Getting To Know You – Appenzeller Mountain Dog

The Appenzeller Sennenhund, also known as the Appenzeller Mountain Dog is the rarest of the four Swiss Mountain Dogs. It is a muscular, agile, medium-to-large breed, measuring 19 to 22 inches at the withers and weighing between 48 to 70 pounds. According to the Appenzell Mountain Dog Club of America, this rare breed was first mentioned in a book in 1853. And “in 1898 the Appenzeller Sennenhund was designated a separate breed. The first breed standard was confirmed with the collaboration of the breed’s great promoter, head forester Max Siber and the breed was introduced with eight dogs at the first International Dog Show held in Winterthur. Thanks to the instigation of Professor Dr. Albert Heim, who was greatly concerned with Swiss Cattledogs and with them the Appenzeller, the Appenzeller Sennenhund Club was founded in 1906. Its purpose was to preserve and promote the breed in its natural state. With the compulsory registration of puppies in the “Appenzeller Dog Stud Book,” the aim of pure breeding was begun. The original breeding territory was the Appenzell region. Today the breed is distributed all over Switzerland and beyond its borders and bred in many European countries.”

The Appenzeller Mountain Dog is an energetic, versatile breed. It is confident, intelligent, fearless, bold, athletic and hard-working. As such, it should be given a job to do. It is up to any challenge, and its high intelligence makes training it a rewarding experience. Like most herding breeds, the Appenzeller is suspicious of strangers and a good watchdog. It is quick to warn of any and all danger, such as the neighbor stepping out to check mail or a squirrel collecting nuts from the front yard. It is also a warm, loving and good-natured breed. It is sensitive to its family’s emotions and is content spending time with its people – that said, it is not a good breed for perpetual couch potatoes. Keeping your Appenzeller busy and engaged will help him become a balanced dog. Finding a job for him is easy as this breed excels at many sports – weight pulling, sledding, herding, agility, rally, and obedience, just to name a few. A good game of retrieve or frisbee-catching will also serve to burn its boundless energy and will make for a happier home life.

These dogs have short, thick, double-coated, glossy coats. The coats are either black or brown with reddish-brown and white markings. They have reddish-brown spots over the eyes, as well as markings on the cheeks, chest, and legs. White markings can ideally be found from the skull to the muzzle, from chin to chest, on all four paws, and on the tip of the tail. They require weekly brushing to remove dead hair and to keep shedding to a minimum. With a life expectancy of up to 17 years, the Appenzeller is a long-lived, healthy breed. Some issues to watch for are hip dysplasia, bloating, epilepsy, and other common canine-related health issues. As with any breed, it is always a good idea to contact the parent club for more detailed and up-to-date health information:

If you enjoy Christina’s writing, check her books out! She is the author of “Chester Gigolo: Diary of a Dog Star” and “InsiderTraining: Chester Gigolo’s Dog Training Secrets Revealed” for which she won the 2016 DWAA Captain Haggerty award for Best Training Book and the 11th Annual National Indie Excellence Award (Animals & Pets). She is also a contributing author to “Animal Stars: Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Animal Actors”. She has written multiple articles which have appeared in various international publications.