Poland's Favourite Dogs and their Annual Parade through Kraków
Every autumn since 1994, Kraków has hosted the Dachshund Parade ("Marsz Jamników"), a super-cute event featuring hundreds of costumed sausage dogs from all over the world. But just why do Poles love wiener dogs so much?
The 21st Dachshund Parade takes place on 13th September 2015, from 10:00 to 14:00, starting at the entrance of the Kraków Barbican and ending at the Rynek Główny. It is no coincidence that this yearly honour is bestowed on this particular breed; Poles have always had a soft spot for the short-legged hounds.
A Famous Icon
This year’s theme is “Jamnik & I – The Ideal Pair!” Especially for this year, Radio Kraków, the long-time organiser of the event, is also hosting a competition before the actual march on Sunday 13th September.
Jamnik is the Polish word for the wiener dog (or sausage dog to the Brits), most commonly known as the German dachshund. Bred for the German royal houses to hunt badgers, rabbits, and foxes from the 15th century onward, the dachshund later became a celebrated icon. From Waldi, the dachshund of the 1972 Munich Olympics, to Pablo Picasso’s Lump, Andy Warhol’s Archie, John F. Kennedy’s Dunker, or even Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund, a current Internet phenomenon, the wiener dog has always been a fashionable pet in numerous cultures.
The jamnik has a very special rank in Poland, however. Jamniki are not only long-time companions in many Polish households or buddies to children on the streets, they are also associated with certain uniquely Polish things. For example, due to its 508-metre length, Jamnik is also the name of a communist housing complex built in 1973 in the Praga district of Warsaw. Another Varsovian jamnik appears on the city’s Solaris Urbino 18 low-floor articulated buses. While this particular kind of public transport is referred to as a caterpillar bus or even a banana bus in most English-speaking countries, Poles chose the logo of a green jamnik for it.
Another famous jamnik is an extended version of the Polski Fiat 125p – a Polish car that was manufactured from the late 60s until the 90s under license from the Italian company Fiat. A famous image is of John Paul II standing in a Polski Fiat 125p jamnik in front of Częstochowa cathedral during his visit from the Vatican to Poland in 1979.