The American Kennel Club has offered obedience competition since 1936. In its origins, there lies a story that any Dachshund fancier who has tried to explain our breed’s purpose and function to John Q. Public should appreciate.
The pioneer of AKC obedience was Helen Whitehouse Walker, who bred Standard Poodles using the kennel name Carillon. Walker was bothered by the perception that her dogs were nothing more than “a fancy haircut”. To dispel this image, she created a series of exercises to demonstrate their intelligence. The first obedience trial was held on her father’s Mt. Kisco, New York estate in 1933. This new type of dog competition proved popular and more trials were held. These were exhibitions really, however, not titling events. In 1935, Walker submitted a series of guidelines to the AKC which expanded her original concept. In 1936, AKC approved the first obedience regulations which offered titles in three classes: Novice, Open and Utility.
We are not sure at the present time when the first Dachshund titled in obedience. CH Bucknam’s Merrymaker, a MBIS son of CH Cavalier v Marienlust whelped in 1942, earned a CD. In Lois Meistrell’s The New Dachshund, the author describes an exhibition that occurred at the National Specialty with Dachshunds who had served as military working dogs during the second world war:
Nobody present at the DCA’s Golden Anniversary Jubilee in 1945 can forget the one (obedience demonstration) staged by Jack Baird. The participants were Kettlewire Fritz CDX, owner-handled by Mrs. Beatrice E. Stamper and three veterans of World War II’s K-9 Corps, handled by their trainer, Cpl. Harold Deitch. These were: Mr. and Mrs. John C. Chaffee’s Zep v Waldbach, who served in the U.S.; Mrs. Richard Pell’s CH Bertra v Hildesheim; and Cpl. Deitch’s own Herman of Lindakin. These last two had been successfully used for mine detection in Italy.♦
The first obedience trial held in conjunction with DCA’s National Specialty occurred in 1961. Obedience was not offered at the nationals in 1962, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1970, and 1972. Since 1973, however, every national specialty has included a DCA obedience trial. The HIT winners of the DCA National Obedience Trial can be found here.
The Dachshund Club of America awards certificates to the top 10 Dachshund obedience competitors each year. The honorees from 1997 onward can be accessed from the “Companion Events” menu in the toolbar. The methodology for calculating the top ten awards is described here.
♦ Bertra was a grand-daughter of CH Feri-Flottenberg. Herman was a son of CH Leutnant v Marienlust and appears to have had a show career prior to his war-time service.