Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Entlebucher Mountain Dog
Average Cost to keep/care for a Entlebucher Mountain Dog
The Entlebucher Mountain Dog hails from Switzerland being the smallest of all the Swiss mountain breeds. They are handsome dogs with their striking tricolour coats and their gentle natures. Although not as popular as the Bernese Mountain Dog, they are prized in their native Switzerland for being an excellent choice as both a companion dog and family pet. With this said, the Entlebucher is gaining popularity here in the UK, although anyone wishing to share their home with one of these handsome dogs would need to register their interest with a breed and be put on a waiting list because not many puppies are bred every year.
Swiss mountain dogs are thought to be the descendants of an ancient breed known as Molossers which the Romans took with them when they crossed the Alps into Switzerland more than 2000 years ago. In 1913 Entlebuchers with bobtails appeared on the scene, but despite having been accepted into the Swiss stud book, the breed began to decrease in numbers and with the advent of World War I, their numbers declined so low, these handsome dogs virtually vanished altogether. As such a dedicated Entlebucher club was set up with an end goal being to save the breed from extinction. During 1927 and 1927, only 16 dogs were around. Over the following years and with a lot of patience and careful, selective breeding, their numbers were slowly restored although even today, Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are not easily found here in the UK.
The Entlebucher Mountain Dog is named after the region of Switzerland where they were first bred to work. They are the smallest of all the Swiss mountain dog breeds although like their larger cousins, they are tricoloured. The breed was accepted as being unique in 1923 when four Entlebuchers were shown at the Swiss Langenttal dog show. Four years later, a breed standard was established which has not been altered that much over the ensuing years.
Because there are not that many breeders in the UK, anyone wishing to share their home with an Entlebucher Mountain Dog would need to register their interest with a breeder and be put on a waiting list. However, because these lovely dogs boast such charming natures, the wait is very worthwhile.
Height at the withers: Males 44 - 50 cm, Females 42 - 48 cm
Average weight: Males 25.5 - 30.0 kg, Females 25.5 - 30.0 kg
The Entlebucher Mountain Dog is smaller than their other Swiss mountain dog cousins, however, they boast having the same luxurious tricolour coats. They are nicely proportioned dogs with slightly wedge shaped heads. Their muzzles and almost parallel to their skulls which are broadest between a dog's ears. They have a slight furrow and stop. Their lips are tight and black with dogs boasting a large, black nose. Eyes are round and moderately large being anything from a hazel to dark brown in colour and nice black rims. Entlebuchers always have an alert, keen expression in their eyes which adds to their overall endearing appeal.
Their ears are set high and moderately large being pendulous and triangular in shape. They are wider at the base and have a nicely rounded tip with dogs carrying them close to their heads when at rest, but slightly raised and forward when they are alert or excited. They boast having a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones, although a level bite is acceptable.
Their necks are moderately long, well-muscled and strong merging nicely into a dog's long, strong and sloping, muscular shoulders. Front legs are strong, straight and well boned. They have well developed, broad forechests and nicely sprung ribs with briskets that fall down to the elbow. Bellies are slightly tucked up adding to a dog's athletic appearance. Their backs are level and broad, with dogs having well-muscled loins.
Hindquarters are strong with dogs having a long, broad and gently sloping croup and nicely developed first and second thighs. Back legs are powerful and strong with dogs having compact, round feet with well arched toes and nice thick pads. Tails are set high and they can be naturally bobbed. When the tail is long, the Entlebucher carries it down when at rest but higher when on the move.
When it comes to their coat, the Entlebucher Mountain Dog boasts having a double coat that consists of short, tight, harsh and glossy outer coat and a dense undercoat. The hair on a dog's withers and along their backs can be slightly wavy. The accepted breed colour is as follows:
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.
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.
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.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Entlebucher Mountain Dog is between 11 and 15 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
Like so many other breeds, the Entlebucher is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these active and good looking dogs. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:
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 boasts a double coat with a harsher outer coat and a softer, denser undercoat, but they are quite low maintenance in the grooming department. A twice weekly brush is all it takes to keep their coats tangle-free and any shed hair under control. They shed their coats throughout the year, but more so during the Spring and then again in the Autumn when like other breeds, more frequent grooming is usually necessary.
It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear infections.
Being so intelligent and active by nature, the Entlebucher needs to be given the right amount of daily exercise combined with enough mental stimulation for them to be truly happy, well-rounded and obedient characters to have around. As such they need a minimum of 60 minutes exercise a day, but more would be the ideal.
A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden as often as possible so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing has to be extremely secure to keep these active dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape out and get into all sorts of trouble.
With this said, Entlebucher puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing and too much pressure on them could result in causing a dog a few problems later on in their lives. They should not be allowed to jump up or off furniture nor should they be allowed to run up and down the stairs for this very reason.
If you get a Entlebucher puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
If you are looking to buy a Entlebucher you might need to go on a breeder's waiting list because not many puppies are available every year. You would need to pay anything upwards of £500 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Entlebucher Mountain Dog in northern England would be £58.29 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £104.15 a month (quote as of June 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK and a dog's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry, to feed your dog throughout their lives making sure it suits the different stages of their lives. This would set you back between £40 - £50 a month. On top of all of this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with an Entlebucher and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying your dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £1400 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for an Entlebucher Mountain Dog would be between £110 to £170 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a pedigree puppy.
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