Appenzeller Sennenhund

Also known as the Appenzeller Sennenhund the Bouvier d’Appenzell, the Appenzell Mountain Dog or simply the Appenzeller, this breed was used as a general-purpose farm dog in addition to its main function of herding cattle.

The Appenzeller Sennenhund was developed in the Swiss district of Appenzell and is believed to be a descendent of cattle dogs. The modern Appenzeller, recognized in 1898, is still used as a cattle dog today. It is a self-assured dog, known to be a fearless farm or guard dog, that is affectionate to its family but slightly suspicious of strangers.


Although, as its name suggests, its principal duty was herding and driving cattle, it has, over the years, proved to be a valuable all-purpose farm dog. It was also enlisted to herd both sheep and goats when the need arose. At home, it acted as a property watchdog, and, on market days, as a draught dog, pulling carts piled high with produce from farm to market-stall. When avalanches occurred it was co-opted as a rescue dog. On special occasions, Appenzellers can still be seen wearing their broad, decorated collars, adorned with brass images of cattle, a reminder of their primary function.

The earliest description of this breed dates from 1853, when a book on animal life in the Alps was published. The region in question is Appenzell in the east of Switzerland, near the border with Austria.

A stud book was started in 1906 and all puppies were registered from that date onwards, The Appenzeller Sennenhund gradually spread from its restricted home locality, and in 1936 the first examples arrived in Britain. By 1989 it had became an internationally recognized breed. A breed standard was established, thanks to the work of Head Forester Max Siber, who had become its main champion, and it started to appear at Swiss dog shows.


The Appenzeller Sennenhund should stand 20-22 inches/50-56 cm high and be square in build, with a tightly curled tail and ears hanging close to its cheeks. The coat should be close fitting and either black or Havana brown with symmetrical tan and white markings. Problems to look out for are a wall eye, a tail that is straight or has a kink, a single coat and colors other than those above.

This is a tricoloured dog with symmetrical markings in black, tan and white. In personality, this dog is described as cheerful, high-spirited and reliable.

Gallery of Appenzeller Sennenhund