A Dachshund’s big, floppy ears are a classic characteristic of this short-legged, long-bodied dog breed. But is there a benefit to them having such big ears? Here’s everything you need to know about why Dachshunds have big ears.
Why Do Dachshunds Have Big Ears? Dachshunds have big ears because they are scent hounds. Their big floppy ears capture additional particles of scent, which may otherwise have gone unnoticed. Their ears help them to hold onto the scent for longer, increasing their ability to hunt down prey!
Read on to find out more about the original reasons why Dachshunds have been bred to have big, long ears, and the advantages long ears gave them for their original purpose as tracking dogs.
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This article is based on research and personal experience as a Dachshund owner of 10+ years. I’m not a Vet, qualified dog trainer or dog behaviourist.
Why Are A Dachshund’s Ears So Big?
A Dachshund’s ears are big because they are scent hounds. While running through the undergrowth, their floppy ears capture additional particles of scent and help them to hold onto it for longer. This increases their ability to hunt down badgers and other burrow dwelling animals!
Ears shapes range from dog breed to dog breed. There are a wide variety of different ear shapes that a dog can have.
In fact, you may not know this but, in the wild, all types of dogs had ears which stood upright.
This means that long ears, like the long ears that Dachshunds have, are actually a characteristic of domestic dog breeds.
Dogs have incredibly powerful hearing abilities, which are much stronger than the hearing abilities of us humans!
They can hear much higher frequencies than us humans can.
In fact, some dog breeds can actually hear up to sixty thousand hertz. Whereas humans can only hear until twenty thousand hertz at most!
You may have noticed your Dachshund’s ears becoming alert to sounds you haven’t heard yourself.
This is simply because their hearing is much wider ranging than yours!
It may also explain why they bark at twigs falling from a tree or the wind blowing outside, and why they get so frightened of loud noises like fireworks or thunder.
To them, it’s pretty loud!
Why Were Dachshunds Bred To Have Big Ears?
Dachshunds are a part of the group of dogs named the hound group.
To be more specific, Dachshunds are scent hounds. A category of dogs that characteristically have longer, floppier ears than other dog breeds.
This is because of their historical purpose as tracking and hunting dogs, serving their owners in the cause of finding prey.
Dachshunds, as scent hound dogs, were used to hunt small animals like badgers and rabbits.
Their keen sense of smell as scent hounds gave them a great ability to trace their prey.
How Do A Dachshund’s Ears Help Them Track A Scent?
You might be thinking, why does the length of a Dachshund’s ears have anything to do with their ability to track a scent?
Well, a Dachshund’s large ear size is actually a lot more important to their capabilities as trackers on the hunt than it might at first seem!
Big ears meant Dachshunds were able to capture additional particles of scent that they might not have otherwise noticed.
Basically, a Dachshund’s big ears were a huge benefit on their mission to find their prey.
As well as having a powerful nose, their ears helped them smell even more things and hold onto that scent for longer.
Their long ears whipped the fresh scents on the trail up into the air.
This allowed Dachshunds to get a better sniff of their prey than if their ears were short or upright.
Dachshunds big ears also held onto the scents as they ran through the undergrowth on the hunt.
This gave them a nice fresh whiff of their prey. It also reminded them of the smell of the prey they were hunting down so they could continue to search it out.
So basically, a Dachshund’s big ears were a big asset to their job as tracking dogs on the hunt.
Their floppy ears made them even better at following the scents of the small animals they were trained to hunt and chase after.
It’s also interesting to know that a Dachshund’s long ears actually prevent them from hearing distant sounds quite as well as dogs with upright ears can.
This is so they would’ve been even more focused on the hunt at hand, rather than being distracted by sounds off in the distance.
Instead of having straight upright ears characteristic of wild dogs, Dachshunds have been developed through breeding.
Historically, their longer ears have helped them be better hunting dogs and more useful to their owners.
So, there you have it! Dachshunds are scent hounds by nature with big floppy ears. Their ears dangle down and hold on to scent particles for longer, increasing their ability to hunt down their prey!
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