The Entelbucher Mountain Dog breed is best for experienced pet parents with active lifestyles who want a 24/7 canine companion to participate in all of their daily activities.
Entlebucher Mountain Dog Traits
What makes the Entlebucher Mountain Dog an Entlebucher Mountain Dog? Let's find out how they stack up.
Entlebucher Mountain Dog Temperament
Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are so loyal and devoted that they won’t leave your side for the next 13 years or so—seriously, they’ll want to be with you 24/7. Bred to watch over cattle day and night, one of their most well-known traits is their need to be busy. These pups are at their happiest when mentally stimulated, and they want to be busy with their dog parents. If you don’t give them something to do, they’ll find activities all on their own—and you might not like what they pick.
For this reason, their temperament might not be everyone’s cup of tea—especially for those with couch potato tendencies—but for a pet parent with an active lifestyle, the “Swiss Army knife” of the dog world makes an excellent companion dog.
Entlebuchers are very bright dogs, meaning you can train them to do practically anything—which is where the Swiss Army knife reference comes from. But early socialization is vital for the breed. They’re aloof when they first meet someone, and they’re suspicious of strangers. They prefer people don’t pet them when they first meet them; they won’t snarl or growl—they’re very polite—but they’re not thrilled to be petted as a Labrador would be. If properly socialized, Entles do warm up quickly to other people—within minutes—so they can be social dogs, just not social butterflies.
Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are good with kids once they’re properly trained and socialized, but Entlebucher puppies love to play rough, so they don’t make the best of companions for the littles. They’re best suited for a household with older kids, who the Entle will protect thanks to their guard dog instincts. As a drover breed, they are hardwired not to bite. They were bred to drive the herd with their shoulders, so they can run into you and knock you flat, but they won’t bite you. The Entlebucher breed is great with other animals from their household, and, as their pet parent, you might find yourself with more than one Entle in your life.
Entles are not what you’d call an easy-going breed; they have a high drive and are a bit more high strung than other dogs, but they are less of a challenge for someone who understands canines in general. Active pet parents with some dog savvy are bound to love the Entlebucher Mountain Dog’s personality.
How to Care for a Entlebucher Mountain Dog
The Entlebucher Mountain Dog breed will thrive if you give them something to do—from agility and conformation (dog shows) to working as therapy dogs—and even more so if it means spending time with you. Entles need a moderate amount of consistent daily exercise, but they need more mental stimulation than the average dog. Not to repeat ourselves, but this breed really need things to do, and if you don’t meet this need, you can bet an Entle will find something to do all on their own. (Gulp!)
Entlebucher Mountain Dog Health
The Entlebucher Mountain Dog has a lifespan of 11 to 13 years and doesn’t have many health issues. While they’re a very healthy dog, knowing what may be a concern for the breed can help your pup live the longest life possible.
- Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a genetic disease affecting many large breeds. It’s a deformity that occurs during growth and can be affected by factors such as diet and exercise. For this reason, it’s important to watch your Entlebucher Mountain Dog’s weight. Hip evaluations should be performed on young dogs—4 to 6 months old—as early diagnosis can increase the treatment options available, such as surgical procedures that can only be performed on pups. Besides weight control and surgery, treatments to make your Entle’s life more comfortable include medication to alleviate stiffness and pain and acupuncture.
- Luxating Patella: A luxating patella is a kneecap that moves out of its normal location. Pet parents may notice their pup skipping a step or running on three legs, only to go back to normal a few seconds later. A luxating patella will require surgery—it won’t get better without it—but it’s considered a simple surgery with a very high success rate.
- Eye Conditions: Some of the most serious eye conditions that affect all dogs can also be present in the Entlebucher, such as Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), a hereditary eye disease that causes blindness; glaucoma, which results in pressure in the eye; and cataracts, where the lens of the eye becomes opaque. NEMDA, the AKC Parent Breed Club for the Entlebucher in North America, requires an annual eye exam certified by a Board Certified Veterinary Ophthalmologist for all breeding dogs and recommends annual eye exams for all pups during their yearly checkups. If you have any concerns, speak with your vet.
- Entlebucher Urinary Syndrome: This is a genetic disease of the urinary system that presents as an abnormality at the junction of the ureter and the bladder. EUS can cause problems ranging from occasional leaking of urine to renal failure and death. Fortunately, EUS is very uncommon (the mildest condition of urine leaking is the most prevalent manifestation of the disease, but it still doesn’t occur very often). Any reputable breeder should catch this early on.
Entlebucher Mountain Dog History
The Entlebucher Mountain Dog’s origin can be traced to the Swiss Alps, more concretely to the valley of the river Entlebuch. Also known as the Entlebuch Cattle Dog, the breed was originally bred to move and guard herds before industrial agriculture came to be. Entles performed many activities, but their primary task was to drive cattle up to high pastures to feed in the summer and back down to the valley for winter. The Entlebucher’s history as an all-around farm dog explains why the breed excels at so many different tasks—there’s no denying that these Entlebucher qualities persist to this day.
During the 1900s, crossbreeding with German Shepherds and the outbreak of World War I almost caused the extinction of the Entlebucher Mountain Dog breed. However, breed standards were developed as the result of the work of several breeders, and an Entlebucher club was formed in Switzerland in 1926. The breed first came to the United States in 1975, and in 2011, the American Kennel Club recognized the Entlebucher Mountain Dog as their 170th breed.
To this day, Entlebuchers are considered a very rare breed. So, where’s the best place to find an Entlebucher Mountain puppy? You can find a list of reputable breeders on the American Kennel Club’s website, but you’ll need to be patient as puppies are not available on demand. Depending on the breeder, a puppy can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $6,000, but the average is $1,200 to $1,400. (The higher cost is for superior pedigrees or breeding rights.) If you’d like to adopt a Entle, contact the National Entlebucher Mountain Dog Association.
Do Entlebucher Mountain Dogs shed?
Entlebucher Mountain Dogs do shed, although not as much as other dogs. It’s nothing that a good brushing two or three times a week can’t control, though.
Are Entlebucher Mountain Dogs good family dogs?
Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are good family dogs as long as they have a devoted pet parent who will provide lots of training and keep them busy, loved and happy. Entlebuchers are good with older kids; these pups like to play rough when young, so they’re not well suited for small children.
Are Entlebucher Mountain Dogs aggressive?
Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are not aggressive. They’re a drover breed, meaning they were bred to drive livestock with their shoulders. This means they’re hardwired not to bite, but they can knock you flat.
How big do Entlebucher Mountain Dogs get?
The Entlebucher Mountain Dog isn’t as big as the other three Swiss Mountain Dogs—Bernese Mountain Dog, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog and Appenzeller Sennenhund. Males can reach 65 pounds, though, and females 55.
Do Entlebucher Mountain Dogs bark a lot?
Entlebucher Mountains Dogs only bark when they need to. They are part guard dog and are known for having a big bark for their size. Entles are suspicious of strangers and can react to changes in their environment by barking, but the more socialized they are, the more they’ll be able to tell if someone is friend or foe—and bark less.
Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are smart and energetic with a loving and loyal nature. They love their family but are aloof and suspicious of strangers, so they need a ton of socialization early on and throughout their lives. Entles are highly trainable but their need to be constantly mentally stimulated can be a handful for first-time pet parents. They will thrive with someone who’s raised dogs before and is looking for a 24/7 companion. An Entlebucher will demand your every spare moment—they’re the ideal breed for those who want a buddy to do things with.