The Appenzeller Sennenhund is a medium-size breed of dog, one of the four regional breeds of Sennenhund-type dogs from the Swiss Alps. The name Sennenhund refers to people called Senn, herders in the Swiss Alps. Appenzell is an alpine region in the northeast of Switzerland.
The Appenzeller Sennenhund is a large mountain dog, 18.5-23 ins (47–58 cm) at the withers and weighing 49-70 lbs (22–32 kg). Like the other Sennenhunds, the Appenzeller Sennenhund has a heavy, molosser-like build and a distinctive tricolour coat. The breed's ears are small and triangular, set high and hanging down against the dog's cheeks, similar to a button ear. Faults in the breed's appearance include wall eye, kinked tail, a single coat, and a coat that is not tricolour.
History and purpose
The Appenzeller Sennenhund is descended from the general Sennenhund type which may have existed in antiquity, or descended from "cattle dogs left there by the Romans", but the first breed club for the breed was founded and the stud book for the breed started in 1906 by Albert Heim and others, who wrote the first breed standard in 1916. An early reference to the breed's predecessors was made in an 1853 book, "Tierleben der Alpenwelt" (Animal Life in the Alps), referring to dogs in the Appenzell region. The Appenzeller Sennenhund was only recognised internationally as a separate breed in 1989.
The Appenzeller Sennenhund was originally kept as a flock guardian, a draft dog, and general farm dog. The breed also was used for herding and as a guard dog. Today the breed is primarily kept as a companion, and excels in obedience competitions and Schutzhund.
As with all large, very active working dogs, this breed should be well socialized early in life with other dogs and people and provided with regular activity and training if they are to be safely kept as a pet. According to the breed standard, the dogs are lively, high spirited, and suspicious of strangers.