Sennenhund is a Norwegian word that means ‘Mountain dogs.’ These dogs are commonly found near mountains or the Alps. The Appenzeller is the rarest of the Sennenhund breeds that include Grosser Schweizer (Greater Swiss), Berner (Bernese), and Entelbucher.

The breed has been recognized in 1906 by Dr. Albert Heim. And a standard of the breed has been written in 1914. The breed has been used in many Swiss farms as cattle herding dogs. They are also used as working dog or general farm dogs. The Appenzeller Sennenhund was a native Swiss breed.

Appenzeller Sennenhund in the mountain

They were believed to have descended from Roman Mollosers, a breed that originated from Asiatic hounds brought by the Greeks to the Roman Empire.

The roman dogs have crossed with some of the native dogs in the lower Alps when the Romans came to Helvetia. As a result, the Swiss Sennenhund was born.

Traits and Behavior

The Appenzeller Sennenhund spends their lives mostly on mountains. As a result, they are strong, full of energy and spirit, and has an endless amount of stamina. This breed is very smart. They can read through their master’s facial and body expressions, enabling them to be versatile and adaptable not only to the environment but to their master as well.

Appenzeller Sennenhund back view

The harsh environment in which they grew made them tough. Feeding an Appenzeller is not hard and they are not easily sickened. When it comes to protective instincts, this breed is on top. He is not keen on strangers and is very protective, making him a reliable guard dog.

Appenzeller is born with the instinct to herd cows. He can respect the alpha in the pack (his master) but when not handled with appropriate leadership, he often takes the alpha role. Appenzeller requires daily activities to stay fit and healthy.

Appenzeller Sennenhund standing

Pet Care and Diseases

Appenzeller Sennenhund is one of the low maintenance breeds. They don’t require professional or any special grooming. Just a regular bath and brushing will suffice. There aren’t a lot of studies concerning the health of this breed because they are generally healthy.

However, skeletal and visual problems have been known to occur in similar breeds. Owners of these dogs are advised to have their dogs checked by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF). Both of these foundations perform tests to identify possible health problems in the dogs.

Appenzeller Sennenhund tongue out

This is beneficial because it can prevent illnesses in the future. Although no such studies have been made, it is believed that the breed is also susceptible to diseases such as Hip and Elbow Dysplasia, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Cataracts, Epilepsy, and Gastric Torsion among others.

To keep an Appenzeller healthy and happy, he must have enough space to run. He needs at least 30 minutes of exercise daily, which may include long walks or running.


The Appenzeller Sennenhund is a mountain dog that is of medium size. They are usually 18.5-23 inches tall (47-58 centimeters) when standing. They weigh approximately 49-70 pounds (22-32 kilograms).

Appenzeller Sennenhund full body

Their heads are flat and wide which tapers towards their black noses. Appenzeller has ears that are small and triangular. They are set high and are hanging down against the dog’s cheeks, like a button ear.

This breed has small, dark and sharp eyes that are appropriate for their line of work, which is herding or guarding. Like other mountain dogs, they have the characteristic coat of a Sennenhund.

Appenzeller has a heavy, molosser-like build (heavy bones, short and well-muscled neck, and short muzzle) and the tricolor coat distinctive in a Sennenhund.

The common signs that an Appenzeller is neglected or faulty are that they have a kinked tail, a single coat, and don’t have that tricolor coat common on mountain dogs.

General Information

This breed has a life expectancy of 12-13 years. The average litter size is 4-8 puppies. Other popular names include Appenzeller, Appenzell Cattle Dog and Appenzeller Mountain Dog.

Breed Club

Visit these dog club websites dedicated to Appenzeller Sennenhund. Click these links: