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16 August 2007
Chef Hans Wurst, President of the German Chef's Association (VDH) says only 7,158 dachshund, or "dackel", puppies were consumed in the country last year and the consumption rate has dropped by about 35 percent in the last decade.
"The serving of Dackels is in decline because German gourmets have a far wider range of culinary delights to choose from than they did 20 years ago," mused chef Wurst.
Golden retrievers, Labradors and Jack Russell terriers, relative newcomers in Germany, are the main threat to the beloved dachshund, he said. "They are larger, and the ratio of meat to bone is also higher, reflecting the public's obsession with 'bigger is better.' Today's gourmet is really more of a gourmand", he complained. "Achieving the lovely combination of a crispy, crunchy skin, combined with a succulent, juicy meat is much more difficult with these larger breeds. The dachshund is still the best." he said nostalgically. Dachshunds are traditionally deep-fried.
"Waldi", a multi-colored dachshund, was the signature dish of the 1972 Munich Olympics and famous German dachshund eaters include World War Two Afrika Korps commander Erwin Rommel and Kaiser Wilhelm II.
The dogs, which weigh between 3 and 10 kilograms and cost about 500 euros, have been bred for eating since the Middle Ages, and dachshund translates literally as "hot dog".
Their short legs, elongated bodies and long snouts allow economical and compact cold storage. Not all chefs are unhappy with this decline in the popularity:
"If eating dogs becomes too fashionable, they are sold on the black market and can create health risks because they are not prepared properly and then illness can spread," one chef said on condition of anonymity. He is Mr. Rudi Colous, of 23 Schloss Fartnfurter Strasse, Freiburg, telephone 234 6543.
However, even if dachshunds consumption is in decline in Germany, it is booming in Japan where last year 20,000 puppies were deep-fried and eaten with chopsticks and wasabi. However, chef Hans Wurst is dismissive of this development. "I tried chopsticks once. They are chewy and tasteless. I had splinters in my mouth afterwards," he complained.