Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are a medium-sized, well-muscled, compact breed. Their coat is hard and short and comes in a tricolor variation that is bright black with pure white symmetrical markings on the feet, muzzle, chest, and blaze. There are shades of mahogany to rich fawn on the eyebrows and located between the white and black markings. The breed's topcoat is short, harsh, shiny, and close fitting, and the undercoat is dense. These dogs have dark, almond-shaped eyes, high-set ears, a well-chiseled muzzle, and an alert expression. Entlebucher Mountain Dogs range in size from 16 to 21 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 45 to 65 pounds.
Early socialization is important to ensure these dogs become tolerant of strangers. Even with training and socialization, they remain aloof with unfamiliar people.
These dogs are a very energetic and high-energy breed, which makes them unsuitable for sedentary families and for those who live in small apartments or densely urban areas. They have a warm, lively, and outgoing personality and get along well with children and pets, provided they have sufficient training. These dogs are ideal companion animals for active families in suburban or rural settings who have plenty of time to devote to the breed.
Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are truly happiest when actively engaged with their human families. They thrive as part of a family unit and they excel working as therapy dogs or in positions where they can perform specific tasks and take on responsibility.
Entlebuchers are lively, self-assured, determined, and active dogs that are protective of and loyal to their families. Although they may be reserved with strangers, they are never aggressive or shy. They are highly intelligent, adaptable and confident, and they thrive in homes where they receive an abundance of love, attention, and time.
These dogs need a lot of room to run around, which makes them poor choices for apartment living. They enjoy climbing and playing, and they will take on a protective role when it comes to children, dogs, and even cats in their household. When it comes to strays and wild animals, however, Entlebuchers will not hesitate to chase them down. A securely fenced backyard is a necessary part of keeping these dogs safe and out of traffic.
To remain healthy, happy, and fit, Entlebucher Mountain Dogs need daily walks and lots of free play in a wide-open space. They do best when given a task to do; without a focus for their energy, they may become bored and destructive.
A fairly healthy breed, Entlebuchers don't suffer from a great number of genetic diseases. However, the breed is known to be affected by hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, and some other conditions. Entlebucher urinary syndrome, or EUS, is a condition in which the ureter does not connect properly to the urinary bladder. This breed-specific condition may cause only minor symptoms or may lead to renal failure and death.
Entlebuchers are mountain dogs and therefore have trouble tolerating high temperatures. It's very important to keep these dogs cool and to provide continuous access to cool water and shade during the hot summer months. Exercise should be kept to a minimum in high temperatures.
With routine veterinary care, a healthy diet, regular exercise, timely vaccinations, and attention to weight management, the Entlebucher Mountain Dog can live as long as 12 years.
Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are highly trainable and prized for their agreeable natures. They are intelligent, responsive to commands, and respond very well to fair, firm, and consistent rules. These dogs can be a bit stubborn, though, and they will test their trainer to see what they can get away with. It's essential to resist giving in. Positive reinforcement works well with these dogs; harsh verbal corrections or physical punishment can backfire.
Early socialization is important to ensure these dogs become tolerant of strangers. Even with training and socialization, they remain aloof with unfamiliar people. The goal is to prevent aggression stemming from the breed's guardian instincts, and training usually accomplishes this easily. Entlebuchers make great watchdogs.
This breed excels at competitive sports and enjoys just about any physical activity, provided they are joined by their master. They need a lot of exercise to provide an outlet for excess energy that can otherwise show itself in destructive or otherwise undesirable behaviors.
Entlebuchers require minimal grooming. Their thick, short, double coat is easy to care for, but it sheds a moderate amount. A weekly brushing with a rubber curry brush will remove dead hair and keep shedding to a minimum. In the spring, when shedding usually peaks for these dogs, brushing may need to increase to every other day until the winter coat has dropped off.
These dogs rarely require bathing, although they can end up in something dirty, sticky, or stinky while playing outdoors. In these cases, a gentle canine shampoo will clean the coat without irritating the skin.
The nails need trimming every few weeks to prevent snagging and breaking. To prevent tartar buildup, tooth decay, and gum disease, the teeth should be brushed every day or as often as possible and dental treats should be given between brushings for extra protection. The ears require weekly cleaning to remove excess ear wax and to check for redness, pain, odor, discharge, or other signs of infection.
Native to Switzerland, the Entlebucher Mountain Dog is the smallest of the four tri-colored Swiss Mountain Dogs, a group that includes the Appenzeller Sennenhund, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, and the Bernese Mountain Dog. All of these breeds descended from mastiff-type dogs that were brought over by the Romans 2,000 or more years ago.
The Entlebucher Mountain Dog breed originated in a valley in the district Cantons Lucerne and Berne, called Entlebuch. Historically, the breed was used to move cows between pastures in the Alps. They were also relied on to manage horses, hogs, and other large animals. Their speed, intelligence, and agility made them naturally talented at such tasks.
Although Entlebuchers are primarily herding dogs, they do very well at competitive dog sports and make great companion animals for active families and singles. Their energetic nature and devotion to family makes them popular choices for household pets.
The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Entlebucher Mountain Dog in 2011.