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There are around 840,000 dogs living in Austria. The city with the most dogs is Vienna, where about 55,600 of our furry friends live.
But which is the most popular dog breed among Austrians? In contrast to our German neighbours, although the statistics in Austria do record dog registrations, there is no lead agency for the specific analysis of breeds. The following list is an approximate breakdown of the most popular dog breeds in recent years.
Please note that this list is a simply a countdown of the most popular breeds. DOG’S LOVE is vehemently opposed to illegal puppy trading and “torture breeding” based on fashion. Read more on this in the “Which dog is the right one for me?” section.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are originally from Switzerland. The good-natured giants helped out on farms as versatile working dogs. However, due to their gentle character, over the centuries they became increasingly popular as family dogs. Don't be fooled by their easy-going nature. They may not be the most athletic dogs, but daily activity is important for mind and body. The Bernese Mountain Dog feels most at home when they’re with the whole family. They don’t like being left alone.
Pugs are said to have existed in ancient Imperial China over 2000 years ago. However, they were probably only given their name once they been assimilated into Europe. Their German name “Mops” comes from the Dutch "mopperen" (to hum), probably inspired by the noisy breathing of the small dogs. The Pug is considered to be an intelligent, lively and, with proper exercise, well-balanced dog. Pugs are very attentive and love to learn. They were bred as lapdogs and, as a result, want to please their humans. Even though Pugs can be a little stubborn, if you are consistent in your training, your pet will love you for it.
The German Shepherd Dog, as the name suggests, was bred to herd sheep and other herd animals. As a result, this breed’s qualities include intelligence, alertness and a big work ethic. Because of their abilities, German Shepherds are often trained as rescue or police dogs, for example. They are athletic, confident and have a strong protective instinct. With consistent training and appropriate mental and physical exercise, you will find a loyal companion in the German Shepherd.
Golden Retrievers are one of a total of six retriever breeds. Goldens are considered loyal souls and an ideal family dog, thanks to their cheerful and easy-going character. They need harmony and usually get along well with other pets. Of course, this does not mean that you can neglect their basic training. The agile all-rounder is intelligent and willing to learn. No wonder they are often trained as rescue or companion dogs.
Yorkshire Terriers could be mistaken for lap dogs because of their size. But the little bundles of energy are true terriers. They want to be exercised mentally as well as physically. Yorkshire Terriers are very brave and temperamental animals and have a strong hunting instinct. Raising them requires experience and patience. Then your Yorkie will be happy to show you their well-balanced, affectionate side.
Maltese dogs have a long pedigree that goes back to ancient Greece. They are considered “easy to train” because this small dog basically just wants to please its human. Maltese are attentive and docile. Good basic training is a must, of course, because otherwise the little bundle of energy would just play and romp around all day. They enjoy close relationships with their human and do not like to be left alone for long.
Australian Shepherds may have originated in Australia, but they were first registered as a breed in the USA. This “colourful dog” loves action. Aussies are herding dogs, extremely intelligent and they demand mental as well as physical exercise. If they are understimulated, it can lead to problems, as the dog becomes irritable and moody. However, if you are looking for a best friend for regular sporting pursuits in the fresh air, you will have found the perfect partner.
Chihuahuas have their roots in Mexico, where they were kept as pets as far back as the Aztecs. These small dogs are intelligent, attentive and a lot braver than their size would suggest. Chihuahuas love and demand attention. Teach them that they cannot always be the centre of attention. With consistent training, you will find the Chihuahua to be a sensitive companion.
French Bulldogs may have a grouchy expression on their face, but they are characterised by their friendly nature and their faithfulness. Frenchies also need consistent basic training, but are considered patient and not unforgiving. And the dogs need exercise, of course, but French Bulldogs are not always on the go and like to take it easy in between. If there’s a lot of patting and stroking afterwards, the little playfighters are especially happy.
Labrador Retrievers arrived in Great Britain via Canada, where people quickly fell in love with the ”water rats”. Labradors are perfect swimmers, and even have small webbing between their toes to help them. Their willingness to cooperate and “will to please” mean they are still popular hunting dogs today. If you give your Labrador the exercise they need, they will love you more than anything in return. This has made them popular family dogs for years. Thanks to their willingness to learn and adaptability, they are reliable therapy and companion dogs.
Dachshunds, Jack Russell Terriers, Border Collies and Rottweilers are also very popular. However, the undisputed number 1 in Austrian households is and remains the mongrel.
In Germany, the animal welfare organisation TASSO e. V. publishes an annual list of the most frequently registered breeds. In 2022, the ranking looked like this:
No matter which breed you choose, please make sure that you only adopt animals from reputable breeding farms or trustworthy organisations. Unfortunately, so-called fashion dogs keep appearing. Once a breed is in fashion, the illegal puppy trade flourishes, with damaging consequences for the animals themselves and for the healthy development of the breed as a whole. Torture breeding, where the aim is to change animals’ physical features so that they are more “pleasing” to humans, simply results in great suffering for the animal and is fortunately now prohibited by law. The best-known examples are probably Pugs and various bulldogs whose snout was bred for a long time to be shorter and shorter, meaning that the animals simply lost their ability to breathe properly. It will take a few more years before this trend can be steered back in a healthy direction. Reputable breeders agree to provide evidence that they are doing their bit in the fight against torture breeding.
The FCI, Fédération Cynologique International, lists over 350 recognised dog breeds. Don't choose your new companion based on the colour of their coat, but on the overall situation and what you can offer them. That way nothing will stand in the way of a happy life together!