Breed type: Utility
Country of origin: Austria
Popular names: Austrian Pinscher, Österreichischer Pinscher
Height: 36-48 cm
Weight: 12-17 kg
Best suited as: Companion dog
Lifespan: 11-13 years
The Austrian Shorthaired Pinscher is a medium-sized breed developed in the early 1900s in the central European country of Austria. Its development was the result of combining the German Pinscher with local Austrian breeds.
Similar pinschers were bred for farm work for centuries, but the development of this particular breed came at a time when farms were growing less common, so its role is mainly that of a companion dog.
The Austrian Shorthaired Pinscher is widely regarded as a vulnerable breed due to the low number of purebreds throughout the world. Though it has gained international recognition in breed groups, it is not currently recognised by the Australian National Kennel Council.
The Austrian Shorthaired Pinscher is a larger, stockier dog than many of its pinscher relatives. It has a well-muscled body that is rectangular in shape and long, lean legs. This breed is approximately 36-48 cm tall and weighs 12-17 kg.
Its high-set tail is often docked, particularly in show dogs. Left naturally, the Austrian Shorthaired Pinscher’s tail is long and thick with a single upward curl.
The Austrian Shorthaired Pinscher has V-shaped button ears that are folded close to its pear-shaped head. Its eyes are round and dark, always appearing alert and focused. Its muzzle is medium in length, capped by a black nose.
This breed has a coarse, thick double coat. Its outer coat ranges from short to medium in length and lies smoothly against the body, whereas its undercoat is short and dense. The Austrian Shorthaired Pinscher is seen in a range of colours and markings. The variety may be attributed to the fact that pinscher breeds were historically bred for utility rather than appearance. The most common colours for this breed are black, brown, gold, red, tan, and yellow. White markings are often seen on the muzzle, chest, feet, and tip of the tail.
The Austrian Shorthaired Pinscher is very closely related to pinschers throughout the Austrian countryside that were bred to guard property and keep it free of rats and other vermin. The breed’s versatile ancestors were also talented at driving livestock.
Pinschers from Austria peaked in popularity during the 1800s, when farms were active and abundant. The Austrian Shorthaired Pinscher, referred to as the Österreichischer Pinscher in its native Austria, was developed as farms began to decline, so their use in such a capacity has waned considerably. Purebreds of this kind are extremely rare worldwide, though dedicated breeders are committed to saving it from extinction.
Over the course of the last 15 years the breed has dropped its “shorthaired” description, becoming more commonly known as the Austrian Pinscher.
Ancestors of the Austrian Shorthaired Pinscher were working dogs and this breed has retained many of these skills even though its use on farms is now limited.
This breed has tremendous instincts as a guard dog. It is naturally suspicious of unfamiliar people and animals, alerting its owner to potential trouble by barking. Once properly introduced, this dog tends to be very friendly and affectionate towards humans and fellow animals. Ongoing socialisation will help to ensure that it remains tolerant in a variety of circumstances and settings.
The Austrian Shorthaired Pinscher is also a skilled ratter, excelling in fleshing out rodents and other small animals that are generally unwelcome inside the home or on the property. Dogs of this kind will enjoy spending time outdoors digging or chasing in pursuit of vermin.
In the event that this breed is kept on a farm, the Austrian Shorthaired Pinscher is talented at moving livestock such as cattle, goats, or horses. It has the energy and self-motivation to tirelessly drive animals as directed by its owner.
In addition to its skills as a working dog, this is a very affectionate, playful breed. It tends to excel at obedience and aims to please its owner. With its loyal and friendly disposition, it delights in human companionship. The Austrian Shorthaired Pinscher is also a very active breed, requiring a substantial amount of exercise. It will ideally have a large farm, field, or yard in which it can safely roam and play. If this is not available, it requires an owner who is dedicated to ensuring it is frequently exercised through long walks, agility exercises, obedience trials, or other activities.
Care and Grooming
The double coat of the Austrian Shorthaired Pinscher is typical of dogs from this area, as it is designed to help protect the animal from weather of varying extremes. The coat is easy to maintain, requiring very little human intervention. Regular brushing will help remove loose hair and will help minimise shedding. Bathing is suggested only when necessary, which may be more frequent for dogs of this breed that spend a great deal of time outdoors.
There are very few registered Austrian Shorthaired Pinschers and because of this, very few details are known about the health and longevity of the breed. It has no known breed-specific problems and those who are dedicated to restoring the breed’s numbers assert that maintaining healthy lines are a top priority.
The life expectancy for the Austrian Shorthaired Pinscher is typically 11-13 years.
Sustainability as a Pet
The Austrian Shorthaired Pinscher is a breed that enjoys human company, delighting in time spent with its family. Though supervision is recommended around small children and all unfamiliar people and animals, this dog generally gets along well with others.
This breed will be happiest on a farm or a similar setting with ample outdoor space, as this is a breed with high exercise needs. The Austrian Shorthaired Pinscher is generally not well-suited for city or flat life due to its substantial need for physical activity. If a large outdoor area is not available, it is important that the dog receives frequent exercise in the form of walks, active playing, or agility trials. This will help to ensure its well-being if kept as a pet.
This breed requires an owner that will provide consistent and fair leadership. Without such, its instinct to be suspicious towards unfamiliar people and animals may cause problems. The Austrian Shorthaired Pinscher is also prone to barking, but training will help minimise this behaviour if it is undesired.
With room to roam and a firm, yet loving owner, the Austrian Shorthaired Pinscher will be a devoted and fun-loving companion.
Austrian Shorthaired Pinscher Organisations in Australia
No club information listed
Austrian Shorthaired Pinscher Organisations in the UK
Austrian Pinscher – American Rare Breed Association
Austrian Shorthaired Pinscher Organisations in the US
Austrian Shorthaired Pinscher – Continental Kennel Club
Canine’s Corner – An online resource for canine rescue
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