Documentation of the Appenzell breed goes back more than 100 years. A goat-breeders' association, the Ziegenzuchtgenossenschaft Appenzell, was founded in Innerrhoden in February 1902, and another, the Ziegenzuchtgenossenschaft Urnäsch, in Ausserrhoden in 1914. The Schweizerischer Ziegenzuchtverband, the Swiss federation of cantonal goat breeders' associations, runs a conservation and recovery project for the Appenzell which includes financial support for breeders and a controlled breeding programme. In 2007 conservation status of the breed was listed by the FAO as "endangered-maintained".
In 2005 the Appenzell breed represented about 4.2% of the total registered Swiss goat population of about 70,000 head. At the end of 2013 a population of 1900–2000 was reported to DAD-IS.