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A reader and soon to be hound judge friend asked some questions in regard to the Dachshund. (First published in Sight & Scent)

What should strike you first as they walk into the ring?
The three big LLLs. Long, Low and Level.  This is a breed with maximum angulation both front and rear.

As Muriel Newhauser, Miniature Dachshund Breeder and AKC Hound judge taught me when I had a dilemma over Standards, Minis, and the three coat varieties, “There is only one Dachshund!” Once you understand and accept this concept, you will have breed type fixed indelibly in your brain.

He is a hunting hound that trails, digs and also goes to ground. He needs to have a deep chest with his elbows well above his keel or bottom line. He rests on his keel and digs. His structure gives him room for his legs both front and rear for the job. His underline or keel must be smooth or he will get hung up on roots as he backs out. He must have a prominent prosternum and when viewed from the front has dimples on both sides of his prosternum or forechest.

I will add that the Dachshund thinks a lot of himself and is bold and audacious. A Dachshund never apologizes for being there.

Is there a particular trait that makes you cringe and should never be overlooked?
I will not accept a hound that is flabby and overweight.

I cringe when I see a shallow chest, and/or a short rib cage because I know he cannot do the job.

Movement is essential to this hound. He reaches in the front and drives in the rear equally. You will see what is called tummy tapping where the hind leg hits the underside or belly of the hound. You will also see front action that I call sieg heil or a Nazi salute with the front legs. Both actions are objectionable and indicate a poorly built and non functional Dachshund.

Do not accept any Toy like features in the Miniature. While he is a diminutive version of the Standard, he is not a Toy dog. He is a hunting hound.

Excuse from your ring any shy or timid Dachshund - this is a serious fault.

Is there something that every judge of Dachshunds should do (not do) or notice (not notice)?
What I first note on the table examination is correct size, proportion and substance.

Are the three Ls there?

Remember the Dachshund is examined on the table and judged on the ground. Never bend over the Dachshund when on the ground to exam the dog. The dog must go back on the table for re-examination.

Please do not be afraid to weigh the miniature if you think it is too heavy or large. Familiarize yourself with how to use a scale.  Unfortunately in the US a Mini can only be weighed when it is entered in the Mini class.

Does the head taper properly? Are the eyes correctly sized? You don’t want a large or prominent eye because that style of eye will be injured very quickly. Are the nostrils open and large? Is there a slight roman nose?  Note too very large teeth in a strong jaw.

His neck must be arched and strong to support holding a mouth full of vermin.
I think of the whole hound as being slippery from nose to tail. He can slide in and slide out of any hole or warren.

I put my hands on the front of the prosternum and check for the important dimples. Follow the entire sternum bone and make sure it ends well behind the elbow line. I also lay my index finger across the top of the second thigh. A Dachshund that is properly built should be able to have a pencil laid across the tops of the second thighs and not fall off.

Check for proper coat texture in each variety during the exam.

Use your hands to examine both sides of the dog. This is a breed that is examined on the table. You need to get in and out quickly. They hate being fussed with and don’t need a full body massage. Do your exam. Let your hands give you sufficient information. Then you can put him on the ground and really judge. He needs to be bold but please do not reach down to touch him once the hound is on the ground.

What have breeders worked hard to achieve in the breed that should be acknowledged?
There is only one Dachshund. There are no excuses for differences in coat and weight. Over the years the Mini breeders have done an outstanding job in eliminating toy features in the Mini.

Conversely, what do you see that could become a problem?
We do not use our dogs in their basic original purposes. That does not mean we don’t need to be mindful of what they are. This is a breed that makes a great companion but they are not hot house flowers. They are bold, confident, clever, lively, courageous and highly intelligent. This is a lot of hunting hound with robust muscular condition in a small package.

Is there something that every judge of Dachshunds should do (not do) or notice (not notice)?
Examine on the table and judge on the ground.

Look for extreme and proper angulation based on the three Ls – Long, Low, and Level..

Remember the basic original purpose of the breed.

Trust your good instincts, based on the Breed Standard.