The Appenzeller Mountain dog, also known as the Appenzeller Sennenhund, is a medium-sized molosser-type mountain dog from Switzerland that was developed by local herders along with three other breeds of Sennenhund. The Appenzeller shares a common ancestry with the three other Sennunhund breeds, such as the Bernese Mountain Dog, as well as a distinctive tri-colored coat. This rare breed is made up of solidly-built athletic animals with a great deal of energy, that typically require a great deal of activity each day.
Carting with dogs is not a commonly seen activity in the United States, however, dogs have been utilized as drafting animals for many centuries in several different countries. The often were hitched to carts that carried meat and milk to the market as well as carts with the occasional passenger. Due to excessively heavy loads, fears of diseases like rabies, and improper practices, carting with dogs was made illegal in many European countries, but many breeds enjoy this activity when it is properly managed, and it may help to maintain muscle mass and improve cardiovascular health. This breed is sturdily built and particularly well-muscled, and Appenzeller Mountain Dogs have been employed to pull carts in Switzerland for many decades.
The Appenzeller Mountain dog and its ancestors were often employed as all-around farm dogs, frequently herding livestock such as sheep and cattle to market, as well as pulling carts and guarding their homes and families against intruders and predators. Many of these dogs retain their natural herding instincts and can easily be taught the proper skills to wrangle a herd of either cows or sheep. Many pet parents who do not have livestock of their own have turned to specialty farms that are designed specifically to give the homebound herding animal a chance to try their hand at this physically and mentally dynamic activity.
Appenzeller Mountain Dogs tend to be a little larger than the average agility competitor, but they tend to be very agile for their size and have the capacity to do quite well at agility competitions. Traits like their intelligence and their tendency to bond closely with their owner and family help them to quickly pick up on their handler’s commands and make adjustments on the fly, helpful traits during agility competitions, although their independent and assertive nature can sometimes make training a bit challenging. This exercise, whether pursued casually or on a competition level, can provide quite a workout for your dog, both mentally and physically.
The Appenzeller Mountain Dog tends to get along well with other dogs when properly socialized, but unsocialized dogs may become suspicious and aggressive towards other dogs. Puppy playgroups and group training lessons are often great ways to enhance socialization efforts.
Schutzhund is a dog sport developed in Germany in the early twentieth century as a way to test German Shepherd dogs for breed suitability and is now utilized to determine the suitability of many different breeds for police, protection, and security jobs.