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Austrian Pinscher Temperament (Novice Dog Owners: “BEWARE”)

If you are considering this breed as a family pet, understanding the Austrian Pinscher temperament is a must. He can be a loyal and friendly family dog, but he can also be a training challenge.

This breed is not a good choice for the beginning dog owner. He has a dominant personality that needs a firm guiding hand.

The Austrian Pinscher temperament is naturally friendly to people and dogs he knows, but he needs early socialization. He can be aggressive toward unknown dogs and strangers. He has also been known to bite.

Austrian Pinscher Temperament and Personality


This is a smart dog who learns quickly. But this doesn’t mean he obeys without question.


The Austrian Pinscher temperament can be stubborn. He has a strong mind of his own and can be a training challenge. When properly trained, though, most will be obedient.


He is loyal and loving to his family. He takes his role as family protector seriously.


This guy wants to be in charge. He needs firm and early training to learn that he is not the boss.


The Austrian Pinscher temperament is sweet and friendly to people he knows. But he can be suspicious of strangers and needs early socialization to them.


He can be a good family companion. He has great affection for his family members and is happy to show it.


The Austrian Pinscher temperament is naturally gentle. He is very good with children.


His playfulness also makes this dog a good companion for the kids. They will tire out long before he does.


The Austrian Pinscher temperament is outgoing, energetic, and fun-loving.


Even when the Austrian Pinscher is tired out, he will continue to be busy. He needs a lot of exercise.


He has no trouble making his wants and needs known. Again, he needs firm early training or he can become unmanageable.


The Austrian Pinscher temperament is always alert to what’s going on in his environment. He is a barker, a habit you may want to work on in training when he is young.

Suspicious of Strangers

The Austrian Pinscher breed standard also refers to this breed as an “incorruptible” guard dog.  

His first line of defense against strangers is to bark. But he will become aggressive if he feels he is pushed to it. He has been known to bite.

Without proper socialization, the Austrian Pinscher can easily become overprotective.

Prey Drive

As a breed created to hunt vermin, he can’t be trusted around small family pets. He may do okay with cats if they are brought up together.

Occasional Aggression

The Austrian Pinscher temperament is not generally aggressive. However, as above, he may act aggressively toward strangers in extreme circumstances.

He can also show aggressive behavior toward other dogs at times. That is not the norm for this breed, but he must be socialized with other dogs from the very beginning.

Austrian Pinscher History


As his name suggests, the Austrian Pinscher originated in Austria.  It was originally called Österreichischer Kurzhaarpinscher (Austrian Shorthaired Pinscher).

In 2000, the Austrian Kennel Club renamed the breed to Österreichischer Pinscher (or OP). You may also hear it referred to as the Austrian Farm Dog.

Dog historians believe that its roots go back to ancient breeds. Some trace it back to a more recent versatile farm dog called the Landpinscher.

There has been more variation in the Austrian Pinscher appearance than in most purebreds. This is because there have never been any pet or show lines of this dog. He was bred only for his utility as a farm dog, not for conformation.

His working life has consisted of various jobs on the farm. He has worked as a cattle dog, watchdog, ratter, and guard dog. He was used to protect cattle, people, and property.

Near Extinction

By the end of the 1800s, the Industrial Revolution had decreased the need for farm dogs. They nearly became extinct at that time. An Austrian named Emil Hauck made it his mission to reestablish the breed.

In the 1940s, World War II nearly decimated the breed once again. By the 1970s, the breed was just one dog from extinction.

The only remaining breeding female, Diocles of Angern, was crossbred with other Pinscher breeds. Their lineages are mostly unknown. However, these crosses produced the foundation stock that established the breed as we know it now.

In 1928, the Austrian Kennel Club recognized the breed as the Austrian Short-haired Pinscher. the United Kennel Club (UKC) recognized it in 2006.

The Austrian Pinscher is still a rare breed. There are few remaining, and most of them are in Austria. But this is gradually changing.

Their home breed club, the Klub für Österreichische Pinscher (KOP), is working hard to bring the breed back.

Austrian Pinscher Training

The Austrian Pinscher temperament can make him very challenging to train. He learns quickly and easily, but he is independent-minded.

He has a naturally dominant nature, so he will challenge his owner’s authority. This breed needs a firm, consistent trainer who won’t let him get away with it.

The Austrian Pinscher is a poor choice for the beginning dog owner. Anyone who can’t or chooses not to be a firm leader would also be better off with another breed.

Helpful Dog Training Resource:

For help with training your Austrian Pinscher dog, you should take a look at The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan. Doggy Dan is an expert Dog Trainer based in New Zealand. His online resource contains Hundreds of Excellent Dog Training Videos that will take you step-by-step through the process of developing a healthy, happy well-behaved dog.

The Austrian Pinscher needs early and consistent socialization. He is naturally good with children, but he needs to learn how to live with other dogs and smaller pets.

If he is not raised with other pets or socialized to them early, he is not well suited to homes with other animals.

Because of his dominant nature, he would not do well in families that already have a dog.

If you don’t want an overprotective watchdog who may bite, you will need to socialize him early to strangers as well. Otherwise you’re likely to see these negative Austrian Pinscher behaviors.

Austrian Pinscher Appearance

General Appearance

The Austrian Pinscher is a medium-sized dog with a muscular build and a broad chest. He has a stockier body than his ancestor, the German Pinscher. It is sturdy and rectangular-shaped.

He has a double coat that is short to medium length and straight.

The head is pear-shaped, and he has a short, strong neck. His ears are small- to medium-sized and hanging, sometimes called “button” ears. The muzzle is short. He has dark eyes and a black nose.

The tail is short and curls slightly upward. It is often docked.

Austrian Pinscher Colors

Again, there is a lot of variety in this breed. He can be black, brown, fawn, black and tan (also called black and gold), or brindle. He often has white markings.

Austrian Pinscher Size

There can also be variation in the size of the Austrian Pinscher. The average Austrian Pinscher weight is 26 to 40 pounds for both males and females.

Austrian Pinscher height averages 17 to 20 inches for males, 17 to 19 inches for females.

Austrian Pinscher Lifespan

The Austrian Pinscher’s life expectancy is 12-14 years.

Austrian Pinscher Health Issues

There is not much information available about the genetic health of the breed. However, they appear to have no major breed-specific conditions.

Conditions that occur rarely and should be monitored include:

  • Hip dysplasia. This is a malformation of the hip that can lead to arthritis and loss of function.
  • Heart disease. You will want to learn the symptoms of common heart issues in dogs.

Note: Our Health is #1 Priority.  It should be no different or your Austrian Pinscher. But you need to help him. The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health is the answer. This handy guide will help you recognize the symptoms of the health problems above. Get the knowledge to stay ahead of these terrible issues that can rob your lovely dog from vigor and life. Help your friend make it to 14 yrs+ without pain and suffering.

Caring for the Austrian Pinscher

Austrian Pinscher Grooming

Because of its double coat, this breed is an average to heavy shedder. He will need brushing once or twice a week. He should be bathed only when necessary.

Austrian Pinscher Diet

He has no specific dietary concerns. The Austrian Pinscher should do just fine on any high-quality food.

Austrian Pinscher Exercise

The Austrian Pinscher is an intelligent, busy dog who needs physical and mental stimulation to be content.

He is a working breed used to a lot of activity. He needs a high level of exercise and room to run and play.

The Austrian Pinscher was bred for farm living. He does not make a good city or apartment dog. While the acreage of a farm would be his ideal living condition, he will also do well with a large yard.

He needs 45 minutes to an hour of exercise every day. With his great endurance, hiking and long walks are good choices for him.

He is a fast runner. Some owners find that riding a bicycle while he runs alongside is the best way to keep up with him.

He will also enjoy dog sports such as agility and rally.

Without enough space or exercise, this breed can be very destructive and will bark—a lot.

Exercise can benefit dogs that develop bad behaviors.

Finding an Austrian Pinscher

Buying an Austrian Pinscher from a Breeder

The Austrian Pinscher is a very rare breed. If you are looking for an Austrian Pinscher for sale, you will need patience. Expect to be put on a waiting list.

You will also need to be careful. If you do find a breeder, the Austrian breed restoration program warns to beware of Austrian Pinscher puppies bred by the “rare breed” pet market.

They recommend being sure to check the breed standard, available from the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI). You will want to be sure the Austrian Pinscher puppy you are considering is a proper representative of the breed.

There are Internet dog registries and “minor kennel clubs” who release their own breed standards. These may or may not be in compliance with the official standard.

Chances are you will not be able to trust that these dogs will have the Austrian Pinscher traits and temperament that you are expecting.

They may be crossbred with another breed and not be the purebred you are expecting. Worse, they may be inbred or bred with a dog with unknown health or genetic soundness.

You should always get a trustworthy recommendation before buying a dog from an online breeder. The best way to do this is to join online forums or Facebook groups for your breed.

You can then talk to other Austrian Pinscher owners and get names of responsible breeders. It would also be a great opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the breed.

Site Visit

If you’re lucky enough to find a breeder, you should plan a site visit if possible. You will want to be sure the puppies are healthy-looking and the facilities are clean.

You will want to ask about the health history of the puppies and parents. A good breeder will have this information going back several generations.

A reputable breeder will also give you a health guarantee and lifetime support for your Austrian Pinscher. They will also offer to take the dog back if any time you need to surrender him.

Austrian Pinscher price appears to be between $300 and $500. This may not be a reliable figure, however, because there are so few available.

Austrian Pinscher Rescue/Adoption

If you would prefer to find an Austrian Pinscher for adoption, your wait may be even longer. At the time of this writing, there are no Austrian Pinscher rescues online. You could try to generalize your search to rescues that work with all Pinschers.

You would be very unlikely to find a Austrian Pinscher in a shelter. They are simply too rare.

Is the Austrian Pinscher the Right Breed for You?

He was once a hard-working farm dog, but the Austrian Pinscher is now more of a family dog. And he can make a good one, but only if he gets proper training and socialization.

This intelligent but independent breed is not for everyone. If you live in a rural environment with lots of space or a house with a large backyard, you might want to consider an Austrian Pinscher.

He will need a lot of time and attention, however. You would need to commit to giving him plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.

Keep in mind that he must be socialized to strangers early and well to prevent aggression and biting.

If you have other pets in the home, you may want to think about another breed.

But if you think he sounds like a good fit for your family, the Austrian Pinscher has a lot going for him. The affectionate and loyal nature of the Austrian Pinscher temperament can make him a loving family companion.