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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.