“The Smooth Variety Colors and the Coat Choices in the DCA Standard”


Here is my take on the Smooth Variety colors and the coat choices available to the Dachshund show breeders in the USA. I start out with the Standard phrasing (in bold) and then my comments following and trying to explain what the Standard means in this context.

Special Characteristics of the Three Coat Varieties – The Dachshund is bred with three varieties of coat: (1) Smooth; (2) Wirehaired; (3) Longhaired and is shown in two sizes, standard and miniature. All three varieties and both sizes must conform to the characteristics already specified. The following features are applicable for each variety:

This is a description of the coats, colors and sizes that the Standard describes as suitable and approved for the Smooth, Long and Wire varieties in the show ring. They are allowed as acceptable for the AKC shows and they are what we all seek to show when we say we know about breeding Dachshunds and the way they are to be presented to the Fancy. As a Standard breeder, I never had rare-colored Dachshunds, having red and black and tan Dachshunds in my kennel, but I would still feel the same way even if I bred off-colored animals and would only show what was listed in the Standard as acceptable since these are the things the Standard says is true for the Breed.

Smooth Dachshund – Coat – Short, smooth and shining. Should be neither too long nor too thick. Ears not leathery. Tail – Gradually tapered to a point, well but not too richly haired. Long sleek bristles on the underside are considered a patch of strong-growing hair, not a fault. A brush tail is a fault, as is also a partly or wholly hairless tail.

The coat in the Smooth variety is short, smooth and shining and should never be too long nor too thick. It should lay close to the body and any parts that are a little too long should be worked on with the thinning shears, especially where it shows a lot of different lengths, such as the underside of the tail or where two sets of coat meet up, such as around the neck under the head. Saying this, I personally never did any of this grooming and just showed mine as Nature intended as I had dogs with correct coats and who never needed any trimming, even though the Smooths often had Longhair behind them. The ears are not leathery meaning they do have hair on them and don’t look as if Mother Nature forgot them when she made the puppies for that show quality litter. The hair on the tail can be a little longer on the underside of the tail and many people trim it, but, as I said, many people do not. The tail is never too full of hair and that would be a fault just as the brush tail or a partly naked tail would be too. This is something the dogs have to have when they hit the show ring and let’s assume they all are in great coat and condition so we can start judging the dogs.


Color of Hair – Although base color is immaterial, certain patterns and basic colors predominate. One-colored Dachshunds include red and cream, with or without a shading of interspersed dark hairs. A small amount of white on the chest is acceptable, but not desirable. Nose and nails – black.

One-colored Dachshunds are normally red or cream, with or without a shading of black hair as an overlay, and they may have a small amount of white hair on the chest (and ONLY the chest) which is acceptable, but not desirable. In other words, that small patch of white is not something we want on our one-colored dogs, but that small patch is to be noted, but is not a huge factor in gauging the quality of a Show Dog. Also, many people have reds and when they have a shading of black over them call the color ‘sable’ and, unfortunately, this really a wrong decision and, although we can tell them it is wrong, most do not pay attention to that and go ahead and call this shaded red a ‘sable’. Remember, the sable is a very unusual color that is very rare in the Dachshund breed. The nose and nails on this red and cream color is black, not reddish or lighter colored and not any other color, just black.

CH Favorite v Marienlust

CH Favorite v Marienlust

Two-colored Dachshunds include black, chocolate, wild boar, gray (blue) and fawn (Isabella), each with deep, rich tan or cream markings over the eyes, on the sides of the jaw and underlip, on the inner edge of the ear, front, breast, sometimes on the throat, inside and behind the front legs, on the paws and around the anus, and from there to about one-third to one-half of the length of the tail on the underside. Undue prominence of tan or cream markings is undesirable. A small amount of white on the chest is acceptable but not desirable. Nose and nails – in the case of black dogs, black; for chocolate and all other colors, dark brown, but self-colored is acceptable.

The two-colored Dachshund includes black, chocolate, wild boar, gray and fawn and each have the tan markings associated with the black and tan affixed to the body and these colors are accepted in all three varieties being shown . All have tan or cream markings over the eyes, on the edge of the ear, front, breast, sometimes on the throat, inside and behind the front legs, on the paws and around the anus and from there to about one-third to one-half the length of the tail on the underside. Too much cream and tan on the head is quite undesirable, even though we hear much more about the cream and tan being too sparse and too small when that is not the problem the Standard discusses. Remember, we look for too much tan and cream, never too little. While all the talk is always about there never being enough red and cream, the actual fact is that the Standard calls for LESS red and cream, never more and that is what we should be looking for in looking at the two-toned Dachshund. The nose and nails are the same as mentioned in the Standard as black for black dogs and dark brown for chocolates while self-colored is also acceptable in the gray and fawn colors. In wild boars, black would also be acceptable, too. All these colors are in all three coats with the blacks and tans and chocolates more usually seen and the wild boars are mainly in the Wirehair variety while grays and fawns are rarely seen in any variety.

Dappled dachshunds – The dapple (merle) pattern is expressed as lighter-colored areas contrasting with the darker base color, which may be any acceptable color. Neither the light nor the dark color should predominate. Nose and nails are the same as for one- and two-colored Dachshunds. Partial or wholly blue (wall) eyes are as acceptable as dark eyes. A large area of white on the chest of a dapple is permissible.

The dapple (merle) pattern is seen in each variety and is completely accepted in all aspects of the game as a single dapple, but the double dapple is no longer accepted in the Breed ring, however, it can be shown in the Field and Obedience. The color is a mixture of the darker color and the lighter color spots and are fine if they are of the acceptable colors and neither lighter nor darker predominate on the body. Nose and nails are the same as one and two colored Dachshunds and a partial or wholly blue eye is perfectly acceptable. With these additions, a large area of white on the chest is permissible.The dappled Dachshund is perfectly acceptable and very easy to spot in the ring with his gorgeous color. Again, the dapple color is always accepted in Breed, Obedience or Field work.

Brindle is a pattern (as opposed to a color) in which black or dark stripes occur over the entire body although in some specimens the pattern may be visible only in the tan points.

Brindle, being a pattern and not a color, can be a little confusing for many people. It is a pattern that sometimes can only be seen by looking for brindle markings on the tan parts of the black and tans and dapples, but is always present on the red or cream dogs that it appears on. It is a pattern that again is not too common in the breed and is usually seen in Miniatures of all three coats, rarely in Standards here in the USA, but there are no bad things associated with the color and is common in many other breeds with no bad aspects to the color.

Sable – the sable pattern consists of a uniform dark overlay on red dogs. The overlay hairs are double-pigmented, with the tip of each hair much darker than the base color. The pattern usually displays a widow’s peak on the head. Nose, nails and eye rims are black. Eyes are dark, the darker the better.

Sable is a VERY rare pattern and is rarely seen in Dachshunds, mostly in the Miniature line and is, as far as I know, only in longhairs. The sable looks like a black and tan, but the pronounced widow’s peak on the red head  (the whole head is red, with no black and tan markings on it)  makes it very different from the black and tan we normally see in Dachshunds. It is dark and red underneath the long black hair, but has a distinctive look which makes it seem very different from reds and black and tans and is easily differentiated from the normal colors we are used to watching in the Dachshund ring. Seeing a true sable means you never confuse the ‘sabled’ Dachshund which is a red with a black overlay with the true very rare sable colored dog.

These are the colors which predominate in the Dachshund breed and, as you can see, many colors are not mentioned as acceptable by the Standard but are still seen in the ring when the owners show them. They are not accepted and have not been for years and, as I have said, we do try to go by what the Standard says and, in this case, the Standard specifically does not give the OK to these off-colors. By the same token , none of these colors is listed as a DQ either by this same Standard and that is what causes the trouble for Judges and what they do in the Ring.

I am just going to say what I would do if any of the off-colored dogs were shown to me (although I usually do not ever get these colored dogs in my entries any longer). Since the off-colored dogs are shown to me, in the correct class, I would consider the color a serious to minor fault and take that into consideration when I looked over the entry. I definitely would not excuse the dog and , if it had many of the right qualities, would consider it for the class win or points as well if it were up to the Standard’s quest for being a nice Dachshund, but it would also have to take into effect how the mis-marking made it not look as the Standard wanted a Dachshund to look like. This is a not good position to be put in , but every exhibitor shows what they want to show in the classes and then it is up to the Judge to sort out the problems and put the dogs where they belong in the Classes. As I said, that is how I look at any trouble in the ‘color’ mode in the DCA Standard.

Dan Harrison

March 2014