by JENNIFER BIUNDO
This weekend, hundreds of dachshunds and tens of thousands of human visitors will descend on Buda for the 13th annual Buda Lion’s Club Country Fair. If you’re new to the universe of racing wiener dogs, here’s a primer to get your feet wet.
If you need to get revved up for the races this weekend, look no further than the short film “Lord of the Wiens: A Dachumentary.” Described as “Best in Show” meets “Hands on a Hard Body,” this 25 minute film by Elise Ballard chronicles the challenges and triumphs of the noble sport of wiener dog racing, set against the backdrop of small town America. Sweet, offbeat and occasionally hilarious, it’s a great film for anyone who loves Buda or wiener dogs. www.lordofthewiens.com
Gone to Wienerland
Ever wonder about the wacky posters that pop up every year before the races, usually showing a popular or classic movie recast with dachshunds? They’re the work of the Williams marketing firm, formerly based in Buda and now located near Driftwood. The company has worked pro bono with the Buda Lion’s Club since 1998 to promote the races.
This year’s poster, Alice in Wienerland, features a purple smiling Cheshire wiener dog. Think that’s weird? Not any more than previous themes, such as “Teenage Mutant Ninja Wieners,” “Gone with the Wiener,” “Lord of the Wiens,” “Wiener Wars,” and “Wieners of the Caribbean: Curse of the Short Legs.”
Lord of the Wiens
If there’s a Mario Andretti of wiener dogs, it’s gotta be Copper, the lighting-fast blaze of short legs who dominated six years of races before his retirement. Copper sat out the 2003 races, but won every other year from 2001 – 2007.
His last year at the races, Copper was getting a little gray around the muzzle, but he still bolted down the race track with all the joy and speed of a puppy, leaving his competition in the dust. Of course, there’s no way a dog can achieve that kind of legendary status without hard work and sacrifice.
“Yeah, we’d just go out and throw the ball around the yard,” Copper’s Georgetown coach, Brian Shocklee, told the Hays Free Press in 2004 referring to the rigorous training it takes to produce a wiener dog winner.
A wiener dog primer
• The first written reports of dachshunds come from the early 1700s. Germans now refer to the dogs as the Dackel or Teckel, but the name derives from the German word for badger, “Dachs,” and dog, “hund,” indicating a dog bred to chase badgers down holes and fight to the death. With their long, sinuous build and stout chest, those cute little bundles of joy were actually bred to be fearless hunters.
• Here’s what the American Kennel Association has to say about the wiener dog’s temperament: “The Dachshund is clever, lively and courageous to the point of rashness, persevering in above and below ground work, with all the senses well-developed. Any display of shyness is a serious fault. NOTE: Inasmuch as the Dachshund is a hunting dog, scars from honorable wounds shall not be considered a fault.”
• Dachshund’s coats can be smooth, longhaired or wirehaired. The original and most common is the smooth short coat. The longhaired dachshunds are thought to have been bred with spaniels, while wirehairs were crossbred with terriers. Dachshunds can be either full sized, 12 – 24 pounds, or miniature, less than 12 pounds. Some dogs between 12 and 16 pounds are called “tweenies.”
• Wondering how something that little can make such a big noise? Look no further than the dachshund’s barrel chest, and resultantly, the big lungs that produce some surprisingly loud barks.
• World War I was a bad time to be a wiener dog. Dachshunds, considered a symbol of Germany, stood in for the enemy in political cartoons. Reports even exist of wiener dogs being stoned to death in the street, though they are challenged by some historians.
• That long body can come at a high price for dachshunds. The breed is particularly prone to spinal injuries such as slipped discs, with as many as 25 percent of the animals experiencing back trauma. Wiener dog owners should take care that their pets stay slender and avoid jumping and climbing stairs.
• Queen Victoria was a particularly avid dachshund owner. The royal infatuation with wiener dogs extends to Queen Elizabeth II, who introduced the “dorgi,” a mix of one of her Corgis and Princess Margaret’s dachshund, Pipkin.
- Wiener Dog Wrap 04/29/2009
- Wiener Dog Wrap 04/29/2009
- A day at the races: Wieners from far and wide gather for annual competition 04/28/2010