Saturday, February 5, 2011

Tough to Remain Neutral

photos from the WKC

There are four very cool breeds of Swiss Mountain dogs.  Two, the Bernese Mountain Dog  (Berner, left) and the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog (Swissy, right), have long been accepted by the AKC and shown at Westminster in the working group.  I have always admired the appearance of these dogs, particularly the Greater Swiss because I can see its musculature better than its teddy bear-like cousin, the Bernese. But there are two similar breeds in the herding group that I had never seen before: the Entlebucher and the Appenzeller Sennenhunde.   

photo from the AKC

The Entlebucher, first known as the Entlebucherhund, was accepted by the AKC in December of 2010 and is eligible to show in January 2011 (none are registered for the WKC show this year). It is the smallest of the four breeds at heights varying between 16-21 inches. Unlike the Berner and Swissy, it looks longish to me rather than square. 

photo from the AKC

Because the two breeds are all so similar in size and appearance due to their facial markings, it's hard to distinguish between them.  I like the tail-carried-over-the-back style of the Appenzeller Sennehunde (pictured above with his cart). 

The Appenzeller is part of the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service – the AAA league of registered dog breeds – but has yet to achieve full recognized AKC purebred status (invited to the Big Show).  If I had to guess why, I’d say it’s the name.  Hund, is obviously easy to understand. Sennenhunde, however, I’d have to look up (shepherd’s dog). And Appenzeller Sennenhunde is just too much of a mouthful for me. 

And before you p’shaw! at my dumb American statement, take a gander at what the AKC implies about the pitiful popularity of the breed in America:
There is a record of at least one Appenzeller Sennenhund export to the United States in 1950. Some of the small Swiss farming communities that became established in the U.S. also brought their dogs. They are unsuitable for inactive lifestyles and have not become popular in the U.S.
Why don’t they just go ahead and slip a ‘therefore’ in that last statement?

Clearly, someone is taking sides on behalf of these beautiful Swiss dogs.  And that's a good thing.

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