breed of short-legged, long-bodied dogs, 1844, from German Dachshund (15c.), from Dachs "badger" (Old High German dahs, 11c., cognate with Middle Dutch das "badger"), from Proto-Germanic *thahsuz "badger," perhaps literally "builder, the animal that builds," in reference to its burrowing (from PIE root *teks- "to weave," also "to fabricate"), but according to Watkins "more likely" borrowed from the same PIE source as the Celtic totemic name *Tazgo- (source of Gaulish Tazgo-, Gaelic Tadhg), originally "badger."
Second element is German Hund "dog" (see hound (n.)). Probably so called because the dogs were used in badger hunts, their long, thin bodies bred to burrow into setts and draw the animal out. French taisson, Spanish texon, tejon, Italian tasso are Germanic loan words.
Within the last few years this little hound has been introduced into England, a few couple having been presented to the Queen, from Saxony. The dachshund is a long, low, and very strong hound, with full head and sweeping ears. The fore legs are somewhat bandy, and when digging their action is very mole-like. [John Henry Walsh, "The Dog in Health and Disease," London, 1859]
updated on June 25, 2018