Europe / 13 September 2018, 3:42pm / Lifestyle Reporter
The Dackelmuseum, or Dachshund Museum, opened in April.
The 860-square-foot space pays homage to the pooch that originated in Germany and first was bred for hunting badgers. The dachshund's long snout and body, as well as its short legs and thick, powerful paws, were well suited for ferreting badgers out of their tunnels.
These days, the breed is a popular pet in many European countries and was ranked 13th in the United States last year by the American Kennel Club. The museum sports some 4,000 pieces of wienerabilia and an unrivalled dachshund-themed gift shop.
The Teckel Hotel, run by a Dutch couple in the Austrian Alps devoted to "teckels," the Dutch word for dachshund
In the baroque centre of Passau, situated along the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers it's easy to spot the Dackelmuseum during opening hours.
Co-owners Seppi Küblbeck and his longtime partner, Oliver Storz, adorn the exterior with dachshund-shaped benches, watering cans and more. On nice days you're likely to find one or both of the men, often with Moni and Little Seppi, sitting outside in their knee-length lederhosen chatting up passersby, of which there are many.
When the two started dating 21 years ago, Küblbeck had a long-haired dachshund who initially would turn her backside to Storz, but grew to love him. Moni and Little Seppi are the couple's third generation of dachshunds.
Over the years, the men, who are both medal-winning master florists and once owned a shop together, collected dachshund memorabilia during their travels and ended up with several hundred pieces. "We discovered from our international travellers that the dachshund is really popular all over the world," Storz said. "So we started to increase that collection and had a 50 percent turnover of dachshund items every day."
After a little digging around, they found a spot for a bona fide dachshund museum and gift shop. Thanks to some early publicity in Europe, the founder of the Belgian punk rock band Les Teckels reached out to donate about 3,500 items.
"He came with a van completely full, with 60 banana boxes and each of the dachshunds wrapped in paper," Storz said. They've since picked up more donations, including a collection of 2,000 items.
"It's mostly from elderly people who want to clean out their lives," Storz said. We've had some really nice meetings."
Other items arrive unsolicited. "Every day we get parcels at the shop. Sometimes they're addressed only to 'Dachshund Museum, Passau, Germany.' "
Some visitors show up wearing dachshund-themed clothing and jewelry, and one New Yorker arrived with her travel mate - a silhouette cutout of her dachshund.
Passau, a main stop on the busy European river cruise circuit and a starting point for many cycling tours, hosts more than 1 million tourists a year.