Acquired: Rescue / shelter organization
Posted February 6, 2014
We acquired Cally from a friend who had gotten her from a rescue group. Our friend was mistakenly told that Cally was a Lab mix. That initial adoption was a disaster! Cally did not take to crate training or to the family's other, somewhat high-strung, dog. When our friend's family was home, they were tormented by Cally's pent-up energy and general exuberance. After two weeks, they called us.
At the time we adopted Cally, we also had an elderly Border Collie. While Scout, the Border Collie, had slowed down tremendously, we quickly saw some similarities between a young Border Collie and the Appenzeller. Our vet confirmed her breed and that helped us a lot in training her. Like Border Collies, Appenzellers are bred as working dogs. They are smart, eager to please and need to be kept active and busy.
Where our Border Collie was relatively quiet and affectionate as a puppy/adolescent, Cally was much more independent and assertive. One of the first things we worked on was her habit of barking aggressively to get attention. We also had to break her of the habit of jumping up on people to get a kiss or to demand attention. Appenzellers are not terribly large dogs (full grown, Cally weighs about 37 pounds) but they are surprisingly strong.
With those two bad habits under control, we trained Cally to stay within the borders of our electric fence. She spent a lot of time following Scout, the Border Collie, so I suppose the credit for the fence training should got to Scout. Cally is happy to run and play on our property and we have not had any issues with her breaking through the fence.
I work from home, so Cally is able to run all day. And, even with that, we have found she still usually needs a good run in the evening to get her to settle down at night. She has never caught on to the game "catch." She loves to play tug of war with a ball or a rope, but if you throw a ball to her, she just runs away with it. Most evenings, Cally will go for a long run with one of my sons or my husband. This regular exercise is key to her mental health and also to ours as she can be quite crazy if she has not had much exercise.
I had never heard of an Appenzeller until we got Cally. She's a terrific dog - smart, protective and quirky in a fun way. I would not recommend an Appenzeller for an apartment dweller or for someone who is not very active. Additionally, I would not recommend this breed if you are away from home all day as they can be quite destructive when you finally come home and uncrate them (or, if not crated, while you're away). And, finally, because of their natural energy and exuberance combined with their herding instincts, I would hesitate to recommend an Appenzeller for a family with children under the age of eight or nine. Cally has been fine with young visitors to our home, but she has a tendency to tackle and herd small children.
Good luck making your decision on a breed of dog!