short takes: Dachshund (and a bit on basset)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Apr 13 12:46:20 UTC 2010

At 7:46 AM -0400 4/13/10, Victor Steinbok wrote:
>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; ...

Nope, that orthography is too difficult.  I think I'll go with "hot dog".  ;-)


>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
>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.
>     VS-)
>[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.
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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