These small but sporting dachshunds will find a place in every working household. We champion the teckel.
Despite initial reservations, Olly is a total teckel convert: “Porridge is hilarious. She’ll howl along to opera music and is always making everyone laugh but the minute she’s out with the clients stalking she’s like a different dog. Her nose is unreal. I’ve never known a dog operate like her. Then, once we’re finished, it’s back home for a power shower in the kitchen sink.”
Olly believes teckels have another advantage: women can’t resist them. “They are very appealing. My brother-in-law has pictures of Porridge on his Facebook page and there are no end of comments from girls saying how cute she is and how much they’d like to meet her,” he reveals.
Dermot Hanniffy admits that in the past his part-bred teckel has been an ice-breaker. “Róisín is very affectionate and usually does the introductions. I’m in a happy relationship these days but without doubt she was a hit with the girls, although I usually glossed over Róisín’s love of ratting.” Her other sporting interests include shooting, hunting with hounds and polo. “Róisín has always been a great companion, and happily goes up and down the boards, without entering the field,” says Dermot. “Once I head out to play she jumps into the lorry and doesn’t come out until the end of the last chukka. She seems to know the timing.”
While this nous is one of the teckel’s great qualities, it can also pose a challenge. Being hounds, they are incredibly loyal but work tends to be on their own terms, as Lucy Meager knows well. “They are such keen and thorough little dogs but if the undergrowth gets very thick or they find something more interesting, such as a fresh set, that’s it. A gundog likes to please its owner, dachshunds please themselves. Nor have we found them particularly easy to house-train,” she admits. “It’s not that they don’t understand and can’t do it, it’s more, ‘Why should I go outside when it’s raining and risk getting my tummy cold and wet?’”
Bernd Kügow confirms that unsavoury personal habits can be a teckel trait. “Mine do protest wees. Because I’ve so many dogs I walk them in two groups,” he explains. “The ones left behind look at me with such determined faces that say, ‘I’m coming. Don’t you dare leave me behind.’ And, indeed, often I’ll return to find one has left an expression of its frustration on the floor. This brain makes them such brilliant dogs, although they can be a handful if not properly occupied. They couldn’t do all the things we ask of them without such determined characters. They are up for anything and eminently trainable, so long as you’re as persistent as they are. Constant reaffirmation and praise works well – they sulk if you’re too harsh,” he says.
GIVE THAT DOG AN OSCAR
Sporting agent Howard Day knows all too well how much a teckel likes life on its own terms. “Oscar was bought as a pet and a stalking dog. He is a very sporting dog but it definitely revolves around his own entertainment. You can train a lab to work, with a teckel you have to persuade it.” According to Howard, the key is making the teckel think it is getting its own way. “Try to give Oscar wormers and it ends in a wrestling match. However, if you pretend you want to eat them, he’ll gobble them up. Similarly, when we go to the vets we take the lab, too. On arrival we get Oscar out but leave the lab – Oscar will then do anything because he feels he’s getting one over on the lab.” Oscar loves women, children and Krispy Kreme doughnuts. “He can demolish a dozen in less than three minutes. We once left a box on the table. When we returned Oscar was stood in the box finishing off the last one. He didn’t even look ashamed,” says Howard. In their native home, teckels are enjoying a surge in popularity. “I’m sure a lot of it is to do with their size,” says Bernd Kügow . “All over Europe space is in short supply; a teckel doesn’t need as much room to work and live as a big dog but gives you every bit as much fun.” No doubt this small dog will soon have a large following in this country, too. Doughnut fans take note.