The Appenzell Cattle Dog may also be referred to as the “Appenzell Mountain Dog”, or simply as an “Appenzeller”. This breed of dog is robust, hardy and comes ready to work. It's not the biggest of dogs, but what it lacks in size is made up for in power and strength. The Appenzeller is an extremely muscular and well built dog that affords it the ability to act as a fantastic work dog. Typical with the Mastiff breed group, the dog is at its best when given free roam and a lot to do, and does not particularly enjoy being locked inside all day with nothing to do. In this scenario, the dog will make its own activities for entertainment; the likes of which you may not find agreeable.
For breeders, this is something that becomes necessary to take into consideration during the training stages. The dog is at its happiest when it has plenty of acreage to fully stretch its legs. However, this means that training needs to be undertaken to reinforce the dog’s sense of herd mentality and reduce the likelihood of it straying too far from home. It should be noted that the dog already has a very natural sense of this and will create its own boundaries, but training to ensure this and develop it is recommended.
When dogs come packing muscle and liveliness, the breeder ought to know that this can at times be something of a ticking time bomb. However, the Appenzeller has a very tempered and well balanced disposition by nature. This does not mean that training regimes and obedience exercises are not important, as they very well are. In the same way that “nasty” breeds can be quiet, shy and friendly, a “nice” breed has the potential to have a meaner side too; it boils down to its nurture and training. So with this in mind, it is recommended to ensure that the breed’s friendly personality is reinforced and compounded by socialising with other animals and people from an early age. The lifespan of the Appenzeller is twelve to thirteen years, so the earlier this positive socialising starts the better. The intelligence of this dog is outstanding,which means that training can be efficient and quickly picked up on.
With the correct socialising, this dog will become a great addition to a family and especially with the kids. Due to the breed’s herd mentality, the dog will quickly learn its place within the family and adopt the master-servant role. Interestingly, the Appenzeller is likely to create a very strong and unique bond with one family member over all the others. That is not to say that the dog won’t have the same degree of respect to the other members, as it certainly will, but there will be one special bond. With a combination of the herd mentality, loyalty and protective sentiment for its family, the Appenzeller becomes a great guard dog that will always watch out for the family, the children in particular.
The flip side to this is that if breeders and trainers are not confident, acting as leaders and displaying the proper traits of authority to the dog, it will not adopt a subservient role. The herd mentality will make the dog act to take charge and adopt the role of leader for itself. Therefore, training must have defined lines of authority and have respect taught, especially if the dog is to go into a family environment where children are concerned. Failure to do so will lead to the dog’s agitation, obsessive behaviour, barking and volatile temperament. The steps to prevent this are not difficult. As previously said this breed has a loving and friendly personality that only needs to be built upon in training to encourage respect of authority and obedience to make a brilliant family dog.