AKC Herding Group
Like the three other Swiss Mountain Dogs (the Appenzeller, the Bernese Mountain Dog, and the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog), the Entlebucher Mountain Dog is descended from Molussus (or Mastiff) type dogs. The Romans brought the Entlebucher through what is now Switzerland 2,000 years ago. The Entlebucher (pronounced Ent-lee-boo-ker) is the smallest of these four breeds and was used primarily to herd and guard dairy cows among the mountain pastures of the Alps, although their intelligence and speed also make them well suited to herding horses and hogs. (The larger breeds guarded the flocks and pulled carts filled with milk and cheese.) The first standard for the breed was created in 1927 in Switzerland. Despite being an excellent working and family dog, the breed remains quite rare. The Entlebucher Mountain Dog was accepted into the AKC Miscellaneous Class in January 2009, and is now part of the AKC Herding Group.
A medium-sized herding dog, the Entlebucher is compact, strongly muscled, and very agile. The head should be wedge-shaped with an alert, friendly expression. The brown, almond-shaped eyes should have black rims. The ears are triangular, but rounded at the tips. The muzzle should be strong and well chiseled. The neck merges smoothly into the topline and is of medium length. The chest should be broad and deep, and the back should be straight and firm. The tail can be docked, natural, or a genetic bobtail. When the dog is in motion, the tail can be elevated but it should never curl over the back. The coat is double, with a short, close-fitting, shiny top coat and a dense undercoat. These dogs need to be tricolor, with black as the primary color. Markings are as follows: tan above the eyes, on the cheeks, on the muzzle, on either side of the chest, under the tail, and on the legs; and white as a small blaze on the head, along the chin to the chest, on all four feet, and at the tip of the tail (if it is natural).
- Height: 17 to 21 in. (male); 16 to 20 in. (female)
- Size: Medium
- Weight: 45 to 65 lbs.
- Availability: Difficult to find
- Talents: Herding, agility, obedience, carting, search and rescue, tracking, weight pulling, tricks, and watchdog
The Entlebucher is prone to torn anterior cruciate ligaments, deep within the knee joint. Many are born with what has been recently identified as Entlebucher Urinary Syndrome, a condition which affects the anatomy of the urinary system. Most often dogs with this condition have no symptoms. If symptoms are present, they can be medicated. Some breeders dock the tails-both docked and undocked tails are accepted in the show ring. This breed does not tolerate heat well.
This is the consummate working dog—smart, confident, cheerful, energetic, and protective of both his animal charges and his human family. The Entlebucher is quick to learn and enjoys a very close and very loyal bond with his master; in fact, these dogs tend to prefer to stick to your side. This makes them excellent off-leash hiking dogs, as they typically won’t run off. Capable of canine antics of the most playful kind, they are serious when asked to work—whether it’s herding cattle, doing obedience, or racing through an agility course. That intelligence, work ethic, and energy does mean the Entlebucher needs to be given a job, plus plenty of regular exercise, to stay mentally balanced. The owner needs to be a firm (though positive) trainer and leader, as the Entlebucher is keenly aware of social hierarchies. The breed might be too exuberant and too powerful for families with young children; these dogs tend to play rough, use nipping to “herd” people, and be mindful of only one leader in the family pack.
- Children: Good with children only when raised with them from puppyhood
- Friendliness: Moderately protective
- Trainability: Can be slightly difficult to train
- Independence: Needs people a lot
- Dominance: High
- Other Pets: Good with other pets if raised with them from puppyhood
- Combativeness: Friendly with other dogs
- Noise: Average barker
- Indoors: Moderately inactive indoors
- Owner: Not suitable for novice owner
- Grooming: A little grooming needed
- Trimming and Stripping: No trimming or stripping needed
- Coat: Short coat
- Shedding: Average shedder
- Exercise: Needs lots of exercise
- Jogging: A good jogging companion
- Apartments: Will be okay in an apartment if given sufficient exercise
- Outdoor Space: Best with at least an average-sized yard
- Climate: Best in cooler climates
- Longevity: Moderately long-lived (12 to 15 years)