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11 November 2011

One Forgotten Legacy of the First World War

One forgotten legacy of the First World War is the shabby treatment given to an innocent breed of dog: the humble and extremely endearing and affectionate Dachshund.
First introduced to America in the late '70s and registered by the American Kennel Club in 1885, dachshunds hit their all-time low in popularity during World War I when, along with everything else associated with Teutonic origin, they were suspected of treason or at least dangerous thoughts. The public disapproval of the breed reached such intensity that, along with sauerkraut (which overnight became "liberty cabbage"), the dachshund officially changed its name, calling itself "badger dog" for a few years.
Silly as it seems these days, this sort of collateral demonization was normal before WW2.
I've always had a soft spot for the little guys, and I always will.
A week after World War II was declared, the Dachshund Club of America—national association of dachshund owners—received reports that dachshunds were being stoned in the streets and kicked and that many were having tin cans tied to their tails. Determined that their breed should not again suffer as it had during the first world war, the breeders' club successfully carried on a vigorous public relations campaign directed at editors and cartoonists in particular. Their efforts were aided considerably by such dachshunds as John Chaff's Zep v Waldbach which, as a war dog in the Italian and North African campaigns, reached hero status after uncovering, along with another dachshund, over 600 enemy mines.
The popularity of the breed was kept up throughout the hostilities and at war's end the dachshund began its climb to its present eminence. There are now about 100,000 registered dachshunds in the U.S. and they rank fifth in registration after beagles, boxers, cockers and Chihuahuas. In 1926, by comparison, there were only 23 dachshunds registered in this country.
One of man's shame that we should learn from is this kind of pointless hostile tranferance.

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