By Macy Gen Veterinary AssistantMacy Gen Last updated: 18th October 2022

Appenzeller Mountain Dog (Sennenhund)


Macy Gen Veterinary Assistant Macy Gen
Last updated: 18th October 2022

The Appenzeller Mountain dog is the rarest of the four canine breeds of Switzerland. Characterized by a well-built, muscular stature, they have short, glossy coats, a flat head along with a tapered muzzle, hanging ears, small-sized, dark eyes, high set, floppy ears as well as a thick tail curled to the back. Their smart, energetic, confident and hardy disposition, make them good working dogs in the present times.

Appenzeller Mountain Dog Pictures

Quick Information

Also known asAppenzelle Cattle Dog;  Appenzell Mountain Dog, Appenzeller Sennenhund
CoatThick double coat
ColorsBlack, brown, white with patches of tan and white on the face, eyes, chest, cheek and legs
TypeMastiff, Mountain Dogs, Working Dogs
Group (of Breed)Purebred
Lifespan12 to 14 years
Size and HeightBig; 18 to 23 inches
Weight45 to 70 pounds
Litter Size4 to 6 puppies ( on an average)
Personality TraitsOutgoing, Loving, Energetic, Affectionate, Hard-working
Good with ChildrenYes ( More comfortable with the older ones)
SheddingModerately high
Competitive Registration/ Qualification InformationACR, ACA, APRI, AKC/FSS,CKC ( Continental Kennel Club) CKC ( Canadian Kennel Club), FCI, DRA, NKC, NAPR

Appenzeller Sennenhund Training for Shows


Of the two theories mentioned regarding the origination of the Appenzeller Mountain Dog, one of them states it to be a native breed existing as early as the bronze age, whereas, the other one mentions it to be a descendant of the Molossus that were crossed with the native canine breeds of Switzerland. In fact, over the years it was widely used for a variety of farm work including herding livestock, guarding their owner’s farm and property, and pulling carts.

It attained recognition as a native breed of Switzerland, requiring conservation in the year 1897. Dr. Albert Heim formed the first breed club in the year 1906, the first breed standards written in the year 1916.

They were introduced in the United States of America during the early 1950s and included in the Foundation Stock Service of the United States.

Breed recognition details

This breed has been recognized by the Federation Cynologique Internationale as Appenzeller Sennenhund translated as Appenzell Cattle Dog in English.  The UKC has acknowledged it as Appenzeller in their Guardian Dog category while the name Appenzeller Sennenhund is also in the books of the American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Service.  Though not acknowledged by the Kennel Club as well as other major Kennel Clubs of the English speaking countries, some of the small clubs along with internet-based registries have given it acceptance. In North America, they have been promoted as rare breeds.


This versatile breed excels brilliantly as a family and working dog, sharing a deep bond of affection with their near ones, going to the extent of risking their lives to protect them. Being keen to get their master’s attention always, they are also highly sensitive to emotions.

This hardy breed might display wariness and suspicion towards strangers that prompts them to bark at the sight of any unfamiliar face.

This trait of theirs makes them good guard dogs, but their excessive barking does not make them suitable for a highly populous locality. In fact, its large size, as well as high energy levels, does not make it an apt choice for an apartment dog too.

Though they are a good playmate for kids, their herding instinct might cause them to nip at the heels of the little ones. Moreover, adult supervision is required while small kids interact with these dogs as owing to their robust and massive stature, they might unwillingly knock down or injure them.

These active dogs dislike sitting lazily at home, rather being more keen on doing a certain job. When not assigned one, they are experts in finding a job of their own, which might not be too constructive enough.

Though it might not have too much of a hassle in getting along with other especially if brought up together, this breed might not be friendly enough with noncanine breeds. At present, it is popular as a companion dog, excelling in obedience, agility, and Flyball competitions.



These highly energetic dogs need to be exercised well to ensure physical and mental fitness. Take them out on a daily walk or jog. If you live in the countryside and have a big farm or yard, then it would be ideal for them as they love being outdoors, enjoying running around freely and also bonds well to their territory. Proper exercise would also help in keeping their trait of barking unnecessarily under control.


Having a straight hair and double coat, the Appenzeller Mountain dog is easy to groom, though brushing with a rubber brush on a regular basis helps to remove the dead hair. Cleaning its ears and eyes clean, brushing its teeth and trimming its nails is required to ensure proper hygiene. Bathe your pet dog whenever required.

Health Problems

This healthy and hardy breed is not known to suffer from any diseases as such, with some of them living as long as 17 years. However, some of them might be afflicted by hip dysplasia, bloating, epilepsy or other common canine related diseases.


This attention-seeking, intelligent breed is easy to train, requiring a firm and tactful person who can handle it in a proper way.

  • As they excel in agility, you can teach them anything interesting, like crossing a bar jump. Take an adjustable jump and lower the bar at least few inches above the ground. Walk your dog over the jump by holding his leash and of he is hesitant to do so allow him to sniff the bar jump so that he gets acquainted with it. You can encourage him further by giving him a treat. Raise the bar over the time, once they develop a knack for joining.
  • Make the Appenzeller puppies meet different people, especially those who are regular visitors to your house as well as expose him to various situations so that they can gradually be able to distinguish the good from the bad.


Provide this breed with a healthy diet of meat, bones and other nutritious food.

Interesting Facts

  • In a book published in the year 1853 named Tierleben der Alpenwelt, there was a reference to the dogs existing in the Appenzell region.
  • It is nicknamed as Blass, because of the white blaze it has on its forehead.
  • Sennenhund refers to the herders present in the Appenzell region of Switzerland who were also called Senn.

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