|Height:||17 – 20 inches|
|Weight:||40 – 65 pounds|
|Lifespan:||11 – 15 years|
|Colors:||Black, brown, white|
|Suitable for:||Active couples and families, homes with large backyards|
|Temperament:||Loyal, intelligent, enthusiastic, independent, affectionate|
The Entlebucher Mountain Dog, also commonly referred to as the “Laughing Dog of the Swiss Alps,” belongs to the Sennehund family of herding breeds that originated in the Swiss Alps, which include the Bernese Mountain Dog and Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. The Entlebucher is the smallest of these Swiss breeds but is no less tough, hardy, and capable. They are spirited dogs with a potent work ethic.
These dogs are known for their intelligence, confidence, and friendliness, and they make wonderful family dogs that bond strongly with their human companions. That said, they are highly energetic animals that are happiest when given a job to do, and if they are not herding — which is what they were bred for — they will do well enrolled in agility or dog sport competitions and events.
With their high energy and independent nature, the Entlebucher is not for everyone and can be a challenge for novice owners. If you’d like to know more about this energetic and enthusiastic breed, read on for our in-depth guide.
Entlebucher Mountain Dog Puppies — Before You Get One…
Before you bring home an Entlebucher, it’s important to know that these dogs were bred and developed to herd and look after livestock and that they are brimming with energy. This can be difficult to match in an urban environment, and these dogs need a ton of exercise — certainly more than many other breeds their size. They are self-confident, independently-minded dogs that need a firm and consistent hand in training, and you’ll need to devote a great deal of time to these high-energy pooches.
3 Little-Known Facts About the Entlebucher Mountain Dog
1. They were developed for herding
The Swiss are well-known for two famous exports: cheese and chocolate. Dairy has long been a vital part of the Swiss economy. Before the days of industrial agriculture and the machinery that came with it, farmers relied heavily on dogs to protect and move their vast dairy herds, and the Entlebucher was one of four breeds developed for this purpose.
2. They are one of four Swiss Mountain Dogs
Four distinct breeds were developed at the foot of the Swiss Alps to protect farmers’ precious dairy cows, known as the “Sennehund” family of Swiss breeds. These breeds are the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, the Appenzeller, the Burmese Mountain Dog, and the Entlebucher, which is the smallest of the four.
3. They are highly territorial
Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are known to be highly devoted to their owners with almost unwavering loyalty and are often suspicious of strangers. This makes them excellent watchdogs, but they need good training and early socialization to help them distinguish who is a friend and who is a foe. Otherwise, they’ll let you know that almost everyone is suspicious with their impressively loud bark!
Temperament & Intelligence of the Entlebucher Mountain Dog
The Entlebucher Mountain Dog is as loyal as they come, with unmatched devotion and loyalty to their owners. It a bond that is so strong, it can be problematic at times. Without proper socialization, these dogs can become highly territorial and overly protective of their owners, and they do not enjoy being away from their human companions for even short periods. They can also be independently minded, which is a great trait for herding, but not so much for urban settings. These are all reasons that this breed is certainly not for everyone, and they can be challenging even for experienced owners.
With dedicated training and proper socialization, however, these loyal pooches are wonderful companions. They are highly intelligent and learn quickly and are experts at agility and dog sports. Despite their small size, they are surprisingly powerful animals, and this combined with their confidant and fearless nature makes them ideal watchdogs.
Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪
Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are generally wonderful family dogs, provided that they are properly trained and socialized and get enough exercise. They are loyal as they come and are sweet and gentle with children, although they may attempt to herd them at times! Just be sure to keep an eye on them around young kids, as their enthusiasm and exuberant nature can easily cause them to accidentally knock an unsuspecting child over.
Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?
Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are social animals that were developed by working together in packs. They generally get along great with other dogs and are even surprisingly friendly toward cats, although they may attempt to herd them. Smaller animals, however, may be seen as prey, and you should keep the family pet rabbit or hamster far away.
Things to Know When Owning an Entlebucher Mountain Dog
Now that you are more familiar with this energetic breed, here are additional tips on caring for these wonderful dogs.
Food & Diet Requirements 🦴
With their high energy and seemingly endless stamina, Entlebucher Mountain Dogs need high-quality food that is packed with protein. Dry kibble is great, and depending on your dog’s size, around 2-4 cups per day split into two meals is ideal. That said, we highly recommend supplementing this with lean meats occasionally. Look for foods tailored specifically toward high-energy, medium-sized breeds, and check that there is an animal protein listed in the top three ingredients, preferably the first. Try to avoid food with animal by-products, high amounts of processed grains, and any foods containing artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are high-maintenance animals when it comes to exercise and training, and they need a great deal of daily exercise to stay happy, healthy, and out of mischief. You’ll need to set aside at least 2 hours per day for exercise, which should consist of both a long walk and interactive playtime. Without this exercise, these dogs can swiftly become destructive and even aggressive, so it’s essential to make sure you can devote a couple of hours a day to exercising them before you bring one home. Remember, a well-exercised dog is a well-behaved dog!
Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are super smart, versatile, and enthusiastic dogs that with the right techniques, are highly rewarding to train. Their stubborn and independent nature can be challenging at times, especially for novice owners, but they generally love the process and love having a job to do, making training them a great experience. Early socialization and positive reinforcement methods are best with these sensitive pooches and will also help cement their already strong bond with you. With patience, consistency, and a gentle but firm hand, these dogs are a joy to train!
Entlebucher Mountain Dogs have a short, coarse coat that is a breeze to groom and maintain. They do shed frequently, though. You’ll need to brush them regularly to get rid of dead hair and keep their coat healthy and shiny. They are active pooches that will likely wear their nails down on their own, but they may need an occasional clipping. Try to brush their teeth as often as possible to prevent dental decay and disease. They are unlikely to need a bath that often, but if you do bathe them, be sure to use specially-made dog shampoos to keep their coat’s natural oils intact.
Health and Conditions 🏥
Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are generally a healthy, robust breed that suffers from few health problems. But like all dog breeds, there is no guarantee. They can be susceptible to several health issues that commonly affect active breeds.
Progressive retinal atrophy is a degenerative condition that affects the retinas and slowly gets worse with age. There is, unfortunately, no cure, and prevention and careful maintenance are all that can be done. Hip dysplasia is a condition characterized by a weakness in the hip joints that can progress rapidly in active dogs like the Entlebucher, which can eventually lead to lameness and pain.
Male vs. Female
If you’ve decided that the Entlebucher Mountain Dog is the breed for you, you’ll need to decide whether to get a male or female. There are few differences in personality between male and female Entlebuchers, but males are slightly bigger and heavier. Your decision will largely come down to personal preference, and whether you already have dogs at home, as same-sex groupings can sometimes cause issues.
Unless you intend on breeding, we highly recommend spaying or neutering your dog, as this will prevent unwanted pregnancies and stop males from wandering. It will also further mitigate any differences in character. It’s important to note that all dogs are individuals, and your dog’s temperament is far more influenced by their upbringing rather than their sex.
Related Read: 8 Swiss Dog Breeds
The Entlebucher Mountain Dog is an ancient breed with a long history of working closely with humans. For active owners, they are an ideal exercise companion and are always up for a run! They also have a playful nature that makes them ideal for families with older children, and they are generally gentle yet fiercely protective of their human family members. They are low-maintenance pooches that are easy to groom but need consistent training and a great deal of exercise, so you need to make sure you have the time to provide these before bringing an Entlebucher home.
If you’re on the lookout for an energetic, gentle, and protective pooch, the Entlebucher is a wonderful choice — if you’re lucky enough to find one!
Featured Image Credit: Malysheva_Nataly, Shutterstock