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Austrian Black and Tan hound

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Austrian Black and Tan Hound

This scent hound is not well known outside of its native Austria, but in that country it has achieved a reputation as one of the finest hunters and trackers around.

Here is the Austrian Black and Tan Hound at a Glance
Name Austrian Black and Tan Hound
Other Names Vieraugli (Four eyed)
Nicknames None
Origin Austria
Average size Medium large
Average weight 35 to 60 pounds
Average height 19 to 22 inches at the shoulder
Life span 12 to 14 years
Coat type Short, dense, smooth
Hypoallergenic No
Color Black with fawn markings
Popularity Not well known outside Austria
Intelligence High
Tolerance to heat Average
Tolerance to cold Average
Shedding Normal shedding
Drooling Not a drooler
Obesity Low risk
Grooming/brushing Weekly brushing
Barking Howls and bays when tracking
Exercise needs Very high
Trainability Trains well
Friendliness Very friendly
Good first dog Not really
Good family pet Okay
Good with children Yes
Good with other dogs Yes
Good with other pets Not the best
Good with strangers Does okay
Good apartment dog No
Handles alone time well No
Health issues Hip dysplasia, ear problems
Medical expenses $260 annual average
Food expenses $300 annual average
Miscellaneous expenses $65 annual average
Average annual expense $750
Cost to purchase $500
Rescue organizations None noted

The Austrian Black and Tan Hound’s Beginnings

The story of this modern hound begins a long time ago in central Europe with the people who came to be known as the Celts. These were fierce warriors who began expanding into western Europe and eventually spread into much of the Iberian Peninsula and what is now France and the Netherlands. From there they jumped the channel into England and Scotland, and then made one more hop into Ireland. As well as being warlike, they were artistic and creative, had a written language, and developed a culture that dominated much of Europe.

Then the Romans came along and built their empire, part of it on the backs of the Celts, but that older culture survives in the languages and traditions of some parts of modern Europe, especially Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and that part of western France known as Brittany.

Like all migrating people, the Celts brought their dogs along, and those dogs, known now as Celtic Hounds, were a major part of society. They hunted, they guarded, they fought in battles, and they eventually attained an almost mythological status. The Celtic Hound was the guardian of crossroads. They also guided and protected lost souls on their way to the land of the dead, which was believed to lie somewhere in the ocean west of Ireland.

Beyond their mythical roles, the Celtic Hounds were probably also the progenitors of a number of modern breeds, including Greyhounds and Irish Wolfhounds, as well as a variety of scent hounds raised by hunting enthusiasts across Europe.

New Lease on Life

At some point in the nineteenth century some breeders in Austria—their exact identities are not known—began working to create a better hunter. The result of their efforts was the Austrian Black and Tan Hound, a scent hound that has become one of the dominant hunting breeds in that country. It is highly regarded for its keen nose, its agility and speed, its trainability, and its tenacity when it is tracking. It is, however, not well known at all outside its native country.

The Dog You See Today

The Austrian Black and Tan Hound is a medium large dog. It can weigh anywhere from thirty-five to sixty pounds, with females usually being lighter than males. In height it ranges from nineteen to twenty-two inches at the shoulder.

The Black and Tan is a sleek, slender dog, but it has a deep, broad chest and a broad head. The teeth meet in a scissor bite. The ears are medium long, set high on the head. They have rounded tips and lie flat. The Black and Tan’s tail is long and slightly bent. Its coat is short, smooth and dense.

The Black and Tan’s coloring is distinctive. The body, head and legs are black, with distinct light or dark fawn markings. This includes a fawn spot above each eye, which accounts for one of the breed’s names—Vieraugli—German for “four-eyed.”

The Inner Austrian Black and Tan Hound


The Black and Tan is reputed to be a good companion, easygoing, friendly, good-natured and playful. It gets along well with people and is not aggressive. The Black and Tan is not a barker, is not wary or suspicious, and so not a particularly good watch dog or guard dog. However, although it doesn’t bark a lot, it loves to howl and bay, especially when on the scent of a critter. This is instinctive, built in, and not easy to train away.

Living with an Austrian Black and Tan Hound


Training expectations

The Black and Tan is highly trainable as it is eager to please and is not a highly dominant dog. It requires consistent, firm but gentle training though and can become easily distracted if it decided to wander off or catches an interesting scent. When training and socialization is done early this is a well-behaved and trustworthy companion. If left untrained it can be a lot of trouble and can even become aggressive.

How active is the Black and Tan?

The Black and Tan is a very high energy dog and needs a lot of exercise. It is a runner. It is bred to go for long distances when tracking, and is happiest when it is able to run freely.

This is definitely not the dog for apartment dwellers. It is probably not even a good yard dog. The Black and Tan has too strong a need for running space and exercise. It is likely to become destructive if it is cooped up in a small area. This dog can, however, be a great choice for someone who lives in the country, on a farm or ranch, or at least where there is a lot of room to roam.

They will demand active companionship. A Black and Tan Hound is not built for a sedentary life. It is a hunter, and has a strong need to track and chase. It is not meant to be a pet, and in its native country is seldom kept just for companionship; most of the people who have Austrian Black and Tans use them to hunt. At the very least it needs to be out running and working a minimum of an hour a day, and if you are not able to provide that amount of time and attention, this is not the dog for you. Also, because it is a pack dog, it needs a pack leader, and it is your job as owner to be the alpha.

Caring for the Austrian Black and Tan Hound

Grooming needs

The Black and Tan can shed anywhere between a moderate to heavy amount and not only will it need regular grooming, there will also be cleaning up to do around the home every day due to loose hair. Use a firm bristled brush and brush at least a couple of times a week. This will not only help with loose hair and debris in the coat, it also helps distribute the natural oils in his skin across the whole body. Just give a bath a few times a year when it really needs one so that those oils are not damaged. To avoid bad breath and dental issues brush its teeth at least twice a week. Nails need to be clipped if they become too long but this is something you should only deal with yourself if you know about the quick of the nail. Otherwise leave it for a professional groomer or vet. The ears should be checked once a week for infection and given a wipe clean.

Feeding time

Austrian Black and Tan Hounds will likely eat between 1½ to 2½ cups of high quality dry dog food a day. While some may consume that in one sitting it is mostly recommended nowadays that dogs eat in at least two sittings to avoid health complications from eating too much too quickly. Take note that spicy treats or human food can damage his scenting abilities. Things like boiled eggs, cottage cheese, fruits and vegetables are okay as treats but should only make up 10% of its daily feeding.

Children and other animals

Basically a pack dog, it gets along well with other dogs and does not have strong dominance demands. It is a hunter, however, and does have a fairly high prey instinct. Black and Tans can be good family dogs. They are playful and they like children. They are friendly with strangers, and will bond well with all the family members. They also do well with other dogs.

Although the Austrian Black and Tan is good with children and other dogs, it may not be that great with smaller family pets. Because it is a hunter and has a strong prey instinct, it may have an attitude when it comes to smaller critters, although firm early training and socialization may help here.

What Might Go Wrong

Health Concerns

The Austrian Black and Tan Hound appears generally to be free of congenital medical problems. It is a strong, healthy dog. There is, as is true of any large, active dog, a certain risk of hip dysplasia, primarily from injury or overuse of the joints, as it is a runner and jumper. Also, because of its drooping ears, there is always some vulnerability to infections and other ear problems, but this can be dealt with by examining the ears on a regular schedule and keeping them clean. Beyond that, this hound should give its owner years of trouble-free life.

Biting Statistics

This dog is not one listed in the 30 year data that covers reports of dog attacks on humans. However any dog if mistreated, neglected or threatened enough can become aggressive. It is your duty as a good and loving owner to make sure your dog is well raised, given the stimulation it needs, fed and loved and given early training and socialization. Advertisement

Your Pup’s Price Tag

Locating an Austrian Black and Tan Hound may be a challenge. They are very rare outside of Austria. Because they are rare you are unlikely to run across one at your local animal shelter, and there do not appear to be any active rescue organizations that specialize in Black and Tans. If you do find one for sale, it will probably run anywhere between $300 and $600, with an average expected cost of $500.

Next, you will need to have your new Black and Tan spayed, if it is female, or neutered if it is male. This will usually cost around $120. At that time you will also need to have the veterinarian take care of other routine medical procedures such as the first round of puppy shots, de-worming, and the like. Expect to spend about $70 for that work. Add to that about $35 for a collar and leash, and another $15 or so for a pet license.

Obedience training comes next. Because the Black and Tan is a hunter, you will be better off finding someone who has the skill and experience to deal with large, very active hunting hounds. A first round of obedience training will usually cost around $110, and you may want to continue down the road with skills training in things like tracking.

Your new pup will need to eat, of course. Once again, especially while it is a puppy, food designed for large, active dogs is a wise choice, so that its diet will allow it to grow at a proper rate—not too fast and not too slow. Look to spend in the neighborhood of $235 a year for food, not including treats, which can cost as little or as much as you like. Some dog owners spend almost as much on treats as they do for regular dog food.

Overall, you can expect that keeping your Austrian Black and Tan Hound happy, healthy and well fed will run you around $750 a year.


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The Austrian Black and Tan Hound is a relatively new breed, product of a mix of hunting hounds that began showing up in the middle of the nineteenth century and soon became one of the favorite dogs for tracking and hunting medium and small game. It is a scent hound with an extremely keen nose, fast and agile, and tenacious when on the track of game. It is distinctive looking, black with fawn markings, including one over each eye that gives it one of its other names, the Vieraugli, which is German for “four-eyed.”

The Black and Tan is extremely active, energetic and focused on hunting and tracking. It is not seen in its native Austria as a pet or companion, but as a hunter.Still, it is a very friendly and easygoing animal that gets along well with children, adults, and other dogs—although its strong prey drive can make it a bit of a hazard for other, smaller pets.

Generally, the Austrian Black and Tan Hound is ideal for people who live in the country, have a lot of energy themselves to match that of this dog, and who love to hunt.

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