Appenzellers are farm dogs, mostly used as flock guardians or draft dogs. They were commonly used for herding or as guard dogs. Although they are quite old as a breed, it was only in 1989 that they were internationally recognized as an independent breed, among the four breeds of Sennenhund.
When you look at an Appenzell Mountain Dog, you will find an extremely elegant and gentle dog. Despite its size that can go up to 58 cm and its 32 kg weight, this large mountain dog is incredibly loving and obedient, and it can be a lovely companion even for kids. These dogs are well built and strong, with a muscled body, and have flat heads with narrow muzzle. Their coat is short and thick. They are tricolor, usually white, black and fawn.
As far as their temperament is concerned, an owner of an Appenzell Mountain Dog must be aware of the fact that these dogs need to be trained very early, in order to get along well with people and other dogs as well. Overall, they like people and they easily get attached to one person or the entire family. That is the reason why, today, people are looking for these pets as companions rather than working dogs. They are playful and loving, and they enjoy romping.
They are extremely active and energetic, so they need regular physical activities and a large space to feel free and get the exercise they need. For example, you can play Frisbee with your Appenzell, make it pull a cart or fetch a ball, etc. Also, long, everyday walks are extremely benefic. If they don't get enough action, dogs of this breed tend to develop neurosis or other behavioral disorders.
Because they are quite suspicious of people they do not know, they are the best guardians, but you need to train them well to obey your commands. Of course, if you intend to bring them to obedience competitions or Schutzhund, you will find out that these dogs are remarkably skillful. They are excellent when it comes to games and tricks.
The life expectancy of an Appenzell Mountain Dog is up to 12 years, if the pet is properly taken care of. It needs regular grooming to maintain the glossy coat. Because it is a watch dog, this dog tends to bark a lot, even if it may not be the case. This behavior can be corrected by proper training.
Before choosing a dog for a pet, you should make sure you can handle all situations. The Appenzell Mountain Dog can be a wonderful and loyal companion, but it does require a lot of work on your part.