Owning a Dog in Austria: Guide

Currently, 827,000 happy dogs are living in Austria. About every 10th Austrian resident owns a pup. Do you want to become one of them? Owning a dog is a joy, and having a pet in a beautiful Alpine country like Austria is even more exciting! But as with anything else, you need to inform yourself in the first place. Austria is a very dog-friendly place, yet the state strictly regulates pet ownership.

Whether you are moving with your dog to Austria or getting a new friend within the country, there are many things to learn. In this article, we discuss everything about dogs in Austria: from how to find your new friend to how much money should be budgeted.

Moving to Austria with a dog

Moving to Austria with a dog can seem to be daunting, but it isn’t. Most importantly, you need to take care of the transport of your pet since it can be a pretty stressful process. Besides, a dog must be vaccinated and microchipped.

After arrival, you also need to go ahead and register your pup with the local municipality so that it can be in the official database, and you start to pay taxes from this moment.

If you import or bring a dog from abroad:

  • Your dog must have a microchip.
  • Bring your new dog to the vet within 10 days of entering the country; they will register it in a national database.

Rules on entering Austria with a dog

General requirements:

  • EU pet passport and microchip
  • a valid rabies vaccination (at least 21 days old)
  • all dogs entering Austria must have an original rabies certificate signed by a vet – confirmation that vaccination has been done.

Whether you travel by car or plane, keep in mind the borders through which dogs are allowed to enter the country. Generally, you can only cross the border through Vienna, Linz, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Graz-Thalerhof, and Klagenfurt.

Bring a dog from a non-EU/EEA country

Travelers from non-EU countries need an EU health certificate in order to bring a dog into the EU e.g., Austria. If you don’t have a pet passport, a current rabies vaccination certificate (from the vet) would be enough.

After you have arrived in Austria, you can get EU Pet Passport for your dog. It will allow your pet to travel within the EU, so you don’t need a rabies vaccination certificate each time.

Owning a dog in Vienna – what do you need to know?

Vienna had about 55,099 dogs in 2019. With a population of almost 2 million people, that’s not that many. There is only one dog among 33 residents. Only about 3,3% have a dog in the Austrian capital. So, maybe you should think twice before getting one yourself.

Nevertheless, Vienna is a very dog-friendly place; in fact, it has 169 off-leash dog parks where they can get exercise. There are also some banned areas for dogs, such as playgrounds, cemeteries, and some nature reserves.

Yet, Vienna falls into one of those states where dog owners need to sign for dog liability insurance to protect their assets.

Dog owners must also keep in mind some general rules, e.g., dogs aren’t allowed to enter grocery stores. Many shops have a dedicated hook for dogs where you can park your pup.

Besides shops, bakeries won’t let your dog in as well as most governmental institutions. Dogs are also prohibited on public beaches and children’s playgrounds. 

People in Vienna carry about their city, so all dog owners must follow housekeeping rules. Hence, you must clean up after your pup. And the city supports it in all ways; there are over 3,000 dog waste dispensers to be used. Don’t want to clean? A fine of 36 EUR will be charged in that case.

Furthermore, Vienna has plenty of restaurants that will welcome you and your dog, yet calling and asking prior to a visit is always recommended.

In the Austrian capital, dogs are allowed on public transport, but your dog must be on a leash and will need a ticket and muzzle. The ticket price is half the regular fare, but if you have a “Jahreskarte” (yearly ticket), the dog rides for free.

Dog owners have a legal obligation to muzzle their dogs in all areas with high traffic, e.g., on public transport, in restaurants, or at events. Moreover, all dogs, big or small, must be muzzled or kept on a lead in public places in Vienna. Not wearing a muzzle on your dog in public transport will cost you 50 EUR.

Lastly, Vienna’s dog owners pay annual dogs of 72 EUR for the first dog and 105 EUR for each additional dog.

Vienna dog licence

Owners of dangerous dog breeds must take an obligatory dog exam in Vienna. Here is the list of them:

  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Bullterrier
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Fila Brasileiro (Brazilian Mastiff)
  • Mastiff, Bull Mastiff
  • Mastin Espanol (Spanish Mastiff)
  • Mastino Neapoletano (Neapolitan Mastiff)
  • Pit Bull Terrier
  • Rottweiler
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Tosa Inu
  • and all mixes of these breeds

The Vienna dog license exam is a multiple-choice test that checks the owner’s knowledge of dogs and correct dog handling.

Renting an apartment with a dog

Renting a place with pets is challenging in many countries, especially Austria. You certainly need to ask your current landlord if it’s okay to bring a dog. If the landlord refuses or your rental agreement states otherwise, you must leave the lease within 3 months.

Also, you should check your current liability insurance if pets are included. If not, you need extra dog liability coverage.

While finding a pet-friendly apartment isn’t easy, it’s not impossible. With a bit of time and luck, you will find the right place. However, high chance that it will be unfurnished.

How to buy a dog in Austria

Buying a dog is very common in Austria and can be done in various places. However, it’s always better to rescue a puppy or adopt one from one of many Austrian dog shelters (read more about adoption later on). Nonetheless, to buy a dog, you can either find a good breeder or check out online platforms.

Pets are also sold on common sites like Willhaben – the Austrian version of eBay.

Before making a final decision, always take time to do the proper research on the breed, its requirements, and all related information about dog ownership.

Breeders

Buying a dog through a certified breeder is an option if you want to get a small puppy in Austria. However, the dog must be at least 8 weeks old to be offered to the buyer.

There are many good breeders, which you can find by searching for a particular breed online or typing “hundezüchter Österreich”. Some of them you can see on the official website of Austrian dog breeders. These breeders are proven to be legitimate and state-certified.

Nonetheless, you may encounter some bad, usually foreign breeders who illegally import dogs to Austria.

It’s recommended to visit several breeders and compare the conditions where they grew up before buying one.

Online offers

The Internet is full with sites offering dogs for sale. There are some black sheep, too; hence, always be careful.

Willhaben – is the biggest online platform for buying and selling stuff, it also has a pets section. These are mostly offers from private sellers.

Besides, you can check many other sites that sell dogs, including local and international.

Adopting a dog in Austria

Adopting a dog is always better than buying one since there are too many dogs without a home on this planet.

Besides, dog shelters are widely spread across the whole of Austria. You can find the nearest to you by googling “Tierheim” or “Tierschutzverein”. Dogs in shelters are microchipped and vaccinated.

However, dog adoption isn’t free in Austria. Often, a fee between 270 EUR and 350 EUR is charged.

For example, in Vienna, Wiener Tierschutzverein is one of the best shelters where you can get rescue dogs. Some shelters even bring rescued dogs abroad and bring them to Austria for adoption, for example, this organization.

Most popular dog breeds in Austria

Some of the most popular dog breeds in Austria, on the example of Vienna:

  1. Chihuahua
  2. Labrador Retriever
  3. Golden Retriever
  4. Malteser 
  5. Yorkshire Terrier 
  6. German shepherd 
  7. French bulldog
  8. Jack Russell Terrier
  9. Australian Shepherd
  10. Yorkshire Terrier
  11. Border Collie
  12. Bolonka Zwetna

Austrian dog laws

In the Federal States of Tyrol, Vienna, Upper Austria, Salzburg, and Styria, dog liability insurance is required by law.

In Vienna, dog owners need to pass an exam. Additionally, if the dog’s breed is a dangerous one, the owner and dog must pass a special exam.

The exam takes place in the German language and costs 20,84 EUR. If you bring your dog to Austria, the exam must be completed within three months of arrival. As a bonus, after passing the exam, you are exempt from paying the dog tax for one year.

Registering your dog in Austria

All dogs living in Austria but be also registered the similar way humans are. The local municipality is responsible for registering your dog into the database, except for Vienna, where dog owners must visit MA 6 (Department of Accounting and Taxes).

Besides, each state or even city has different procedures for dog registration. But, you can also do it online or by mail, check this site.

After successful registration, you will need to pay taxes. Only afterward will your dog receive a unique dog tag from the state. This dog tag must be attached to your dog’s collar. However, Vienna and Innsbruck no longer provide and require dog tags.

Rules for dogs and dog owners in Austria

“My pup husky Benni”

There are several rules and regulations that apply to dogs and dog owners in Austria. Here is a summary of most of them:

  1. The dog must have a chip and be registered in the pet database
  2. Dogs must be able to exercise at least once a day.
  3. Dogs must be walked outdoors several times a day.
  4. In Vienna, dog owners must remove dog waste.
  5. Dogs must have social contact with people at least 2 times a day.
  6. Dogs must have water available at all times.
  7. Dogs must be fed with an appropriate food.
  8. Dogs aren’t allowed to be kept – even temporarily – on a chain or in any other fastened way. However, tieing a dog for a short period of time is permitted.
  9. Collars that cause pain or electrifying, as well as chemical dressage devices, aren’t allowed.

Social contact

Dogs must be allowed social contact with people at least twice a day and, when possible, with other dogs.

Walks

Dogs must be walked outdoors at least once a day. Dogs that are mainly kept indoors (e.g. apartments) must be given a chance to defecate and urinate outdoors several times a day.

Feeding and care

  • Water in sufficient quantity and quality must be available to the dog at all times in its usual living area.
  • The dog must be provided with suitable food.
  • The dog must be groomed regularly, according to its breed.
  • The dog’s health must be taken care of.
  • If you leave the dog in a car, your must ensure he has fresh air and the temperature inside is appropriate.

Keeping the dog in the apartment

If you keep your dog indoors, the following requirements must be met:

  • Ensure natural daylight inside.
  • Fresh air must be provided even indoors.
  • The floor area where the dog lives must be at least 15 square meters (m2). This area must be usable without restrictions. For each additional dog, you need to have at least 5 square meters available.

See more on rules for dogs in Austria here.

1. Chipping and registration of dogs

Since January 2010, all dogs in Austria must have an electronically-readable microchip. Hence, your dog must be registered in the national database for dogs in Austria. In addition, every dog requires a microchip.

Puppies must be microchipped by a vet by the time they are 3 months old, where the vet inserts the chip at the expense of the dog owner.

2. Leash and dog parks

In Austria, regulations on muzzle or leash are set by the individual municipalities. Therefore, you need to check with your state whether a muzzle is necessary and places where dogs must be kept on a leash.

Some general rules in this regard are:

  • Dogs must be muzzled or kept on a leash in residential areas
  • Dogs must be muzzled in certain places (e.g. public transport, next to schools and kindergartens)
  • Some states prohibit bringing dogs to children’s playgrounds

Yet, Austria has many parks where you can walk your dog off-leash. They are marked by a sign that says “Hundezone”.

3. Picking dog’s poo

Dog owners are obliged to pick up their dogs’ waste using special bags provided by the municipalities (Hundekotsackerlspender). These disposal systems can be found anywhere in Vienna; however, you can use a normal trash can in other cities.

Owners who fail to clean up after their lowed once could face a fine of up to 72 EUR within 48 hours after the “accident”.

4. Insurance

In Austria, all dogs must be insured by civil liability insurance for dog owners, which is taken out with a private insurance company. Some states, like Vienna, for example, require you to sign for a separate dog liability insurance. The price is relatively low – about 5-10 EUR per month.

You can choose liability insurance for your dog via the Austrian insurance comparison site.

5. Dog licence

In Vienna, dog owners must obtain a special dog license for so-called dangerous/aggressive breeds. These include:

  1. American Staffordshire terrier
  2. Bullmastiff
  3. Bullterrier
  4. Dogo Argentino (Argentinischer Mastiff)
  5. Fila Brasileiro
  6. Mastiff
  7. Mastin Espanol
  8. Mastino Napoletano
  9. Pit bull terrier
  10. Rottweiler
  11. Staffordshire bull terrier
  12. Tosa Inu

Owners will need to pass a control, behavior, and training test performed by an authorized dog trainer.

Unless your dog’s breed is on this list, this license is optional. If you complete it, you are exempt from paying the dog tax for one year.

Check for the updated list on wien.gv.at

6. Public transportation

Dogs of all sizes are allowed in all types of public transport in Austria. Depending on the state and pet’s size, you might need to purchase a separate ticket. Besides that, a dog must be on a leash or, in some cases, muzzled.

Cost of owning a dog in Austria

Cost is another significant factor in owning a dog that we shouldn’t forget about. You need to make sure your budget is sufficient to provide a livelihood for a puppy.

As a minimum, you need to consider the purchasing price of the dog, which is 800 EUR on average. Rescue dogs are offered for less – on average, between 100 and 400 EUR. 

According to statistics, the running monthly costs for owning a dog in Austria were 103 EUR in 2021. The cost structure was as follows:

  • Food: 75 EUR
  • Insurance: 13 EUR
  • Vet: 10 EUR
  • Taxes: 5 EUR

Your average costs for a dog depend on the breed and insurance you have signed for.

Costs Things you need for a dog
Dog’s purchasing price200 – 3,000 EURPurchasing price will depend on the place where you buy it, the breed, etc.
Initial expenses 200 – 450 EURFood and water bowl, leash, collar, basket, transport box, vaccinations, deworming, registration, and optional courses (e.g., puppy training)
1. Microchip20 – 50 EUR
2. Neutering300 EUR
Total initial: From 720 to 3,800 EUR
Annual expenses250 – 1,000 EURDepending on the dog’s size: food, accessories, regular veterinary expenses for vaccinations and parasite treatments, stay in daycare centers, etc.
1. Insurances100 EUR
2. Taxes72 EUR
Total annual: 422 – 1,172 EUR

Consequently, you will need to invest at least 720 EUR initially and 422 EUR annually if you decide to own a dog in Austria. Dog expenses can go as high as 5,000 EUR, including all the initial costs.

Additionally, you should have enough budget for unforeseen veterinary costs if you don’t have pet health insurance. For this reason, you might consider purchasing pet health insurance to help pay for vet bills.

Pet insurance in Austria

Vienna’s dog owners are required to have special dog liability insurance with a minimum coverage of at least 725,000 EUR. This insurance will protect your finances in case of personal injury or property damage caused by your dog.

You can find suitable coverage on Austria’s largest comparison website Durchblicker. Dog liability insurance is also fairly inexpensive, often starting from 3 EUR per month.

The obligation to insure your dog also applies in other Austrian states, e.g., Tyrol, Upper Austria, Salzburg, and Styria.

Likewise, you should consider getting pet health insurance to cover your vet bills and potentially any needed surgeries. Purebreds, for example, tend to have more varying health problems that occur more frequently.

Pet health insurance isn’t pricey either and can cost about 20 EUR.

Austrian dog tax

All dog owners must pay an annual dog tax on their pets. The amount ranges from state to state; in Vienna, you pay 72 EUR per year for the first dog and 105 EUR for each additional dog.

In return for paying taxes, your dog will get a state dog tag which must be attached to its collar when the dog is outside.

Recommended products and services in Austria:

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Anna

Anna is an enthusiastic expatriate with experience of living in Germany, Austria and Greece. She shares her passion for living abroad on this website.

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