short takes: Dachshund (and a bit on basset)

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Apr 13 11:46:45 UTC 2010

dachshund: c1881-->1859

It seems, instead of posting this to the list, I only sent a copy to
myself. OK, try again.

The earliest appearance is in a German-English dictionaries, but only on
the German side.
A Compleat English Dictionary. By Nathan Bailey. Leipzig: 1783
> Tarrier, /terrier/, ein Dachshund ; der martet, versieht
> ...
> Dachsliefer, m., Dachshund, a Terrior, Dog-Badger; ...
The New and Complete Dictionary of the German and English Languages ...
elaborated by John Ebers. Vol. 1. Leipzig: 1796
Dachsfinder, d.r., see Dachshund.
Dachshund, der, a Badger-Dog, a Terrier or Terrier-Dog

"Dachs", of course, means "badger".

Similarly, there is an 1825 volume that describes the breed, but it's
listed under a Latin name and the English name "Turnspit".
A manual of the elements of natural history. By Johann Friedrich
Blumenbach, tr. by R.T. Gore [from 10th German ed.]. 1825
pp. 56-7
> Among the principal races are :--
> ..
> (h.) /Vertagus/. The Turnspit. /Ger/. der Dachshund. /Fr/. le Basset.
> With a long muzzle, hanging ears, elongated body, short crooked fore
> legs, and reddish brown spots under the eyes.--The English Terrier
> (/Terrarius/), with bristly hair and rough muzzle, appears closely
> connected with it.

The identification of the three breeds--turnspit, dachshund and
basset--is certainly wrong, in today's terms. It is possible, but
unlikely, that the three were much closer at the time of the
publication, but diverged later (with turnspit being essentially
eliminated as a separate breed). Given that they had been bread for
slightly different needs (with the terrier and dachshund being badger
dogs), it seems unlikely that the breed were that close. The OED
definition of turnspit sounds almost comical--that is, if it bears any
relation to the dachshund.

This misidentification persists.
Guide to English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese
Conversation. By Leon Smith. Paris: 1843. pp. 344-345
> A terrier      Ein Dachshund, /m/.      Un basset.      Un cane
> bassotto.      Un zarcero.      Un baixote.

Still, these are both German and French translations. But the earliest
integrated use that  found is in a dog manual. (There is a 2nd edition
of 1872, 3rd,--1879, 4th--1884, with only the second available in GB.)
The Dog in Health and Disease. By Stonehenge [John Henry Walsh]. London:
p. 84
The Dachshund, or Teckel.
> The dachshund is a long, low, and very strong hound, with full head
> and sweeping ears.

I found this one first and was sure to have clinched it with a good
story, but, of course, that was not the case.
The Journal of the Household Brigade for the Year 1863. London: 1863
Roebuck Shooting in Germany. By F. M. p. 299
> Our cigars lighted, and the remnants of the cutlets religiously
> disposed of by the little Dachshund, the forester laid opt our plan
> for the next day, and informed me that they had seldom had a better
> season as far as the roedeer were concerned, but, with a deep sigh, he
> added, that with the Hochwild it was otherwise.
p. 300
> Next morning the forester and myself were standing concealed behind
> some low bushes fringing a small glade deep in the recesses of the
> R---- woods; and at some distance in our rear, held in leash by an
> attendant, was my little acquaintance of the previous evening, the
> Dachshund.

The story goes on, with several more mentions of the dachshund and his
role in the hunt.

Just how far off the OED listing is can be discovered by looking at The
Country magazine for 1876--there are a whopping 31 hits within the
volume (that's including the index, but not including multiple
occurrences on the same page). But I no longer assume that the editors
of the first edition even attempted to get the earliest cites on many of
the articles and just grabbed the ones that their erudition gave them
ready packaged.
July 6, 1876. p. 6 [GB p. 7]
Dachshunds at the Crystal Palace. [by Samuel Bagster]
> Your correspondent H. T. B. has drawn my attention to the discussion
> in your paper with regard to my long-haired dachshunds, lately
> exhibited at the Crystal Palace, and to your courteous assurance that
> you will with pleasure give publicity to the proofs that the breed in
> question is pure. ... Mr. Lewis also speaks of my dachshund dog as a
> "red spaniel." The absurdity of his remark will be seen when I mention
> what I know of his pedigree.
July 13, 1876. p. 28 [by Mason]
> I Was not a little surprised at your correspondent, Mr. T. Hanson
> Lewis, designating those beautiful little rough dachshunds "
> monstrosities." Surely he can know very little of what he was writing
> about, for the breed is as pure as the smooth dachshund ; and, if I
> mistake not, the Prince Consort had some which he made presents of.
July 20, 1876. p. 51 [by Vert]
> It is well known that the late Prince Consort, as well as her Majesty
> the Queen, did import dachshunds of the best and purest races. ... the
> intrusion of a Basset into the dachshund class at shows is only
> another case of the jackdaw amongst the pidgeons.
August 24, 1876. p. 178
Dogs of the Day. VII.--Dachshund. [by Vert]
> So much has been said and written on this breed of dogs during the few
> years that they have had a place in the prize schedules of our shows,
> that in treating the subject we shall endeavour to unsay some of the
> nonsense that has from time to time been put forth by some of those
> journals whose pages are opened to the discussion of canine matters,
> in one of which a certain amusing correspondent, in a playful moment,
> tells his readers that the ears of the dachshund cannot be too long.
> Another says the body cannot be too long. Then we read that the legs
> cannot be too short or too crooked, with such impossible measurements
> as could only be found in the fertile brain of the writer. At shows we
> have had our special attention drawn to the veriest mongrels, and been
> held by the button by enthusiastic owners, and had glaring defects
> pointed out as characteristics of the pure breed ; but being unable to
> draw on our credulity to that extent, we have had to fall back on our
> stock of charity, and call to mind that even Solomon was young once in
> his lifetime. There is no breed of dogs that the English have been so
> tardy in taking to as the dachshund, Satan and Feldmann being the only
> representatives of the breed on the Birmingham show bench for several
> years ; and certainly we had one judge that had the courage to graple
> with this little hound when he did make an attempt to emerge from his
> obscurity, and we have seen the best dachshund that has yet been
> exhibited passed over by a couple of "all-round" judges of high
> standing at an important show, one of those Solons arguing that he was
> a beagle-otter hound, and the other than he was a turnspit, neither of
> them being aware that the turnspit was little different from a
> moderate crooked-legged pug of the present time, and that it would be
> impossible to confine a long-backed twenty pound dog in one those
> small cages in which the little prisoner had to ply his calling. ...
> The dachshund is a short-coated, long-backed dog, on very short legs,
> of about 20lb. weight, and should not be less than 18lb., the bitches
> being 3lb. or 4lb. less than the dogs. They must be self-coloured,
> although a little white on the breast or toes should not be a
> disqualification, as these beauty spots will crop out now and then in
> any breed of dogs. ...
> We do know that the premier dachshund of the present day has within
> the last two months drawn a wild fox from his fastness and finished
> him, unaided, in about four minutes ; but an unsnubbed, fully-matured
> badger of five or six summers is an awkward customer, and with him the
> results might have been quite different.

The rest of the hits are to show appearances, advertisements for puppies
and for prints of individual dogs. One paragraph mentions upwards of
"thirty choice specimens" of pure-bred dachshunds.

More importantly, the 1872 volume is a second edition--earlier edition
may or may not contain a note on the dachshund--and the 1876 entries all
refer to "late Prince Consort" and the Queen having had a number of
dachshunds over many years. Furthermore, in spite of the absence of
qualified judges and occasional confusion at the 1876 shows, it is clear
that the breed is well recognized in England at that point.

Thebre is an unlikely earlier mention of the Dachshund in Notes &
Queries (GB 1850)), but it's only a snippet and I could not establish a
precise date. But the 1850 date is most certainly wrong, unless multiple
volumes are scanned together--on page 207, someone is identified as
having died on Aug. 6, 1880.
There is also a reprint of a 1576 manual, in Latin, "Of Englishe dogges"
with several advertisement attached, but I discovered the printing date
for it (see p. 52) to be 1880.

The 1876 cite can also serve as interdated cites for Basset, which jumps
from 1616 to 1883. This is actually of some importance, as the 1616
citation is an odd one. The basset breed was brought over from France in
the 18th century, so an earlier reference seems to be for something
else, even though it does appear to refer to a dog. But I am actually
not convinced, as the sentence contains the pair "earth dog" not merely
"dog". And "earth dog" is a reference to something other than a basset.
Even OED's internal reference identifies "earth dog" as "terrier"--that
makes perfect sense, given that its full name is "chien terrier". So, if
it is "chien terrier", why is it also called "basset" here?

The earliest appearance of "basset-hound" that I found is from 1860, but
this will, most likely, be upstage when someone takes a closer look. But
this is for another post (and not necessarily mine). Still, I would
recommend OED people should take a look at the early basset
citation--context may be all-important here. But, today, I draw the line
at Dachshund.


[Ger. = badger-dog.]
     One of a German breed of short-legged long-bodied dogs, used to
draw badgers; a badger-dog.
c1881 M. ARNOLD Later Poems, Poor Matthias, Max, a dachshound without
blot. 1888 MRS. H. WARD R. Elsmere (1890) 285 The sleek dachshund..sat
blinking beside its mistress.

     1. A dog kept to turn the roasting-spit by running within a kind of
tread-wheel connected with it; a turnspit dog. Also fig.

basset n. 1.
[a. F. basset 'a terrier, or earthing beagle' (Cotgr.), orig. adj., dim.
of bas-se low; see BASE a.]
     A short-legged dog used in unearthing foxes and badgers. Freq.
attrib. in basset-hound.
1616 SURFL. & MARKH. Countr. Farm 700 Couple vp all the old earth dogs,
and after let loose the young ones, incouraging them to take the earth,
and crying vnto them, Creepe into them basset, creep into them. 1883
Illustr. Sporting & Dram. News 23 June 371/2 The last new club is 'The
Basset-hound Club', its objects being to promote the breeding of pure
Basset-hounds d'Artois, rough and smooth. 1885 Daily News 2 May 3/5
Pictures of harriers and bassets. 1928 Morning Post 20 Oct. 6/1 Basset
Houndsthose wholly delightful miniatures of the classic Bloodhound.

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