If you’re never seen an Alpine Dachsbracke, don’t freak out. This is not a Dachshund in costume, nor a bloodhound cursed with very short legs. This Alpine scent hound is a breed unto himself, an asset to hunters, and an icon of Austrian heritage.
Intrigued? Let’s get to know this hard-working, talented canine.
A Brief Dachsbracke History
Your eyes do not deceive you! There’s plenty of Dachshund blood running through the veins of the Dachsbracke. Dating back to the middle of the 19th Century, Europeans in the Alpine region (primarily Austria) deliberately bred larger hounds with Dachshunds to achieve a special combination of useful talents.
The new breed was a prized icon among German royalty, and Crown Prince Rudolf of Habsburg took his Dachsbracke on hunting trips in Egypt and Turkey. They were primarily used in Europe to hunt fox, boar, hares, and deer.
What Sets the Dachsbracke Apart
The genetic combination of scent hound and Dachshund makes the Dachsbracke an ideal hunting dog in the natural terrain of mountainous Europe. For one thing, their sense of smell is impeccable! They can follow a scent long after most dogs would give up or lose track. (Go, go, Gadget Snout!)
Their short legs lower their center of gravity, which helps them navigate steep, rough terrain, while also keeping their noses close to the ground. The Dachsbracke has a tough, sturdy build, and can even push through tall grass and brush that might be an obstacle for other hunting dogs.
The Dachsbracke at Rest
Given their acumen for hunting, the Dachsbracke have a strong prey drive and love to chase smaller dogs, other household pets, or backyard visitors. They’re quite smart, and a bit obstinate if they want to be. But the breed is generally sociable, good-natured, and friendly.
They enjoy hanging out with other dogs, and can adapt to apartment life if they’re given sufficient exercise. But if they feel bored or confined, they may deconstruct shoes or other possessions as a form of entertainment.
The Distinctive Dachsbracke
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The Dachsbracke grows to about 16 to 30 inches in height and weighs 30 to 40 pounds. They wear a thick top coat with a dense undercoat to keep warm in the Alpine winter. They typically feature a reddish-brown covering, sometimes interspersed with black hair or darker markings on the head, chest, legs, feet, and tail.
Like many breeds, they do experience a unique set of health issues. Their long spines make them prone to back issues, and they can suffer musculoskeletal difficulties, like hip dysplasia, if they gain too much weight.
Overall, they’re an impressive and remarkable breed, one that’s sure to stand out in the U.S., where they’re less commonly known. Owners admire the Dachsbracke’s persistence and stamina on hunting excursions, but embrace their friendly nature when it’s time to relax and take it easy. It’s also quite a sight to see such short legs move so quickly!
Featured image: Italian Alpine Dachsbracke Club