Appenzeller Mountain Dog

Type: Guardian Dog

Height: Females: 18.5 - 20 inches; Males: 22 - 23 inches.

Weight: 48 - 55 lbs.

Life Span: 12 - 13 years. This breed is longer lived than its Swiss cousins.

Litter Size: 4 - 8 puppies.

Country of Origin: Switzerland

Activity: Medium

Watch-dog: High

Guard-dog: High. Appenzeller Mountain Dogs are willing to protect their family with their life.

Description: The Appenzeller Mountain Dog, or Appenzeller Sennenhund, is a smaller and more rectangular member of the Swiss mountain dog quartet. There are four breeds of the Swiss mountain dogs: the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Entelbuch Mountain Dog, Appenzeller Mountain Dog, and the Bernese Mountain Dog. They are your typical draft dog who love farm chores, pulling carts, sleds and children, for this is what they did in the past. They are square, evenly built dogs that have smooth fur of a tricolor pattern. They are well muscled, and can easily do the work of a horse, although smaller than their Swiss cousins. They are gentle and enjoy children, doing well to protect them. Appenzeller Mountain Dogs enjoy being a part of a family. They are easily groomed, do well in obedience, and are sturdy and even tempered. Appenzeller Mountain Dogs have been known to be protective and caring to not only their owners but to others as well. They are peaceful, calm and happiest within the family. Appenzeller Mountain Dogs hate to be tied up, as they enjoy their home and do not roam. They are alert, faithful and highly intelligent. Appenzeller Mountain Dogs favor free space to run and are best suited to suburban or country living. Faithful and true, the Appenzeller Mountain Dog is ideal for the country farm family.

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Other Names: Appenzell Mountain Dog, Appenzell Cattle Dog, Appenzeller, Appenzeller Sennenhunde

Colors: Black with bright, symmetrical russet and white markings. They have white at the toes, tail tip, chest and blaze. The tan always lies between the black and white. Red tricolors do occur but are not acceptable.

Coat: Stiff, short and dense. Their double coat has a thick undercoat and short outer coat.

Temperament: Appenzeller Mountain Dogs are active, calm and friendly. They are protective of their family and territorial but never aggressive unless their human family is threatened, in which case they are willing to fight to the death. They are gentle, faithful and loyal. They like to be near the home and do not roam, and hate being chained up. They are happiest when with the family, and love to be a part of it. Appenzeller Mountain Dogs are alert, highly intelligent and essentially a country dog that enjoys doing a job. They are stable, confident, and devoted.

With Children: Yes, they are devoted to children.

With Pets: Yes, they are not dog aggressive but they do like to chase small animals.

Special Skills: In the past, a goat herder and cart puller. Today, a watchdog and family pet, although they still thoroughly enjoy a cart pull once in a while.

Care and Training: They need regular grooming of their coat with a bristle brush. Regular exercise is essential and plenty of wide open spaces to enjoy a free run. They do not like to be chained up. They do better in rural or suburban settings. Positive training is the best for this breed, as they will respond the best to it. They should be socialized early on as well.

Learning Rate: High. Obedience - High. Problem Solving - High.

Special Needs: Exercise, a job or activity to do, positive training and socialization.

Living Environment: Appenzeller Mountain Dogs are best suited for suburban country living. They should have a yard to run about in, but should not be chained up or left outside, away from the family. The best owner for this breed would be an active, dog-experienced owner who can give it a job to do in a country living environment.

Health Issues: Hip dysplasia, and eye problems such as ectropion and entropion.

History: Appenzeller Mountain Dogs obtained their named from the northern canton of Switzerland. They descended from the Mastiffs that once accompanied Caesar when he invaded Switzerland. These ancient dogs lived among the Romans. The old Mastiffs probably intermixed with native Swiss dogs to form the four Swiss dogs we see today. The Appenzeller worked as a a general farm dog for herding and guarding. Farmers loved the Swissy because they could do the work of a horse, yet ate a lot less. They also were seen pulling carts into market, but with the invention of the automobile, their uses diminished. After a while the four Swiss breeds diminished so much that they became a rumor, especially to Franz Schertenlieb. He had heard stories from his grandfather that dogs of this type existed in Switzerland, but he had never seen them. He decided to go on a mission to find the last of these species. So he set out and scoured farms in search of the dogs. He eventually came up with at least one of the species and in 1908 Schertenlieb exhibited the breed in the Bernese class. Dr. Albert Heim, a knowledgeable judge, knew the history of the breed and, thinking it was extinct, instantly praised the find of this rare breed--encouraging farmers and dog lovers to search out the rest of the Swiss Dogs. When Schertenlieb discovered enough of the same breed from this publicity, he began to breed them again. He succeeded in reviving the breed from probably around 7 or 8 dogs. In 1910 the breed was accepted into the Swiss registry. Continuing to breed the Swiss breeds with other dogs who possessed the same traits but did not hold a pedigree, the dogs continued in strength.

First Registered by the AKC: FSS (Foundation Service Stock - not yet eligible for the AKC)

AKC Group: Herding

Class: Herding

Registries: UKC (Guardian Dog), FCI (Group 2)