Doing a bit of random blog-surfing I came across a post from the Star Tribune Outdoors blog that mentioned a little dog with lots of heart. My curiosity was piqued so I googled Digby up and found a recent post over at Upland Equations that told me a bit more about him – and included some adorable pictures.
Digby is a seven month old dachshund who lives at a game club in California where he enjoys retrieving and flushing birds. He may only be a pup, but he’s already attracted a fan club.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that Digby’s not the only dachshund (or even the first) to enjoy working as a gun dog. From youtube, we bring you Weiner, who “just does what comes natural.”
Are Digby and Weiner a pair of achondroplastic geniuses? Maybe not. According to the folks over at Born-to-Track News, they are just doing what comes natural:
Many dachshund owners are probably not aware that a “water test” plays an important part of dachshund field testing system in many European countries. In Germany a test for the companion dog title includes evaluating the dog’s attitude to water. The handler throws a floating object at least 20 feet into deep water, and the dog is supposed to bring object back to shore. There is also a separate test in which two shots are fired from a shotgun while a duck is thrown 20 to 26 feet out into deep water. The dog is expected to swim out, retrieve the duck and bring it back to the owner. The VJT, a German club for hunting dachshunds, offers an even more challenging test as a dachshund tested does not see when and where a duck is thrown into water. The dog must find the duck by himself in the body of water, and a shot is fired when the dog is swimming towards the duck. The shot actually goes into the water in front of the swimming dog.
The North American Teckel Club (NATC) uses European dachshund Gebrauchshund, or usefulness tests as a basis to develop similar tests to assess how dachshunds on this side of the ocean perform. In the tests, each dog is tested against a performance standard, not another dog’s performance. A dog has to demonstrate gun steadiness before entering hunting tests. Dachshunds are tested in blood tracking, locating and trailing small game, locating, baying and/or bolting underground quarry, and flushing game in a controlled and obedient manner.
While doves and chukars may not be the standard quarry for dachshunds, the adorable, short-legged dogs were prized hunters long before they became one of America’s favorite lap dogs. I’m glad that groups like NATC are around to preserve the working heritage of the breed.