A dash through the Passau Dachshund Museum
Easter usually brings the Easter Bunny, but this year it has brought the wiener dog — to the Bavarian city of Passau, at least. That's where the the world's first Dachshund Museum has opened its doors.
You won't find the crown jewels here, but you will find a crowned golden dachshund statue. The curators behind the Passau museum have assembled some 2,000 objects related to the affectionately termed "wiener" or "sausage" dog. Found in flea markets and kitsch shops, the items come in all sizes and materials. Dachshund-themed salt shakers, beer mugs and plates are just a few of the exhibits.
In real life, the dachshund is a hunting dog that can dig underground into fox and badger burrows. The breed enjoys being outside. That's why the new museum placed the hunting hound's porcelain relatives in nature-inspired artistic scenes.
For many Germans, nothing more epitomizes middle-class kitsch than a bobblehead dachshund toy figure placed on a car's rear window shelf next to a crochet-covered roll of toilet paper. The decoration was popular in the 1960s and '70s and made a comeback at the end of the 1990s following an advertising campaign. Today, you can probably only see this unique combination at the Passau museum.
The dachshund was the center of attention in 1972 when Waldi (above) served as the mascot for that year's Summer Olympics in Munich. The then-president of Germany's National Olympic Committee, Willie Daume — himself a dachshund owner — supported the short-legged breed, which is considered to be agile and full of fighting spirit. Exactly the qualities that Olympians should possess.
Some 30 years ago, the dachshund could be seen all over Bavaria, often at the end of a leash held by a man dressed in lederhosen. Today, other dog breeds have overtaken the dachshund in terms of popularity — but a proper Bavarian snack of white veal sausage, a soft pretzel and beer is still in order for master and hound. The museum pays tribute to this custom.
Before the Dachshund Museum opened its doors, few bakers would have thought of offering cakes in the shape of the bow-legged canine — topped off with a Bavarian blue-and-white bow. But the museum has caused business to boom when it comes to dachshund-themed offers. There are now dachshund pralines and pizza — before you know it, there will be dachshund beer!
Dog shows take place in almost every country, and dachshund parades can't be left off the list. A particularly famous one takes place in Krakow, Poland (above). But do the dogs really like it when their owners dress them up? Many dachshund photographs can been seen at the museum in Passau.
Josef Küblbeck (left) and Oliver Storz are well-known figures in Passau. The pair ran a flower shop for many years before becoming museum curators. The initiative lies close to their hearts; both consider the dachshund to be a Bavarian icon. You never see the two humans without their dogs, Seppi (left) and Moni. All four have brushed aside criticism that their museum does not deal with culture.
Author Suzanne Cords