Lets start with the appearance description of the Alpenhütehund. It is relatively small sized dog, slightly smaller than Border Collie or Sheltie. The breed is not officially recognized by any kennel club, so there is not much official information about it, but the ideal height should be between 37-47 cm, which is 14-19 inch and weight is typically somewhere around 10 kg, which is 22 lbs. Females are slightly smaller than males.
The Alpine Shepherd Dog has a shiny, soft and medium long doublecoat. The coat is very practical and it is water and dirt repellent. The breed comes in various colors and color combinations, which are black, mahogany, yellow, blue merle, all with or without white markings or in tricolor.
The head of Alpine Shepherd dog is wedge shaped, but it should not be too long or narrow. They have medium sized and slightly triangular eyes with alert, but friendly and curious expression. Most often the eyes are in dark brown color.
The tipped ears are set high on the head and they are semi erect or completely erect. Different ear shapes on the same dog are allowed and indeed it is normal that the dog does not have symmetrical ears. The tail is very fluffy and very long.
As the name suggest, the Alpine Shepherd dog is supposed to work with cattle, to herd the livestock. But it is most often living as social companion and family pet, which is most likely due to the fact, that they are less driven than Border Collie and some other herding dogs, that are probably better fit for herding job. The Alpenhütehund does not have that strong herding instinct as some other breeds.
But as i said, it is very good family companion. It is quite active breed, that needs daily longer walks, hikes or jogs to stay in good shape, happy and healthy. It is very athletic and quite energetic dog breed, which makes excellent fit for active people. They will be always ready for any outdoor adventure. The breed is also known as skilled climber and they do not fear heights.
Not only that this dog is active and energetic. It is also very smart dog that excells at learning different tricks and commands. And you should spend some time doing some fun training sessions or buy or create some puzzle toys for your dog. This will occupy their mind, which is as important as occupying the body. You can also try some dog sport with them, such as agility. They will love it.
The breed is very loyal to its owner and create extremely strong bond with the owner. The Alpenhütehund is people oriented dog and they want to spend every minute with its people.
These dogs should not have high prey drive as they were never used for hunting and they can be trained to be very good off leash dogs. But this is vastly influenced by early training and socialization. Typically they are not prone to running away and they stay close to the owner.
These dogs can live with other dogs, other pets or kids in the family without any problems. Of course, you should never leave any dog breed with a very young child unsupervised, but the Alpenhütehund truly makes amazing family companion dog.
Sadly, there is not much information about the ancestry and origin of Alpenhütehund. There are some stories which say that this is ancient breed that was used for herding the livestock in German Alps for very long time, but it is impossible to validate these theories. So keep that in mind.
One theory about the history of Alpine Shepherd dog claims that the breed has ancestors connected with Phoenicians and that they were spread to German Alps by Romans, where they were crossed with various native herding dogs.
When the need for herding dogs declined, the pure Alpine Shepherd dog almost went extinct and lately it was brought back from extinction by including the infusion of Sheltie genes.
Today, the breed is extremely rare with only few dozens or lower hundreads of pure Alpine Shepherd dogs living in Germany and it is almost impossible to find these dogs outside Germany.
The breed is also not recognized by any major kennel club, not even the German kennel club and it does not look that it will change in near future.
Health and grooming
The Alpenhütehund does shed some deal of fur all year long. During shedding seasons in the start of the spring and autumn, they shed a lot. If you want to minimize the shedding, it is recommended to brush the coat regularly. Brushing will also keep the coat mat free and it will redistribute natural oils all over it. No other grooming is required. Just like with any other breed, you should also regularly check the dogs ears, eyes, nails and teeth and clip them or clean them if needed.
Great fact is, that the breed is usually very healthy with great lifespan around 15 years. Just like any other breed, they can suffer from some health issues, which include hip dysplasia, patellar luxation and some hereditary eye diseases.