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Meet the breed: Appenzeller Sennenhunde

Anna is a lifestyle writer who spends way too much time with her two dogs. When she is not writing, she is probably gardening, reading, tripping over dog toys, or trying to acquire more farm animals than she really needs.

From the region that brought you Swiss chocolate, meet the Appenzeller Sennenhunde

Meet the Appenzeller Sennenhunde, also known as the Appenzell Mountain Dog, and one of the four ancient Swiss Mountain Dog breeds around today. Could the Appenzeller be the dog breed for you?

Breed at a glance

  • Medium-size herding dog
  • Energetic
  • Fearless
  • Loyal

From the region that brought you Swiss chocolate, meet the Appenzeller Sennenhunde
Image: Pixabay

The Swiss family Sennenhunde

The Appenzeller is part of the family of Swiss mountain dogs developed in the region surrounding the Swiss Alps. There are four distinct breeds of Swiss Mountain dogs, or Sennenhunde, which loosely translates to "dairy farmer's dog."

The Appenzeller Mountain Dog originated as an all-purpose farm dog, capable of herding cattle and guarding both livestock and the homestead. The Appenzeller is quick to alert its family to strangers with its clear bark, and this herding dog has legendary endurance, speed and agility, according to the Appenzell Mountain Dog Club of America.

More: Meet the breed: herding breeds

Appenzeller temperament

The Appenzeller's working roots are still very obvious in today's dogs. Appenzeller Mountain Dogs are exuberant, willful, playful, intelligent and loyal. While they are wary of strangers, they are very affectionate with their families and make excellent guard dogs and family dogs.

More: Top 10 breeds to use as guard dogs

Appenzeller training and socialization needs

Appenzellers can be stubborn and require training and socialization from an early age. Obedience classes are a must for these dogs, and they make wonderful family dogs that do well with children and other pets if their training and socialization needs are met.

More: 6 signs your dog desperately needs obedience training

Appenzeller health

Appenzeller Sennenhundes are generally healthy dogs. With a high-quality diet, regular veterinary care and daily exercise, your Appenzeller should lead a long, healthy, active life.

More: 6 common dog ailments all pet owners should know

Appenzeller appearance

The Appenzeller Sennenhunde only comes in a tricolor pattern. The main body of the dog is usually black, although it can also be a dark brown called Havana brown, and the dog has distinctive white and brown markings on its legs, face and chest.

From the region that brought you Swiss chocolate, meet the Appenzeller Sennenhunde
Image: Pixabay

Appenzeller grooming

The short, dense coat of the Appenzeller is composed of an outer coat and a soft undercoat. The breed is relatively low-maintenance in the grooming department. Regular brushing of the Appenzeller's short coat will reduce shedding, and regular nail trims, ear cleanings and the occasional bath keeps Appenzellers looking and feeling their best.

More: Dog grooming 101: A timeline of when to groom your dog

Appenzeller exercise needs

The Appenzeller is not an apartment dog. These dogs thrive on regular exercise and mental stimulation. Appenzellers excel in agility, herding, obedience, Schutzhund, draft work, rally and other dog sports. Keeping your Appenzeller Sennenhunde active and stimulated prevents destructive behaviors like chewing and barking, and improves your Appenzeller's quality of life. This is definitely a dog breed that requires daily exercise, and is a good fit for active owners.

More: Fun sports to teach your dog to play

Is the Appenzeller right for you?

If you love the great outdoors, enjoy physical activities like hiking, jogging and long games of fetch, and have previous experience with herding dogs, then the Appenzeller could be the perfect dog for you. These dogs are still rare in the States, so if you want your loyal companion to stand out from the crowd, bring an Appenzeller Mountain Dog home today.

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