Entlebucher Mountain Dog

Table of Contents

entlebucher mountain dog portrait
Meet the Entlebucher Mountain Dog, a true hidden gem among canine companions! With their boundless energy, striking tri-colored coat, and infectious zest for life, these Swiss mountain herders are guaranteed to steal your heart.

Join us in this comprehensive guide as we explore everything you need to know about this breed, including their appearance, temperament, ideal environment, grooming, exercise requirements, training tips, dietary needs, health concerns, history, and more.

Best For

The Entlebucher Mountain Dog is an ideal companion for active individuals and families who can match their boundless energy and enthusiasm for life. However, this breed may not be the best choice for first-time dog owners or those living in small apartments, as they require ample space to run and play.

Overview

OFFICIAL NAMEEntlebucher Mountain Dog
OTHER NAMESEntlebucher Sennenhund, Entelbuch Mountain Dog, Entelbucher Cattle Dog, Bouvier de l’Entlebuch
ORIGINSwitzerland
BREED GROUPHerding Group
BREED SIZEMedium
HEIGHT16-21 inches
WEIGHT45-65 lbs
LIFESPAN11-13 years
LIVING SPACELarge
SENSITIVITY TO COLD WEATHERLow
SENSITIVITY TO WARM WEATHERModerate
GROOMING NEEDSModerate
EXERCISE NEEDSHigh
TRAINABILITYHigh
BARKING TENDENCYModerate
BITING TENDENCYLow
DROOLING TENDENCYLow
SHEDDING LEVELModerate
POPULARITY RANK162nd
entlebucher mountain dogs sitting on a sidewalk
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Appearance

The Entlebucher Mountain Dog, also known as the Entlebucher Sennenhund, boasts an array of striking physical characteristics that make them easily recognizable and truly distinctive. These medium-sized dogs typically stand between 16 and 21 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between 45 and 65 pounds, with males usually being larger than females.

Their muscular, well-proportioned bodies are designed for agility and endurance, which is evident in their sturdy build and balanced appearance. The breed’s strong legs and broad chest contribute to their impressive athleticism, making them well-suited for various activities and dog sports.

One unique feature of the Entlebucher breed is their tail, which can be naturally long, naturally bobbed, or docked, depending on the region and local regulations. Regardless of tail length, these dogs carry their tails high when active and let them hang down when at rest.

The breed’s head is characterized by a slightly rounded skull and a well-defined stop, which gives them a confident and alert expression. Their medium-sized, triangular ears are set high and gently rounded at the tips, hanging close to the head when relaxed and lifted slightly when attentive.

They have dark brown, almond-shaped eyes that exude warmth and intelligence, further enhancing their endearing expression.

Entlebuchers have strong jaws with a scissor bite, which is essential for their original herding and guarding duties. Their powerful necks blend seamlessly into their well-laid-back shoulders, creating a harmonious silhouette.

They have a short, dense double coat that is mainly black, adorned with symmetrical white and rich rust markings. Their white markings are usually found on the muzzle, chest, and toes, while the rust-colored markings appear above their expressive eyes, on the cheeks, and around their legs.

The coat is smooth and sleek, providing protection against harsh weather conditions, and requires minimal grooming to maintain its healthy appearance.

Overall, the Entlebucher Mountain Dog’s appearance is a perfect blend of strength, agility, and elegance. Their distinctive coat markings, athletic build, and expressive features contribute to their undeniable charm and make them stand out among other breeds.

entlebucher mountain dog running with a toy outside
Photo: Carmelka/Getty Images

Temperament

Bursting with energy and overflowing with loyalty, the Entlebucher Mountain Dog is a delightful mix of smarts, agility, and balance. Entlebuchers, as you’ll soon realize, are not just any dogs – they’re life’s constant companions, ready to embark on an adventure at a moment’s notice.

When it comes to their human families, Entlebuchers are like shadows – always there, always close. They form profound bonds with their owners, a kind of loyalty that’s pure, unwavering, and impressively steadfast.

The way they look at you, with those expressive eyes full of adoration, it’s enough to melt the coldest of hearts. They’re also incredibly playful, their antics guaranteed to infuse your days with joy and laughter.

But don’t let their affectionate demeanor fool you. Entlebuchers have a streak of independence that’s as wide as a highway. They know their own minds and won’t hesitate to let you know when they disagree. This isn’t a dog who’ll just follow blindly. No, an Entle is a thinker, a dog who likes to weigh the pros and cons before committing to a decision.

Yet, for all their independence, Entlebuchers are also protective. When it comes to strangers, they tend to be a bit reserved, a little wary. It’s as if they’re saying, “I’m watching you, so don’t try anything funny.” They’re not overly aggressive, but they won’t hesitate to step up if they sense a threat to their loved ones.

Entlebuchers are also social butterflies, relishing the chance to interact with other dogs. They’re happiest when they’re part of a pack, whether it’s a group of fellow canines or their human family. It’s this sociability that makes them such wonderful companions, especially for those who lead active lives.

When it comes to kids, Entlebuchers are like oversized teddy bears, gentle and patient. They love playing with children, their playful nature making them perfect playmates. But don’t worry, they also know when to dial down the energy and be calm and composed.

entlebucher mountain dog running at an agility course
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Ideal Environment

Physical Environment

The Entlebucher Mountain Dog is an active and energetic breed that thrives in environments where they can fully express their physical and mental abilities.

Ideally, these dogs should have access to a securely fenced yard where they can run, play, and explore safely. A rural or suburban setting with ample outdoor space is well-suited for their needs; however, they can also adapt to urban living provided they receive sufficient exercise and stimulation.

While Entlebuchers can live in apartments or homes without yards, it’s essential to ensure they have plenty of opportunities for daily walks, off-leash play, and mental enrichment. A sedentary lifestyle or confined spaces may lead to boredom, frustration, and the development of undesirable behaviors.

Climate Adaptability

Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are well-adapted to both cold and hot climates, thanks to their dense double coat. Their coat provides insulation against chilly temperatures, making them suitable for colder regions. However, precautions should be taken during extreme cold, such as providing shelter and limiting outdoor exposure.

In hot climates, Entlebuchers can still thrive, but extra care must be taken to prevent overheating. Ensure they have access to shade, fresh water, and avoid exercising them during the hottest parts of the day. Additionally, regular grooming can help maintain their coat’s health and promote better air circulation, further enhancing their adaptability to varying temperatures.

Ideal Owner

Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are best suited for pet parents who lead active lives and are willing to involve their canine companions in various activities.

Owners should be prepared to invest time and effort into training, socialization, and engaging their Entlebuchers in sports such as agility, obedience, or herding events. These dogs excel when they have a job to do, so incorporating tasks or challenges into their daily routine will help them stay happy and mentally stimulated.

Other Pets

Regarding other pets, Entlebuchers may get along well with dogs they are raised with or introduced to properly. However, their herding instincts and prey drive may make them less compatible with smaller animals like cats, rabbits, or rodents. Early socialization and training are crucial for ensuring harmonious relationships with other household pets.

entlebucher mountain dog playing in water
Photo: Irina Nedikova/Getty Images

Grooming

The Entlebucher Mountain Dog’s grooming needs are relatively low-maintenance compared to some other breeds. However, regular attention to their coat, nails, teeth, and ears is still essential for maintaining their overall health and well-being.

Coat Care

Entlebuchers have a short, dense double coat that consists of a soft undercoat and a slightly harsher topcoat. The coat is designed to protect them from harsh weather conditions and does not require extensive grooming.

Weekly brushing with a slicker brush or a rubber curry brush is usually sufficient to remove loose hairs, dirt, and debris, as well as distribute the natural oils on their skin, which helps maintain a healthy and shiny coat.

During seasonal shedding periods, you may need to increase the frequency of brushing to keep shedding under control and prevent hair from accumulating around your home.

They do not need frequent baths, as over-bathing can strip their coat of its natural oils, leading to dry skin and potential irritation. Bathing them every 3-4 months or when they get particularly dirty should suffice. Always use a mild dog shampoo that is specifically formulated for their coat type, and be sure to rinse thoroughly to avoid any residue that could cause skin irritation.

Ear Care

Regular ear checks and cleaning are essential to prevent infections and maintain the overall health of your Entlebucher’s ears. Examine their ears weekly for signs of redness, foul odor, or excessive wax buildup.

To clean the ears, use a pet-safe ear cleaning solution and cotton balls or pads, gently wiping the outer part of the ear canal. Avoid using cotton swabs, as they can damage the inner ear structures. If you notice any signs of infection or persistent issues, consult your veterinarian for further guidance.

Dental Care

Dental care is crucial for all dogs, including Entlebuchers. Regular brushing of their teeth is the most effective way to prevent tartar buildup and dental diseases. Aim to brush your dog’s teeth at least 2-3 times per week using a soft-bristled toothbrush and dog-specific toothpaste.

Additionally, consider providing dental chews or toys designed to promote oral health. Regular check-ups with your veterinarian will help identify any dental issues early and ensure your Entlebucher’s teeth remain healthy throughout their life.

Nail Trimming

Entlebucher’s nails should be trimmed regularly to avoid overgrowth, which can cause discomfort and affect their gait. The frequency of nail trimming depends on the individual dog and how quickly their nails grow, but generally, every 3-4 weeks is a good guideline.

Use a pair of dog nail clippers or a grinder, being cautious not to cut the quick (the blood vessel within the nail), which can be painful and cause bleeding. If you are unsure or uncomfortable trimming your dog’s nails, a professional groomer or veterinarian can assist with this task.

entlebucher mountain dog walking in the park
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Exercise

Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are an energetic and athletic breed that requires regular exercise to maintain their physical and mental well-being. As working dogs with a strong herding background, they possess a natural drive and stamina that needs to be channeled through appropriate activities.

Exercise Amount & Types

Daily exercise is essential for Entlebuchers, and it’s recommended that they receive at least 60-90 minutes of activity per day. This can be divided into multiple sessions, including walks, off-leash playtime, or engaging in various dog sports. Remember that these dogs not only require physical stimulation but also mental challenges to keep them happy and content.

Walks should be brisk and ideally include some off-leash time in a secure area where your Entlebucher can run and explore freely. Providing opportunities for them to use their natural instincts, such as fetching, tracking, or even herding, will help fulfill their need for both physical and mental engagement.

Dog Sports

Entlebucher Mountain Dogs excel in various dog sports, which can be an excellent way to bond with your canine companion while providing the exercise and mental stimulation they crave.

Their speed, agility, and intelligence make them exceptional candidates for agility competitions, where they navigate obstacle courses with precision and enthusiasm. Their eagerness to please and natural aptitude for learning also make them excellent participants in obedience trials, showcasing their ability to follow commands and perform complex tasks.

Given their herding heritage, Entlebuchers can participate in herding events, allowing them to utilize their instinctual skills and work closely with their handlers. Another sport that these dogs may enjoy is canine freestyle, a creative activity that combines obedience, tricks, and dance moves, offering an entertaining and challenging outlet for their energy and intelligence.

Exercise Precautions

Regardless of the specific activities you choose, it’s essential to ensure that your Entlebucher Mountain Dog receives consistent and varied exercise to meet their physical and mental needs. By investing time and effort into keeping your dog active and engaged, you will not only contribute to their overall health and happiness but also strengthen the bond between you and your loyal companion.

entlebucher mountain dog walking in a crowd
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Training

Training an Entlebucher Mountain Dog can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience, as these intelligent and eager-to-please dogs are highly trainable. Their innate desire to work closely with their handlers and their ability to quickly grasp new concepts make the training process smoother and more efficient.

Positive Reinforcement

Entlebuchers respond best to positive reinforcement methods, which involve rewarding good behavior with treats, praise, or play. This approach helps build trust and strengthens the bond between you and your dog while maintaining their enthusiasm for learning. It’s essential to avoid harsh corrections or punishment-based techniques, as these can lead to fear, anxiety, and a weakened relationship with your dog.

Socialization & Basic Obedience

Early socialization and obedience training should be a priority for every Entlebucher Mountain Dog owner. Exposing your puppy to various people, environments, and situations from a young age will help them develop into confident and adaptable adults. Puppy kindergarten classes and basic obedience courses are excellent starting points for building a strong foundation in training and social skills.

Additional Grooming Tips

Entlebuchers are known for their high energy levels and active minds, so incorporating training sessions throughout the day will help keep them mentally stimulated and focused. Short, engaging sessions that incorporate new challenges or tasks will hold their interest and prevent boredom.

Consistency and patience are key components of successful training, so be prepared to invest time and effort into working with your Entlebucher.

Due to their herding background, Entlebuchers may exhibit certain behaviors, such as nipping at heels or attempting to “herd” other pets or family members. Addressing these behaviors early through training and redirection can help curb unwanted habits and reinforce appropriate conduct.

entlebucher mountain dog playing in the beach
Photo: Irina Nedikova/Getty Images

Diet & Nutrition 

What to Feed & How Much

Providing a balanced and nutritious diet is essential for maintaining the overall health and well-being of your Entlebucher Mountain Dog.

As with any dog breed, it’s crucial to choose a high-quality food that meets their nutritional needs and follows the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) guidelines. The ideal diet will depend on factors such as age, weight, activity level, and specific health requirements.

There are various types of dog food available, including dry kibble, wet food, and raw diets. Each type has its pros and cons, and the choice ultimately depends on your preferences and your dog’s individual needs.

High-quality kibble or wet food options that contain a balanced mix of protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals are generally suitable for Entlebuchers. If you’re considering a raw diet, consult with your veterinarian to ensure you’re providing a balanced and complete meal plan.

The amount of food your Entlebucher requires will vary depending on their age, size, and activity level. Puppies typically need more frequent meals to support their growth and development, usually around 3-4 times per day.

As your dog matures, you can gradually reduce feeding frequency to twice daily. Always refer to the feeding guidelines on the pet food packaging or consult your veterinarian for personalized recommendations based on your dog’s specific needs.

Regular check-ups with your veterinarian will help monitor your Entlebucher’s health, weight, and nutritional needs. As your dog ages or experiences changes in activity levels or health conditions, adjustments to their diet may be necessary to ensure optimal nutrition.

Treats

Treats can be a useful tool for training and rewarding good behavior, but it’s important to use them in moderation to prevent weight gain and maintain a balanced diet. Opt for healthy, low-calorie treats, and remember to account for them in your dog’s overall daily food intake.

Water

Fresh water should always be readily available to your Entlebucher Mountain Dog. Ensure they have access to clean water throughout the day, especially during hot weather or after exercise, to keep them well-hydrated.

entlebucher mountain dog's face up close
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Health

The Entlebucher Mountain Dog is generally considered a healthy and robust breed, with a life expectancy of 11-13 years. However, like all dog breeds, they may be predisposed to certain health conditions. Regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, and appropriate exercise can help ensure your Entlebucher maintains good health throughout their life.

Here are common health issues associated with the Entlebucher Mountain Dog breed:

Hip Dysplasia: This genetic condition occurs when the hip joint doesn’t develop correctly, leading to arthritis and joint pain. While responsible breeding practices can help reduce the risk, it’s essential to monitor your Entlebucher for signs of discomfort or mobility issues and consult your veterinarian for appropriate treatment options.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): PRA is an eye disorder that causes gradual degeneration of the retina, eventually leading to vision loss. Regular eye exams can help detect this condition early, and while there is no cure, affected dogs can still lead happy lives with proper care and management.

Patellar Luxation: This orthopedic issue involves the kneecap slipping out of its normal position, causing pain and mobility problems. Mild cases may be managed with conservative treatments, but severe cases may require surgery to correct the issue.

Urinary Incontinence: Some female Entlebuchers may experience urinary incontinence, which can result from various underlying causes. Your veterinarian can help determine the cause and recommend appropriate treatment options to manage this condition.

Allergies: Entlebucher Mountain Dogs can be prone to allergies, which can manifest as skin irritation, itching, or gastrointestinal symptoms. Identifying the allergen, whether environmental or food-related, is crucial for managing this condition. Your veterinarian can help diagnose and recommend appropriate treatments or dietary adjustments to alleviate symptoms.

While these health issues are not exclusive to the Entlebucher Mountain Dog, being aware of them can help you monitor your dog’s health and address any concerns proactively.

Regular veterinary visits, proper nutrition, and a consistent exercise routine are essential for maintaining the overall well-being of your Entlebucher. By staying informed and attentive to your dog’s health, you can help ensure they enjoy a long, happy life by your side.

entlebucher mountain dog with a ball in his mouth
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History

The Entlebucher Mountain Dog is a Swiss breed with a rich history dating back centuries. As one of four Swiss mountain dog breeds, the Entlebucher shares its ancestry with the Bernese Mountain Dog, the Appenzeller Sennenhund, and the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. These breeds are believed to have descended from the large Molosser dogs brought to Switzerland by the Romans around 2000 years ago.

Entlebuchers were initially bred as versatile working dogs in the Entlebuch region of Switzerland, a valley nestled within the Alps. Their primary role was to serve as herding and guarding dogs for cattle, protecting both the livestock and their human families. The breed’s agility, endurance, intelligence, and strong work ethic made them ideal for these tasks in the challenging alpine environment.

In addition to herding and guarding, Entlebuchers were also utilized for various other tasks on Swiss farms. They pulled small carts, served as watchdogs, and even helped with general farm chores. The breed’s adaptability and loyalty endeared them to the Swiss farmers, who relied on their canine companions for their livelihoods.

Despite their long history, the Entlebucher Mountain Dog remained relatively unknown outside of Switzerland for many years. By the early 1900s, the breed’s numbers had dwindled, and it was at risk of extinction. However, dedicated Swiss breeders and enthusiasts worked tirelessly to preserve the breed, gradually increasing its numbers and raising awareness about its unique qualities.

The Entlebucher’s journey to recognition by the American Kennel Club (AKC) was a gradual one. The breed was first brought to the United States in the 1970s, and the Entlebucher Mountain Dog Club of America (EMDCA) was established in 1998 to promote and protect the breed within the country.

In 2009, the Entlebucher Mountain Dog was officially recognized by the AKC as a member of the Miscellaneous Class, which is a transitional stage for breeds working towards full recognition.

Finally, on January 1, 2011, the Entlebucher Mountain Dog achieved full recognition by the AKC and joined the Herding Group. This milestone marked an essential step in the breed’s history, helping to further raise its profile and ensure its continued preservation.

Today, the Entlebucher Mountain Dog remains a relatively rare breed, but its unique qualities and charming personality continue to attract a growing number of fans and admirers. As more people discover the Entlebucher Mountain Dog, the breed’s future looks bright, with a secure place in the hearts of dog lovers worldwide.

Parent Club

The official parent club for the Entlebucher Mountain Dog in the United States is the National Entlebucher Mountain Dog Association (NEMDA). The NEMDA is dedicated to promoting and protecting the interests of the Entlebucher Mountain Dog breed within the country.

It also provides resources on breed information, responsible breeding practices, and events for Entlebucher enthusiasts. Visit their official website to learn more about the club and its activities.

Breed Standard

A breed standard is a set of guidelines established by breed clubs or kennel organizations, defining the ideal appearance, temperament, and physical traits of a specific breed. 

It serves as a reference for breeders, judges, and enthusiasts to evaluate and maintain a breed’s unique qualities. Covering aspects like size, appearance, and temperament, breed standards are used in dog shows and competitions to assess individual dogs against the ideal representation of their breed.

Check out the Entlebucher Mountain Dog’s breed standard as set by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

entlebucher mountain dog puppy in a barn
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Acquiring

Thinking of welcoming an Entlebucher Mountain Dog into your family? Start by preparing a comfortable bed, nutritious meals, engaging toys, grooming tools for their short coat, and identifying a trusted vet.

If you’re leaning towards buying, it’s vital to choose a reputable breeder to ensure a healthy, well-socialized puppy. But why not consider rescue? Many Entlebuchers in shelters are waiting to share their intelligent, energetic nature with a new home. The American Kennel Club and the National Entlebucher Mountain Dog Association can guide you through this rewarding journey.

Whether you adopt or buy, you’re inviting more than just a pet. You’re welcoming a lively, loyal companion into your life. With an Entlebucher Mountain Dog, every day is an adventure filled with activity, companionship, and the joy of having a dog that’s as protective as it is loving!

FAQs

Are Entlebucher Mountain Dogs aggressive?

Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are not typically aggressive; they are known for their friendly and loyal nature. However, early socialization and proper training are crucial to ensure they develop into well-mannered and well-adjusted adult dogs.

Are Entlebucher Mountain Dogs good pets?

Yes, Entlebucher Mountain Dogs make excellent pets for active families and individuals who can provide the necessary exercise, mental stimulation, and training. They are loyal, intelligent, and affectionate, making them great companions for those who can meet their needs.

Why are Entlebucher Mountain Dogs called “laughing dogs”?

Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are sometimes referred to as “laughing dogs” because of their happy and playful demeanor. Their expressive faces and joyful personalities give the impression that they are always smiling or “laughing.”

In which group is the Entlebucher Mountain Dog breed classified?

The Entlebucher Mountain Dog is classified in the Herding Group by the American Kennel Club (AKC). This classification reflects the breed’s historical purpose as a working dog used for herding and guarding cattle in Switzerland.

How much exercise do Entlebucher Mountain Dogs need?

Entlebucher Mountain Dogs require regular exercise to maintain their physical and mental well-being. It is recommended that they receive at least 60-90 minutes of activity per day, which can include walks, off-leash playtime, and participation in various dog sports.

What is the life expectancy of an Entlebucher Mountain Dog?

The average life expectancy for an Entlebucher Mountain Dog is 11-13 years. However, with proper care, nutrition, and regular veterinary check-ups, some Entlebuchers may live longer, healthier lives.

Do Entlebucher Mountain Dogs shed?

Yes, Entlebucher Mountain Dogs do shed, but their shedding is generally considered moderate compared to other breeds. Regular brushing can help minimize shedding and keep their coat healthy and clean.

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