Lisa Treadwell naturally inspired art

Recent work

Dachshunds, Standard & Minature Watercolour, 30 x 21cm

On Dachshunds

Never under estimate a Dachshund. What they lack in height they undoubtedly make up for in personality and tenacity. My very good friends in this painting are a real pair of characters; they have always kept me entertained, and on my toes, when I have been privileged to have them in my charge. Once you have their respect, by application of firm but fair example, these dachshunds are the most loyal and devoted companions.

The modern Dachshund is undoubtedly known to be of German decent. Documents from the 16th century refer to 'earth dogs' and 'badger creepers'. Dachs Kriecher (badger crawler) and Dachs Krieger (badger warrior) are descriptions found in early 18th century books. Dachshunds make appearances in paintings of the 1700s and look very like todays dachshunds, but is it possible the dachshund has been with us from the time of ancient Egypt? Engravings of short legged hunting dogs exist and urns containing mummified dogs resembling dachshunds have been discovered. Dachshunds as we know them today are a result of German intervention by breeding for characteristics suitable for a dog that is versatile, capable of hunting above and below ground. Bred to scent and track down wild boar and deer while hunting in packs and also to dig out badger setts and fox earths. Short stout legs with large paws make them ideal excavators. Their loose skin prevents tears in tight tunnels and the large flap ears keep out the dirt. A deep chest provides good lung capacity enabling the stamina a hunting dog requires. The dachshund is also capable of taking on its quarry and killing it. All this adds up to a dog that is far bigger in many ways than its appearance.

The dachshund was increasingly bred for keeping as a pet some time in the 1800s and as such, has become a smaller animal; a standard dachshund weighing between 9-12kgs, compared to its hunting ancestor 14-18Kg. The modern Dachshund still has the deep chest, muscular body, tenacity, bravery and persistence of spirit. Selective breeding arrived at a miniature dachshund in the 1900s to reduce size, being more appropriate for hunting hares and rabbits. I can vouch for this; I have had to retrieve my smaller friend from under hedges and bramble thickets. After escaping the bounds of the garden fence by finding a weak spot to dig under, his sole objective is to hunt rabbits. As long as you know where the rabbits hang out you will find him adorned with soil along his head and spine. He is persistent in liking to stick with his task. This means I have to crawl in too, commend him on a fine job, and reverse out of the thorny tangle, miniature Dachshund in hand.

I like this resigned quote from E.B. White:

"Being the owner of dachshunds, to me a book on dog discipline becomes a volume of inspired humor. Every sentence is a riot. Some day, if I ever get a chance, I shall write a book, or warning, on the character and temperament of the dachshund and why he can't be trained and shouldn't be. I would rather train a striped zebra to balance an Indian club than induce a dachshund to heed my slightest command. When I address Fred I never have to raise either my voice or my hopes. He even disobeys me when I instruct him in something he wants to do."

To me a dachshund's non compliance is a sign of their intelligence and if you can understand this you will find a dog of extreme loyalty and courage that would lay down its life for yours if such a necessity arose. I repeat NEVER under estimate a Dachshund.

Source material: Wikipedia: Dachshund,,

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