Appenzeller Mountain Dog


Hannah Huett and her dog Gonto
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For more info on Appenzellers please contact: Bonnie Huett 
Appenzeller Exhibit in Finland

Appenzeller Mt. Dog is one of four Swiss Sennenhunde. It is medium sized, weighing 55-70 lbs.,24 inches tall. Originally bred for herding cattle in the Switzerland. They still retain their working abilities and may not be suited for everyone's lifestyle. This intelligent breed easily learns social skills and obedience. They are good natured active herding dogs which require regular exercise. They will excel in herding and agility events. It is important if you are interested in Appenzellers that you become aquatinted with them, and or other herding breeds.

Bastian-net Link Page
The Swiss Appenzeller Brochure
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 This brochure is the translated version of the Swiss Brochure.  It was supplied by Ines Döös, president of the Swiss Appenzeller Club. The Appenzeller sailing thru the tire was photographed by Doris Meier  
Breeding and Distribution                   

In earlier times the original breeding-region for the Appenzeller was, how could be different, the Appenzell. But now today it is bred in different places, all over Switzerland. We now find more and more breeders in foreign countries too, especially in the Netherlands and in Germany, where there are some good breeders who buy superb dogs from Switzerland to strengthen their breeding program. This makes us wonder, because the basis for breeding in Switzerland is very small, and these Appenzeller-dogs could be used just as much here. Now as before 95% of the breeders in Switzerland are farmers. In the Netherlands and in Germany, it's just the opposite, one only finds 5% of the breeders to be farmers. It is interesting that with this race there are no professionals, just convinced hobby breeders of the Appenzeller who have done their best to maintain this still natural and healthy race right up to now. Correctly bred pups with SKG-pedigree and with the necessary vaccinations are given to their future owners no younger then 10 weeks old, at a price of CHF 1000. Breeding dogs are then judged according to strict regulations and rules through " exterior" judges and other experts before they are accepted for breeding. For example: the character of these dogs is tested. Weak characters will not be accepted for breeding.  Appenzeller dogs, which are HD-free or where there is suspicion of HD-(grade A+B) are allowed to pair freely. With pairing, one of the partners must be HD-free, whereas the other one is allowed to show slight HD (grade C). By strict rules and careful breeding one tries to keep the HD-problem under control. Of course the exterior plays an important role too. Altogether one can say, that only good "breeding material" is chosen and will be used. The demand for Appenzeller is increasing and at the moment is bigger then supply. Today they are spread over the whole of Europe, mainly the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, France, Belgium and Denmark. But today they are also becoming more and more appreciated in the USA and South America.  


 Intensive breeding was carried out right from the beginning, when the desired characteristic qualities of the Appenzeller were set through a very careful selection. As their use was of great importance right from the beginning one could say that the Appenzeller impresses much more with his intelligence than with his exterior appearance. The Appenzeller has a very strong and impulsive group-instinct and becomes very attached to his master, his family, the house or farm. He becomes very dependant and is grateful for every sign of attention, he also likes to join the children and women. Wagging his tail he can express his joy and his liveliness, and at times his ever vivacious temperament is fully recognizable. One should therefore never keep the Appenzeller in a kennel or on chains. He needs total overview so that he can keep his territory under control. Thanks to his excellent observation-ability and his incredible adaptability he is able to communicate with his master easily. He observes his master's features and gestures very carefully and he normally recognizes and understands whether his behavior is right or not. The Appenzeller accepts the dominance of his master and is relatively easy to breed and educate. Nevertheless from time to time he tries to break out of subordination. Short orders are then usually enough to make him obey again. Punishment is very seldom necessary. Without being to sensitive he can not easily bear hard punishment. If he is treated badly without love and kept away from family life, he becomes shy and there is the possibility that he may start to snap. It is no good being astonished in this case when even a friendly approach gets answered by a growl. His incredible temperament in his youth (up to 5 years) then turns, with age into a certain quietness and calmness. A further characteristic which is connected with his original life on remote farms is his healthy mistrust towards all strangers and therefore his distinct and strong guarding instinct. At a certain distance he barks incorruptibly at strangers in his territory and although he does not want to be involved in a direct fight, he certainly doesn't lack courage nor the necessary aggressiveness and sharpness. The guardian instinct is as with all cattle dogs a very characteristic quality of the Appenzeller. Each animal is a part of his pack and it is important for him to show his authority in order to keep his social position. This is in-born behavior and deeply seated in his inherited instinct. When this is missing it is not possible anymore to compensate it through training. Apart from that the Appenzeller is very willing to work, has great endurance, and he is very versatile. As soon as he realizes that he can come into action he gets very excited, starts to whine in his own way, starts to walk excitedly  backwards and forwards and jumps happily at his master. Thanks to this incredible power of observation he is predestined to be an excellent driving dog. Most of the time he is able to sense instinctively the behavior of each animal in the herd and therefore often reacts before-hand when an animal tries to go its own way. With regard to care and feeding, the Appenzeller is easily satisfied and modest. A simple shelter, a place of his own, is good enough as long as he is able to go in and out at all times and from where he has a good overview of his territory. Very often the Appenzeller chooses the place for himself. In general one can say that with correct breeding and care the Appenzeller is not a problematic animal at all. Neverthless he is only fit with owners who respect his own character and who are able to give him the necessary work and exercise.

His Place of Work

"The Appenzeller farmer breeds only with thoroughly healthy material. What could not work, walk, run, hunt, bark the whole day long in all kinds of weather and could not stay watchful throughout the night was eliminated". These words from a kynologist say a lot about the high demands which the Appenzeller has to fulfill. In his original field of activity-the farm- he is normally still kept as a cattle-driving dog and farm watchdog. He has the most varied tasks, he helps moving the cattle in and out of the cow-shed, especially oxen, pigs and sometimes the poultry too. He does a marvelous job of driving the cattle to the pasture and back again guarding them making work much easier for the farmer in the valley as well as for the shepherd on the Alps. Usually the Appenzeller barks while he drives the animals. If an animal of the herd doesn't keep up or wants to go its own way, he instinctively pinches it with his incisors in the area of its hind foot or on its nostrils, whereby he is able to avoid the sometimes very energetic defense reactions with his versatility. He never goes as far as fighting, but simply does not give up until he has achieved his goal. This very fast snapping is known as "stinging". Stinging is done skillfully directly under the pastern joint because, higher up, the dog can be hurt more easily through a hard kick. If this happens once, which is very rare, the dog then avoids the animal which he sees as more superior to him, and the other cows notice this quickly and therefore lose the necessary respect. There are lots of reports about the skill of the Appenzeller. That he knows each ox of a herd of 40-50 animals or brings back a cow called by the shepherd by his name is unlikely. But it is possible that a good driving-dog can separate two mixed up herds within a short time with the help of the specific herd-smell. That the Appenzeller is master of a herd of 20 bulls and of 100 and more animals on the highway is not exaggerated at all. As already mentioned the Appenzeller is predestined to be an excellent house and farm watchdog. Besides this he is used more and more nowadays as a common utility-dog, as he has an ideal height (up to 58cm) has an enormous staying-power and is willing to work. The Swiss Association for Emergency Dogs has already had good experience in disaster areas abroad with him, and the Appenzeller also is being used more and more as an escort, protection, avalanche rescue-dog, and as a tracking dog.


Swissies  - Appenzeller - Entlebuch