Illustrations of dogs resembling the dachshund date back to the 15th century & documents mentioning the "earth dog", "badger creeper", "badger warrior" & "dachsel" were found in the 16th century. The name "dachshund" means "badger dog." Traditionally, the standard dachshund weighed 16 to 30 lbs & was used to hunt ferocious animals such as badgers, wild boar, raccoons, otter, & deer. They were eventually downsized to 12 lbs & smaller & used on den animals such as foxes, & to hunt other small animals such as rabbits, weasels, rats, & other rodents. Dachshunds are bold, tenacious, & fearless as hunters & today, the dachshund is the only breed recognized by the American Kennel Club to hunt both above & below ground.
In the 1800's dachshunds became the favorite in European courts & in Great Britain (Queen Victoria was especially fond of the breed); they started being bred as pets instead of hunters. They were oftentimes given as engagement gifts or wedding gifts to royalty (especially the long hair as they were more laid back than the short hair who bubbled with energy to hunt). And their size was gradually reduced to the Miniature Dachshund. Although they have now become more popular as pets than hunting dogs, some parts of Europe still consider them hunting dogs.
Dachshunds, today, are primarily known as good family companions. They are also used as therapy dogs. Sometimes they are entered in dachshund races; others are shown in conformation, obedience, agility, field trials & earthdog trials. Since dachshunds thrive on structure & discipline, they do very well in shows & sport events.
So, what is an Earthdog?
The term "Earthdog" is used to describe dogs which hunt underground in natural dens. It includes any breed which can enter a natural den, face a wild animal within it, & either drive it out, hold it at bay or kill it. Dachshunds are earthdogs!!
A working dachshund, or working earthdog, is one who will have the demeanor, courage & ability to enter the earth of a quarry where work needs to be done, whether the quarry is a fox, otter or badger; or the smaller animals such as gerbils, rats, or rabbits.
A popular CKC/AKC recognized sport event that allows the dachshund to use his natural instincts in a safe, simulated hunting environment is Earthdog trials. It's lots of fun for the dachshund & he has the opportunity to earn a title at the same time. Earthdogs are tested on their ability to enter the den, locate the quarry through a series of turns & tunnels, & work the quarry for a specific length of time. Each stage is increasingly difficult for the dog; however, if he is successful, he advances to the next level.
There are four Earthdog Levels:
- Introduction to Quarry
- Junior Earthdog (JE)
- Senior Earthdog (SE)
- Master Earthdog (ME)
As a Master Earthdog, the dachshund has worked hard & faced many difficult challenges to earn his title. A working earthdog designation holds special meaning & denotes particular pride for the dachshund & his owner.
(Please NOTE that while Earthdog is a CKC sanctioned sport, the dog does not have to be registered with the CKC. The owners can apply for a PEN [Performance Event Number] with the CKC which will enable the dog to compete & earn titles just like a registered dog.)
What is Earthdog?
Watch a Dachshund Earthdog in Action!!
Potter was born here in July 2012 & went to live in Calgary with his new family, Parker & Dian, & Gidget (his new dachshund best friend). True to his breed, he has excelled at obedience class, agility class, & now in Earthdog trials. We are amazed daily by the wonders of the dachshund breed & so humbly grateful that we have had the opportunity to breed, raise, & promote such an amazing breed of dogs.
Pictures of Potter receiving his Junior Earthdog designation are shown below.
I am also sharing Dian's comments on Potter below the pictures.
"Potter had a great weekend in BC when we went for his Earthdog tests at the end of May. He didn't pass his IQ right away on Saturday, but he got it on the 2nd try. On Sunday, they convinced me to try him in Junior which is the first "titled" level....We gave it a try & he got his first JE leg! I was completely blown away. He had never seen that den before & he had to negotiate 30 ft & three 90 degree turns of dark wet tunnel to get to the rats. Plus he had to work them for 60 seconds. We tried again in the afternoon & he did it again under a different judge so he now has his Junior Earthdog title! I was so proud of him; he really surprised me...at only 10 months old he is a little superstar." (Dian Stafford-Gilmour)
Dian & her husband, Parker Gilmour, started the Calgary Lowriders Dachshund Club in Calgary in 2006 as a way to continue to socialize their adult dachshunds & help others do the same. Their club has over 300 members & they host several events each year. They have been been involved with Earthdog trials for several years. Their local club is PEAA (Performance & Earthdog Association of Alberta) based in Okotoks, AB.
Their dachshund, Milo, was the first miniature dachshund in Canada to receive his Master Earthdog title, & Gidget is the second.
Dian & Parker have a website. If you are interested in visiting it or would like to join the Calgary Lowriders Dachshund Club, go to