If you’ve spent any time on this blog, you know dogs are front and center here. Not just any dogs, but terriers. And not just any terriers, but Smooth Fox Terriers, arguably (at least it will be argued on these cyber pages) the BEST DOGS IN THE WORLD. However, lately another dog has been easing its way into this Terrier Zone: The Dachshund. At first I was alarmed. Lord knows there are few enough places where Smooth Fox Terriers are given their rightful due, what with Hollywood’s alarming habit of substituting the inferior Jack Russell even into stories that famously feature Smoothies (You, director of My Dog Skip, I’m talking to you.) But upon closer research into Dachshunds, I’m softening my stance. In fact, I’m now of the mind that Dachshunds should be positively embraced on a Smooth Fox Terrier site.
Oh, yes. I originally dismissed Dachshunds, as so many do, as just little hounds. Hounds! Hounds are those floppy dogs that lie around on the porches of people named Cletus. That is when they aren’t in packs hunting down Sidney Poitier, Tony Curtis and other escapees from Southern chain gangs. Nope, not our style of dog at all. But apparently there is great controversy about that classification. Some think the Dachshund was thrown into the Hound group because of the hund in their name, which simply means “dog” in German. While they do have those powerful sniffers, they also go to ground like terriers. In fact, Dachshunds are the only non-terriers allowed in the exclusive terrier realm of the Earth Dog trials. There are even factions that are agitating for the reclassification of Dachshunds into the Terrier Group. I wholeheartedly agree!
What has changed my mind is “meeting” Dachshunds in cyberspace. Particularly Dachshund royalty in the person of HRH King Ansel who — on Friday, August 18th — is celebrating his 17th birthday. Seventeen! That’s 119 in People Years! He doesn’t have many teeth left, his eyes are covered with cataracts and his once brown fur has turned almost completely grey. But apparently he is still ruling his kingdom and his household with an iron paw. His “staff”, Judy, has recently had to move off EST (Eastern Standard Time) to DFT (Dachshund Feeding Time), which occurs when and however often Ansel demands it. Ansel still walks with what Judy calls “his Richard Gere strut”, but he also demands frequent rides in the car with his head hanging out the window and his ears blowing in the wind. His other vehicles of choice are a Tundra truck, a power boat and a Porsche (German styling for a German dog!) And he’s still prepared to bark ferociously to defend his turf and send larger dogs scuttling into submission.
There’s only one word for this sort of behavior and style, my friends. TERRIERTUDE. Ansel, and it seems many Dachshunds, have it in spades.
So, we salute HRH Ansel on the occasion of his birthday and extend our welcome of him and his Cyber Pack of Dachshund Facebook buddies into the exclusive folds of Terrierdom. We are ready to admit that Dachshunds have what it takes to be Honorary Terriers in every sense of the word. In fact, our next act will be a missive to the American Kennel Club to petition for a reclassification of Dachshunds. Forthwith, we demand that they be included as full members of the Terrier Group.
And their new name shall be SMOOTH DACHS TERRIERS.
In honor of the Royal Birthday, a sampling of official Ansel portraits. (Queue the bagpipes and the Home Guard for the Royal Salute.)
And speaking of HRH Ansel’s subjects, here’s a small sampling of His Majesty’s CyberPack of Facebook Dachshunds, all of whom have letters of recommendation from Lucy and Oscar for reclassification as Smooth Dachs Terriers.
So clearly the barrier has been breached. If you are a Dachshund and want Honorary Terrier Status, have your people send cards and letters. I think the CyberPack and Virtual Playgroup are going to be regular features around here.
I believe you are right on. Weiners are so much like terriers. That is one dog that scares me. I won’t step into a weiner’s yard unannounced. Fierce pups.
Happy birthday to good ol’ Ansel. He’s in find shape.
They can be quite bossy, always adorable. Happy Birthday to Ansel.
As “staff” to Augie, I salute your recognition of the qualities in dachshunds that are, in fact, quite terrieresque. (Please note for naming purposes there are smooth-, long- and wire-haired versions, all as demanding and attitudinally terra dogish as the next.) Augie is a tough cookie, and yet can have you coo-ing and fawning with an upward flick of his eyes. He vocally defends his territory, which is everything as far as he can see. (That’s about 4 houses in any direction, being a suburbanite.) He’s trained deliverymen Dave/FedEx and Ted/UPS to leave him biscuits atop the packages they bring as payment for occasionally violating his porchspace. He also defends the waterline in the backyard, and although he doesn’t acknowledge the word “duck” in his extensive vocabulary, if you quack like a duck a few times (clearly his idea of entertainment) it sends him running down to the water’s edge, barking furiously at what he anticipates are incoming waterborne invaders — mallards, herons, egrets, roseate spoonbills, seagulls, cormorants, pelicans, etc. Especially all manner of ducks, mostly (we think) because they get bread and stale crackers he thinks we should be giving him to eat, himself. Dachshunds would eat until they exploded if you let them, as there is no self-regulating mechanism in their DNA. In addition to his superior ability to solve those supposedly challenging “dog puzzles” which he dispatches in seconds to find hidden toys or food (see?) he has the bossypants-itude and terrier-torialitude Oscar and Lucy project so brilliantly. Augie also understands and extensive list of words and acts accordingly, including the basic commands (many of which he understands and can respond to, but refuses, as yet another way of declaring that we’re “not the boss of him”.) No, down, off, give it, leave it, and ‘quiet’ are a few examples. “Bath” sends him scurring for cover. And if you’ve managed to give him a bath, the sooner he can command you to open the door to let him “outside” so he can roll around on the grass on top of a dead fish or chameleon or something suitably stinky, the happier he is. And he’s shown us then, hasn’t he? His favorite words (each of which inspires a suitable reaction) are eat, treat, ride in the car, to bed, toy. His greatest enemies? A mention of “Mr. Squirrel” sends him barking furiously around up a certain tree. “Kitty Cat”, who lives acros the street and, so cat-like, lives to torment Augie, not only violates his property but teases and mocks him by strutting along the top of a 3 foot decorative wall that defines Augie’s front porch. I have no doubt Oscar and Lucy could easily leap to the top of the wall, thus dispatching Poindexter (Kitty Cat’s real name) back across the street to scurry under his garage door to safety, alas, Augie the earthdog is more, shall we say, earth bound and unable to leap even short walls, much less tall buildings. Except in his mind. Just one more reason an alliance with earthdog bretheren and sisteren, who could be called upon under treaty terms to help defend his borders when attacked, is such a great idea. Quo vadis, Yalta?
I have learned never to mock Dachshunds, having actually seen one climb a tree.
Seriously. She shot up the trunk and made a beeline for the limb she wanted, and gave me a “You want to see that again?” look from just above eye level.
Britta, HRH Ansel’s Queen, sends her gracious greetings on this occasion of his birthday. She has been to Rhode Island, though this was before meeting HRH in Cyberspace, and alas, did not get to meet him in person. She loves traveling and spent lots of time digging up clams and mussels on the rocky shores of Naragansett Bay. This Dachshund surely “nose” good eats! And although she lives with Nutmeg the lovely Smooth Fox Terrier, we really know who is in charge. Even at the local dog park, it’s only a matter of seconds before this tiny darling has even the biggest mastiffs under her regal paw. She runs with the big dogs, but prefers to be carried, can kill a squeaker in 10 minutes or fewer, and has murdered a chicken three times her own height. Britta truly fears nothing (except, perhaps, missing breakfast), and is always up for a walk, a ride, a chase, a snuggle with Nutmeg or perhaps a nice nap. And we hope, like HRH Ansel, she enjoys as many good years of health and happiness!
OMG! My Heidi looks just like King Ansel! She was 17 years old on June 24th. Just like Ansel has slowed down and takes life one day at a time. Love the post and pictures.
Happy Birthday to Ansel! Oh, and not to be outdone, CGHill, I have plucked my own Smooth Fox Terrier, Sammie, out of a tree, and my father in law has done the same with his! Mine was going after a lizard, and the other one, Candy, chased a cat up the tree.