Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fascinating Dachshund History: Dachshunds On the Rise Again in Literature

Don't stop us now!  Thanks so much to an anonymous Dachshundist for sending in the link to Google's Books Ngram Viewer, a service which looks at the occurrence of words and phrases as they appear in literature over the years.  As there are obviously more books published today than in say, 1800, the service even normalizes the results by the number of books published each year.  Above, we can see the popularity of Dachshunds in English literature from 1800 to 2009, with a "smoothing" of 3, where the values are averaged 3 years before and after the date on the graph.  It looks like we peaked in the 1950s, but we are on the rise again in the 2000s. 

However, if we set the smoothing to 0, and don't take into account the years before and after, you can see that we had some years where we definitely peaked much higher than others, and will most likely not return to again - right around the years of World War One, when the Dachshund was the recipient of  much scrutiny, ridicule, and discussion for our German association.   
If you have some extra time over the holidays, make sure to head over to Google's Books Ngram Viewer, and click the dated links at the bottom of the page.  There you will find all the free literature that the results are gathered from; we were surprised at how much is out there. 

We were also fascinated that no matter how much the world changes, the Dachshunds seem to remain the same.  Check out this excerpt on Dachshund temperament from The Dogs of the British Islands, by John Henry Walsh, 1878:

     No dog is so sensitive to rain and wet ground as the dachshund. They will often steal away from the coverts on a wet day and sneak homewards.
     Dachshunds are very headstrong and difficult to keep under command; and as they are at the same time very sensitive to chastisement, it is next to impossible to force them to do anything against their will. Many good badger dogs have been made cowards for their whole life by one severe whipping. They must be taken as they are - with all their faults, as well as their virtues. When treated always kindly, the dachshund is very faithful to his master, and not only a useful, but a most amusing dog - a very humorist among the canine family. In spite of his small frame, he has always an air of consequence and independence about him; but, at the same time, he is very inquisitive, and always ready to interfere with things with which he has no concern. He seems to have an antipathy to large dogs, and, if they object to be domineered over, the dachshund will certainly quarrel with them. When his blood is up, he will care neither for blows nor for wounds, and is often bitten dreadfully in such encounters. Therefore dachshunds should not be kept in kennels with larger dogs. When kept in houses and accustomed to children, they will make good pets, for they are clean, intelligent, and watchful, without being noisy, though often snappish with strangers.


Anonymous said...

Hi Joey and Maggie...I'm Baron, a LH Tweenie Red and Blk Rabbit Dog aka Dachshund! I chase rabbits when I see 'em but never caught one since my Mom won't let me loose! She thinks I'm cuter than cute! Which I am! Like your blog!

Anonymous said...

Great info about past use of dachshunds here. Liz

Heather M. said...

Love that excerpt about dachshunds, so true!

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