The origins of the Appenzell Mountain Dog breed is, as with all molossoids from across the Alps, very old. The ancient ancestors of the bovars and molossoids come from the Roman war dogs, brought to the Alps for various battles. It is thought that the first breeders were the shepherds and farmers of the Appenzell region, who used the specimens of this breed mainly as guard dogs for the flock or the farm.
The first description of this bovaro dates back to 1853, it is found in the book: “the life of animals in the Alps”. Officially this breed was recognized in 1898 and a lot is owed, both for this breed and for all the other three types of bovars, to professor Albert Heim who has been involved in the preservation of the breeds of Swiss bovars. In 1914 Professor Heim wrote the first standard of the breed.
The region of origin of the breed was the Appenzell district; today its breeding is practiced throughout Switzerland and, across the borders, in a good number of European countries. But unfortunately, although this breed has found many admirers, the breeding is very limited, so that this breed must be classified as endangered.
Character of the Appenzell Mountain Dog Breed
The Appenzell Mountain Dog is a hard worker. Selected for centuries specifically for working with herds, for guarding. It is a versatile dog, due to its acute intelligence is now also used as a rescue dog, avalanche dog and guide dog. It is particularly fond of its master, who becomes its only reason for living. It follows him, protects him and cuddles him; it tries to be near him as much as possible, but also with the others of its family circle, other animals included, it is affectionate, very friendly and sweet.
With children then is an unbeatable playmate, has a lot of patience, much sense of protection and likes to play. It is not suitable to stay alone for several hours a day and even to stay in an apartment, although it can adapt. But he needs at least a couple of hours of movement a day, to be able to vent his great energy. It is therefore suitable for sporty families who move around a lot and its ideal place would be a house in the country with a large garden, where it can spend a few hours a day. But the longer he likes to stay at home with his family, he loves to be part of their activities, and have his own dose of cuddles on the couch.
The Appenzell Mountain Dog is very easy to train, as it will do anything to please its owner, but it must be said that it must be trained very early, as it needs specific training to mitigate its protective tendencies and aggressiveness towards strangers. And, more than anything else, start early in order to be able to manage his physical strength which in maturity is really remarkable.
It is a good guard dog, never aggressive but in extreme cases it does not hesitate to act to protect its loved ones. It barks rather frequently, which if it turns out to be positive at work can be directed at home with education.
Appenzell Mountain Dog Breed Appearance
The Appenzell Mountain Dog is a medium-sized, very well-proportioned dog with a muscular and athletic body. Males reach a height of 53-58 centimeters at the withers and a weight of about 28-30 kilograms, the female usually a little less. Classified as molosso-wolfish type, with a wide thorax and a straight back. The build is powerful but not massive giving it a proud and attractive bearing. Its legs are muscular and massive and it has a harmonious gait. It has a medium length tail positioned high, and is the only one of the Swiss cattlemen that wears it rolled up on its back.
The head, harmonious with the rest of the body, is slightly wedge-shaped, the muzzle is quite robust and the truffle is always black. The eyes, small almond-shaped, dark brown in color are very expressive. The ears fall close to the head and have a rounded tip.
The hair is glossy, of medium-short length and held close to the body. The thick undercoat allows them to withstand the low temperatures typical of the Alps. The coloring of the coat is black-furred and havana and presents the typical three-color pattern of the bovarians.
Health and Care of the Appenzell Mountain Dog Breed
This breed of bovine dog is hardy in nature and is not prone to any particular diseases, however, it can suffer from gastric torsion and hip and elbow dysplasia. Its nature as a mountain dog must be taken into account: it needs space for daily physical activity. It has a fairly long life expectancy, given its size, ranging from 12 to 15 years.
The hair care is very simple, a weekly brush is enough.
Since it spends a lot of time outdoors, it is necessary to pay attention to the condition of its coat and skin. We also monitor the eyes and ears, making sure that parasites do not take root.
It is necessary to pay much attention to the feeding because it is a dog that tends to put on weight, therefore it must be kept under control for the weight and the doses. Above all, it must not miss the daily physical exercise.