proper capitalization of dog breeds / what does "dachshund" mean?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Our Boss: With dog breeds—you’re only supposed to capitalize Geographical regions.

We: Like you’d capitalize “Brittany” but not "spaniel," "Labrador" but not "retriever"...

Our Boss: And "golden retriever" is all lowercase. But then you get the AKC who capitalize every part of a breed name—and you know why? I asked the guy once, and you know what he told me?

We: ?

Our Boss: They did it out of respect.

We: Respect?

Our Boss: Respect.

We: O-kay.

Our Boss: Yeah.

We: Could it be that they capitalize it because the AKC recognizes that breed? Like a title? Suppose the AKC were preparing a brochure, and all the breeds they recognize are written out with each name capitalized, so the reader knows that breed is recognized by the AKC, and breeds that aren’t recognized are written in lowercase…

Our Boss: Nope, they capitalize every breed name regardless. Like "Jack Russell terrier"—when I was writing a book on Jacks, I was trying to figure out how they should be cited, so I asked the AKC...

We: What does "terrier" mean anyway?

Our Boss:
It’s from the Latin "terra"—"earth"—they’re "earth dogs"—you know, the ones that go down holes and bite things...

We: Like dachshunds and badgers—not "earth dogs" as in they read your palms and lap herbal teas...

Our Boss: You never see a full-sized dachshund these days. We used to have one—Sam—about two feet tall, three feet long, forty-five pounds, all muscle. Almost killed the Weimaraner across the street that attacked him. He grabbed Sam by the back, but the reason dachshunds have loose skin is so when an animal grabs hold of them they can still reach around and bite back. So Sam clamped his jaws onto the Weimaraner's throat, and luckily my Dad was outside mowing the lawn, so he saw the fight and was able to pry Sam’s jaws off.

I used to take Sam hunting pheasants. He would track them like a hound and bring them in.

We:
How does a dachshund outrun a pheasant?

Our Boss: He just tracked them. Actually it was great because he had stubby little legs so it wasn’t tough to keep up with him.

Long story short, "dachshund" means "badger hound"--"dachs" is evidently German for badger, and if you don't know what "hund" translates to...

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