AKC group: Herding
UKC group: Guardian Dog
Average lifespan: 11-15 years
Average size: 55-66 pounds
Coat appearance: double coat that consists of short, tight, harsh and glossy outer coat and a dense undercoat
Coloration: black with symmetrical tan and white
Best Suited For: Families with older children, active singles and seniors, houses with yards and farms/rural areas
All of the Swiss mountain dogs, including the Entlebucher, descend from mastiff-type dogs brought by the Romans more than 2,000 years ago. The dogs that became the Entlebucher was used to herd cattle to and from mountain pastures.
The dogs were first called Entlebucherhund in 1889. They were little known and generally considered the same breed as the Appenzell Cattle dog until 1913. That year, four of the dogs were exhibited at a Swiss dog show. Based on the judges’ reports, they were classified in the Swiss Canine Stud Book as a fourth Mountain and Cattle Dog breed. Even so, it wasn’t until 1927 that a standard was written for them, after the founding of the Swiss Club of Entlebuch Cattle Dogs in 1926.
The breed developed slowly but was eventually recognized for his lively, tireless nature and excellent qualities as both a working and family dog. The American Kennel Club recognized the Entlebucher in 2011
Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are intelligent and very quick to learn new things. They are agile, active dogs by nature which means they enjoy being given things to do. In their native Switzerland, the Entlebucher is still used as a herding dog and are highly prized because they are so reliable and biddable by nature.
They form extremely strong bonds with their owners whether in a working or home environment and are known to become totally devoted to their families and children. They are very people-oriented by nature and enjoy nothing more than being included in a household although they form the strongest bond with the person who usually feeds and takes care of them.
Being so smart and so active, the Entlebucher thrives in a country environment and with people who live active, outdoor lives. They are a very good choice as a family pet in homes where one person is usually around when everyone else is out of the house. They are highly trainable and love nothing more than to learn new things. Entlebuchers excel at all sorts of canine sports which includes activities like agility and flyball.
They are not the best choice for first time owners, because the Entlebucher needs to be trained and handled by someone who is familiar with the breed or similar type of active, intelligent working dog. Without the right amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation, an Entlebucher would quickly become bored and find new ways to amuse themselves which could result in them becoming wilful and unruly making them a lot harder to handle.
If left to their own devices for long periods of time, the Entlebucher can also suffer from separation anxiety which could lead to a dog becoming destructive around the house. These hard working dogs are never happier than when they are being given something to do that occupies their minds.
Because the foundation stock of Entlebuchers was so small, these dogs are known to suffer from several hereditary ailments such as hip dysplasia, hemolytic anemia and progressive retinal atrophy.
As with any other breed, Entlebuchers need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
The Entlebucher Mountain Dog is not recommended for apartment life.
The Entlebucher Mountain Dog is highly intelligent and therefore in the right hands and environment they are easy to train. They revel in learning new things and are very quick to pick up on things. However, this means they quickly learn both the good and the bad, which is why their socialisation and training has to start early. It also has to be consistent throughout their lives because these active dogs like nothing more than knowing their place in the pack and who they can look to for direction and guidance.
They excel at many canine sports which includes activities like flyball and agility because they adore the one-to-one attention they are given during a training session and remain highly focused when they take part in any competitions. Entlebuchers are always keen and alert, but they do not answer well to any sort of harsh correction or heavy handed training methods which would not achieve any sort of good results with these highly intelligent and voice sensitive dogs. An Entlebucher needs to know what is expected of them to be truly well rounded dogs.
Bred to herd cattle across the Swiss Alps for days on end, Entlebuchers have a virtually inexhaustible amount of energy. Therefore it is important that they be provided with at least an hour of vigorous exercise each day. It is also beneficial for these dogs to have a meaningful task to which they can devote themselves to.
The Entlebucher has a short, thick, double coat. The coat is easy to care for, but it sheds. Brush the dog weekly with a rubber curry brush to remove dead hair. The Entle sheds a little more heavily in spring, so you may need to brush a little more often for a few weeks until he has lost all of his winter coat.
The rest is basic care. Trim the nails as needed, usually once a month. Brush the teeth frequently for good overall health and fresh breath. Check the ears weekly for dirt, redness or a bad odor that can indicate an infection. If the ears look dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball dampened with a gentle ear cleaner recommended by your veterinarian.
Children and Other Pets
Entlebuchers are known to be friendly, devoted dogs by nature and they love nothing more than to be part of a family. As such they are generally very good around children although they can play a little rough at times which means any interaction between younger children should always be well supervised by an adult to make sure things don’t get too boisterous.
If they have grown up with a family cat in a household, they usually get on well with them although they will think nothing of chasing off a neighbour’s cat whenever they can. If well socialised from a young enough age, the Entlebucher generally gets on well with other dogs and smaller pets as long as they were introduced when a dog was younger. Care always has to be taken when they are around any small animals they don’t already know just in case.
Is the Entlebucher Mountain Dog the Right Breed for you?
Low Maintenance: Infrequent grooming is required to maintain upkeep. Little to no trimming or stripping needed.
Moderate Shedding: Routine brushing will help. Be prepared to vacuum often!
Difficult Training: The Entlebucher Mountain Dog isn’t deal for a first time dog owner. Patience and perseverance are required to adequately train it.
Very Active: It will need daily exercise to maintain its shape. Committed and active owners will enjoy performing fitness activities with this breed.
Not Good for New Owners: This breed is best for those who have previous experience with dog ownership.
Good with Kids: This is a suitable breed for kids and is known to be playful, energetic, and affectionate around them.
Did You Know?
The Entlebucher is one of four farm dogs native to Switzerland. He takes his name from the Entlebuch valley where he originated.