Auf Wiedersehen Wiener Dog - Will Germany Ban Dachshunds?

Nevena Nacic
by Nevena Nacic
Liliya Kulianionak/Shutterstock

Germany’s beloved dog breed, the dachshund, could soon be banned under a new law that prohibits the breeding of dogs with “skeletal anomalies”.

The draft of the bill, published in February, is currently being reviewed by the authorities and was introduced as a part of the Animal Protection Act. The new bill aims to strengthen existing laws on “torture breeding” and to regulate the online animal trade. 

The draft of the protection law said it could ban the reproduction of breeds prone to particular health problems, such as spinal problems linked with short legs and long back which are characteristic of the dachshund breed.

According to the German Kennel Club (VDH), the bill could be interpreted as a ban on breeding dogs with any major size deviation from the original wolf type. 

In addition to dachshunds, other dog breeds like the German shepherd, miniature schnauzer, beagle, and Jack Russell terrier could be affected by the bill. The breeding restrictions could also be applied to flat-faced breeds like the English bulldog, pug, and French bulldog.

Some of the disease characteristics listed in the draft law are too vague and undefined,” said Leif Kopernik, the chief executive of the VDH. “Whether too small or too large, if the Animal Welfare Act were to be implemented in its current form, many popular and healthy breeds could be banned from breeding,” he said, according to the New York Times

The VDH has launched a petition to save “our favorite dogs” saying the proposed bill would leave too much room for interpretation in deciding what can be considered a genetic defect. 

The German Kennel Club agrees that many of the proposed changes, such as stricter regulations for online animal trade and taking action against illegal puppy trade are good measures that make sense. 

However, the animal protection law contains requirements that could mean the end of many healthy dog breeds in Germany,” said VDH on its website.

Although the proposed changes could affect several dog breeds, the dachshund is at the center of the discussion. Often called dackel by Germans, the dachshund has been the country’s national symbol for many years. 

The breed has been around for several centuries and was bred specifically for digging and clawing into underground dens to hunt for badgers. These sausage-shaped dogs have strong claws and sharp teeth which proved extremely useful when hunting. 

According to Sandra Karthauser, a breeder of rough-haired dachshunds from Munster, there is no evidence that dachshunds are sick due to their appearance. However, she admits that certain breed lines might be predisposed to herniated discs and other health issues.

But to ban the whole breed because of this, that doesn’t make sense to me. Then you can also ban Labradors because some suffer from hip dysplasia along with other breeds that might suffer from debilitating diseases and ailments,”  she added.

Germany’s agricultural ministry refuted that the new bill would ban particular dog breeds, including the dachshund.

We aren’t seeking to ban the dachshund. What we are aiming at with this reform is a ban on torture breeding.”

The goal of this new regulation is to forbid breeding practices that cause long-term suffering to the dogs. 

“We want to consistently protect animals from pain, suffering, and damage,” said the ministry adding that the new bill is still being reviewed. 

Germany’s dachshund lovers and breeders hope the breeding ban won’t happen now or in the future. 

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Nevena Nacic
Nevena Nacic

Nevena is a freelance writer and a proud mom of Teo, a 17-year-old poodle, and Bob, a rescued grey tabby cat. Since childhood, she had a habit of picking up strays and bringing them home (luckily, her parents didn't know how to say NO). When she's not writing for her fellow pet parents, Nevena can be found watching Teo sleep. To her defense, that's not as creepy as it sounds!

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