Appenzeller Mountain Dog Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em
Appenzeller Mountain Dog Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2015
Steady and good-natured, yet bold and athletic, the Appenzeller Mountain Dog enjoys romping and roughhousing.
Pulling a cart or sled, herding, agility, fetching balls, playing Frisbee, and weight pulling are productive outlets for his boundless energy.
This intelligent breed likes to keep busy and needs to have something to do. He is not an apartment dog.
Appenzeller Mountain Dogs bond closely with their family and seek lots of attention. Their determination to jump up into your face or shove their body against your leg can be disconcerting to those who are not accustomed to an enthusiastic, vigorous dog. He likes children, but is likely to bowl over little ones.
Appenzellers make vigilant watchdogs and will sound off in a loud, deep voice to announce visitors - or simply to let you know that your neighbor has stepped outdoors.
Though polite with guests, the Appenzeller is the wariest of the Swiss mountain dogs. Early and ongoing socialization is essential to develop his stable, self-assured temperament.
The Appenzeller Mountain Dog can be dominant and pushy -- necessary traits for working with unruly cattle, but challenging for nonassertive owners to handle. During adolescence, his hormones will kick in and he may start to test his limits.
Obedience training should start early. Heeling is an especially important lesson, for these powerful dogs can literally pull you off your feet.
If you want a dog who...
- Is medium to large, powerful and athletic
- Has a short easy-care coat in a striking color pattern
- Thrives on vigorous athletic activities and exercise
- Is steady and dependable
- Makes a vigilant watchdog
- Is uncommon -- no one else in your area will have one
An Appenzeller Mountain Dog may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
- Vigorous exercise requirements
- Rowdiness and exuberant jumping, especially when young
- Destructiveness when bored or not exercised enough
- Suspiciousness toward strangers
- Strong-willed mind of his own, requiring a confident owner who can take charge
- Chasing and nipping at things that move: children, joggers, other animals, bikes, cars
- Waiting lists (very hard to find) and a high price tag
An Appenzeller Mountain Dog may not be right for you.
- choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
- or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
- training your dog to respect you
- avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy
More traits and characteristics of the Appenzeller Mountain Dog
If I was considering an Appenzeller Mountain Dog, I would be most concerned about...
- Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Appenzeller Mountain Dogs MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy and do interesting things. Otherwise they will become rambunctious and bored -- which they usually express by barking and destructive chewing. Bored Appenzellers can destroy your home or yard in a single day.
If you simply want a pet for your family, and don't have the time or inclination to take your dog running or hiking or biking or swimming, or to get involved in herding, or weight-pulling, or carting, or tracking, or agility (obstacle course), or advanced obedience, or a similar canine activity, I do not recommend this breed. Appenzeller Mountain Dogs were never intended to be simply household pets.
- Providing enough socialization. Many Appenzeller Mountain Dogs have protective instincts toward strangers. They need extensive exposure to friendly people so they learn to recognize the normal behaviors of "good guys." Then they can recognize the difference when someone acts abnormally. Without careful socialization, they may be overly suspicious or cautious of everyone, which is difficult to live with.
If you have small children, or if you or anyone who lives with you is elderly or infirm, I do not recommend Appenzeller Mountain Dog puppies. Young Appenzellers (up to about two years old) can be bulls in a china shop. When they romp and jump, they do so with great vigor, and things can go flying, including people. The temptation to play roughly and nip at moving people is simply too strong in many young Appenzellers.
- The strong temperament. Appenzeller Mountain Dogs are not Golden Retrievers. They are versatile working dogs, capable of learning a great deal, but they have an independent mind of their own and are not pushovers to raise and train. They can be manipulative, and some are willful, obstinate, and dominant (they want to be the boss) and will make you prove that you can make them do things. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.
To teach your Appenzeller to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My Appenzeller Training Page discusses the program you need.
- Barking. Appenzeller Mountain Dogs are often too quick to sound the alarm at every new sight and sound. You have to be equally quick to stop them. If you work all day and have close neighbors, Appenzellers are not a good choice for you. For the same reason, Appenzellers should NEVER be left outside in your yard, unsupervised.
- Finding one and paying the price. This breed is very rare in the United States. Most breeders are charging well over $1000.
To learn more about training Appenzeller Mountain Dogs to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.
It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Appenzeller Mountain Dog the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.
Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Appenzeller Mountain Dog. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.
If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Appenzeller Mountain Dog might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.
Once you have your Appenzeller Mountain Dog home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.
Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.
Please consider adopting an ADULT Appenzeller Mountain Dog...
When you're acquiring an Appenzeller Mountain Dog PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.
But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Appenzeller Mountain Dogs who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!
Save a life. Adopt a dog.
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