Correct Dachshund Conformation
Here at Jenny's Dachshunds, we strongly believe that form follows function and striving to breed correct conformation in our dogs, whether they are destined to be show dogs or family pets, is very important. It is part of our goal to breed dachshunds that are true to the breed standard and would be able to perform the job that the breed was originally developed for. This page is provided to help make the written standard(s) easier to understand and to give the novice a general overview of just a small little part of everything that we have to consider here before planning a mating between two dachshunds.
"Conformation" is a breeder's term used to talk about the skeletal structure, proportions, and general appearance of a dog. A "standard" is a written description of the ideal conformation of a specific breed, in this case, the dachshund. This description will cover everything from the color of the hair coat, footpads, nose and nails to the correct angles for the bones in the shoulders, legs and other parts. The idea is for a person to be able to read this written "standard" and create a mental picture of the ideal dog.
The "ideal dog" is one that will not exist in real life, but as breeders we try to come as close as possible to achieving that ideal....along with the other factors we consider including health, temperament, and personality.
There are several different standards written to govern the correct conformation of the dachshund breed. The Dachshund Club of America (DCA) is the parent club recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and they have written the most commonly accepted standard for dachshunds in the United States.
DCA Dachshund Standard / AKC Dachshund Standard
The National Miniature Dachshund Club (NMDC) also maintains a separate standard for miniature dachshunds only (as opposed to both miniature and standard size dachshunds together as is the case in the DCA/AKC standards).
Other widely accepted standards from around the world include those written by: the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) ; the Kennel Club in the UK ; the FCI (an international kennel club); the Australian National Kennel Council ; the South African Dachshund Club ; and the United Kennel Club (UKC) .
It is interesting to note that of all the major kennel clubs worldwide, the US (AKC/DCA) is the only country that still considers the miniature size dachshund and the standard size dachshund the same breed. The Kennel Club in the UK, you will notice, actually calls the two sizes and three hair coats 6 completely separate breeds!
Also described in many of the standards is the correct movement of the dachshund !
The following pictures provide an illustrated look to help you learn to interpret the AKC/DCA dachshund standard...
A special "THANK YOU" goes out to Angie at Alaskan Lowriders for the four wonderful illustrations above!
Figure 1: the ideal head and skull.
Eyes should be dark (except in chocolates) and oval. Round eyes are a fault.
Figure 2: excessively pronounced stop, low set and
Figure 3: short, snipy jaw, with high-set ears.
... Figure 4:
ideal head, seen from above, with the jaw tapering uniformly to the nose.
Figure 5: faulty jaw, pinched in between the eyes
Figure 6: shows dewlap (baggy skin under the neck).
The skin should fit closely all over the body.
Figure 7: correct "Scissor"
bite, with closely fitting top and bottom canine teeth. Any deviation from this
is a fault.
Figure 8: incorrect "overshot" jaw which is
more common than...
Figure 9: incorrect "undershot" jaw
... Figure 10:
shows a "pincer" bite where both upper and lower teeth meet exactly
edge to edge. This too is incorrect
There should be 22 lower teeth and 20 upper teeth.
Number and alignment should both be examined by judges
There should be 6 incisors in each jaw (Faults:
missing incisors - typically one missing, but occasionally two missing. Judges
should check these.)
Figure 11: shows the ideal profile
view of the forequarters; the dotted line indicates the extent of the
breastbone. The point of the breastbone should be prominent and high up.
Figure 12: shows the correct shape and length of the
breastbone. It should form a graceful curve down through the forelegs and well
back towards the abdomen. There are 9 full ribs and 4 floating ribs on each
Figure ...13: shows the ideal front view of the forequarters. The
chest should be very oval and comparatively broad. The legs are close fitting
to the ribcage down to the wrists. Below the wrists, the legs are straight and
well apart. The feet may be turned slightly outwards or quite straight.
Figure 14: shows a chest that is too narrow
("chicken-breast"). The forelegs are too close together at the wrists
and the feet are splayed out ("10 to 2").
Figure 15: shows a breastbone that starts too low and is not prominent. It is short and comes down to a point behind the legs
Figure 16: is an even more exaggerated example of a faulty breastbone and forechest.
Note that a very deep chest is a fault as insufficient ground clearance
will restrict the dog's movement and ability to do a day's work. At its
lowest point (between the forelegs) it should be no lower than the
wrist (knee). Low to ground means lowness from the withers, not lack of
Figure 17: shows the correct
angulation of the shoulders and upper arm (set at 90 degrees). The correct form
can be gauged by the width between the point of the breastbone and the back of
the shoulder (as shown by the dotted lines).
Figure 18: shows the shoulder blade too steep and the
upper arm joined at an angle greater than 90 degrees. Note also the less
prominent forechest ("flat front") which... often accompanies
upright shoulders; and the forelegs that are placed too far forward. The dotted
lines also highlight the lack of width between the point of the breastbone and
the top of the shoulder.
Figure 19: shows further exaggeration, leading to
knuckling over of the forelegs.
Figure 20: seen from the front, upright shoulders
may, in bad cases, also cause the elbows to stand out from the ribs. The body
should not hang loosely between the legs.
Figures 21, 21a and 21b: show the
correct form of the feet. Forefeet should be large, round and close-knit, with
firm pads and a distinct arch to each toe. There are 5 toes, but only four in use.
The skin on the forelegs should not be wrinkled. The feet may be turned
slightly outwards or quite straight.
Figures 22 and 22a: show an incorrect, long, narrow foot
("hare foot"). A small, round "terrier foot" is also
Figure 23: shows the ideal outline.
The line of the back from withers to rump should be level. The body should be
long and muscular. Too short a body gives a "cloddy" appearance. The
underline should not be "tucked up" to the abdomen (like a
Greyhound). One head length equals neck length; tail length, and body depth.
And, three head lengths equal length of the body from breastbone to hock.
Figure 24: shows a hollow back (sometimes known as
"soft in back").
Figure 25: shows hindquarters higher than the shoulders.
Figure 26: shows a roach back, where the back is arched
between the withers and the rump.
Figure 27: shows the long pelvis,
with the upper thigh set on at a right angle to it. The lower thigh (shinbone)
is of such length that the hock joint stands just clear of the back of the
thigh. The foot bones stand vertically, up to the hock joint. The correct
angulation can be gauged by the width shown by the dotted lines.Figure 31: shows narrow hindquarters, with the legs too close together and the feet turned outwards.
Figure 28: shows the correct hindquarters from behind,
with good width. T...he hind legs are lighter in bone and the feet are smaller
than the front ones.
Figure 29: shows a short pelvis and upper thigh set
at an angle greater than 90 degrees. The lower thighbone is also too short. The
back of the thigh overhangs the hock in this case. The dotted lines show the
narrowness of this construction. This will result in cramped movement.
Figure 30: shows the same angulation, but with a
more normal length of lower thigh, resulting in the hocks projecting too far
behind the thigh.
Figure 32: shows the pelvis bone set too sloping and with a long lower
thigh and long foot bones, resulting in a "sickle-hock". Note also, the
Figure 33: shows "cow hocks", with the hock joints close together.
Figure 34: shows "bandy hocks", with the feet turned inwards.
The following three sketches are from Horswell's Dachshund book published in 1958
And below is Horswell's illustration of how the Dachshund folds itself into a compact size to fit into in the burrow or den