raised her head and growled.

“Leave it,” I told her. She went back to her chewy.

Dad picked up Ziggy and put the dachshund on the other side of the room with his own chewy. Ziggy inched back toward Fey. Dad put Ziggy back on the other side of the room. Ziggy again began his inexorable crawl toward inevitable conflict.

Dad put Ziggy on a leash and gave him a new chewy. Ziggy ignored it, moving as close to Fey as the leash allowed. (Meanwhile, Woofie ate all Ziggy’s untended chewies.)

Dad kept the relentless Ziggy leashed until I took all the dogs outside for a potty break.

Outside, the dogs had a blast in the Utah snow. Woofie’s giant paws gave him enough traction that he could finally out-corner Fey. She chased after him, determined to take him down. Ziggy manfully ran after both large dogs, barking—only to dive into snow drifts when they changed direction and galloped at him.

While little Ziggy labored mightily to get back to the patio, I took advantage of his absence to feed Fey and Woofie their dinner. Woofie finished in seconds and took off again. Instead of playing with Woofie, Ziggy zeroed in on Fey.

“I wouldn’t,” I warned him. “Sit.”

Ziggy didn’t sit, of course. He continued stalking Fey. I stepped in front of him. Ziggy tried to scramble over my boots.

Fey turned toward Ziggy. Slowly, silently, she pulled back her jowls and bared her teeth.

Ziggy stopped. Fey returned to her food.

“Well,” I told Ziggy, “at least you’re not a complete idiot.”

Wrong. Ziggy zipped around me, heading straight for Fey.

Fey spun, snarled, and snapped her jaws a foot from Ziggy’s nose.

Ziggy dropped.

He rolled onto his back.

And then he peed himself.

Turns out there is an animal that can out-aggressive a dachshund.

The Los Angeles Ghetto Elk eating her dinner.

You’d think Ziggy would have learned his lesson.
Instead, he spent the entire weekend trying to steal chews and food from Fey. Because dachshunds.

Published by

Autumn Ashbough

WF writing about the humorous perils of life with Chinese-American significant other.

30 thoughts on “Consider the Dachshund (#315)”

  1. When I was a baby, my parents had a dachshund named Stonewall. He bit everyone. My mom used to love telling the story of how Stonewall bit someone and Dad was so angry and tried to catch Stonewall, chasing him around the back of the house. When the pair came back around the other side of the house, Stonewall was the one chasing Dad.

    They eventually had to have him put down 🙁

    1. That is both a hilarious and sad story. Just one more unexpected side effect of humans selectively over-breeding dogs.

      The hernia issues that go with a dachshund’s long back is another consequence, but at least it’s not as bad as the breathing issues the flat-faced dogs get.

      1. The funniest part (which I just remembered) is they wound up getting ANOTHER dachshund after Stonewall and he was my mom’s favorite dog of all time.

  2. Isn’t there a type of human personality that is just like that? I wonder whether psychologist have labelled it “the dachshund complex” …

    1. I am sure there is. But I think we just label them obnoxious?

      That kind of stupid tenacity extends to other breeds, too. There was a Yukon vet who had to deal with getting over 200 porcupine quills out of a husky’s snout. She said there were two kinds of dogs: most dogs would get a couple porcupine quills in their face–one time only. And then there were some dogs that came back to the vet a second, third, or fourth time–with an entire muzzle full of quills.

      There is probably a metaphor for dating in there, too.

  3. The only dogs I’ve ever been seriously scared of were a pair of wire-haired dachshunds. Absolutely terrifying and pretty sure that given the chance they would have mauled me to death. (It may be a slow process from the ankle up but they are nothing if not tenacious.)

    Also, Ziggy’s name? Amazing.

    1. Being ankle height only makes them more terrifying. Because you know that the mauling would be long and torturous!

      Ziggy at least had long, flowing locks. Super pretty dog. Wire-haired? That’s like a cactus dachshund. Nope. Nope. Nope.

  4. I’ve never had a dog so I love learning about your dogs, and their very definite personalities. What a fun ending, by the way. Well, maybe fun is the wrong word, but *tee-hee*

  5. I didn’t know this about dachshunds! Maybe because when I was a child, my uncle had two wire haired ones and I saw them every weekend. They were always nice to me and one of them was particularly playful. I remember them barking a lot when meeting other dogs but they were not especially aggresive (no more that other small breeds, that’s right).
    My brother and his gf got a dachshund last year and I haven’t met her yet. It’s one of those black, short haired, shiny ones. She already has an Instagram account and more outfits than me…

    1. As always, I suspect the American breeds of everything are more aggressive. 🙂

      Dad also had a very sleek, tiny, black and tan dachshund at one point. She barked her head off at other dogs until they came too close and then she screamed in fear and tried to burrow into the nearest person’s sweater.

      All the dachshunds I’ve met have been nice to people. Just assholes with other dogs. But that hasn’t been everyone’s experience.

      Wow. Instagram just for your dog’s outfits. Well, it’s a pandemic and we’re all bored. I guess that’s a reasonably healthy addiction?

  6. Hurray! I’m glad Fey stood her ground and Ziggy got her comeuppance.

    I know someone who has several dachshunds. She loves them and frequently shares pictures of them on Facebook. She even has published a couple of children’s books about dachshunds. I’ve never understood her fascination with them.

    1. Well, Ziggy and my dad’s other dachshund are very, very sweet with humans, even though they bark so much, and so loudly.

      I’m a sucker for big dogs, myself, but it’s nice that there’s a dog for everyone.

  7. I had NO idea about the dachshund being so aggressive and evil!! To be fair I haven’t met too many, but wow, now I know to be careful. Are dachshund worse than chihuahuas? My aunt has a chihuahua and it is the world’s most annoying dog, hands down.

    1. Well, the dachshunds I’ve met have been sweet to people and the chihuahua that used to live behind me ran out of the yard and bit me. So I’m gonna go with the dachshund being more aggressive and tenacious with animals, and the chihuahua being worse with people.

      But as with all breeds, nurture sometimes plays as big a part as nature. (Sometimes. Sometimes you can work your ass off to socialize a dog from puppyhood and hundreds of years of breeding for aggression will not be denied.)

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