Appenzeller Sennenhund

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Appenzeller Sennenhund
Eisa Kessy v Brünggberg.jpg
Other names
  • Appizöller Bläss[1]
  • Bouvier de l'Appenzell
  • Bouvier Appenzellois
  • Bovaro dell'Appenzell
  • Appenzell Cattle Dog
Height Dogs
52–56 cm (20–22 in)
50–54 cm (20–21 in)
22–32 kg (49–71 lb)
28 kg (62 lb)[1]
22 kg (49 lb)[1]
Coat double
Colour tricolour: black or Havana brown, with white and reddish-brown markings
Life span 12–14 years
Kennel club standards
Fédération Cynologique Internationale standard
Dog (domestic dog)

The Appenzeller Sennenhund is a Swiss breed of medium-sized working dog. It originates in the Appenzell region of north-eastern Switzerland, and is one of four regional breeds of Sennenhund or Swiss mountain dog, all of which are characterised by a distinctive tricolour coat.


The Appenzeller Sennenhund is the traditional working dog of the Sennen – Alpine cattle-herders and dairymen[2] – of the Appenzell region of north-eastern Switzerland. The earliest written description of it is that of Friedrich von Tschudi in Das Thierleben der Alpenwelt, published in 1853.[3][4]: 553  In the late nineteenth century Max Sieber, a forester who had seen the dogs at cattle shows in eastern Switzerland, asked the Schweizerische Kynologische Gesellschaft [de] to recognise the breed;[5] a commission was established with financing from the canton of St. Gallen[5] and the Appenzeller Sennenhund was recognised in either 1896[6] or 1898.[3][7]: 88  Eight of the dogs were shown at the international dog show in Winterthur in 1898; they were entered in a new Sennenhunde class.[5]

In 1906 a breed society, the Appenzeller Sennenhunde Club, was established at the instigation of the cynologist Albert Heim, who in 1914 drew up the first full breed standard.[5]

It was definitively accepted by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale in 1954.[8]

It has spread from Appenzell to other parts of Switzerland and to other European countries.[3] A study published in 2004 found it to be the most-registered breed in the canton of Appenzell, with 259 out of a total of 1358 registrations in the canton, or about 19%; in the whole of Switzerland it accounted for 360 of a total of 33470, or about 1.1% of all dogs registered by the Schweizerische Kynologische Gesellschaft.[9]: 226 

It is the only Swiss dog breed considered to be at risk by ProSpecieRara, which lists it as gefährdet, 'endangered'. Numbers are stable but the gene pool is narrow; the association is in collaboration with the breed society, the Schweizerischer Club für Appenzeller Sennenhunde, to broaden it.[1][10]


The two coat colourations, black and Havana brown

The Appenzeller Sennenhund is the third-largest of the Sennenhund or Swiss mountain dog group, which also includes the Grosser Schweizer Sennenhund, the Berner Sennenhund or Bernese Mountain Dog, and the Entlebucher Sennenhund. It is a medium-sized dog: male dogs stand some 52–56 cm at the withers, bitches about 2 cm less;[11] weights are in the range 22–32 kg.[12]: 66 

The coat is double, the top-coat thick, straight and glossy. It it always tricoloured: the principal colour may be either black or Havana brown, with white markings to the chest, face and feet, and reddish-brown areas between those and the base colour.[11]

The tail is set high and is carried in a tight curl over the back when the animal is moving.[11] The ears are set high and are triangular and fairly small; they hang close to the cheeks when the animal is at rest, and are raised and turned forward when it is alert.[11] Among the faults that disqualify a dog from registration are a wall eye, a kinked tail, a single coat and a coat that is not three-coloured.[7]: 88  Dogs may be expected to live for some 12–14 years.[13]: 290 

According to the breed standard, the Appenzeller Sennenhund is lively, high-spirited, athletic and suspicious of strangers.[8][11]


The Appenzeller Sennenhund was traditionally used by the Alpine cattle-herders and dairymen of the Appenzell region both to herd cattle and to guard property.[3] It is often kept as a companion dog.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d Appenzeller Sennenhund (in German). Basel: ProSpecieRara. Accessed August 2022.
  2. ^ Senne. Beolingus. Chemnitz: Technische Universität Chemnitz. Accessed August 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d e Jean-Maurice Paschoud (1994). The Swiss canine breeds: FCI-standards. [Bern]: Schweizerische Kynologische Gesellschaft. Cited at: Appenzell Cattle Dog. Bern: Naturhistorische Museum der Burgergemeinde Bern. Archived 5 February 2007.
  4. ^ Friedrich von Tschudi (1853). Das Thierleben der Alpenwelt: Naturansichten und Thierzeichnungen aus dem schweizerischen Gebirge (in German). Leipzig: J.J. Weber.
  5. ^ a b c d Livio Janett (1 May 2020). Vielseitige Vierbeiner: Die vier Schweizer Sennenhunderassen im Überblick (in German). Münchenbuchsee: BauernZeitung. Archived 6 August 2022.
  6. ^ Appenzeller Sennenhunde – Rasseportrait (in German). Schweizer Sennenhund-Verein für Deutschland. Accessed August 2022.
  7. ^ a b Anne Rogers Clark, Andrew H. Brace (1995). The International Encyclopedia of Dogs. New York: Howell Book House. ISBN 9780876056240.
  8. ^ a b FCI breeds nomenclature: Appenzeller Sennenhund (46). Fédération Cynologique Internationale. Accessed August 2022.
  9. ^ U. Horisberger, K.D.C. Stärk, J. Rüfenacht, C. Pillonel, A. Steiger (2004). Demographie der Hundepopulation in der Schweiz (in German). Schweizer Archiv für Tierheilkunde. 146 (5): 223–232.
  10. ^ Kooperation mit ProSpecieRara (in German). Schweizerischer Club für Appenzeller Sennenhunde = Club Suisse des Bouviers Appenzellois. Accessed August 2022.
  11. ^ a b c d e FCI-Standard N° 46: Appenzeller Sennenhund (Appenzell Cattle Dog). Fédération Cynologique Internationale. Accessed August 2022.
  12. ^ [Bruce Fogle] (2013). The Dog Encyclopedia. London; New York: Dorling Kindersley. ISBN 9781465408440.
  13. ^ Tamsin Pickeral (2014). Dogs Unleashed. San Diego: Thunder Bay Press. ISBN 9781626860681.