“The Gait of the Dachshund”


This piece of the Standard is very plain in what is called for with a Dachshund in motion. I have included the Standard (in bold) and my comments about what it calls for in the paragraphs after the phrasing. Read the Standard and see what DCA is trying to tell you about great Dachshund movement.

Gait – Fluid and smooth.

As the Standard states, the movement for a moving Dachshund will be fluid and smooth with no bouncing or zigzagging back and forth. There should be no Cris-crossing or wideness in front and the rear legs should be parallel in going away. The front should always come closer together as the legs move more quickly and the rear should always be correct with that body, being parallel moving away, not being loose and there never should be a bounce in that body moving around the ring. Fluid and smooth is what we are looking for here when watching the animal move for us, coming and going or in the field or going around the Ring.

Forelegs reach well forward, without much lift, in unison with the driving action of hind legs.

For the next wording on movement, the Standard just re-examines the dog’s gait from the side and wants a forward moving action with a lot of drive from behind. In other words. smooth and fluid is still what we are after here and the writers could not be more specific about what they want and what is unnecessary in a great moving Dachshund.

These forelegs reach up under the Dachshund and use the driving action of the hind legs to push that body forward. There is not much lift and, again, there is little room for wiggles and bounces. It is a smooth movement and shows how the Dachshund moves around the ring and in the field. Remember, in all these descriptions, we are asking for that fluid and smooth movement for the dog to use when showing. The forelegs here work with the hind legs to really push that smooth action forward, fluidly and without effort.

The correct shoulder assembly and well-fitted elbows allow the long, free stride in front.

These correct shoulders with the same length for the shoulder blades and upper arm with those great elbows allow, again, for some really smooth movement with a tremendous stride showing the breed’s moving abilities. The well-fitted elbows, being right next to the body and without being outside the space where they are supposed to be, should always be there to reach forward and are really used to move that body ahead as a smooth and fluid mover with  the body being as graceful as it can be. The ends, front and rear, work together in unison for great stability in moving that the breed uses in the field and in the show ring. All these sentences just show why we want smooth and fluid movement and why we don’t expect less from this breed in motion.

Viewed from the front, the legs do not move in exact parallel planes, but incline slightly inward. Hind legs drive on a line with the forelegs, with hock joints and rear pasterns (metatarsus) turning neither in nor out.

These two strong statements are often ignored and, it seems to me, are very important in that fluid movement that the Standard calls for. The first statement says that the front legs incline slightly INWARD, not as parallel planes, coming down from the shoulder blade. These front legs come down from the point of shoulder and show that the forelegs do become closer together as they go faster in motion and that means there is less swaying and Cris-crossing in the front. The Rear stays with the forelegs moving in a straight, parallel motion and also makes the body move in just the right smooth and fluid way. Both fronts and rears should move without bouncing, swaying or doing anything except cover ground in the fluid, smooth status that the Standard calls for. Again, this is just calling for correct movement and the way is for the dog to move as the Standard calls for and, in all honesty, we cannot just pick out pieces and parts of the Standard to follow, but really need to exactly look at what is written and follow that as our guide. This means the dog is not a “little train”, but instead a dog with a closer moving front and a wide, parallel rear to make it move smoothly around the ring.

The propulsion of the hind leg depends on the dog’s ability to carry the hind leg to complete extension.Viewed in profile, the forward reach of the hind leg equals the rear extension.

The hind leg reaches under the body and mirrors the extension behind the body  and the rear does present itself as taking charge with the reaching under the body mirroring the rear extension . By “behind the body’, we mean the rear is really pushing off and the paw is far from the body and really pushing that body, fluidly and smoothly, around the Ring or field. You judge the rear movement by how well the reaching under matches the pushing off behind the dog. This is a harder one to master, but it is something to understand once you have seen it in action.The forward reach equals the rear push-off and that rear pushes the body straight ahead, again in a smooth. fluid motion. Pushing off means that you do push the body around the ring, cleanly and smoothly, with a lot of push from behind.

The thrust of correct movement is seen when the rear pads are clearly exposed during rear extension.

These rear pads have to be exposed as the rear is pushing off behind and, being way behind the body,  that paw’s pad must be exposed from the rear as you watch the dog go away from you. That rear is used to push the dog ahead with, again, a smooth, fluid movement showing in the dog’s gait.

Rear feet do not reach upward toward the abdomen and there is no appearance of walking on the rear pasterns.

In watching the rear feet, only take notice if they do not push as far back as they reach forward. The rear does move up under the body and will be matched by the rear pushing away. When moving correctly in front and reaching up under the body, but , if the pasterns do not touch the ground, the gaiting is excellent and especially if the rear really goes far back of the body and makes the dog look good moving around the ring with a lot of push from those short hocks.

Feet must travel parallel to the line of motion with no tendency to swing out, cross over, or interfere with each other.

Again, nothing beyond what is stated in the Standard is acceptable and any form beyond the affirmative aspects called for is not going to be proper moving around the Ring or the field. The feet must travel parallel with no swinging out, crossing over or interfering with the front and rear allowed and, again, all for the fluid and smooth movement that this part of the Standard calls for over and over again.

Short, choppy movement, rolling or high-stepping gait, close or overly wide coming or going are incorrect.

Nothing that throws off that smooth and fluid gait is allowed at all. The strides need to be long and absolutely not choppy with a very smooth gait with no rolling or high-stepping movement allowed. The legs should be never too close or too wide going away and the legs should follow what is spelled out in the Standard here. It all comes back to this dog having a fluid and smooth gait when moving and listing all the things that cause this smooth and fluid movement and all the things that mess it up.

The Dachshund must have agility, freedom of movement, and endurance to do the work for which he was developed.

One more time, the Dachshund must have that fluid  and smooth movement with agility, freedom of movement and endurance to cover ground like it is supposed to do.The reasons are there and it is up to you to follow directions. There is a lot of interest in smooth and fluid movement here, but some things need to be stated and over-stated many times and, in this instance, the proper gait is one thing that this Standard thinks is very important and is one thing we need to concentrate on.


Dan Harrison

February, 2014