AKC Dog Breeds: Appenzell Mountain Dog

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Foundation Stock Service
Height: 18-23 inches   Weight: 50-70 pounds  Color: Tri-color; Black, Tan, And White

The Appenzeller Sennenhunde is also known as the Appenzeller Mountain Dog. The Appenzell Mountain Dog is muscular, athletic, and powerful. The Appenzell possesses tremendous endurance and agility. They are versatile, utilitarian, and hard-working. The Appenzeller Sennenhund is a medium-size breed of dog, one of the four regional breeds of Sennenhund-type dogs from the Swiss Alps. The name Sennenhund refers to people called Senn, herders in the Swiss Alps. Appenzell is an alpine region in the northeast of Switzerland. Of the four Alpine breeds, the Appenzell Mountain Dog is the least well known and is extremely rare. Today, the Appenzell Mountain Dog has retained their working heritage and is difficult to find and acquire. The Appenzeller Sennenhunde has been recorded in the Foundation Stock Service since 1998.

General Appearance
It is a muscular but not massive dog. A well-built and hardy animal, it is a versatile working dog. It has a wide, flat head with a muzzle that narrows towards a black nose. The eyes are small and dark and the ears are pendant. The breed's ears are small and triangular, set high and hanging down against the dog's cheeks, similar to a button ear. Its tail is carried rolled up on its back. Its limbs are straight. Its short double coat is considerably tight, thick and glossy. The basic colors are black or brown with symmetrical white and rust markings. Although the tri-color in most Appenzeller Sennenhunde is black, tan and white, a base color of Havannah brown rather than black is sometimes seen. The Havannah brown base color is like the shade of a chocolate lab. A white blaze and rust marking over the eyes must be present on the head. Rust is always between the black and the white.


The Appenzell Mountain Dog is not recommended for first time dog owners. Although they are loyal and devoted companions, this breed is not solely a pet. Appenzell's are first and foremost a working breed. They are hardy, courageous, and affectionate. They are highly protective of their family, home, and territory. The Appenzell Mountain Dog does best with considerate children. They do well with other dogs and household pets they have been raised with. The Appenzell does not do well if they are isolated or ignored. They will become destructive if they are bored or lonely. They have a tendency to bark incessantly. Early socialization and obedience training is absolutely crucial. The Appenzell Mountain Dog breed is highly intelligent but requires a dominant handler. They do not respond to harsh or heavy-handed methods. Training must be done with firmness, respect, fairness, and consistency. This working dog is not going to happily lay around your home like a couch potato. They do best when given a job to do. If you do not provide this for them, they will take it upon themselves to find a job and it will not be something you like. Tireless and surefooted in the mountains, it is also adaptable to pulling a cart and is used to bring milk and cheese from the valleys to the merchants in town. It does not have a lazy bone in its body. When it is not working with the herd, it will guard its master's property with a natural enthusiasm. This breed makes a good watchdog. These are great dogs for the active outdoor type. If you can find work for the Appenzell and provide the leadership all dogs instinctually crave, it will be completely happy.

The Appenzell's straight-haired double coat is easy to care for and requires little attention. The Appenzell Mountain Dog requires occasional brushing with a firm bristle brush to remove loose and dead hair is recommended. It is important to frequently check the ears and paw pads for debris. Bathing should only be done when necessary.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy

Due to the rarity of Appenzell Mountain Dogs, there are no known health issues. They have a life expectancy of 11-13 years.

Activity Level

Appenzell Mountain Dogs require an inordinate amount of physical exercise and mental stimulation. The Appenzell does not belong in a busy urban environment or in the suburbs if you are not a very active jogging/fast walking type. It does best when it can live on a farm where it has room to run. Its strong herding instincts keep it from running off. It prefers to be outdoors and closely bonds with its territory. If it is not used as a working farm dog it must be taken for really long daily walks or jogs. If you can find work for the Appenzell and provide the leadership all dogs instinctually crave, it will be completely happy.


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