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Entlebucher Mountain Dog

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The Entlebucher Mountain Dog is a medium to large purebred from Switzerland. It is the smallest of four Swiss mountain dogs, small being still fairly big! It was bred to be a work dog, herding cattle and livestock and has a very strong work ethic as a result. It is also called the Entelbucher Cattle Dog and Entlebucher Sennenhund. Sennenhund comes from the herding people in the Swiss Alps called the Senn, and hund meaning dog. Entlebuch is a region in Switzerland.

The Entlebucher Mountain Dog at A Glance
Name Entlebucher Mountain Dog
Other names Entelbucher Cattle Dog, Entlebucher Sennenhund, Entelbuch Mountain Dog
Nicknames Entlebucher, Entle
Origin Switzerland
Average size Medium to large
Average weight 45 to 65 pounds
Average height 17 to 20 inches
Life span 10 to 13 years
Coat type Short, dense, thick
Hypoallergenic No
Color Tricolor,
Popularity Not popular – ranked 164th by the AKC
Intelligence Quite intelligent – above average
Tolerance to heat Moderate – can only handle warm weather not hot
Tolerance to cold Very good – can live in cold climates just not extremes
Shedding Moderate to constant – there will be some loose hair around the home
Drooling Low – not a breed prone to slobber or drool
Obesity Above average – monitor its food and exercise
Grooming/brushing Moderate – easy to brush, a couple of times a week at least will help reduce loose hair around the home
Barking Occasional to frequent – does bark can be just occasional but some bark more than that, a command to control is a good idea
Exercise needs Very active – will need more than just short walks
Trainability Moderately hard – experience will make it easier but this is a dog with a strong mind of its own
Friendliness Very good with socialization
Good first dog Low to moderate – not a first time dog, best with experienced owners
Good family pet Very good to excellent with socialization
Good with children Very good with socialization
Good with other dogs Good but needs socialization
Good with other pets Good but needs socialization
Good with strangers Moderate – socialization and supervision is essential
Good apartment dog Low – not a dog for small living spaces
Handles alone time well Good – can handle short periods being alone but not long
Health issues Fairly healthy breed but some issues include
Medical expenses $485 a year for basic health care and pet insurance
Food expenses $270 a year for a good quality dry dog food and dog treats
Miscellaneous expenses $245 a year for license, basic training, miscellaneous items and toys
Average annual expenses $1000 as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $1,350
Rescue organizations Several including NEMDA (National Entlebucher Mountain Dog Association
Biting Statistics None reported

The Entlebucher Mountain Dog's Beginnings

It is believed that all the Swiss Mountain Dogs descend from dogs brought to the area by the Romans over 2000 years before. These were some kind of mastiff dogs. The exact origin and breeding details of the Entlebucher are not known other than that. They were used as herding dogs and to guard cattle and livestock. The other three Mountain Dogs that developed at the same time in different regions were the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, the Bernese Mountain Dog and the Appenzeller.

For many years distinctions between the four types were not made, in fact until the early 20th century it was even thought the Entlebucher was the same dog as the Appenzell. Its name came from a town in Switzerland in a region called Lucerne. It was only called an Entlebucherhund in 1889 when dog shows became popular. The Entlebucher was not a breed seen outside of its country for many years and still today is rare elsewhere.

In 1913 the four mountain dog breeds were shown in a Swiss dog show and because of what the judges said the Entlebucher was recognized as a separate breed. It was then that a show judge, Professor Heim realized the mountain breeds were in danger of being extinct and looked across the Swiss alps for examples to save. However it did not have a standard written still until 1927 a year after the Swiss Club of Entlebuch Cattle Dogs was founded. This was because of World War I, which had a negative impact on dog breeding everywhere.

New Lease on Life

After the war at first no Entlebuchers could be found but after a while 16 were found and breeders very slowly worked on restoring this dog's numbers. Of course that was then interrupted by World War II but breeders again returned to re-establishing its numbers when the war ended. Its development has been slow and while it is still used as a working dog in Switzerland by some owners, elsewhere it is rare and kept mostly as a show dog or companion. The AKC recognized the Entlebucher Mountain Dog in 2011 and it is ranked 164th in popularity.

The Dog You See Today

The Entlebucher Mountain Dog is a medium to large dog weighing 45 to 65 pounds and standing 17 to 20 inches tall. Females have a squared and compact body and males are longer, but both are sturdily built and muscular. It has compact feet, and a tail that is sometimes docked in places where that is still allowed, or left with a natural bobtail. It has a double coat that is short, thick, smooth and harsh and common colors are black, white and tan. It has a head that is in proportion to its body with a flat skull and long powerful jaw. Its ears are triangular shaped but the tips are rounded and they hang down though the dog can lift them a little when it is alert. Its eyes are small, brown and lively.

The Inner Entlebucher Mountain Dog


Entlebuchers, nicknamed Entles, are great watchdogs as they are very alert and as well as barking to let you know of an intruder, it is also very protective so will act to defend you and its home and family. It is very brave and fierce in it its loyalty. Its barking is deep and loud though and can vary from occasional to frequent so a command to stop it will be needed. It is not a breed best suited to new owners as it does do better with people who have previous dog experience.


This is an active, self-assured, energetic, intelligent and cheerful dog. It is very sensitive though so does not like raised voices and will not respond well to scolding or physical correction. It can be independent but it is also friendly and in the right home can be a great family dog. Owners praise it for its devotion to its family and with them it is loving and wants lots of attention. With strangers though it is more aloof some can lean towards being more friendly but some can also lean too close to being suspicious, so socialization is important.

It comes from being a working breed and that is still very much part of its character, it needs things to do or a job and it is very hard working. It does well at being a therapy dog, agility events, and of course herding, but it can do other things too and training would be a part of its work. It loves to be with people and does not like to be left alone for long periods but can handle short periods without too much anxiety. It bonds very closely so get used to having a medium sized dog hugging your legs or shoving its face in your lap, or wanting snuggle time! It is a steady dog but enthusiastic with its affection! Also keep in mind it likes to climb high up onto things to keep an eye on everyone and it needs to be a part of the family activities.

Living with an Entlebucher Mountain Dog

What will training look like?

The Entle is moderately hard to train which is partly why experienced owners is advised. It is intelligent and keen to work but it does also have an independent side. It comes from hundreds of years of sometimes being left alone with its flock! Be patient and persevere with it and stay positive but be firm and consistent. Make sure it knows you are setting the rules and that you mean what you say. It will challenge you as it can be dominant and will try to push back, but as long as you make it clear you are the pack leader things will go a lot better. Giving in at any time, even just once, sends it the message you are not always in charge and you do not always mean what you say.

Training and socialization should start as soon as you bring it home. At 8 weeks a puppy can be a sponge to everything and has not yet developed more stubborn tendencies! Socialization is very important to ensure it grows into a confident and happy adult. With this breed it is also important so that it if its more suspicious of strangers it learns appropriate reactions. Get it used to different sounds, places, people, animals and situations.

How active is the Entlebucher Mountain Dog?

This is a very active breed so it needs to be with owners who are active too, ones who do not groan at having to take the dog for a walk, and are happy to have it comes with them when they are jogging, hiking, cycling and so on. It is a dog that does well at doggy sports such as tracking, herding, agility, obedience and rally. It should be taken for a couple of long walks a day at least and then should have time in the week for play, and safe off leash time where it can safely run free. For example you could take it to a dog park. Keep in mind Entlebuchers love to play and love to rough house and romp around. In all you should be giving it at least a couple of hours a day of a mix of physical activity and mental stimulation. If it does not have enough interesting things to do and enough chances to vent lots of energy it can become destructive and hard to control. When it is younger, up to the age of two it is even more bouncy and young children and the elderly have been known to be knocked over by them so keep an eye out!

Caring for the Entlebucher Mountain Dog

Grooming needs

This is not a dog that has high maintenance needs or one that requires a lot of grooming. However it does shed a moderate amount so some hair is normal around the house, regular vacuuming will be needed and brushing regularly will help reduce the loose hair you find. Brush at least once a week using a rubber curry brush, or more if needed. During seasonal shedding times it will shed more heavily and you will likely need to brush daily for a few weeks. Only give it a bath when it really needs one as bathing too often strips its natural oils which can lead to skin problems. Always use a proper dog shampoo when it is bath time for the same reason.


Other care is the same care that all dogs need. Check its ears once a week for redness, discharge and swelling which are signs of infection. If it is all clear they can be cleaned using either a warm damp cloth and just wiping, or a cotton ball and dog ear cleanser. Never insert anything into the ears, you can do serious damage and cause a lot of pain. It should have its teeth brushed at least two to three times a week. It should also have its nails trimmed when they grow too long. Some active dogs wear their nails down naturally but some need more regular trimming. Use proper dog nail clippers and make sure not to go too far down so you do not nick the area where there are vessels and nerves. That would hurt the dog a great deal and cause bleeding. If you prefer you can have a groomer do it for you or your vet.

Feeding Time

How much a dog eats can vary somewhat depending on its size, level of activity, metabolism rate, build, health and age. In general this breed will eat about 2½ to 3½ cups of a good quality dry dog food. Feed it good quality food as that is better for your dog. This dog can enjoy its food and will happily over eat if able. Make sure you monitor how much it eats and that it gets plenty of exercise.

How is the Entlebucher Mountain Dog with children and other animals?

An Entle is good with children, it is affectionate towards them, protective of them when raised with them and they are a part of its family and it likes to play. Because of its energy and rambunctious it is best supervised with young children or just best in homes with older children, as the little ones will get knocked over in its enthusiasm. If small children are around make sure they are supervised. Always teach children the right way to approach, stroke and deal with a dog. Having an older child happy to play endless games of fetch, learning tricks and such is a great way to make sure your dog and your child are getting lots of exercise! With other animals in the home that it has been raised with it will accept them. However random cats, squirrels, rabbits and such out in its yard or in its way when out walking are game to be chased.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

Entlebuncher should live for 10 to 13 years. In general this is quite a healthy breed with not too many health issues linked to them. Things that might come up include problems with their eyes, hip dysplasia, Entlebucher urinary syndrome, obesity and overheating.

Biting Statistics

Reports of dogs attacking people in the US and Canada and causing bodily harm over the last 35 years do not mention this breed. Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are not common in North America so it is very unlikely for them to be involved in such incidents. They are also not a breed prone to aggression. However there is no dog breed that is 100% guaranteed never to snap or become aggressive. Dogs can have bad days, they can be stressed or defensive, they might be poorly trained and not socialized. A dog is less likely to have this kind of situation if it is in the right home, given the right amount of attention, exercise, stimulation, training and socialization. It does not mean it would never happen, but the odds are lower.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

An Entlebucher Mountain Dog puppy is not a cheap thing to have. You can expect pet quality dogs to be around $1350, but from top show breeders prices could be even more. You can also expect to be put on a waiting list but this is worth it to be dealing with a decent breeder who takes good care of their animals. There are some puppy mills, bad breeders and backyard breeders out there to be avoided at all cost. Shelters and rescues is another route to take to get a new dog, it is not likely to be a puppy aged dog though, and with rare purebreds finding one is unlikely. However if you are willing to accept a mix prices are less, $50 to $400 for example plus the joy in seeing that dog happy it has finally gotten its proper forever home.


When you have your dog or puppy there are some things to be taken care of that will be an initial cost for you. It should have a visit with a vet so it can be checked over then have some tests and procedures done. That includes things like spaying or neutering, shots, blood test, deworming and micro chipping. These initial medical needs will be about $200. The dog will need some items too at home like a crate, carrier, leash and collar, bowls and such. This will cost around $220.

Then there are the ongoing year to year costs to be covered. Feeding your dog a good quality dry dog food along with dog treats will cost about $270 a year. Basic medical care like shot updates, tick and flea prevention, yearly check ups and pet insurance will be around $485 a year. Then there are other miscellaneous costs such as basic training, toys, license and other miscellaneous items that might be needed. These come to about $245 a year. That gives a yearly starting figure of $1000.


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The Entlebucher Mountain Dog is a very sturdy medium sized dog and a very active one too. It should not be taken in by owners who are less than very active. This means more than a 20 minute walk a couple of times a week. This means athletic and vigorous activity daily and happy to do so as this dog will want to join you on your adventures. It is an especially rowdy dog up to two years old and without the right attention, care and training it will get bored, destructive and hard to control. Without a confident owner making it clear who is in charge this dog will try to nip at things like other joggers, dogs, animals and such. With the right people though it is amazingly dedicated, affectionate, loyal and when with you it is full of joy. Coming from a working background it does prefer to have jobs to do so if you are not keeping it as a working dog, think up something else for it to feel useful!

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