Name that Breed – the Sennenhunds

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The name Sennen refers to the herders and dairy farmers of the Swiss Alps region. As it pertains to dog breeds (Sennenhund), it is referring to a group of four different breeds originating from that territory. These four breeds cause quite a bit of confusion. Visually, especially at a quick glance, these dogs could easily be misidentified.

The Appenzeller

Appenzeller Sennenhund
The Appenzeller

In the context of these four breeds, the Appenzeller is medium in size, although large by some standards. It weighs between 50 and 70 lbs and is approximately 20 to 23 inches at the withers. The breed has a strong frame, small high set triangular ears, and a distinctive tricolor coat. Appenzeller refers to the Alpine region in the Swiss Alps from which it originated. Now a family pet, it originally performed well as a farmhand.

The Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese is, for the sake of identification, the furriest of the four Sennehunds. Like the others, he is known for his striking tricolored coat and strong frame. He stands out for his long fur and giant size. Weighing in at 88 to 120 lbs, he is more than capable of doing farm work such as carting, a job now done by horses or machine. His ears are large and V shaped with soft wavy fur. He is good natured and self assured. His outline is rough, but his temperament is soft like his coat.

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Sometimes referred to as the “poor man’s horse”, these dogs were once considered the short hair version of the Bernese Mt. Dog. These two were separated into different breeds in the early 1900s. This less furry version was known as the butcher’s dog, as many butchers and cattlemen were known to own them for protection and to help with the herds. Strong and stable, these dogs have maintained popularity as well balanced, all purpose pets.

The Entlebucher

The Entlebucher
The Entlebucher

Compact and strongly muscled, the Entlebucher is the smallest of the Sennenhunds. This dog may be born with a bobtail, and it is sometimes docked, although the practice of docking is less popular and illegal in some countries. This dog was bred for herding but is an all purpose worker who is devoted to family and those he is familiar with. He is untrusting of strangers.

Still confused?

Let’s try some context. These are the Greater Swiss Mt. Dog (left) and the Entlebucher (right)

The Bernese Mt. Dog is built like the one on the left, but much hairier, while the Appenzeller is somewhere in between the two pictured above. As you can see these are true breeds of confusion.

Answers to yesterday’s post on Facebook:

A. Greater Swiss Mountain Puppy
B. Bernese Mountain Dog
C. The Appenzeller
D. The Entlebucher

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