Auf wiedersehen, pet: Germany set to ban sausage dogs

Young dachshund hunting in the forest
The new rules could cover dachshunds, beagles, boxers and schnauzers - Moment RF

Sausage dogs could be banned in Germany, its national kennel club has claimed, citing a draft law that would prohibit breeding practices that inflict long–term suffering on the animals.

There is “shock in Germany” among dog lovers over the proposals, according to the regional newspaper Hochrhein–Zeitung, which said the rules could cover dachshunds, beagles, boxers and schnauzers.

Germany’s Kennel Club [VDH] has warned that the law “prohibits our favourite dogs” and has launched a petition to scrap the reform which, as of Tuesday, had some 12,000 signatures.

‘Torture breeding’

However, Germany’s agriculture ministry denied that the reform would amount to a ban on certain breeds, such as sausage dogs. A spokesman told The Telegraph that the reform was specifically about a ban on “torture breeding”, which it defined as breeding traits that inflict “pain, suffering and damage” on future generations.

The law is being introduced as part of a new draft of the Animal Protection Act, which seeks to strengthen existing laws on “torture breeding,” according to the German government.

Sausage dogs are popular in Germany and are often seen waddling around middle–class neighbourhoods. The dogs were first bred in the Middle Ages to have stubby legs to make them invaluable to hunters for flushing badgers and foxes out of burrows. However, their breeding also brought an increased risk of the dogs developing spinal issues.

Four sausage dogs wait in a box for their competition at the Dog Show in Dortmund, Germany,
Albert Einstein is perhaps the most famous owner of a German sausage dog - AP

“Many of the proposed changes, such as regulating the trade in animals online or taking action against the illegal puppy trade, make sense...but the new animal protection law contains requirements that could mean the end of many healthy dog breeds in Germany,” stated the VDH’s petition.

It explained that the criteria for banning certain breeding practices were “vague”, in particular the use of the phrase “anomalies of the skeletal system”, which ran the risk of the law being used to ban sausage dogs.

Peter Friedrich, the president of VDH, said the draft law needed to be adjusted to remove ambiguity about “anomalies”.

Famous owners

Albert Einstein is perhaps the most famous owner of a German sausage dog, alongside – on the less illustrious end of the scale – Kaiser Wilhelm II and Erwin Rommel, the Afrika Korps commander. A dachshund called Waldi was also the mascot for the 1972 Munich Olympics.

Within Germany, the city of Passau in Bavaria can perhaps claim to be the capital of sausage dogs, having set up its own museum dedicated to them in 2018.

The Dackelmuseum [Dachshund museum] displays around 4,500 toys and other artefacts celebrating the charm of sausage dogs, in what they say is the world’s largest collection of such objects.