The Appenzeller Mountain Dog is a well-built and multi-purpose dog whose origins are relatively unknown. The Appenzeller Mountain Dog is happiest when he has a job to do such as guarding the farm, herding the livestock or even pulling small carts. They are well muscled but not considered to be a giant breed. Their eyes are dark and alert and they have a short, double coat. The Appenzeller originated in Switzerland and can be found in black or brown with symmetrical white and rust markings. The Appenzeller Mountain Dog is a relatively hardy dog with no particular breed related health problems.
The history of the Appenzeller Mountain Dog is up for debate. There are two theories that have emerged and become acceptable. The first theory is that the Appenzeller Mountain Dog dates all the way back to the Bronze Age as a native breed. The second theory is that the Appenzeller Mountain Dog is a descendent from Molossus and the Romans brought them into Switzerland.
They are a herding dog and have been used to pull carts to bring goods to the merchants in the towns from the farms in the valleys of Switzerland. The Appenzeller Mountain Dog is only one of the four recognized Swiss Sennenhunds; they are also the rarest. The Appenzeller Mountain Dog is not a lazy dog, they are happiest when they have a job to perform.
The Appenzeller Mountain Dog appeared in the book “Tierleben der Alpenwelt” in 1853. In 1895, Max Siber commissioned the SKG or Schweizerische Kynologische Gesellschaft which is the Swiss Cynological Society, to support the breeding of the Appenzeller Mountain Dog to set breed characteristic traits. In 1898 the Appenzeller Mountain Dog was shown at that first international dog show. In the same year, the intention breeding for pure-bred Appenzeller Mountain Dogs began.
These dogs are loyal and happy companions but do not warm up quickly to strangers. When meeting strangers, the Appenzeller Mountain Dog prefers to take their time before approaching. While not known to be aggressive, the Appenzeller Mountain Dog can exhibit aggressiveness if they feel their livestock or property is being threatened.
The Appenzeller Mountain Dog has a distinct look and is black or brown with very symmetrical markings. They must have white and rust markings with the rust being between the white and the black or brown. They have a double coat with the topcoat being tight, thick and shiny. Their undercoat is also thick but can be black, brown or grey. The undercoat should never be visible through the topcoat. The coat should be straight with no curl or wave, there can be a slight wave to the coat on the back and withers but it is not desirable. The Appenzeller Mountain Dog is considered to be a medium sized dog but does have a heavy build. Their ears are small and triangular and hang down to the dog’s cheeks. They should have small, alert eyes and a curled tail. Their smaller stature gives them the ability to move quickly among a herd to move them to new areas on the farm.
Even though the Appenzeller Mountain Dog has a shorter coat, it is a double coat and will shed several times a year. He will require weekly brushing when not shedding but when shedding begins, he will need to be brushed daily. Appenzeller Mountain Dogs do not drool excessively and they are not hypoallergenic. Dogs with hanging ears, such as the Appenzeller Mountain Dog, will be more prone to ear infections and will need to have their ears cleaned often. Clean and dry ears will help prevent ear infections. Nails should be trimmed every two to three weeks. Baths will be necessary once each month when they are working the farm and are with the livestock. The Appenzeller Mountain Dog requires a lot of exercise and is not necessarily the best choice for suburban or city living. They prefer to be outdoors and working as a herding dog. Appenzeller Mountain Dogs that do not have enough exercise can become excessive barkers and destructive to property.