Appenzeller Sennenhund- Little known Appenzell Cattle dog facts

The Appenzeller Sennenhund is a medium-sized breed of dog and one of the four regional breeds of Sennenhund-type dogs that originated from the Swiss Alps.

The Sennenhound name is used to refer to the Senn people(herders in the Appenzell Swiss region).

Originally, this was an all-around farm dog that kept himself busy through herding livestock, pulling carts, and guarding the farms.

They are high energy, cheerful, fearless, and self-assured dogs.

The Appenzeller is not a low maintenance dog which means he is not suitable for all dog lovers.

But what else should you know about this Swiss dog breed? Is he a dog that would be suitable for your kind of lifestyle?

Well, we got all the information that you need to know before deciding to adopt or purchase this dog. From the look to the traits and even how you can take care of him.

So why don’t we go through it together? 
Running Appenzeller

About the Appenzeller Sennenhund

First thing first, the name Sennehund Appenzeller has a meaning behind it. Sen is a name that refers to the herders while Appenzell is a region in Switzerland.

So, Sennenhunds are a group of dogs that were used by Swiss herdsmen extensively.

Four Sennenhund entities arose due to the regional difference;

  • Bernese mountain dog(Berner Sennehund)
  • Entlebucher Sennenhund(Entlebucher mountain dog)
  • Grosser Schweizer Sennenhund(The Great Swiss Mountain dog)
  • Appenzeller Mountain dog

Learn more about the Bernese Mountain dog.

The Appenzeller Mountain Dog is the rarest of the four Swiss Mountain dog breeds. You can commonly find this dog in parts of Switzerland and Europe but not much in North America.

In recent years the popularity of this Swiss dog has been on the rise.

He is a high energy dog with a great work ethic and is not suited for an inactive lifestyle.

The body of an Appenzell Cattle dog is well adapted to the tasks that he performs in many disciplines. This is a trait that he has maintained over the years.

But what is the story behind this canine friend?

Appenzell Cattle dog
Appenzell Cattle dog

Origin of the Appenzell Cattle dog

There are two theories behind the origin of the Appenzeller Sennenhund and the history is up for debate.

The first theory goes back to the Bronze age when he was a native dog while the second theory states that the Appenzeller Mountain dog is a descendant of the Molossus dog breed from Romans.

These dogs were mastiff-type dogs that were large and used for guarding livestock.

And although there is an uncertainty of where exactly this dog came from, in the 1800s he was still part of the daily life for people living in the Alps.

There is a description of the Appenzeller Sennenhund as early as 1853. In this publication, he is described as a multi-colored Spitz-type dog that had a short-haired coat.

Max Siber, a breed promoter, pushed this breed making him a breed of his own and separated the dog from the rest of the Swiss Mountain dogs.

In 1898, the Appenzell Cattle Dog attended the first international dog show. This is also the year that the international breeding of the breed began.

Today, this four-legged friend can be largely seen in parts of Europe and Switzerland and his popularity is slowly increasing in North America.

Breed recognition

The Federation Cynologique Internationale recognizes this dog under the name Appenzeller Sennenhund.

United Kennel Clun also recognizes this breed under the name Appenzeller but he is not recognized by the American Kennel Club. However, AKC supports the development efforts of this breed.

The Appenzeller Mountain Dog Clun of America is responsible for the promotion of this breed in North America.

Pros and cons of the Appenzell Cattle dog


 These dogs are highly intelligent and learn things quickly.

 They may have several health issues.

These pooches can adapt to new tasks fast.


 These dogs shed considerably throughout the year.

 They may not be well-suited for hot weather areas well.

 These dogs may be wary and suspicious of strangers.

Swiss Cattle dogs

General Characteristics and appearance of the Appenzeller Sennenhund

Appenzeller Sennenhund summary table
Height Males stand between 20–22 inches while females can stand anywhere between 20–21 inches
Weight 49–71 pounds for male Mountain dogs and 49–71 pounds for females
Lifespan 12 to 15 years
Breed Type working
Purpose Working and companion dogs
Suitable For Active owners and families with farms
Grooming requirements moderate to high
Color Variations White, Brown or Black(Must have rust and white markings)
Health concerns hip and elbow dysplasia, allergies and bloat
Temperament intelligent, loyal, loving, active, Energetic, Affectionate, willful and obedient
Other Names Appenzell, Appenzell Mountain Dog or Appenzell Cattle dog

Size of the Appenzell

The Appenzeller Sennenhund is more of a medium-sized with a height of between 20–22 inches for males while females can stand anywhere between 20–21 inches.

Their weight can vary anywhere between 49 to 71 pounds.

Physical appearance

Like other Swiss mountain dogs, the Appenzeller Sennenhund is built like a Molosser.

They are longer than they are tall and they also have sturdy bodies. These dogs have a smaller stature that allows them to be agile.

He has a muscular physique with small and triangular ears that hang down his cheeks. They also have dark-colored, alert and almond-shaped eyes with short and curled tails.

Appenzell Cattle dogs are well proportioned and developed with enough power to pull carts up hills.

Their chests are deep and broad with straight well-muscled limbs.


Coat appearance of the Appenzeller Sennenhund

This Swiss Mountain Dog has a double coat that protects them from the cold. He has a thick undercoat and a thick, tight and shiny topcoat.

The coat should not be wavy or curly but should be straight. However, some of the coats can be slightly wavy at the wither and the back.

The Appenzeller’s topcoat should be brown or black with white and rust markings that cover a gray, brown or black undercoat.

Unfortunately, these dogs shed throughout the years and are not hypoallergenic. This shedding is usually worst with seasonal change and when the dog changes coats.

If you suffer from dog-related allergies, you should consider one of the dogs that is on our guide on hypoallergenic dog breeds.

Temperament and personality traits of Appenzell

Traits Rating
Prey Drive

The Sennenhund is an active, high-spirited, athletic and high energy dog that can also be safely kept as a pet as long as he is provided with the correct socialization.

These dogs constantly seek their owners’ attention and form close bonds with them.

They are also great watchdogs and will likely bark when something is not going right. These doggos are wary of strangers and they will need lots of socialization to prevent them from becoming overly suspicious.

He can also become aggressive towards intruders and it is for that reason that early socialization is important.

This is also not the best dog to have if you have neighbors that find barking as a nuisance.

The Appenzeller Sennehund is often described as a one-person dog and although he may form close bonds with other people, he forms a very close attachment to his favorite hooman.

This loyalty and attached is so strong that he can easily put his life on the line to save the ones he loves.

Appenzeller Sennenhund

Family compatibility

The Appenzeller Mountain Dog is very affectionate to his family.

They are also great with children and other pets as long as you socialize them early enough.

You should not that they can be territorial towards other animals especially the small ones and they should be introduced slowly. They can also show their nipping and other herding tendencies towards these animals.

Frequently asked questions

Do Appenzeller Sennenhunds shed? 

Appenzell Cattle Dogs shed all year round moderately and heavily when the seasons are changing and they are developing new coats.

Whats is the cost of an Appenzeller Sennenhund? 

On average an Appenzell Mountain Dog puppy can cost anywhere between $800 to $1500.

Appenzeller Mountain Dog facts

🐶 These dogs were first intentionally bred in the year 1898.

🐶 Appenzell Cattle dog is recorded in the Foundation Stock Service and this happened in 2007.

🐶 Sennenhund can be directly translated to the dairy farmer’s dog.

🐶 When an Appenzeller Sennenhund wants to control a cow he nips him at his heels.

🐶 Sometimes these dogs can come with a Havana base color rather than the common tricolor of white, tan, and black. This Havana color is commonly seen in Chocolate Labradors. 

🐶 The Swiss nickname of the Appenzell Cattle dog is Blass which is a reference to the white blaze found on his forehead.

Appenzeller Sennenhund puppies

Appenzell mothers give birth to litters of about 4 to 6 six puppies.

These puppies take about 2 years to reach maturity while some of them could take up to 3 years to mature depending on genetics.

Depending on where you get a pup you could pay anywhere between $600 to $1500 for a single Appenzell Cattle Dog puppy.

However, if you are looking for a puppy from superior lines, you could end up paying as high as $10000.

You should avoid buying puppies from puppy mills and backyard breeders like a plague.


Grooming requirements

The Appenzeller Mountain Dog is not a low maintenance dog and if you have decided to get him you should be prepared to take care of his needs.

He may need to be brushed 3 to 4 times every week to keep his coat looking great. This also helps to remove loose hair which minimizes shedding and distributes oils on the coat.

You should also get a good vacuum cleaner to remove fur that may be on your furniture or anywhere in your house.

Bath this pooch only when it is necessary because overbathing him could strip his coat of essential oils causing his skin to dry out.

Appenzeller Sennenhunds are prone to ear infections due to their hanging ears which may become if you fail to check and clean the ears. The ear canals should be cleaned and any wax build-up removed.

Their nails should also be kept short especially if they are working on the farms. Dental care is also very important when you are grooming these dogs.


Exercising an Appenzeller Sennenhund

With a great stamina and athletic physique, the Appenzell Mountain dog has high exercise needs.

They are happiest outdoors and when they are off the lead and may not be the best pooch for apartment living.

These dogs need upwards of 60 minutes in physical and mental stimulation.

You can achieve this by giving them a variety of tasks that they can perform from agility sports to daily walks.

These doggos are also great runners and can endure long hikes and adventures. You can also spare some time to play games such as dock diving and other agility games such as frisbee.

This is a dog that will appreciate any task that you may give him happily.

You should, however, not exercise them when the weather is hot because they could easily overheat.

An under-exercised Sennenhund is a destructive one. He will do this as he tries to entertain himself and keep himself busy which is a recipe for disaster.

Dietary requirements

When feeding this dog a priority should be given to ensure that he is fed on a nutrient-packed and high-quality meal.

Sennenhunds are known to be choosy eaters some of them may suffer from allergy-related issues. You should choose a high-protein meal that has no fillers which are culprits for most dog allergies.

Your vet is the one you should consult when you have any diet-related issues to get the best advice.

Their daily calorie requirements should be mat depending on the size of your dog and what he/she does. On average, they need around 1400 calories in one day.

These dogs also need fresh foods like fruits, vegetables, and even cheese other than dry food alone.

Appenzeller Mountain dog Daily Food Consumption
Calories 1,400
Cups of Kibble 🍗🍗🍗

You should also watch the diet to ensure that your dog does not get overweight.


Training an Appenzeller Sennenhund

Mountain dogs may be intelligent dogs but they are still slower than other dogs both physically and mentally.

But the fact that they are eager to please makes them easier to train.

You can easily train an Appenzeller to accomplish any tasks and to get rid of any unwanted behaviors such as barking.

To accomplish this, you need to make sure that you do it correctly through reward-based training and positive reinforcement. Never punish this dog for any unwanted behavior as it never works for any good.

Make sure that you take charge to ensure that he gets to know you as a leader.

Encourage him and praise him a lot every time he gets a command right or when he does something right.

Socialization is also vital in training. Introduce these doggos to a wide range of animals, people, and environments to prevent them from becoming hyperactive and unmanageable.

Appenzelle Mountain dog

Health issues

It is not uncommon to come across a Sennenhund with some health issues although he is a hearty breed.

Vet checks and getting your puppy from a reputable breeder can go a long way to ensure that he stays healthy and lives long.

Some of the common health problems with this breed are;

  • Bloat
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Cataracts

Breed summary

As long as you do not mind shedding all year long and if you live in a cool-weather area the Appenzeller can be a suitable pet for you.

They are intelligent, loyal, affectionate, and athletic dogs that crave human attention.

These dogs also have a gentle demeanor that children find appealing and are very playful.

What are your thoughts on this breed?

Give us your feedback and questions in the comment section below. 

There you go WOOF!

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