Austrian Black & Tan Hound

Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Austrian Black & Tan Hound

A medium-sized hound originating in Austria, the Austrian Black & Tan Hound has a well-muscled body, the characteristic drooping ears and brown eyes of the hound dog, and a glossy black and tan coat.

Not commonly kept as a pet, they are much more likely to be found hunting small game, such as rabbits and foxes. They have superb stamina and a constant desire to be working and on the move. While easier to train than most other hound dogs, the Austrian Black & Tan Hound can provide a challenge to even the most experienced trainer.

About & History

The history of the Austrian Black & Tan Hound could be described as unclear at best. Some breed enthusiasts claim that they are an ancient hound, originating from the early Celtic hound dogs – though no proof of this has been found to date. Another theory is that they are descendants from those dogs developed by the monks of St. Hubert’s monastery over 1,000 years ago. A final theory, and perhaps the most likely, is that the Austrian Black & Tan Hound is a result of breeding a variety of nearby German breeds, such as the German Pinscher and the Hanover Hound over several centuries.

While the breed was first recorded in 1884, it is widely assumed that they have been in existence for at least a few hundred years prior to this. They would have been bred with similar dogs in the region before this, but since their breed standard was written, this practice fell out of favour.

Hunting at high altitudes is where the Austrian Black & Tan Hound comes into its own. They have been traditionally used to pursue rabbits and hare, though are versatile enough to track down larger prey, such as deer. They work in small packs and are generally accompanied by hunters on foot rather than on horseback.

Recognised by the UKC within their scent hound group, the Austrian Black & Tan Hound is a very rare dog that is seldom seen outside of its homeland of Austria, where it is used as a working dog and not seen as a companion animal.


Austrian Black & Tan Hound Large Photo
Caronna /

The broad skull of the Austrian Black & Tan Hound, coupled with their clear and brooding eyes lends them a pensive and noble expression. Their black nose should have wide nostrils that allow for superior scenting abilities. Their wide ears hang flat to their face and are rounded at the ends. Their long limbs end in strong feet and support an athletic body with a deep chest and lengthy back, which gives them a ‘rectangular’ shape. Their tail is also long and should taper towards the end.

The coat of the Austrian Black & Tan Hound is its prized feature and should be short and shiny. It must be black and tan, and those dogs who do not possess tan marking above their eyes are not accepted in the show ring.

Male dogs stand between 48cm and 56cm, while females typically measure 48cm to 53cm. Breed members can weigh anything between 14kg and 23kg. The Austrian Black & Tan Hound should be more muscular than a typical hound dog and must move with elegance and grace.

Character & Temperament

Used exclusively as a working dog, it is difficult to comment on the temperament of an Austrian Black & Tan Hound when it comes to areas other than hunting. However, it is true that they are described as both ‘willing’ and ‘agreeable’ in their breed standard and, anecdotally at least, hunters who work with them find them a very pleasant and good-tempered breed of dog. They are thought to socialise well with family members and are tolerant with household children.

A hunter by nature, the Austrian Black & Tan Hound is likely to pursue any small animal and should never be trusted in their company. They socialise well with other dogs and enjoy their company, rarely being kept alone.

Anyone seeking out an Austrian Black & Tan Hound to keep as a companion animal should probably reconsider. They are known for their work ethic and drive and are a breed that was born to hunt. They thrive when exercising in rural conditions and would not be comfortable confined to a small space. They are known for their vocal abilities when on the trail, and while this trait is highly desirable in a hunting dog, it would surely become a frustrating feature in a bored house dog.


In fact, the Austrian Black & Tan Hound has a reputation for being more trainable than one might expect. Compared to other hound dogs, they are often said to be more obedient and responsive to their trainer. They require a firm hand and a trainer who is consistent and willing to spend a lot of time with them from a young age.

They are eager to please their owner, though are certainly a breed whose hunting instincts and prey drive will always come first. The Austrian Black & Tan Hound needs little instruction in the way of hunting, and will naturally know how to trail a scent, howl and corner their prey.


As with many of the lesser known breeds, there are no reliable sources of information available on the health of the Austrian Black & Tan Hound. They are generally believed to be a healthy and hardy dog, which is typically true of those dogs bred for their working ability rather than for aesthetics. A number of conditions to be on the lookout for would include:

Hip Dysplasia

A diagnosis of hip dysplasia can be devastating for a working dog, who relies on its athleticism and mobility to do its job. A dog with hip dysplasia will have an altered gait and will eventually lose muscle in their hind limbs and develop arthritic and painful joints. As this is a condition which can be screened for in breeding animals, those dogs with poor hip conformation should be removed from the breeding pool.

Elbow Dysplasia

When the growth of the elbow is disturbed, a condition called elbow dysplasia may ensue. While this condition is generally inherited, other factors, such as nutrition and exercise, also play a role in its development. Most dogs will display symptoms before the age of one – though some may not show any signs until they are several years old.

If a vet is suspicious of elbow dysplasia following their clinical exam, they will likely recommend some imaging studies, such as X-rays or a CT scan to confirm the diagnosis. Medical management may be recommended in very mild cases; otherwise, an arthroscopic surgery may provide best results.

Ear Infections

Ear infections can be the bane of an owner’s life, as they can cause a lot of stress to their dog, can be difficult to treat and often reoccur. Most infections can be prevented by avoiding getting the ears wet and cleaning them on a regular basis.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Unsurprisingly, the Austrian Black & Tan Hound has a particularly high exercise requirement, that is unlikely to be met by daily walks alone. They are best suited to a rural environment where they can roam over large areas of land and display their natural trailing behaviours. Providing them with activities and games to keep them occupied can help to prevent boredom.


Potential owners should be aware that this hound is known to shed extensively and can also drool at times. Their short, glossy coat needs little intervention, though benefits from weekly brushing. Their claws should be trimmed every few months, though may stay filed down themselves, depending on which terrain the Austrian Black & Tan Hound is exposed to on a daily basis.

Probably the biggest commitment an owner will have to make when it comes to the grooming of the Austrian Black & Tan Hound, is to their ears. A routine should be put in place whereby the ears are checked daily and cleaned out when necessary.

Famous Austrian Black & Tan Hounds

Practically unknown outside of Austria, there are no celebrity Austrian Black & Tan Hounds. Falcos_Blickwinkel on Instagram is a gorgeous example of the breed, however, and although he may not be 'famous', he is certainly gaining a following on the popular photo sharing platform.


While there may not be any notable cross-breeds of the Austrian Black & Tan Hound, it is thought that they have historically contributed to a number of breeds, including the Alpine Dachsbracke and perhaps even the Tyrolean Hound.

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