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
Breed Specific Buying Advice
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 have always been highly prized in their native Switzerland as working dogs, but also for being excellent both as companions and family pets. 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.
Entlebuchers are social dogs by nature and have a great sense of humour although playtime can get a bit rough when they are young. They are not the best choice for first time owners because being so intelligent and active, they like to be kept busy and be given something to do. Entlebuchers are known to be good around children and thrive in a home environment which is one of the reasons they have always been so popular in their native Switzerland.
Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are also called Entlebucher Sennenhunds and are the smallest of all Swiss mountain dog breeds. They are thought to be one of the oldest breeds being descendants of the Molossus which were around at the time of the Romans who took them with them over the Alps on their march across Europe around 2000 years ago.
Entlebuchers were bred to herd cattle and to bring dairy herds back down from the mountain whereas their larger counterparts were used to guard the herds and to pull carts. They were developed in a region of Switzerland known as Entlebuch a valley in the district of Berne and Lucerne, hence the breed’s name. The breed was given its name Entlebucherhund in 1889 although at the time and for some time after, the breed was not differentiated from an Appenzell.
Later, in 1913, four Entlebuchers were exhibited at a show that was held in Langentahal, all of which had naturally occurring bobtails. They caught the eye of a professor by the name of Albert Heim who was a big breed enthusiast of the Swiss Mountain Dogs. The first breed standard was drawn up in 1927 with the Swiss Club of Entlebucher Cattle Dogs having been established the previous year. The breed soon became not only highly prized as working dogs, but also as companions and family pets in their native Switzerland and other European countries.
However, many Entlebuchers were crossed with German Shepherds during the 1900’s which saw pure breed numbers drop dramatically and which nearly saw Sennenhunds vanish altogether. Thanks to the efforts and dedication of Professor Heim together with other breed enthusiasts and through careful and selective breeds, the Entlebucher was saved from extinction. With this said, breed numbers remain low as compared with other breeds and it is worth noting that even today, the Entlebucher Mountain Dog is often mistaken for being a “mixed” breed.
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 with the good news being that the wait would be well worth it because these lovely dogs boast such charming and loyal natures.
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 shaped. 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 well sprung ribs with briskets that fall nicely 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 have a white tip, although some dogs can have naturally bobbed tails. 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:
It is worth noting that the accepted breed colours for Kennel Club registration can differ from those set out in the breed standard which are as follows:
Entlebuchers have tan markings above their eyes, on their cheeks, on their muzzles and on either side of their chests as well as on all four legs. The tan markings on a dog’s legs are found between the black and white in a dog’s coat. Their white markings are well-defined with dogs having a distinct white blaze that runs from the top of the head over the bridge of a dog’s nose which can totally or partially cover the muzzle with it being from under the jaw to the chest. Dogs have white on all 4 feet and a white tip to their tails. They can have a small white patch on their necks which is tolerated but not very desirable under the Kennel Club breed standard.
When an Entlebucher Mountain Dog moves, they do so with an easy and free gait showing plenty of drive in their hindquarters.
The Kennel Club frowns on any exaggerations or departures from the breed standard and would judge the faults on how much they affect a dog's overall health and wellbeing as well as their ability to perform.
Males should have both testicles fully descended into their scrotums and it is worth noting that a dog can be a little lighter or heavier as well as slightly taller or shorter than set out in the Kennel Club breed standard which is only given as a guideline.
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. These hard-working dogs are never happier than when they are being given something to do that occupies their minds.
Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are not the best choice for first time dog owners because they need to be handled, socialised and trained by people who are familiar with the needs of this type of intelligent and active dog. Being so intelligent, an Entlebucher could quickly get the better of a novice owner making them harder to live with and manage.
Entlebuchers are very social by nature but the need to work and herd is a trait that is deeply embedded in a dog’s psyche which means they like to herd and chase anything that moves. As such, care should always be taken as to where and when an Entlebucher can run off the lead more especially if there is livestock or wildlife around. The good news is that a well trained Entlebucher will remain at heel when asked to and will listen to a recall command.
Entlebuchers have a very playful side to their natures and love to entertain and be entertained and being so clever, they quickly learn what pleases an owner and how to get their own way when they want something. They love playing interactive games like “fetch” and find the toy which are just two of the activities they thoroughly enjoy.
Entlebuchers are not a good choice for people who live in apartments because they really do benefit from being able to roam around a secure back garden whenever possible to really let off steam. As such, they are better suited to people who lead active, outdoor lives and who have well-fenced back gardens.
Entlebucher Mountain Dogs form very strong ties with their families and as previously mentioned they form an extremely strong bond with the person who takes the most care of them. They hate being left on their own for any length of time and can suffer from separation anxiety when they are. This can see an Entlebucher developing some unwanted and destructive behaviours around the home which is a dog’s way of relieving the stress they are feeling.
Some Entlebuchers like the sound of their own voices a little too much which is something that needs to be gently nipped in the bud when a dog is still young being careful not to frighten them. Others will only bark when there are strangers about or when something they don't like is going on in their surroundings. With this said, even the best trained Entlebucher will bark at the slightest sound which can be a problem.
Most Entlebuchers love swimming and will take to the water whenever they can more especially when the weather is hot. However, if anyone who owns a dog that does not like water should never force them to go in because it would just end up scaring them. With this said, care should always be taken when walking an Entlebucher Mountain Dog off the lead anywhere near more dangerous watercourses just in case a dog decides to leap in and then needs rescuing because they cannot get out of the water on their own.
Entlebuchers are natural watchdogs and will protect their owners and properties without a second thought. However, rarely would a dog show any sort of aggression, preferring to stand their ground and bark a warning to anyone who approaches them in their environment.
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 must start early. It also must 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.
Like all puppies, Entlebuchers are incredibly cute when young and it is all too easy to spoil them when they first arrive in new homes. As soon as a puppy is nicely settled owners must start out as they mean to go on by laying down ground rules and boundaries so that a puppy understands what is expected of them. It helps establish a pecking order and who the alpha dog is in the household. The first commands a puppy should be taught are as follows:
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 providing they were introduced when a dog was younger. Care always must 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:
Entlebucher puppies would have been given their initial vaccinations before being sold, but it is up to their new owners to make sure they have their follow-up shots in a timely manner with the vaccination schedule for puppies being as follows:
There has been a lot of discussion about the need for dogs to have boosters. As such, it's best to talk to a vet before making a final decision on whether a dog should continue to have annual vaccinations which are known as boosters.
A lot of vets these days recommend waiting until dogs are slightly older before spaying and neutering them which means they are more mature before undergoing the procedures. As such they advise neutering males and spaying females when they are between the ages of 6 to 9 months old and sometimes even when a dog is 12 months old.
Other vets recommend spaying and neutering dogs when they are 6 months old, but never any earlier unless for medical reasons. With this said, many breeds are different, and it is always advisable to discuss things with a vet and then follow their advice on when a dog should be spayed or neutered.
Entlebuchers are known to like their food and can easily put on too much weight. However, like other breeds some dogs gain weight after they have been spayed or neutered and it's important to keep an eye on a dog's waistline just in case they do. If a dog starts to put on weight, it's important to adjust their daily calorie intake and to up the amount of exercise they are given. Older dogs too are more prone to gaining weight and again it's essential they be fed and exercised accordingly because obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years. The reason being that it puts a lot of extra strain on a dog's internal organs including the heart which could prove fatal.
Entlebuchers are not known to suffer from allergies but it's important for a dog to see a vet sooner rather than later if one flares up. Allergies can be notoriously hard to clear up and finding the triggers can be challenging. With this said, a vet would be able to make a dog with an allergy more comfortable while they try to find out the triggers which could include the following:
All responsible Entlebucher Mountain Dog breeders would ensure that their stud dogs are tested for known hereditary and congenital health issues known to affect the breed by using the following schemes:
Apart from the standard breeding restrictions that are in place for all Kennel Club registered breeds, there are no other breed specific breeding restrictions in place for the Entlebucher Mountain Dog.
For the moment, there are no DNA tests or screening schemes available for the Entlebucher Mountain Dog under the Kennel Club Assured Breeders Scheme, but breeders should have their stud dogs tested for known hereditary and congenital health issues before using them for breeding purposes namely progressive retinal atrophy and hip dysplasia.
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.
Entlebucher puppies are boisterous and full of life which means it's essential for homes and gardens to be puppy-proofed well in advance of their arrival. A responsible breeder would have well socialised their puppies which always leads to more outgoing, confident and friendly dogs right from the word go. With this said, any puppy is going to feel vulnerable when they leave their mother and littermates which must be taken into account. The longer a puppy can remain with their mother, the better although it should never be for too long either.
It's best to pick a puppy up when people are going to be around for the first week or, so which is the time needed for a puppy to settle in. Puppy-proofing the home and garden means putting away any tools and other implements that a boisterous puppy might injure themselves on. Electric wires and cables must be put out of their reach because puppies love chewing on things. Toxic plants should be removed from flowerbeds and the home too.
Puppies need to sleep a lot to grow and develop as they should which means setting up a quiet area that's not too out of the way means they can retreat to it when they want to nap and it's important not to disturb them when they are sleeping. It's also a good idea to keep "playtime" nice and calm inside the house and to have a more active "playtime" outside in the garden which means puppies quickly learn to be less boisterous when they are inside.
The documentation a breeder provides for a puppy must have all the details of their worming date and the product used as well as the information relating to their microchip. It is essential for puppies to be wormed again keeping to a schedule which is as follows:
There are certain items that new owners need to already have in the home prior to bringing a new puppy home. It's often a good idea to restrict how much space a puppy plays in more especially when you can't keep an eye on what they get up to bearing in mind that puppies are often quite boisterous which means investing in puppy gates or a large enough playpen that allows a puppy the room to express themselves while keeping them safe too. The items needed are therefore, as follows:
All puppies are sensitive to noise including Entlebucher puppies. It's important to keep the noise levels down when a new puppy arrives in the home. TVs and music should not be played too loud which could end up stressing a small puppy out.
As previously mentioned, Entlebucher puppies would have been given their first vaccinations by the breeders, but they must have their follow up shots which is up to their new owners to organise. The vaccination schedule for puppies is as follows:
When it comes to boosters, it's best to discuss these with a vet because there is a lot of debate about whether a dog really needs them after a certain time. However, if a dog ever needed to go into kennels, their vaccinations would need to be fully up to date.
Older Entlebuchers need lots of special care because as they reach their golden years, they are more at risk of developing certain health concerns. Physically, a dog's muzzle may start to go grey, but there will be other noticeable changes too which includes the following:
Living with an Entlebucher Mountain Dog in their golden years means taking on a few more responsibilities, but these are easily managed and should include looking at their diet, the amount of exercise they are given, how often their dog beds need changing and keeping an eye on the condition of their teeth.
Older Entlebuchers need to be fed a good quality diet that meets their needs at this stage of their lives all the while keeping a close eye on a dog's weight. A rough feeding guide for older dogs is as follows bearing in mind they should be fed highly digestible food that does not contain any additives:
Older Entlebuchers don't need the same amount of daily exercise as a younger dog, but they still need the right amount of physical activity to maintain muscle tone and to prevent a dog from putting on too much weight. All dogs need access to fresh clean water and this is especially true of older dogs when they reach their golden years because they are more at risk of developing kidney disorders.
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 builds 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 to really let off steam. However, the fencing must 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 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, bearing in mind that Entlebuchers love their food. 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 to 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.
Puppies need to be fed a highly nutritious, good quality diet for them to develop and grow as they should. As a rough guide, an Entlebucher puppy can be fed the following amounts every day making sure their meals are evenly spread out throughout the day and it's best to feed them 3 or 4 times a day:
Once a puppy is 15 months old they can be fed adult dog food.
Once fully mature, an adult Entlebucher should be fed a good quality diet to ensure their continued good health. As a rough guide, an adult dog can be fed the following amounts every day:
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 £60.31 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £106.78 a month (quote as of May 2018). 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 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 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 well-bred, healthy, Kennel Club registered pedigree Entlebucher Mountain Dog puppy.
When visiting and buying any puppy or dog, there are many important things to consider and questions to ask of the breeder/seller. You can read our generic puppy/dog advice here which includes making sure you see the puppy with its mother and to verify that the dog has been wormed and microchipped.
Finding well-bred Entlebucher Mountain Dog puppies can prove very challenging because few puppies are bred and registered with the Kennel Club every year. As such, puppies can often command a lot of money. With this said, with Entlebuchers there is specific advice, questions and protocols to follow when buying a puppy which are as follows:
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