A museum dedicated to the dachshund opened last week in Germany — the country in which wiener dogs originated.
It’s a labor of love, and the brainchild of two former florists, dachshund lovers both, who managed to bring more than 4,500 pieces and 2,000 exhibits featuring dachshund paraphernalia together over the last three months.
The Dackelmuseum (or Dachshund Museum) was opened in the Bavarian town of Passau on April 2 by
Josef Küblbeck and Oliver Storz, two former florists who share a bit of an obsession with the breed.
Among the items displayed are stamps, prints, figurines, stuffed animals, dachshund puppets, even a dachshund shaped from bread.
Their inventory took a leap recently when they purchased a Belgian punk rocker’s extensive collection of dachshund paraphernalia, Reuters reported.
“The world needs a sausage dog museum… No other dog in the world enjoys the same kind of recognition or popularity as the symbol of Bavaria, the sausage dog,” said Kueblbeck. “We wanted to give this dog a home where people can come and share their joy.”
Admirers of the breed over the years have included artist Pablo Picasso, actor Marlon Brando, former U.S. President John F. Kennedy, scientist Albert Einstein and Napoleon.
One of Germany’s oldest breeds, the dachshund can be long-, short- or wire-haired and is one of the country’s most popular dogs. It was bred for hunting, starting in the Middle Ages. With their pointy snouts, they are renowned for being able to burrow into holes to catch small animals.
Dachshunds are renowned for sticking their heads in first and asking questions later.
So it’s not too surprising — especially when you throw in the fact that his owner was readying for an outing — that Milo found himself wedged halfway through a garden gate.
His owner, Sarah Jane Thompson, of Glasgow, was loading her six-week-old daughter into her carriage Monday when Milo ran around the garden and, in his excitement, got between the railings.
“He’s not as thin as he used to be so I think that he may have underestimated his own size,” Thompson told Metro.
Thompson, knowing dachshunds have sensitive backs, spent 30 minutes trying to gently dislodge him before calling the fire department to come and free him, the Daily Mail reported.
The Daily Mail article does not specify how they managed to extricate him — Jaws of Life? Soap and water? Buttering him up? — but Metro reports firefighters were able to dislodge him after turning him sideways.
In any event, it all ended happily, and we’re pretty sure Milo won’t do this again, until the next time he does it again.
They are respectable pets by day — upstanding AKC members, dog show winners, a therapy dog and even an actor among them.
At night, though, about once a week, they hit the grimy streets and trash-filled alleys of New York — terriers and dachshunds, along with their owners — tracking, cornering, capturing and killing rats.
You can call them superheroes, you can call them vigilantes, you can call them (as PETA has) participants in a “twisted blood sport.”
For its part, the The Ryder’s Alley Trencher-fed Society, or RATS, describes itself as a group of New York dog owners who are simply letting their dogs pursue what has been bred into them.
“Terriers have an innate sense to do this, it’s in their genes,” said Richard Reynolds, who founded the group. It has been around more than 25 years, and has its own Facebook page.
The group goes out as often as possible, sometimes invited to problem areas by citizens, sometimes responding to informal requests from city officials, The New York Post reported last week. The service is provided for free.
As the dog owners see it, they are giving their dogs a chance to fulfill what they were born to do.
“They think hunting is just fabulous,” Dr. Trudy Kawami, who started taking her wire-haired dachshunds to Prospect Park 30 years ago to sniff out rodents with the group, told
The dogs are trained to kill rats by shaking them until their necks break. Despite that, it can get pretty bloody, observers say.
Usually, about eight dogs take part in the hunt. The dachshunds tend to go into closed areas and flush rats out of garbage bags, while the larger terriers seem more interested in the actual attack.
Reynolds told The Post that half the dogs are show champions, one is a therapy dog and another has a role in the film “Five Flights Up,” alongside Diane Keaton and Morgan Freeman.
There is always a veterinary technician present, since rat bites are common.
“It’s all about keeping happy, healthy working dogs, and as long as we do that, everything is fine,” Reynolds said.
She didn’t win the race, but a disabled dachshund named “Anderson Pooper” was the clear crowd favorite at the annual Wiener Dog Races at Emerald Downs in Washington state.
Partly paralyzed, Anderson Pooper bested several other dachshunds in her heat, some of whom veered off the trail or never budged from the starting gate. Twenty-four dogs participated in the races.
A video of the July 18 race, sponsored by Seattle radio station Star 101.5, was posted to YouTube by Anderson Pooper’s owners, and led to an article about her (she’s a female) in the New York Daily News this week.
David Sizer and his wife Brenda, who runs Animals with Disabilities, adopted the dog four years ago. Her rear legs were paralyzed as a result of a spinal injury
Her paralysis requires the 7-year-old dachshund to wear diapers. Between the frequent changing those required, and Brenda’s maiden name (Anderson), the family decided to name the dog Anderson Pooper.
“She loves running. Any chance she gets she’s all in for it,” David Sizer said. “We’ll take her to the coast and she’ll run on the beach and we have a hard time keeping up with her.”
Big dogs — not that they ever left — are coming back.
In its annual report on breed popularity in the U.S., the American Kennel Club notes that, while the Labrador retriever is again the most popular dog breed, other large breeds are quickly moving up the list, including Dobermans, giant schnauzers and Great Danes.
According to the AKC, it could be a sign of an improving economy.
“Owning bigger breeds – an economic indicator of sorts – has been on the rise during the past five years,” said Lisa Peterson, AKC spokeswoman. “As the economy has improved, people are turning back to the big dogs they love, which cost more to feed and care for than the smaller breeds that saw a rise in popularity in 2007 and 2008.”
Labs took the top spot for the 23rd straight year, the longest consecutive reign of any dog in the annual ranking. The rankings are based on the number of AKC dog registrations across the country.
Here are the top 10, with links to their AKC profiles:
Comparing those rankings to the 2009 list, there’s evidence of a decline in small dog popularity — Yorkies dropped three places, from third, dachshunds dropped two, from eighth, and shih tzus fell out of the top 10 entirely.
Some smaller breeds saw a gain in popularity, like the French bulldog (now 11th). But far greater gains were made by greatly sized dogs: Doberman Pinschers rose from 22 to 12; Great Danes from 27 to 16; and Bernese Mountain Dogs from 47 to 32.
The AKC announced its rankings Friday, in advance of the upcoming Westminster Kennel Club dog show at Madison Square Garden.
Three new breeds will compete this year: rat terriers, Chinooks, and Portuguese Podengo Pequenos.
(Photo: Ash, a lab, or perhaps a lab mix (we didn’t ask for his papers), at play; by John Woestendiek)
When it comes to animals, there are those softies among us who see nearly everything they do — especially dogs — as magical and motivated by love.
Then there are those — generally not ohmidog! readers — who see dogs as unfeeling beasts concerned only with their next meal and their own comfort.
When a dog does something that seems kind, noble or otherwise amazing, members of that first group will “ooh” and “ah,” while members of the second will say “so what?” Anything a dog does, in their view, is explainable solely by instincts, training and will to survive. That way dogs snuggle with you at night? They are just trying to keep warm. Those goo goo eyes adoringly staring at you? They’re just trying to manipulate you into providing a treat.
For sure, the first group may often read too much into the motivations behind a dog’s behavior. But, just as surely, the second group sometimes isn’t reading en0ugh.
I, being author of a blog on the amazing things dogs do, am clearly a member of the first group. But, also being a realist and even more of a cynic, I can sometimes — just sometimes — see the second group’s point. As soon as I watched this video, for instance — once my “awwwwwwww” came to the final “w” — I started wondering about the motivations of the lion and dachshund, and, realistically, who was getting exactly what out of this relationship.
Bonedigger, the lion, and Milo, the dachshund, live together at Garold Wayne Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood, Okla. Milo was among a litter of puppies living a the park when Bonedigger, who suffers from a bone disease, arrived as 4-week-old cub. The pups and lion eat together every day.
After the meal, Milo licks Bonedigger’s teeth clean.
I’d venture Milo is not exhibiting love — or at least not love alone — when he sticks his head into the mouth of a lion. I’d submit, too, that Bonedigger’s dental hygiene is not Milo’s top concern. (Then again, you never know.)
More likely, Milo is after a few final morsels, and Bonedigger, for his part, cooperates because he appreciates the attention, or the gum massage, or having a wiener dog who serves as his own personal flossing aide.
Park president Joe Schreibvogel says the dogs and lion have eaten together since they were youngsters. They also cuddle with each other, and sometimes even mimic each other. It’s as if, species differences aside, they’ve become a pack.
“The dogs thought it was just a big puppy and have loved each other since,” Schreibvogel, who goes by the name “Joe Exotic,” told Today. The video of the lion and the dog has brought some needed attention to the Oklahoma zoo, which suffered about $18,000 in damage during the recent tornadoes. A spokesperson for the zoo says they’ve taken in about 100 homeless animals — domestic and exotic — since then.
But back to Milo and Bonedigger, and the question at hand.
Who’s getting what from this unlikely inter-species relationship, and who is benefitting most — the tooth-sucking canine, or the massive feline, who, rather than roaring at the little dog, says “ahhh” (or is it awwwww?) and lets him have at it?
My guess, is it’s a third species, one whose members sometimes over-analyze, and sometimes under-analyze, but still haven’t loss the ability to be amazed; one whose members — just as Bonedigger seems to appreciate a good tooth-licking — like to have their hearts warmed now and then.
Judging from the half million views this video has gotten in the past month, I’d say it ‘s us.