Appenzeller Sennenhund Dog Breed Guide: All About This Swiss Beauty


The Appenzeller Sennenhund dog breed is easy to fall in love with based on appearance. I’d have difficulty finding a more adorable herding canine to compete with it. But their appearance tells only some of the story about whether this dog is right for your home. So I’ll walk you through everything about them to ensure these adorable dogs fit perfectly. 

You can then rest easy if you do decide to get one. Trust me; it’s best to know everything about a dog breed to prevent surprises when bringing them home. So let’s not waste any more time and dive into our guide!

Complete Guide to the Appenzeller Sennenhund Dog Breed

The first thing to know about Appenzeller Sennenhunds is they’re herding dogs (more specifically, they’re cattle dogs). In fact, it’s their defining category by the AKC or American Kennel Club, or it will be once they’re moved from Foundation Stock Service to full recognition. So it’s safe to assume these dogs are energetic and ready to protect their homes/families. 

They also have a pretty neat nickname in Switzerland: Bläss, inspired by the white blaze on their foreheads. Don’t ask me how to pronounce it, though, I have no clue. We’ll dig deeper into their appearance in a moment. For now, it’s time to look at their origins and other valuable tidbits.

Breed Overview: A Quick Peek at the Appenzeller Sennenhund’s Traits

AKC Group Foundation Stock Service (not fully recognized yet)
Height 20-22 “
Weight 48-70 lbs
Life Expectancy 13-15 years
Coat Type Short tricolor double coat
Shedding Level Moderate, but not extreme
Hypoallergenic? No
Good with kids? Yes
Good with other dogs? Yes
Good with strangers? Not naturally, but can be with proper training
Protective? Yes, very
Easy to train? Yes
Barking level High, they bark quite a bit
Energy level They’re considered high-energy dogs

Appenzeller Sennenhund’s History and Origin

Appenzeller Sennenhund with his tongue out, and text that reads Appenzeller Sennenhund’s History and Origin.

Researching the history of Appenzeller Sennenhunds is more complex than people assume. Experts tend to be split between two theories about their origins. As you can imagine, it makes learning about them more challenging than with other breeds. 

This breed’s first theory dates back to the Bronze Age. So we’re talking anywhere from 3300 BC to 1200 BC.  That would make the Appenzeller Sennenhund much older than many similar herding breeds.

Meanwhile, the second theory takes this breed’s origins closer to modern times. It contends Appenzeller Sennenhunds are descendants from Molossus, which were brought into their native Switzerland by the Romans. 


During this time, people used these dogs to pull carts that carried goods. So Appenzeller Sennenhunds became invaluable to people all around Switzerland. In particular, merchants would see them as a genuinely favorable dog breed. 

As for their presence in modern times, this breed is one of four Swiss Sennenhunds. But Appenzeller Sennenhund has the highest standing among them. That standing comes from this breed being much rarer than the other three, making them more expensive. How expensive? Keep reading, we’ll get to that in a bit. 

Appenzeller Sennenhund's Appearance and Physical Characteristics

Appenzeller Sennenhund’s Appearance and Physical Characteristics

As I mentioned above, the breed’s Swiss nickname stems from the white “blaze” on their forehead. But one of the Appenzeller Sennenhund’s real standout traits is its tricolor double coat. It’s notable for its short, dense makeup with a black/brown/white color scheme. You’ll also usually see brown (sometimes called rust) markings between white and black layers. 

As for its physique, it’s a medium-sized breed with a square and muscular build. Some other notable attributes include triangular-downward facing ears, wedge-shaped heads, and almond-shaped eyes. 

If you’re looking for a more precise overview, here’s a quick look at valuable measurements:

  • Weight: 49-70 pounds
  • Height: 19-22 inches
  • Lifespan: 12 to 15 years

Appenzeller Sennenhund Temperament

The Appenzeller Sennenhund is known for being a great family dog. These dogs are often affectionate and loving to their family. They’ll even extend these feelings to other pets when trained correctly. 

Recently, I ran into a well-trained Appenzeller Sennenhund, on a trail. I was shocked at first due to the rareness of this breed. However, I was more surprised by how well they took to my Pit Bull’s constant squeaking and excitement. It didn’t even phase them.

But experts agree that early socialization is critical for them. So it’s recommended to start when they’re puppies to ingrain the behaviors before adulthood. If you do, they can be excellent family pets. 

Also, while they’re great with kids and can dole out affection when they’re in the mood, they’re also incredibly independent.

One more thing to consider is they can become destructive and bark-happy. It’ll often result from them not getting enough room and time to exercise. So please, only consider getting one if you can meet those needs. 

Are Appenzeller Sennenhunds Easy to Train? 

In theory, Appenzeller Sennenhunds seem like an ideal breed to train. These dogs are known for their ability to be versatile working dogs. So you might assume they would be easy to train, even for first-time owners

But this breed has a reputation for being independent. In other words, they often are stubborn and require significant patience during the training process. As a result, it can be a draining experience for any owner who isn’t equipped to handle it. 

Most people find “respect training” to be the most effective method for them. It’ll teach them to understand their place in the pecking order. Otherwise, some Appenzeller Sennenhunds will try to boss you around and resist the training altogether.

But if the training process goes well, these dogs can learn many commands. Their intelligence level is among the best when compared to other breeds. So it’s easy to see why experienced trainers love them. 

Common Health Issues for Appenzeller Sennenhunds 

Appenzeller Sennenhunds have a unique standing when it comes to health issues. This breed doesn’t have any known hereditary conditions like many others. Unsurprisingly, this benefit comes from their rarity and lack of bad breeders’ involvement in their species. 

But I can tell you what health issues hamper three closely-related Swiss mountain dogs: The Greater Swiss, the Entlebucher, and the Bernese. They all have a propensity for hip dysplasia, bloat, elbow dysplasia, and various eye diseases. 

So it’s reasonable to assume an Appenzeller Sennenhund could face similar issues. But again, most owners can expect these dogs to live long and healthy life. Unless a life-altering event occurs, I’d be confident in them reaching their 12-15 year life span. 

Exercise and Care Requirements for Appenzeller Sennenhunds

The Appenzeller Sennenhund isn’t a couch dog breed. These herding dogs thrive when given copious amounts of exercise and mental stimulation. As a result, I recommend setting aside a few hours a day to fulfill those needs. 

You can accomplish it with hikes, running, walking, or even swimming. I’d settle on doing multiple long walks daily and providing endless puzzle toys throughout the day. These tools will enrich and engage the dog’s mind during downtime. 

Appenzellers need a good amount of mental stimulation and they also excel at agility training! So if you have room in your yard, consider setting up an obstacle course for them. Not only does this help exercise their bodies, but also their minds.

Of course, meeting these exercise needs is much easier with a fenced-in yard. It’s an ideal setup for a breed like an Appenzeller Sennenhund. Honestly, I couldn’t imagine having one without access to a yard.  

As for their care requirements, it’s relatively standard. Brushing them once a week, providing a monthly bath, and trimming their nails monthly are recommended. Otherwise, the Appenzeller Sennenhund is a relatively low-maintenance animal.

Appenzeller Sennenhunds FAQs

How much does an Appenzeller Sennenhund cost?

As they’re relatively rare dogs with very few breeders in the US, they’re a bit more expensive than some of the more popular breeds. Expect to pay anywhere from $1800-2200+ for a puppy.

Can an Appenzeller Sennenhund live in an apartment?

Appenzeller Sennenhunds aren’t suitable apartment dog breeds. Their significant exercise needs require a fenced yard or numerous long daily walks. So suburban or rural settings are a better match than apartments or city environments. 

Are Appenzeller Sennenhunds suitable for first-time owners?

First-time owners aren’t a great match with Appenzeller Sennenhunds. These dogs are known for their stubbornness and independent personality. Therefore, inexperienced owners could have a lot of issues training them. 

One last note before we conclude for the day. While I usually recommend adopting before shopping, you’re unlikely to find an Appenzeller Sennenhund in your local shelter. So if you decide that this is the right breed for your family, you’ll need to go through a breeder.

I highly recommend checking out the breed’s club page to find a legit breeder.


All in all, Appenzeller Sennenhunds can be a suitable family dog in the proper settings. They’ll need an owner capable of providing constant attention and exercise. Plus, it’d be best if the person had training experience to manage their stubborn personality. But if their needs are met, these dogs can become loyal and smart companions. 

Let us know if you have more questions about this unique dog breed. I’d love to continue the conversation in our comment section. Thanks for reading!

  • Ben Ro

    My name is Ben Roberts, and I’ve been writing about animals for many years. Honestly, I couldn’t ask for a much better job, considering I’ve been around animals all my life. I can’t remember a time when there wasn’t at least one cat or dog inside my home. Currently, I’m a proud owner of a Beagle and a Pitbull who make sure my life is never dull.

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