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  • Temperament: Agile, Versatile, Lively
  • Height: 19-22 inches
  • Weight: 48-70 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 12-15 years
  • Group: Foundation Stock Service

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

FCI Standard
Appenzeller Sennenhunde lying down on a white background.
Appenzeller Sennenhunde sitting facing left.
Appenzeller Sennenhunde head in profile.
Appenzeller Sennenhunde outdoors with a stick in its mouth.
Three Appenzeller Sennenhunde dogs sitting outdoors.
Appenzeller Sennenhunde face.

About the Appenzeller Sennenhund

The Appenzeller Sennenhund is also known as the Appenzeller Mountain Dog or Appenzell Cattle Dog. He is lively, high-spirited, self-assured, reliable and fearless. Slightly suspicious of strangers, he is a good watchdog who cannot be bribed. The breed’s intelligence make them highly capable learners. Due to his personality and exercise needs, he is ill-suited to apartment living.

National Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country. For more information about the Appenzeller Sennenhund, visit the website of the Appenzell Mountain Dog Club of America, the official national registry for Appenzellers in the United States and Canada.
Appenzeller Sennenhund puppy lying down on a white background.

Find a Puppy: Appenzeller Sennenhund

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.
Find Appenzeller Sennenhund Puppies



The Appenzeller Sennenhund should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.


Appenzellers have a firm double coat. The topcoat is thick and shiny, and the undercoat is a thick black, brown or gray. Weekly brushing is recommended with a firm brush to remove loose and dead hair. Check frequently for buildup of dirt and foreign bodies in the ears, and if you reside in tick-prone areas, always be sure to check your dog’s ears and coat after coming in from walks.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Weekly Brushing




The Appenzeller is a herding/working breed with boundless energy. They are highly intelligent and need a job to do. Early socialization is necessary, and training at an early age is crucial. They are a strong powerful breed with incredible speed and need plenty of room to run. This is not a breed that thrives in a busy urban environment or in the suburbs unless he has lots of activity, nor is it a breed for kenneling. He prefers to be outside, where his strong herding and guarding instincts and his bond with his territory and his “people” keep him from running off.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Needs Lots of Activity


The Appenzeller is a high-spirited dog that is very capable and reliable. Early socialization and puppy obedience are absolutely crucial. They are highly intelligent and need a fair but firm “leader.” The Appenzeller does not react well to harsh or hard handling, but the owner/trainer must be firm, respectful, and most of all, consistent in their training. This breed is watchful and protective of his territory, home and people. It is very important to socialize the Appenzeller with people, dogs, and other animals early on, and expose him to a variety of surroundings and situations. While not a breed for everyone, particularly the first-time or inexperienced dog owner, a well-trained Appenzeller is a loyal and loving companion. Give him a job and provide good leadership, and he will be loyal and content.


May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
May be Stubborn


Reserved with Strangers


The Appenzeller is a healthy breed with few health issues. Life expectancy is 12 to 15 years, but it is not unheard of for them to live well beyond that.

Appenzeller Sennenhunde running outdoors.
Appenzeller Sennenhunde
Appenzeller Sennenhunde
Appenzeller Sennenhunde


As early as 1853, the Appenzell Cattle Dog was first described as a high-pitch barking, short-haired, multi-colored cattle dog of a Sptiz type, and used to guard the homestead and to herd cattle in his native region of Appenzell, Switzerland. Pushed by breed promoter, Max Siber, the Appenzeller was designated a breed of its own by the Swiss Cynological Society in 1898.

Initiated by Professor Dr. Albert Heim, a committed fancier of Swiss Cattle Dogs, the Appenzeller Sennenhund Club was established in 1906 to promote and preserve the breed. Dr. Heim set up the first valid breed standard in 1914 and with that the compulsory registration of puppies in the Appenzeller Dog Stud Book.

Today, the breed can be seen all over Switzerland and in other parts of Europe. Though considered rare, numbers of Appenzellers are slowly increasing in North America as well. The breeding stock is still very small, and it is only by careful and responsible breeding that it will be possible to establish and consolidate its natural and outstanding hereditary qualities.

Did You Know?

The intentional breeding of pure-bred Appenzellers began in Switzerland in 1898.
Sennenhund loosely translates to "dairy farmer's dog."
The Appenzeller Sennenhund is part of the family of Swiss Mountain Dogs that include the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, the Bernese Mountain Dog and the Entlebucher Mountain Dog.
The Appenzeller will control a wayward cow by dashing in to nip at its heel.
Although the tri-color in most Appenzell Cattle Dogs is black, tan and white, a base color of havana brown rather than black is sometimes seen. The havana brown base color is like the shade of a chocolate lab.
In Switzerland, the nickname of the Appenzeller Sennenhund is Bläss, in reference to the white blaze on its forehead.
The Appenzell Cattle Dog has been recorded in the Foundation Stock Service since 2007.
The Appenzeller Sennenhund has been assigned the Herding Group designation.
The Appenzeller Sennenhund has been eligible to compete in Companion events and Performance events since January 1, 2008.

The Breed Standard


Tricolour, medium-sized, almost squarely built dog, balanced in all parts. Muscular, very agile and deft, with a cheeky expression.


Balanced size in relation to body. Slightly wedge-shaped.
Skull: Skull fairly flat, broadest between the ears, tapering evenly towards the muzzle. Occiput barely pronounced. Frontal furrow moderately developed.
Stop: Slightly marked.
Nose: In black dogs black, in havana-brown dogs brown (as dark as possible).
Muzzle: Medium strength, tapering evenly, but not snipy, with strong lower jaw. Nasal bridge straight.
Lips: Clean and close fitting, with black pigmentation in black dogs or with brown pigmentation (as dark as possible) in havana-brown dog. Corner of the mouth not visible.
Jaws/Teeth: Strong, complete and regular scissor bite. Pincer bite tolerated. One missing PM1 or double PM1 (premolar 1) and missing M3 (molars) tolerated.
Cheeks: Barely pronounced.
Eyes: Rather small, almond-shaped, not protruding. Set slightly oblique towards the nose. Expression lively. Colour: in black dogs dark brown, brown; in havana brown dogs lighter brown, but as dark as possible. Eye-lids close fitting. Eye-rims black respectively brown (as dark as possible) corresponding to the colour of the coat.
Ears: Set on fairly high and broad; in repose hanging down flat and close to cheeks. Triangular shape with tips slightly rounded off. In alertness raised at set-on and turned forward so that the head and ears, seen from above, form a marked triangle.


Neck: Rather short, strong and clean.
Body: Compact, strong.
Back: Moderately long, firm and straight.
Loins: Short and well muscled.
Croup: Relatively short, running in flat continuation of the topline.
Chest: Broad, deep, reaching to the elbows, with definite forechest. Sternum reaching sufficiently far back. Ribcage round-oval in diameter.
Underline and Belly : Only slight tuck up.
Tail: Set on high, strong, of medium length, densely coated. Hair slightly longer on underside. In movement carried tightly curled over the croup, carried sideways or in centre. In repose pendent tail in various shapes tolerated.


General appearance: Well muscled; seen from front forelegs straight and parallel; standing not too close.
Shoulder: Shoulder blade long and sloping.
Upper arm: Same length or only slightly shorter than shoulder blade. Angle with shoulder blade not too blunt.
Elbows: Close fitting.
Forearm: Straight, lean.
Pastern: Seen from front in straight continuation of the forearm. Seen from the side, set at a very light angle.


General appearance: Well muscled. Seen from rear, hindlegs straight and parallel, standing not too close. The typical angulations result in relatively “steep” hindquarters.
Upper thigh: Fairly long, forming a relatively small angle to the hip- bone (coxo-femoral joint).
Lower thigh: Equally long or only slightly shorter than the upper thigh. Lean and well muscled.
Hock joint: Set relatively high.
Hock: Set vertical and parallel, slightly longer than the front pastern, turning neither in nor out. Dewclaws must be removed, except in those countries where their removal is prohibited by law.
Feet: Short, arched, tight toes; solid pads.


Hair: Double coat (Stockhaar): Firm and fitting. Topcoat thick and shiny. Undercoat thick, black, brown or grey. It is undesirable for the undercoat to be visible through the topcoat. Slightly wavy coat only on withers and back just tolerated, but not desirable.
Color and Markings: Basic colour black or havana brown with reddish-brown and white markings as symmetrical as possible. Small reddish-brown spots over eyes. Reddish-brown markings on cheeks, chest (left and right in the region of the shoulder-joint) and on legs. The reddish-brown on the latter must invariably be located between the black, resp.havana brown and the white.
White markings :
• Distinct white blaze which runs from the skull without break
over the bridge of the nose and can reach totally or partially
round the muzzle.
• White from chin, covering throat without break at chest.
• White on all four feet.
• White on tip of tail.
• White spot on nape of neck or half collar tolerated.
• Thin white ring all around neck tolerated but not desirable.

Appenzeller Sennenhund illustration.

Colors & Markings


Description Standard Colors Registration Code
Black Brown and White Check Mark For Standard Color 022
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