Appenzell Mountain Dog

Appenzell Mountain Dog Breed description: Character & Co

Appenzell Mountain Dog


What is the origin of the Appenzell Mountain Dog?

As the name suggests, the Appenzell Mountain Dog originates in the Swiss Alps. The exact origin of this breed is not known, but it is said that its ancestors can be found in Roman war dogs. They faithfully accompanied their masters on their marches across the Alps. For many centuries they fulfilled various tasks in the partly impassable terrain high up on the lush meadows: They also kept large herds of animals together and were valuable helpers especially when it came to drvining cows from one place to another. If one of the animals did not move according to their wishes, they would pinch them. In order to avoid being kicked back by cattle they had to be able to quickly move out of the way.

They also cut a fine figure as a watchdog on the farms and reliably reported every visitor. In the book "Das Tierleben der Alpenwelt" (The animal life of the Alps) by Friedrich von Tschudi, the breed was already mentioned in 1853 as a "versatile working dog". As a special promoter of the Appenzell Mountain Dog, the cynologist Albert Heim, who supported Swiss Mountain Dogs, is mentioned. At his suggestion the "Appenzeller Sennenhunde Club" was founded in 1906. It was Heim who set the breed standard in 1914.

Banner: Shutterstock / Dora Zett
Dog,Mammal,Vertebrate,Dog breed,Canidae,Carnivore,Entlebucher mountain dog,Appenzeller sennenhund,English shepherd,Greater swiss mountain dog, Appenzeller Mountain Dog Puppy thick Appenzeller Mountain Dog sitting, Swiss Mountain Dog, black brown white dog, medium dog breed Appenzeller Mountain Dog black brown white dog with curled tail, Swiss Mountain Dog
Alternate Name Appezöller Bläss
Origin Switzerland
Life expectancy 8 - 12 years
Care requirements low-maintenance
Activity level high
FCI group Swiss Mountain- and Cattledogs
AKC group Foundation Stock Service
KC group working group

What are the typical character traits of the Appenzell mountain dogs?

If you are thinking of buying an Appenzell Mountain Dog, you should consider that it is a breed that likes to move around. After all, they are used to be responsible for herds of up to 200 animals, which also explains their sense of independence.

As a versatile animal you can even

  • train it as a rescue dog. They also perform
  • valuable services as guide dogs: Their sensitive nature helps them with this. Sometimes it seems as if your darling can literally sniff out your mood. Once they have settled in with you, they build up an intimate relationship with you. Nevertheless, consistent training is necessary.
  • Watch out for wild play with children: Sometimes they can pinch out of sheer exuberance.
  • The excellent watchdog is suspicious of strangers. You should also know that the Appenzell Mountain Dog likes to bark. Especially when they feel underchallenged, this can become a problem.
Appenzeller mountain dog lying on white background, brown white black swiss mountain dog, medium dog breed

What are typical diseases of Appenzell Mountain and Cattle Dogs?

The fact that tricolourism was defined as mandatory in the breed standard did not benefit the general state of health of the Appenzell Mountain Dog. After all, this reduced the gene pool, which can lead to hereditary diseases in all breeds. The Appenzell Mountain Dog is especially prone to develop the following diseases:

  • hip joint dysplasia
  • elbow dysplasia
  • cataract
  • with increasing age: skin tumours

What should be considered in regards to breeding of the Appenzell Mountain Dog?

The Appenzell Mountain dog is a rare breed, so you will probably have to wait for a puppy to become available for some time. However, it pays off, because only serious breeders will provide you with a healthy animal that you will be able to enjoy for a long time. The Appenzell Mountain Dog breeders approved by the 'Verein für Schweizer Sennenhunde' in Austria commit themselves to adhere to the strict breeding regulations and are regularly controlled. Your future four-legged family addition will be vaccinated, dewormed and chipped before you can take them home with you.

Appenzeller Mountain Dog Profile Picture

The Appenzell Mountain Dog is well-proportioned, with a square build. They make their highly set, triangular ears stand up when they are excited. Otherwise they hang down flat. Your darling looks at you from slightly slanted, almond-shaped eyes. The clear forechest is also a striking feature. The bushy tail, which is carried curled up over their back, is called "Posthorn".

Appearance and coat of the Appenzell Mountain Dog

The coat of the Appenzell Mountain Dog has black as its base colour, brown-red and white markings are evenly spread over the animals body. A white blaze runs from the head to the muzzle and chin down to the belly. White spots can also be found on the paws and on the tip of the tail. Beneath their dense and firm coat, the Appenzell Mountain Dog has a dense undercoat. It once protected them from sometimes cold nights in the Swiss Alps. In rare cases the Appenzell Mountain and Cattle Dog can be brown, with the base colour not being black but havana brown.

What is the average size of an Appenzell Mountain Dog?

  • males: 52 to 58 centimetres
  • bitches: 50 to 54 centimetres

How much does an Appenzell Mountain Dog weigh?

An Appenzell Mountain Dog weighs between 25 and 32 kilograms.

What is the life expectancy of the Appenzell Mountain Dog?

The British Kennel Club states the average life expectancy of the Appenzell Mountain Dog as being only eight years. However, if you decide on buying an Appenzell Mountain Dog puppy from reputable breeding, your darling can also live a good four years longer.

Fur length short
Fur flat coated
Ear shape Triangle
Tail rolled up
Anatomy sporty
Size ♀ 50 - 54 cm
Weight ♀ 22 - 32 kg
Size ♂ 52 - 54 cm
Weight ♂ 22 - 32 kg
Suitable For Blind people


thick Appenzeller Mountain Dog sitting, Swiss Mountain Dog, black brown white dog, medium dog breed
Appenzeller Mountain Dog black brown white dog with curled tail, Swiss Mountain Dog
Appenzeller mountain dog lying on white background, brown white black swiss mountain dog, medium dog breed
  • Hip dysplasia (HD)

    Hip dysplasia (HD) is a genetic condition in dogs where the hip joint is not shaped properly. This leads to pain, stiffness and restricted movement.

  • Elbow dysplasia (ED)

    Elbow joint dysplasia is a chronic disease complex of the elbow joint of fast growing dog breeds.

  • Eye diseases

    Often occur with allergies and intolerances.

Sources and relevant links

FCI Rassestandard

Accessed on 17.03.2023


Accessed on 04.04.2023

SSV e.V.

Accessed on 04.04.2023

Hans Räber (2014). Enzyklopädie der Rassehunde, Band 1. Franckh-Kosmos Verlags-Gmbh & Company KG.

Other large dogs

Useful Articles

Subscribe to our newsletter
to stay up to date on dog trends.
We won’t spam your inbox! We won’t sell or rent your email address.
To find out more, view our Privacy Policy
dogbible - a platform for people who love dogs
<svg aria-hidden="true" focusable="false" data-icon="facebook" role="img" xmlns="" viewBox="0 0 512 512"><path fill="currentColor" d="M504 256C504 119 393 8 256 8S8 119 8 256c0 123.78 90.69 226.38 209.25 245V327.69h-63V256h63v-54.64c0-62.15 37-96.48 93.67-96.48 27.14 0 55.52 4.84 55.52 4.84v61h-31.28c-30.8 0-40.41 19.12-40.41 38.73V256h68.78l-11 71.69h-57.78V501C413.31 482.38 504 379.78 504 256z" data-v-b19174da="" class=""></path></svg> <svg aria-hidden="true" focusable="false" data-icon="instagram" role="img" xmlns="" viewBox="0 0 448 512"><path fill="currentColor" d="M224.1 141c-63.6 0-114.9 51.3-114.9 114.9s51.3 114.9 114.9 114.9S339 319.5 339 255.9 287.7 141 224.1 141zm0 189.6c-41.1 0-74.7-33.5-74.7-74.7s33.5-74.7 74.7-74.7 74.7 33.5 74.7 74.7-33.6 74.7-74.7 74.7zm146.4-194.3c0 14.9-12 26.8-26.8 26.8-14.9 0-26.8-12-26.8-26.8s12-26.8 26.8-26.8 26.8 12 26.8 26.8zm76.1 27.2c-1.7-35.9-9.9-67.7-36.2-93.9-26.2-26.2-58-34.4-93.9-36.2-37-2.1-147.9-2.1-184.9 0-35.8 1.7-67.6 9.9-93.9 36.1s-34.4 58-36.2 93.9c-2.1 37-2.1 147.9 0 184.9 1.7 35.9 9.9 67.7 36.2 93.9s58 34.4 93.9 36.2c37 2.1 147.9 2.1 184.9 0 35.9-1.7 67.7-9.9 93.9-36.2 26.2-26.2 34.4-58 36.2-93.9 2.1-37 2.1-147.8 0-184.8zM398.8 388c-7.8 19.6-22.9 34.7-42.6 42.6-29.5 11.7-99.5 9-132.1 9s-102.7 2.6-132.1-9c-19.6-7.8-34.7-22.9-42.6-42.6-11.7-29.5-9-99.5-9-132.1s-2.6-102.7 9-132.1c7.8-19.6 22.9-34.7 42.6-42.6 29.5-11.7 99.5-9 132.1-9s102.7-2.6 132.1 9c19.6 7.8 34.7 22.9 42.6 42.6 11.7 29.5 9 99.5 9 132.1s2.7 102.7-9 132.1z" data-v-b19174da="" class=""></path></svg> <svg aria-hidden="true" focusable="false" data-icon="pinterest" role="img" xmlns="" viewBox="0 0 496 512"><path fill="currentColor" d="M496 256c0 137-111 248-248 248-25.6 0-50.2-3.9-73.4-11.1 10.1-16.5 25.2-43.5 30.8-65 3-11.6 15.4-59 15.4-59 8.1 15.4 31.7 28.5 56.8 28.5 74.8 0 128.7-68.8 128.7-154.3 0-81.9-66.9-143.2-152.9-143.2-107 0-163.9 71.8-163.9 150.1 0 36.4 19.4 81.7 50.3 96.1 4.7 2.2 7.2 1.2 8.3-3.3.8-3.4 5-20.3 6.9-28.1.6-2.5.3-4.7-1.7-7.1-10.1-12.5-18.3-35.3-18.3-56.6 0-54.7 41.4-107.6 112-107.6 60.9 0 103.6 41.5 103.6 100.9 0 67.1-33.9 113.6-78 113.6-24.3 0-42.6-20.1-36.7-44.8 7-29.5 20.5-61.3 20.5-82.6 0-19-10.2-34.9-31.4-34.9-24.9 0-44.9 25.7-44.9 60.2 0 22 7.4 36.8 7.4 36.8s-24.5 103.8-29 123.2c-5 21.4-3 51.6-.9 71.2C65.4 450.9 0 361.1 0 256 0 119 111 8 248 8s248 111 248 248z" data-v-b19174da="" class=""></path></svg>