Today in eastern Maryland, Taya's conformation was V rated (rated Excellent) by DTK judge Andreas Tornau from Germany. Herr Tornau evaluated the conformation of 30 dachshunds at the fall zuchtschau of the North American Teckel Club. As some readers know, the DTK (German Dachshund Club) requires an official conformation evaluation of Excellent or Very Good before a dachshund can be approved for breeding. So this was the next step on the path to having puppies from Taya in the spring. I plan for this litter to be dual registered with both the AKC and DTK.
Houston, we've had a problem here.
In fact, all across the United States, we've had a problem. A big problem.
There is no question that US exhibitors, breeders, and judges care about this breed.
The question that I find myself having to ask is - do US exhibitors, breeders, and judges KNOW this breed? Well, we are supposed to know! The information is available. And it is more easily accessible than ever before. Unfortunately, many statements being posted on the internet, and even published in magazines, is surprisingly misleading and simply not congruent with facts.
For all intents and purposes, two more questions underlie the one above.
1. Is the dachshund an earthdog? I really do not know anyone who would say no.
2. Is size important in the dachshund aka earthdog? Well now, here comes the dichotomy of all dichotomies. It is absolutely amazing how many LONG TIME exhibitors, breeders, and judges assert that it is not!
"A good dachshund is a good dachshund." Well, what makes a dachshund GOOD? In part, it is the ability to do the WORK of a dachshund. And not a thing about a dachshund's structure helps him "do the job" more than his size!
Why is it, pray tell, that so many of us talk and act like dachshund size is totally irrelevant, when it is COMPLETELY relevant! I tell you this thing, there is not a badger or fox hunter in the world who will say otherwise.
This longhaired bitch is one of a mother/daughter pair of bitches that is regularly and successfully used to hunt the European badger (aka Eurasian badger) in Finland. Guess how big she is and hold that thought. We will come back to it.
Please see below each of 20 different earths, nearly all entrances. Entrances! If a picture is worth 1000 words, then maybe we can consider this little album a virtual encyclopedia on earthdog size. All photos were taken by me in an 11 hour badger hunt with three men, another woman, and three standard longhaired bitches in Finland on August 10, 2010. Earthwork photos are not unique. There are many like them on the internet. But, ahem, apparently American dachshund enthusiasts are not looking at them!
Note that with one exception I have not included photos with badgers or the evidence of the taking of badgers. The singular purpose of this post is to give the reader clarity, in pictures, on what seems to be a very muddied (ha!) concept of earthdog size. I sincerely hope that it helps do that. If not, well I tried. I really tried!
20 reasons why dachshund size is important
Because she is a puppy, I have been weighing Taya every week.
Today, since it has been quite a while that I weighed the males, I weighed all four dogs.
Nexus, 10.5 years old male, weighs 20.2 lbs / 9.1 kg
Owl, 8 years old male, weighs 18.2 lbs / 8.2 kg
Viljo, 2.5 years old male, weighs 20.2 lbs / 9.1 kg
Taya, 6 months old female, weighs 15.8 lbs / 7.1 kg
From the AKC Standard as revised in 1992 -
Weight of the standard size is usually between 16 and 32 pounds.
From the FCI Standard -
SIZE AND WEIGHT/ IMPORTANT MEASUREMENTS:
Weight: Standard Dachshund up to about 9 kg.
Photo is Nexus who was V rated by DTK judge Wolfgang Trumpfheller.
Not ALL American-bred Standard longhairs are giants!
FC Ray Bob's Gretel von Knobydox JE has added BHP-1 Prize 3 to her list of accomplishments. Gretel, out of DC Nadja v Dorndor L SE, is owned by Jennifer Fry and was handled by Laura Knoll. It was unfortunate that Laura and Gretel could not participate in the BHP practice session two days ago. Laura bravely entered Gretel in BHP-1 today anyway. They did a very nice job!
The DTK Belgleithund, or "Companion Dog" test consists of three parts. BHP-1 includes heeling with a time of heeling free, recall from 30-50 meters, five minute down stay 50 meters away with distractions, reaction to loud noise (hammer hitting a steel pipe), reaction to people (at least six people coming in close to dog and handler at the same time), and reaction to traffic while heeling along a road and halting before road crossings. "Traffic" includes a bicyclist coming up from behind and ringing a bell, a pedestrian opening an umbrella in front of the dog, then opening a newspaper, dog staying quietly at heel while handler 'asks for directions', and a car driving past.
Here is a video of Gretel and Laura performing a super recall!
A zuchtschau (breeder's show) of the North American Teckel Club was held today in Loves Park, Illinois. Our judge was Andreas Tornau from Germany. I found Mr Tornau professional yet fun in his demeanor, informative yet succinct in his commmentary, and strict yet fair in his judgements. I enjoyed the day and I know others did, too!
The primary purpose of a zuchtschau is for dogs to be evaluated by a DTK judge so they may receive an official conformation rating. A rating of Vorzuglich (Excellent) or Sehr Gut (Very Good) is required for a dog to be used for breeding in the DTK system. People not breeding in the DTK system, however, may still show dogs for ratings. It is an informative experience to show to a judge from the country of origin of the dachshund; it serves to broaden perspective. It is also fun!
My FC Alpine Owl von Dorndorf was rated Vorzuglich (Excellent) which means he is now V rated x 4.
Maxine Brinker's 14 month old Sage v Dorndorf L receieved an SG (Very Good) rating because she is presently way out of coat. But Maxine was so happy that the judge liked her Nutmeg that she hardly noticed! (Nutmeg is spayed so she did not receive a rating.)
Tina Knoll's FC Bob's Babe von Knobydox was rated SG for the very same reason. The Germans are strict on coat. They are strict on a number of things about which we are rather lenient. And they are rather lenient on some other things about which we are more strict. Like I said, it is an interesting and educational experience to show to a judge from Germany. It tends to tweak the mindset.
Following is a video of Stan Knoll in the ring with his six year old FC Audi Oslo von Dorndorf. This is their first time in the conformation ring together. I showed Oslo at a zuchtschau one time a few years ago where he was rated SG because he weighed half a pound over 22 pounds, the weight limit for a V rating. Today, Oslo weighed 9.5 kg which is 21 pounds. We figure that a weekend of field trials before Oslo's weigh-in today must have been a good thing! He showed well for Stan.
Before I began recording, Oslo had been on the table you'll see on the right side of the screen. He was weighed on the digital scale, his chest was measured, he was briefly examined for two testicles, and thoroughly examined for all his teeth and for no malformations of his bite or of any of the vertebrae in his tail.
Beginning this year, the DTK (of which NATC is a member club) also requires each dog to undergo a basic temperament test. First, the judge pays close attention to the dog's behavior during examination on the table. Then after the dog has been shown, it's reaction to the loud noise of metal hitting metal - dog off lead - is observed.
NATC's zuchtschau guidelines tell us to remember that the dachshund is a hunting dog. Handlers' dress is casual and grooming of the dogs is minimal. There is no 'stacking' of the dogs, very little baiting, and dogs are shown in a variety of leads and collars, including flat buckle collars. Nothing fancy, this is all about the dogs.
Here's Stan and Oslo. They have already gone around the ring a few times. This clip begins after about a third of their time in the ring.
The North American Teckel Club spring zuchtschau (breed show) was held today at the Winnebago Scout Reservation in Rockaway, New Jersey. We had a nice entry of 30 dachshunds. The originally scheduled judge, Jens Witter from Nürnberg, Germany, became ill. We hope he is doing better today. Herr Witter was replaced by Frau Heike Behring of Berlin, both are DTK conformation judges, hunters, and breeders of DTK dachshunds. Frau Heike, we hope you enjoyed your time in the States and meeting us and our teckels. We enjoyed having you here.
Each dog was judged one at a time according to the Deutscher Teckelklub /FCI #148 Standard for the Teckel. Of the 30 entries, 29 dogs were shown. Of the 29 dogs shown, 16 received ratings of Vorzuglich (Excellent), 7 were rated Sehr Gut (Very Good), 2 were rated Gut (Good), 3 were Disqualified (all due to issues with bites), and 1 puppy was rated Very Promising.
I strongly debated myself about whether to enter Owl. He has been shown at two NATC shows in the past and been rated Excellent both times. I really did not know whether I wanted to take the chance of him getting a lesser rating; all of the results are 'on record', so to speak, with the DTK. I'd had one judge at a zuchtschau tell me that Germans prefer clear reds and Owl has a heavy black overlay. I guess you might have to be in that situation to understand my internal dialogue but there was a lot of arguing going on!
I'd taken Owl's daughter, the Stock's black/tan bitch Pie, with me to show but she had blown most of her butt and tail feathers and really didn't look her best. So then I took stock of the rest of the crew. I really felt Seiko was too physically immature to show. I hadn't groomed the undercoat from Nexus and I thought Kasi was too gray and he wouldn't have enjoyed it; both of them have V ratings anyway. And Marta is spayed so she was ineligible. That left Owl and I wanted to show this judge from Germany at least one dog...
Oh me of little faith. Heike Behring liked Owl just fine, no problem. In fact, of the eight or so longhairs given Vorzuglich ratings, the final two under consideration for Best Longhair were Owl and one of Alexandra Weber's zwerg bitches. The pretty little bitch got the nod but the judge caught up to me as we left the ring and emphatically stated that Owl is a "super dog." Great! Thank you! I'll take that! : )
Jolanta Jeanneney sent me this photo she took of Heike and Owl and I. Jolanta, thank you!
Owl's father came from Sweden and his mother is American breeding.
Alexandra's bitch is from German bloodines on both sides.
Best smooth was a black/tan standard bitch bred, owned, and shown by Anke Masters. This bitch has a German pedigree.
Best wire was a wild boar standard bitch bred, owned, and shown by Joyce Wilson. Her father is a Norwegian dog and her mother is American.
So just from this small sample of all the dogs present, you can already see that it was truly an international affair!
Best dog of the zuchtschau was the wire bitch and a very well deserved win it was.
I know that Jolanta got some nice photos of the three Variety winners as well as other photos that she will post soon.
Congratulations to all who participated! It was so good to see many people again and to meet others for the first time.
And what a surprise to see John Robinson again! In years past, John, owner of standard wires, was a very active Deer Search member, field trialer and field trial judge from the east coast. It was not difficult to figure out how long it had been since I'd last seen John. His 25 year old daughter Beth was with him, as was Beth's husband, and about the last time I remember seeing John, four year old Beth was riding on his shoulders at a field trial. Now Beth and her husband Gentian are field trialing and showing wirehairs!
The generations of life are good.
The Gunsteadiness Test was one of several North American Teckel Club events being held over four days in New Jersey. The natural den test was on Friday and blood tracks were worked yesterday. I postponed my departure from home as long as possible as Seiko is just coming out of heat, so I did not arrive in New Jersey until this morning.
Nine months old Seiko has not been exposed to close gunfire before. But she has a very steady temperament and has heard loud noises and distant shots so I thought I would see. I walked her down the road toward the little field where a number of dogs were being tested, one after the other, and Seiko did not show the slightest startle. By the time we got to the field, it was our turn. I let Seiko off lead but she was happy to just hang out with me. <g> Dogs must be 30 meters or so away from their handlers when shots are fired. So I found a rock, picked it up, and threw it. Seiko ran after the rock and was looking for it in the grass when the first live round of ammo was fired from the shotgun of the gunner who was Teddy Moritz. Seiko picked up her head and looked in the direction of the shot. Teddy fired again. Seiko stood there and looked at her. This, I am sure, will be the most effortless passing performance of Seiko's life.
It didn't require too much from me, either, to take off the lead and throw a rock! But it is not so simple for a dog that has issues with loud noise and the importance of this test cannot be overestimated. A gunshy dog cannot be useful for hunting. Therefore, it is a DTK requirement that prior to being entered in any hunting test, a dachshund must have passed a gunsteadiness test.