Breed Category: Working
Country of Origin: Switzerland
Average Size: 45-60 cm
Average Weight: 21-32 kg
Average Life Span: 10-14 years
Grooming Requirements: Low
Exercise Requirements: High
The Appenzell Mountain Dog is a member of the Sennenhund group, which consists of three other breeds that are native to the Swiss Alps: the Bernese Mountain Dog, Entlebucher Mountain Dog and the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. Until recently, all of these breeds were categorised under the Sennenhund title. The Appenzell Mountain Dog was first recognised as an individual breed in 1989.
The Appenzell, also called the Appenzeller, Appenzell Cattle Dog and the Appenzell Sennenhund, may be one of the oldest dogs in existence. Its detailed history is largely unrecorded, so it is unknown whether the Appenzell has always existed in modern day Switzerland or if it was crossbred with ancient Roman dogs that came upon the area.
This large breed is seen as a family dog, providing it is given ample time and space to expend energy. It is also used as a working dog, herding animals in its native Swiss Alps and around the world.
This breed is often tri-coloured in appearance, featuring a mixture of black, tan and white. A majority of the body is black with a white blaze beginning above the small, dark eyes and continuing down the slope of the nose and onto the chest. The Appenzell’s legs, eyebrows and jowls are generally tan.
The Appenzell is a working dog, so its body is strong and capable, though not overly large. It has a short double coat that is generally low-maintenance, requiring only occasional brushing to reduce shedding and remove dead hair. Its thick tail curls and lies atop the dog’s back.
The Appenzell Mountain dog is an intelligent breed that thrives upon having a job to do, whether it is herding, performing agility tasks or taking in its surroundings on long walks. This energetic breed needs a considerable amount of exercise in order to promote its health and happiness.
This breed was originally kept outdoors and still enjoys spending a considerable amount of time outside. It can be territorial, which makes it a successful watch dog. If kept indoors and not properly exercised, it can be prone to boredom that may result in destructive behaviour. A wide, open area is best for this dog, as it may be prone to frequent barking. As a herding dog, it enjoys the opportunity to put its energy to use, corralling cattle, sheep and other farm animals. Other options for expending energy include playing fetch, completing obstacle courses and retrieving tennis balls.
The Appenzell is often focused on work rather than people, though socialisation that begins at a young age and continues throughout its lifetime will help ensure that it gets along with people and animals. Its herding instincts may compel it to herd household members such as children and other pets, potentially nipping at their feet and ankles.
It tends to be friendly, affectionate and loyal to its family.