The Dachshund is one of the few breeds in the canine world that comes in a multitude of colors and patterns. Many of the breeds are based on both color and appearance, with a limited number of possible variations. Several of the different breeds of dogs are restricted to one color or one pattern, with no variations at all allowed in the show ring.
The Dachshund, however, is not one of these breeds. Not only do they have an almost limitless color variety, but there are also three different coat variations recognized within the breed. All Dachshunds, regardless of their coat type and color can compete against each other in the show ring, but the judges will allocate points or faults based on the specific coat type.
The three specific coat types with the Dachshund breed are very distinct and there is no allowance for combination coats. Each coat must meet all the breed standards for the coat, any deviation or blending of coat types will result in a serious fault or a disqualification, depending on the variation from the breed standard. The most common types of coats that most people are familiar with in the Dachshund is the short and the longhaired varieties.
Short coats are just as the name implies. The dog is covered with very short, shiny and sleek hair that lays flat against the body. There is no fringing or featuring on the ears, tail or legs and the area around the neck is also uniformly short without any type of a ruff. The short coats are easiest to keep, requiring a rub down with a damp cloth to remove debris and dead hair, plus final brushing with a medium to soft bristle brush. The short coated variety tends to be average year round shedders.
The longhaired variety of Dachshund has longer body hair than the short haired variety, but not as long as a Pekingese or Maltese. The coat should not be curly but can be wavy, and will be soft and sleek to the touch. The coat should not part down the back and hang to the sides, but should be flat and close to the body. The longer hair around the neck, on the ears, the legs, underbelly and the tail is significant but not heavy or coarse. The appearance of the longhaired Dachshund is one of elegance, but the longer coat does require routine, frequent grooming to prevent horrible mats and tangles from developing. The longhaired Dachshund must have long hair on the tail and ears or it is considered a serious fault.
The wirehaired variety of Dachshund is perhaps less well known and the least common. The wirehaired Dachshund has a double coat with a wiry but not protruding outer coat and a softer, shorter inner coat that is mixed with the outer coat along the body. The head and ears are covered with short, sleek hair except for noticeable eyebrows and a pronounced beard. Other than the eyebrows and beard, the wirehaired Dachshund may very closely resemble the short haired Dachshund until the coat is touched. There should be no patches of soft hair on the body or head of the wirehaired variety. All colors are acceptable in the wirehaired although the most common are the wild boar, tans and reds and black and tan, although some small white markings on the chest are acceptable but not desired.
The colors of the Dachshund are really amazing and there are really very few colors that aren't possible with the breed. There are solids, bi-colors, tri-colors and patterns all permissible within the breed. Different registries may indicate slightly different names for colors and shade variations within colors, which can make it all a bit confusing.
In general terms a solid color has only one color on the Dachshund, however there may be shading from a darker tone in the body to slightly lighter tones on the legs, feet and head. The solid colors include black, red, Isabella, cream, chocolate and blue. In the wirehaired variety the solid cream is called wheaton, as it is in the terrier breeds. The Isabella color is a fawn or tan, with lots of subtle shade variations. Cream can be almost white to a champagne color and even up to a golden color, but without the red undertones. Pure white is not a color as it produces a lethal gene and also results in deafness and blindness. What appears to be white in the Dachshund is actually a cream piebald or double piebald, but never a double or triple dapple. The term "double" refers to the fact that both parents were the same color, so a double piebald has both parents with the piebald pattern. Two dapple dogs should never be bred together, but a dapple can be bred to any other color or pattern combination.
Two color patterns in the Dachshund include black, red, chocolate or blue with either cream or tan markings. The black, red, chocolate or blue forms the body color and the tan or cream forms markings on the face, legs, underbelly, chest and under the tail. Sable colors are unique in that the hair is actually two colored, red base with a black overlay, creating a very unique color and constantly changing look to the dog's coat color, especially in the longhaired variety. An agouti pattern, which is a two tone hair shaft, typically blue or red on the bottom and black on the tips is known as wild boar and can be seen most commonly in the wirehaired Dachshunds.
Piebalds are like pinto horses, they have a white body with irregular patches of different colors over the body. Tri-color piebalds have two colors of patches, often tan and black, red or blue and black colors on a white or very light cream background. The color can include as much as half of the dog's coat and there may be ticking or roaning around the patches blending back into the white coat.
Brindle is a pattern that includes dark or black lines vertically around the body on a lighter background, often a red or chocolate color. Sometimes the brindle markings are only visible in the light areas of the body however they are really present through the entire coat, just genetically masked.
Dapples are unique in that there are patches, often very regular and rounded in shaped that are of a lighter color but the same tone over a darker body color. Dapples are often highly prized by those looking for very unique colorations in their Dachshunds. Dapples are the only coat pattern of Dachshunds that are allowed to have full blue or parti-blue eyes. There can also be combinations of patterns and colors within the breed, creating remarkable looking coat colors and patterns.
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