Appenzeller Sennenhund Dog Breed: Pictures, Info & Care Guide

The Appenzeller Sennenhund, also known as the Appenzell Mountain Dog or Appenzell Cattle Dog, is a medium-sized working dog that originates in the Swiss Alps.

Characterized by their muscular agility and herding skills, these dogs have an eagerness to work and learn.

Although commonly used for herding livestock, Appenzeller Sennenhunds can also make great family pets with the right ownership and training.

Appenzeller Sennenhund sitting

Overview of the Appenzeller Sennenhund

UTILISATIONDriving, watch, guard, house and farm dog.
Today also a family dog.
FCI-CLASSIFICATIONPinscher and Schnauzer/Swiss Mountain and Cattles dog
BREED GROUPFoundation Stock Service
HEIGHTFemale: 50–54 cm, Male: 52–56 cm
WEIGHTFemale: 22–32 kg, Male: 22–32 kg
TEMPERAMENTConfident, loyal, active, energetic, brave
TRAINABILITYModerately easy
COLORSBlack tricolor and red tricolor (black, brown and white)
SUMMARYNot very affectionate with families.
Pretty good with young children.
Great with other dogs.
High protective nature.
Not very open to strangers.
Very adaptable.
Somewhat playful.
Needs lots of mental stimulation.

The Appenzeller Sennenhund is an energetic and loyal breed.

These medium-sized herding dogs were bred to be versatile and are often used for watching, guarding, and working on farms.

They excel in activities like agility, obedience training, herding, and search and rescue.

The breed has a tri-color coat and a balanced athletic build.

They are self-assured and fearless with strangers, making excellent watchdogs who cannot be easily tricked.

Their intelligence makes them highly capable learners and can present issues if they don’t get adequate exercise. As such, they are best suited to homes with lots of outdoor space.

Appenzeller Sennenhund standing in a field

Appenzeller Sennenhund Temperament and Personality Traits

The Appenzeller Sennenhund is a loyal, intelligent and loving dog with a range of desirable personality traits.

They are known for being courageous, particularly when it comes to guarding their family and property.

While an excellent watchdog, they are also very gentle and affectionate with their trusted owner.

This breed benefits from an experienced do owner who provides consistent training and structure in order to bring out their best qualities.

Owners’ caring expectations for the Appenzeller Sennenhund


The Appenzeller typically live between 13 and 15 years, but some may even reach their 20s! These hearty canines are known to be very healthy and have few hereditary or congenital health issues.

Grooming Requirements

The Appenzeller Sennenhund has a double coat consisting of a thick and shiny topcoat and a soft undercoat in colors of black, brown, or gray.

Regular brushing of their coat with a firm brush is recommended to remove excess fur.

Likewise, it’s important to regularly check their ears for dirt or debris build up as well as ticks if living in tick-prone areas.

Appenzeller Sennenhund's face

Exercise Considerations for the Appenzeller Sennenhund

Appenzeller Sennenhunds have a lot of energy and need regular exercise to stay healthy and happy.

They enjoy participating in various activities and will appreciate having a job to do.

Since they are quite intelligent, they often excel at obedience training.

This breed should also be given mental stimulation by playing interactive games or participating in agility or other sports activities.

It is important to socialize this breed early on, so they can become confident around different people and environments.

They do not do well with living exclusively in an urban or suburban landscape without a sufficient amount of exercise. These dogs love being outdoors to utilize their strong herding instincts and bond with their territory and family.

Appenzeller Sennenhund running


The Appenzeller Sennenhund is an intelligent and hard-working breed that needs proper socialization and training in order to manage their strong protective instincts and become a devoted companion.

They need an owner who is firm but fair, consistent in their training methods, and willing to take the time to socialize them with people, animals, and new environments.

Though not suitable for first-time or inexperienced owners, a well-trained Appenzeller will reward their owners with loyalty and love.

Appenzeller Sennenhund with stick in mouth


Feeding an Appenzeller Sennenhund should be done with a high-quality dog food, both commercially manufactured or home-prepared under the guidance of a vet.

Depending on age, any diet should be tailored accordingly.

It is important to regulate calorie intake and keep track of their weight.

Treats should be be used as a reward when training. way to train them.

Make sure to look into what human foods are safe for consumption and which ones should be avoided.

Lastly, access to clean fresh water must be provided at all times for hydration purposes.

Appenzeller Sennenhund with mouth open

History of the Appenzeller Sennenhund

First described in 1853, it was not designated as a breed of its own until 1898 when breeder Max Siber pushed for recognition from the Swiss Cynological Society.

Professor Dr Albert Heim established the Appenzeller Sennenhund club in 1906 to promote and protect the breed.

His efforts lead to the creation of the first official breed standard in 1914, as well as compulsory registration of puppies into the Appenzeller Dog Stud Book.

While still considered a rare breed, there has been an increase in numbers of Appenzellers both in Europe and North America; however, breeding stock is still very low.

Responsible breeding will help ensure quality hereditary qualities are maintained and strengthened.

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