Tyrolean Hound

Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Tyrolean Hound
Fotting / Wikipedia.org

A medium-sized, scenting hound that may be red, black and tan or tri-colour, the Tyrolean Hound has characteristic wide ears and a muscular, compact body. Tenacious when hunting, they have the ability to ‘switch off’ when inside the home and are often calm and well-behaved.

Known to have an independent streak, many hunters appreciate the fact that this dog can work well even when hunting alone. However, this personality trait can lead to stubbornness and may lead to misbehavior. Consistent training is key when it comes to shaping this breed.

About & History

Hailing from the region of Tyrol in western Austria, the Tyrolean Hound, or ‘Tyroler Bracke’, is thought to have descended from the Celtic Hounds of ancient times, as well as from a number of Foxhounds and Bloodhounds. They are known as one of the three ‘Grand Bracke’ breeds of Austria. With an impressive history, it is even claimed that the Roman Emperor, Maximilian I, used the Tyrolean Hound for hunting during his reign.

A dog that often hunts alone, the Tyrolean Hound has commendable scenting skills. Prized for their ability to track wounded game, they are also more than capable of pursuing live rabbits and foxes. A hardy breed, they hunt confidently over the mountainous terrain of western Austria. Not only restricted to working, the Tyrolean Hound slots nicely into companion animal life; their easy-going nature making them a good choice for families with children.

In the mid 19th century, people started to selectively breed this dog and writ its standard. Not long after this, in 1908, they were recognised as a breed in their own right. In 2006, the UKC accepted the Tyrolean Hound within their scent hound group. Nowadays, while still most popular within Austria, there are a number of Tyrolean Hounds that work throughout other European countries.


Tyrolean Hound Large Photo
Fotting / Wikipedia.org

Lean and wiry, the Tyrolean Hound is a medium-sized hound with the build of a working dog. Their skull is wide and slightly curved, flowing into their straight and well-developed muzzle. Their teeth form a scissors bite and it is acceptable in their standard for them to be missing a number of premolars. Their nose must be black, while their eyes are a dark brown colour and are a prominent feature of their face. Their distinctive ears are long and wide, set high on their head.

Their powerful limbs are straight and their thighs are well-developed. The rectangular body of the Tyrolean Hound consists of a level back and deep chest with a modest tuck-up. Their pads are thick, while their toes have a good arch to allow for a quick and nimble gait. Their long tail often reaches past their hocks, and ideally, has a thick brush of fur.

The double-coat of the Tyrolean Hound is dense and the undercoat is harsh to the touch. This coat offers them ample protection from the varied weather in western Austria. Their fur may be either red, tricolor or black and tan. Some breed members (though not all) will have white patches of fur distributed over their chest, neck and limbs.

Males stand at 43cm to 49.5cm at the withers, while females reach heights of between 42cm and 48cm. Most breed members will weigh between 20kg and 27kg.

Character & Temperament

When at work, there is little that will get in between the Tyrolean Hound and its quarry. A passionate hunter, this dog will give its all to the task at hand, acting with courage and nobility. They are fast and efficient, tracking even the mildest of scents with ease. Austrian hunters respect the breed for its ability to hunt in hot and cold weather in a number of settings, including in woodland and on mountains. Content to work alone, they are a good choice for the part-time hunter who may not have the resources to house a large pack of dogs.

Even when not hunting, the Tyrolean Hound is a high-spirited hound that lives life to the full and enjoys spending time in human company. Keen to socialise with both adults and children, they have earned a name as an all-round family pet. Commonly used as watch dogs within their native Austria, the Tyrolean Hound will keenly protect their home, barking loudly at the first sign of anything being amiss. Their lack of outright aggression limits their use as a guard dog.


Undeniably smart and tuned-in, the Tyrolean Hound can become a highly trained animal. Frustratingly, their independence can hold them back at times, as they like to question authority and will not follow every instruction given to them unquestioningly. A lively dog, their exuberance can also get in the way of their training, and they need a firm hand to overcome this potential issue.

At times stubborn, trainers will get the best out of the Tyrolean Hound by introducing a training regime early in life and via the use of positive reinforcement methods. In the correct hands, this responsive breed can learn quickly.


With no medical studies having been performed on the Tyrolean Hound it is difficult to comment on their overall health. Owners will tell you that they are a breed with little health issues and they will tend to live to around 13 years old. However, it may be prudent to keep an eye out for the following:

Hip Dysplasia

Medium-sized and larger dogs are more prone to developing hip dysplasia, and as there is a known genetic component, it tends to be the pure-bred dogs that suffer most. As the hip joint forms abnormally, it will lead to chronic wear and tear and the development of localised inflammation and osteoarthritis.

In the early stages of the disease, signs may be subtle, such as a mild lameness or the dog acting irritated when touched near its hips. With time, the condition will gradually worsen and signs of lameness and discomfort become more obvious. Due to the reduced quality of life experienced by those affected, it is critically important to reduce the incidence of hip dysplasia within the breed by only breeding non-affected animals.

Hunting Injuries

As with many other hunting hounds, the Tyrolean Hound is likely to suffer from a variety of injuries when on the job. Hunting animals face danger from their prey, the uneven ground and vegetation, such as low-lying branches and thorns. It is not unusual for a Tyrolean Hound to return home with a sprained knee after misjudging a jump, or a grass awn in their pad. Responsible owners will give their dog a thorough check-over after any outdoor excursion.

Ear Infections

The large and pendulous ears of the Tyrolean Hound are prone to infections – a fact that particularly holds true for those individuals that like to swim. Any moisture or foreign debris within the ear canal gets trapped inside under the large ear flap of this breed. This 'design flaw' leads to a build-up of yeast and bacteria, and potentially to an ear infection. By drying ears routinely and giving them a weekly clean out, owners can reduce the chances of this happening.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Over the years, this has been a dog used to an outdoor lifestyle with constant access to exercise and activity. They will not adapt well to being kept in a small home with only a short walk offered each day. Unless a rural lifestyle can be provided, potential owners should consider another breed. The ideal setting for the Tyrolean Hound would be a large home with plenty of acreage and owners that like to hunt, hike and generally be outdoors.

As well as plenty of exercise, the Tyrolean Hound should be provided with mental stimulation, such as puzzles, hiding games and obedience lessons. Failing to keep them engaged could result in a loss of passion for their work and may lead to the development of nuisance behaviours. A bored Tyrolean Hound is likely to start chewing furniture, digging up the yard and vocalising non-stop at all hours. Thankfully, with the right care, these vices can be easily prevented.


The harsh double-coat of the Tyrolean Hound should get a good brush twice a week. They will require a daily brush during their moulting season. As well as having their coat groomed, they benefit from daily tooth brushing and weekly ear cleaning.

Famous Tyrolean Hounds

Though this breed has a noble lineage (having been employed by a Roman Emperor no less!), there are no famous Tyrolean Hounds.


There are no popular cross-breed examples of the Tyrolean Hound.

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