Judging the Dachshund by Dan Harrison


Although there are three coats and two sizes of Dachshunds, each coat is shown separately and all sizes compete together. Miniatures and Standards should share the same look, being long, low and level and covering ground, easily and effortlessly, with striking movement from the side. The dogs should have a sense of style and comfort that makes them appear to own the ground that they stand on and cover that ground with graceful motion.


Seeing pictures of the standing dogs, you should not be able to tell which is a Standard and which is a Miniature as they all should look alike from the side. Remember, the Standards and the Miniatures all came from the same dogs and should be just size variations of the same type dog. In looking for that top quality, you must have the correct oval shaped front, first of all, which is the foundation for all the correct Dachshund structure which emanates from that elusive quality.There are three varieties being shown and all are judged alike, with the same strong points being on display for all to see and for all to discover.


We start out with a puppy class and, as a judge, I have each class come in and stack  itself very near the gate. I then take a quick look up and down the line, checking for things that I like and hope are there. At that early stage, I want a big front (which is the hallmark of a Dachshund), a gorgeous head, neck and neckset with the withers being far back on the body, a level topline, a strong front and rear, a pronounced underline that shows the correct depth of chest and a strong croup. After looking at them on the ground, I send them all around and have the first one go on the table. Then, I look at head, feet, feel for the strong chest that I hope is there, feel the withers and the neckset and the sweep into a long, level topline  that flows into a nice croup with a tail that should be of the correct length. I check to see that the front and rear legs are where they should be and should carry the dog around the ring with that beautiful profile we seek. I then send them down and back  to check for soundness and then send them all the way round to see if they have the Dachshund outline we are looking for. We want the correctly placed head, the beautiful length of neck which is long without being too long, the long and level topline with a pronounced underline, strong front and rear and a correctly carried tail. What I am looking for is great reach and drive, with head held high, level topline and great neckset and front and set off by a gorgeous front. That front should be strong, oval and should have many places where other parts fit into the maze that is the Dachshund forehest.


After all the Dachshunds have been looked at in this manner, they should then be lined up right behind the table. I then walk around and take another cold hard look at them and hope I see the features I am wanting to see in this class of livestock.At that point, I walk past them all, looking at them and check for what I feel is most important, starting with the big front that is called for in the Standard and which, when absent, really throws the whole front off, making all the angles that much harder to attain. This is a breed in which the angles are very important and totally necessary for them to go to ground,getting their front around the field and keeping the same proportions as gaiting in the Breed ring. After looking at them, I send all the dogs around , individually to get a great view again of how they look from the side and then pull out a couple and send them around to compare them to each other. I sometimes do the whole class this way and then look at them  and compare their virtues, then placing them One, Two, Three and Four, sending them around the ring and making my placings.


After all the classes are judged, Winners comes around and all the First Place winners come into the ring, starting with Open , Standard and going down to the youngest Puppy Class.After the entries are all in the ring, I look at the whole class and compare the virtues, with special attention to the things that are getting harder and harder to find in our Breed, such as a great front, beautiful neckset and withers, gorgeous topline and underline and great croup and tailset. Along with great movement, it should all be so easy to find!! Anyway, I always insist on a great, oval shaped front to fasten the dog’s breed type on and then hope to find other positives to add on to the dog itself. I then send them all around and then move them around by themselves once, then pick out a few to send around together, and finally picking out the top two or three to move to the head of the line  with the Winners at the head of the line up. After awarding Winners, I then call in the Second place to Winners for Reserve competition and repeat the process again, picking Reserve at this time.


After the two Winners classes have been done, I bring in the Best of Variety competition and again set them up  and have a look see at the quality that is there.  After a look, I send them all around to the table where I start looking at the Specials, one at a time, on the table. Still looking for the same things (front, neckset, topline, underline, croup and soundness), I start looking at each one on the table, looking for good things that are more apparent up close. I then send each one up and down and then around to the end of the line, watching for that perfect outline and the correct structure that we all seek with each new dog. After I work the Winners again, I look up and down the line, searching for the qualities that are so necessary in the Breed. Then, I send each one around by himself, looking again for the perfect outline. After working each dog, I may send a few more around and compare them with each other before I make my decision.


At that point, I put my BV at the head of the line, the BW right behind him/her and the BOS behind the BW. After him, I add the Select Dog and Select Bitch if I decide any are worth the effort. Sending the whole class around, I soon point to BV, BW and BOS with Select Dog and Bitch following immediately.


After the three Varieties,Best of Breed is judged and  I then bring in the BV Long, Smooth and Wire and have them stacked so, again, I can see their pluses and see what they are bringing to the gene pool. I then send them all around , as a group, and see them all moving from the side and see if they still move in a pleasing fashion. I then may move them individually and look at them again stacked. I then send them around and point to the BB winner.


Then the three BOS winners come in and I repeat the process. At this point, you just hope you have pointed out what you like and what you feel is important in the Breed.


October/November 2013