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Buying or Adopting an Appenzeller Sennenhund (Mountain Dog)

By Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Behavioral Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

Appenzeller Mountain Dog

Interested in the Appenzeller Sennenhund? Read each post on this page. Make sure the breed is right for you (and that YOU are right for the breed). Decide on sex and age. Then begin the exciting adventure of finding and evaluating breeders and rescue groups and selecting the right Appenzeller. Don't be in a hurry!



Don't set your sights on the Appenzeller Sennenhund until you read my advice in these posts.

Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Should You Even Get a Dog? Are You Sure?
Important – I've been helping people choose and find dogs for nearly 40 years, and honestly, some people who decide to get a dog are making a big mistake... [read more]

Purebred dogs The Truth About Purebred Dogs
Pros and cons... (most people don't know about the cons)

Crossbred dogs The Truth About Crossbred Dogs
Pros and cons... (don't get taken by breeder hype)

Mixed breed dogs The Truth About Mixed Breed Dogs
Pros and cons... (are mixes inferior to purebreds and crosses?)

Is an Appenzeller Sennenhund the right breed for you?

Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Appenzeller Mountain Dog Review
I'll tell you what's good about 'em, and what's bad about 'em... most honest review you'll ever find

Are YOU the right owner for an Appenzeller Sennenhund?

Can you provide what this breed needs?

  • Someone home most of the day
  • Fenced yard (not an electronic/underground fence)
  • Restricted exercise when young – until maturity (at least 18 months old), exercise restricted to multiple short (20 minute) walks, fetch games, and playing with other dogs – no forced running (beside a jogger or bicyclist), no long-distance treks, minimal jumping
  • Ample exercise after maturity – enough ongoing exercise that your Appenzeller stays slim and is tired enough to sleep contentedly and not get into mischief
  • "Mental exercise" – interesting activities that keep the mind stimulated, such as a challenging dog sport (agility, rally obedience, flyball, musical freestyle, dock diving, tracking, carting, sledding, weight pulling); challenging dog toys; a homemade obstacle course; tricks and games such as Musical Toys and Hide 'n Seek; instructions in my training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words
  • An indoor lifestyle, except for exercise and bathroom breaks
  • A meat-heavy diet, either homemade or commercial – meat is expensive, so people with less money should opt for a smaller dog
  • An owner with enough money to treat the health problems Appenzeller Mountain Dogs are prone to (pet health insurance can really help here!)
  • An owner who is okay with moderate shedding
  • Commitment to provide thorough socialization – introducing your Appenzeller to lots of people and other animals, diligently correcting any signs of misbehavior
  • Commitment to establish the proper Leader-Follower relationship with your Appenzeller, teaching him to listen to you and do what you say

Which sex? What age?

Symbols for male and female Male Dogs vs. Female Dogs
Which one makes a better pet?

Girl hugging a dog Puppies vs. Adult Dogs
Should you get a young puppy, an older puppy, or an adult dog?

Where can you buy or adopt an Appenzeller?

Appenzellers are very uncommon and difficult to find in the United States.

Adopting From Dog Rescue Organizations
I'm not aware of any Appenzellers available from a Dog Rescue group. You would need to inquire of the breed's national club.

Adopting From Public Animal Shelters and Humane Societies
Same as above.... I'm not aware of any Appenzellers appearing in an animal shelter or humane society. Certainly there are dogs who might look something like Appenzellers, but those physical traits can appear in crosses and mixes that have no Appenzeller genes whatsoever.

Buying From a Dog Breeder
Very hard to find. Your only source is likely to be a show breeder, who breeds Appenzeller Sennenhunds to match a detailed standard of appearance for the dog show ring.

Here's one difference between a responsible breeder and an irresponsible breeder – BOTH PARENTS of an Appenzeller Mountain Dog puppy should have:

  • a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) or PennHip certifying the dog to have normal hips
  • a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) certifying the dog to have normal elbows

If a seller can't show you those certificates, the puppies are higher risk for health problems. You might choose to accept that risk. But then you need to be willing (and able) to pay a couple thousand bucks for future surgeries and lifelong meds if your Appenzeller ends up with hip dysplasia.

Puppy in a pet shop window Pet Shop Puppies: Buying a Puppy From a Pet Store
I have never seen an Appenzeller in a pet shop. Which is good, because I have plenty to say about buying a puppy from a pet shop!

Which puppy?

Symbols for male and female Choosing the Right Appenzeller Sennenhund Puppy
How to test the temperament and personality of Appenzeller Mountain Dog puppies and pick the best puppy in a litter.

Dog Quest book Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams
My dog buying/adoption book will help you find a good-tempered, healthy family companion.

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

To help you train and care for your dog

dog training videos Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.

The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.

book coverRespect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy. For puppies 2 to 18 months old. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
If your dog is over 18 months, you'll want book coverRespect Training For Adult Dogs: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved dog. Again your dog will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
book coverTeach Your Dog 100 English Words is a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your adult dog to listen to you and do what you say.
book cover11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy helps your dog live a longer, healthier life.
book coverDog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams will help you find a good-tempered, healthy family companion.