His ancestors drove the cattle to the alpine pastures and guarded them there. Even today, the Appenzeller Sennenhund is an excellent guard who prefers to have his family very close together. Long walks and dog sports are just as important to him as relaxing cuddles in front of the sofa.
Hardworking dog from the Alps
The Appenzell Mountain Dog is descended from the Swiss Mountain Dogs. The robust farm dogs had been widespread in the mountains and valleys of Switzerland since the Middle Ages: they guarded the farm and herded the cattle. The Appenzeller Sennenhund was officially mentioned for the first time in 1853 in the work “Das Tierleben der Alpenwelt”. It was recognized as an independent dog breed in 1896. The dog, also known as Appezöller Bläss, was introduced in Germany with the founding of the Swiss Mountain Dog Association in 1923 – but it is not really well known to this day. With only around 100 puppies a year, it is one of the rare dog breeds. For comparison: in 2018 more than 10,000 German Shepherd puppies were born in Germany.
The fearless Appenzeller Sennenhund is a real guardian. Being alert and protective is in his genes. The relationship between his family and his reference persons is characterized by a close bond and absolute loyalty. He is a happy and lively playmate with children. But if strangers approach its territory, the courageous four-legged friend reacts suspiciously and lets its bright bark sound loudly. When it comes down to it, the family dog will defend its backup pack with passion and strength. This dog is willing to learn, intelligent, and very obedient when trained well.
Training and keeping of the Appenzeller Sennenhund
The Appenzeller Sennenhund is not a dog for the city: ideally, it lives on a large property, which it guards and where it can roam freely. If he is not used as a herding dog, he needs long walks and extensive playtime to work out. A great way to challenge this bundle of energy is with dog sports like agility or can cross. Because of their obedience, their good nature, and their intelligence, the four-legged friends are also trained as protection, avalanche, and guide dogs. However, the Appenzeller Sennenhund needs consistent training: in addition to attending a dog school, early socialization with other people and dogs is an advantage for living with this breed.
Grooming of the short hair is quite simple: occasional brushing is sufficient.
Peculiarities of the Appenzell Mountain Dog
The 1913 breed standards, which were set rather arbitrarily, stipulate that the dogs should be tricolor in the shades of brown, white, and black. In order to obtain exactly this color combination, which originally did not occur at all, breeders carried out targeted inbreeding for decades. This led to hereditary diseases such as joint problems and cataracts and to a reduction in life expectancy, which is now only around eight years for dogs from dubious breeds. Healthy dogs can live up to 12 years of age.