Discover the origins of two very different hunting dogs with a versatile set of hunting skills and a rich culture of passionate enthusiasts
In this episode, we explore two very different types of hunting dogs, both of which defy any attempt to fit neatly within a single category. Dachshunds, also known as Teckels or Dackels, are incredibly versatile hunting dogs that excel at hunting birds or tracking wounded game. Feist, on the other hand, are a category of dogs that represent the varied needs and preferences of squirrel hunters throughout North America. Both dogs are relatively unknown as hunting dogs outside of their circles, but within their community lies a fiercely devoted and passionate group of enthusiasts.
The Dachshund, or Teckel, originated in Germany and soon became a popular companion and hunting dog. War caused international interest in this German symbol to wane, leading to a short-lived attempt at renaming the breed “Liberty Hound.” The resilient little dog soon rebounded, though, and was once again popular around the world with hunters looking for a capable, driven dog with an expertise in tracking game as well as both bird dog and terrier-like skills.
Feist are a uniquely North American creation, bred to accompany squirrel hunters throughout Appalachia. They locate small game and tree it, keeping the animal in position until the hunter arrives to take the shot. While only two breeds of Feist are currently recognized by external registries, the category as a whole encompasses a huge array of local varieties and specialties.
As always, we explore some etymology in this episode. We explore the origin of the name “Teckel” and why the German word “Dachshund” isn’t often used within German to refer to this breed. We look into the meaning of “Feist” and how these dogs carry the name of an antique slang term. Finally, we start to build a dictionary of jaegersprache, or hunter’s language. The first entry in this list is “backing,” a term important in pointing dog culture but likely not understood outside of that world.
Tune in to learn more about Teckels and Feist! You’re nearly guaranteed to learn something new in this episode. We thank you for listening and hope you’ll continue to reach out with your comments, questions, and ideas. We can be reached at HDC@northwoodscollective.com.
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Jennifer Wapenski is the managing editor of Hunting Dog Confidential Magazine and co-host of the Hunting Dog Confidential podcast. She has a lifelong passion for the outdoors, dogs, and wildlife; as an adult, she discovered that upland bird and waterfowl hunting were natural extensions of these pursuits. Jennifer lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their two Deutsch Langhaars.