Appenzell Cattle Dog

Other names: Appenzeller, Appenzell Cattle Dog, Appenzeller Mountain Dog, Appenzeller Sennenhund

Appenzell Cattle Dog
Appenzell Cattle Dog

The Appenzeller Sennenhund is a rare breed of dog native to the Swiss Alps. The name refers to the ‘Senn’ herders and farmers of a region of Switzerland called Appenzell. The breed is said to be so loyal to its herd that it would give its life in defence of an attack by a predator.


Key facts about the Appenzell Cattle Dog

  • Life expectancy : Between 12 and 14 years
  • Temperament : Playful, Intelligent
  • Size : Medium
  • Type of coat : Short
  • Price : Between £800 and £1000

FCI Group

FCI Group

Group 2 - Pinscher and Schnauzer - Molossoid and Swiss Mountain and Cattledogs


Section 3 : Swiss Mountain and Cattledogs

Physical characteristics of the Appenzell Cattle Dog

Adult size

Female dog Between 20 and 21 in
Male dog Between 20 and 22 in


Female dog Between 44 and 55 lb
Male dog Between 44 and 55 lb

Coat colour

Basic colours most often seen of this dog are black, ‘Havana’ brown, reddish-brown and white in a tricolour pattern.

Type of coat

Topcoat thick and shiny; undercoat thick and soft. It is the undercoat that affords the dog’s visible colours. The coat is short.

Eye colour

Various shades of brown.


A well-built and muscular dog with tricolour markings all across its abundant shiny coat. Well-balanced and agile, the dog’s best virtues have been selectively bred: to work, to guard and to herd. Its expression has been called ‘cheeky’. 



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The Sennenhund is a self-assured, affectionate and even-tempered dog. 


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This dog, if trained and socialised well, is happy and playful. It enjoys playtime and will seek attention.


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This is a calm and confident dog. It does not get overly excited or agitated. 


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The Sennenhund is extremely intelligent. It is best occupied by new tasks and lessons centred on obedience. 


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Sennenhunds are immensely territorial and fearless, but they are not generally bred to hunt and kill. 

Fearful / wary of strangers

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The Sennenhund is fearless but, ironically, painfully shy around strangers. It takes these dogs quite a while to trust people who aren’t already in their ‘circle’. 


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This is a wilful dog that will test the boundaries of the household’s hierarchy whenever it can. 

Behaviour of the Appenzell Cattle Dog

Tolerates solitude

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The Sennenhund tolerates a degree of solitude.  

Easy to train / obedience

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This is a dog that is very quick to learn. However, training of this dog must be done with a degree of confidence to counter the Sennenhund’s efforts to dominate proceedings. 


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The Sennenhund readily barks an alert but it will be quiet when told to be. 

Tendency to run away

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A well-trained Sennenhund will respond to your recall command without hesitation.   


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If it is unhappy or stressed the Sennenhund will be destructive.  

Greedy / Gluttony

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This dog is known to be greedy. It enjoys food and will eat whatever if thinks it can. 

Guard dog

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The Appenzeller Sennenhund is an exceptionally alert and territorial dog. It makes an excellent watchdog. 

First dog

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A Sennenhund must be trained well in order to stay trouble-free. A first-time owner would successfully manage such a dog if they approach its training and socialisation correctly.


Appenzell Cattle Dog in a flat

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Bred to roam the outdoors, this dog will not be happy to live in a flat or to only have access to a small confined garden. 

Need for exercise / Sporty

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An energetic dog is the Appenzeller Sennenhund. It is far better suited to a rural existence.  

Travelling / easy to transport

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Once trained, the Sennenhund is comfortable with travel.


Appenzell Cattle Dog and cats

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This dog will tolerate a cat that it is familiar with but it may not be so of other cats and small animals. 

Appenzell Cattle Dog and dogs

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Due to its territorial nature, the Sennenhund does not appreciate the company of other dogs.

Appenzell Cattle Dog and children

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The Sennenhund is careful and gentle around children but it can be boisterous. It will try both to herd children and assert its dominance. It is more comfortable in the company of older children.

Appenzell Cattle Dog and the elderly

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The Sennenhund is a good choice of dog for someone of senior years, as long as it can still be provided with plenty of exercise.


This dog will cost between £800 and £1,000 to buy, and between £60 and £90 per month to keep.


Brush this dog every two weeks or so to remove dander and to keep the coat shiny.  


The Appenzeller Sennenhund sheds steadily throughout the year. 

Nutrition of the Appenzell Cattle Dog

It is always worthwhile to feed a Sennenhund a high-quality and specially formulated dog food rather than human food. The Sennenhund’s diet should consist of good amounts of protein and fat. 

Health of the Appenzell Cattle Dog

Life expectancy

The Sennenhund is renowned for its robust and healthy constitution. 

Strong / robust

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The Sennenhund is strong, agile and adventurous. 

Withstand heat

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The Appenzeller Sennenhund does not tolerate hot weather particularly well and is prone to heat stroke.  

Withstand cold

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The double coat of the Sennenhund keeps the dog warm in cold weather. 

Tendency to put on weight

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Weight gain is seen of any dog that is not exercised as regularly as it should be and is fed too much human or substandard food. 

Common illnesses

Good to know

The Appenzeller Sennenhund is a very intelligent dog that is quick to learn both good and bad habits. The dog must be socialised from an early age to prevent its developing antisocial habits in later life.

Origins and history

First records of the Sennenhund date back only to around 1850 but breed experts have opined that the dog may be related to ancient breeds of central European mountain dogs that existed thousands of years ago. Since the Victorian era Sennenhunds have been used by the Swiss to herd and guard livestock, but in the last fifty years their popularity as a worldwide companion pet has risen. 


Bernard, Andre,Tess, Eva

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