The Appenzeller is originating in Appenzell region of Switzerland. The Appenzeller comes in two varieties:
- The Spitzhauben, meaning "pointed hood" (which comes from the frilly hat worn by the women in the Appenzeller region in Switzerland. The Appenzeller has a V-comb and feather crests in males and females.
- The Barthuhner ("bearded hen") has a rose comb and no crest.
Both types appear in either black, golden spangled and silver spangled plumage. They are mostly a show breed, but are okay egg layers.
Today the breed is largely an ornamental one kept for showing, but it lays also a respectable quantity of white eggs. It is a light chicken, with hens weighing an average of 3.5 lbs (1.6 kg) and roosters 4.5 lbs (2 kg).
Behaviorally, it is a flighty breed that doesn't do well in confinement, can forage well, and will roost in trees if given the opportunity.
In North America, it is very rare and is recognized officially by neither the American Poultry Association or other breed registries. The silver spangled Spitzhauben is the most common variety found abroad.
Though there is no standard in North America, the UK does recognize the breed and accepts it as a standardized breed. There is, however, a push in the United States for the Spitzhauben to be recognized by the American Poultry Association.