Entiebucher Mountain Dog

Entiebucher Mountain Dog
John Walton
Written by John Walton

The Entlebucher Mountain dog is an adorable, beautiful dog breed that has a lot of energy and lots of playfulness that comes with him or her. This breed comes from Switzerland and has genetic ties to the Bernese Mountain dog.

The Entlebucher Mountain dog is a herding dog that loves to put in a full day’s work! They have much agility, high intelligence, can be easy to train, and are as loyal as can be! He has a friendly attitude and loves to be around people and have fun!

Breed Characteristics

AdaptabilityAbove Average
Health and GroomingAbove Average
All Around FriendlinessHigh
Exercise NeedsHighest

Dog Breed Group:Herding Dogs
Height:1 foot, 4 inches to 1 foot, 8 inches tall
Weight:45 to 65 pounds
Life Span:10 to 13 years

The Entlebucher Mountain dog originated in Switzerland and is a relative of the Burnese Mountain dog as well as the Greater Swiss Mountain dog. He also belongs to the Sennenhund sect of dog breeds. There are 4 kinds of Sennenhunds: the Grosser Schweizer, Berner, Appenzeller, and Entlebucher. This breed is the smallest of the four, but that does not mean he is not going to be just as smart, loyal and hard-working!

This breed likes to work hard and was bred to herd flocks of animals and has not lost that tendency. He or she may nip at you or the kids in order to herd them together, which is a tendency that can be helped with training. Since this breed has much energy to burn, they need a daily walk of about an hour and they always need something to do.

This is where training helps because you can teach them to fetch things, gather items, and be helpful around the house!

One thing about this breed is that it knows its territory and will bark to let you know there are people on the property. With this breed, early socialization is extremely helpful as it will allow your dog to get used to people, places, noises and the environment around him. One thing is for sure, the Entle, as it is called for short, loves to be around children, playing or relaxing. He might be a little rough when playing, so this breed might be better for children 10 or older. As always, kids should be supervised around dogs.

The Entlebucher Mountain dog’s coat is very dense, thick, and will have 3 colors on the coat, which will be mostly black, the white areas are on the chest, tail and all feet, and between there will be hints of red throughout. Both the top and undercoat can be expected to be dense and will need to be brushed weekly to remove dirt, excess hair and debris.

During this time, do a weekly check of the dog’s body to check for any scrapes, abrasions or rashes, which can be detected early and treated by the vet if necessary.

The males of this breed can be expected to grow between 17 and 21 inches tall, while the females are 16 to 20 inches tall, and their weights range from 45 to 65 pounds if healthy and given proper nutrition. Overall, this dog can be great for the right owner, who has lots of energy, likes to exercise, and does not mind a bark now and then and some roughhousing with the dog!

Main Highlights
  • This breed is fairly adaptable but does not do well inside of small living spaces such as apartments, as they require larger open areas. Also, they may not be the best choice for a first-time dog owner. They can get tenacious and will need training from a steady hand.
  • Since the breed originated in Switzerland, they prefer colder weather and tolerate it quite well due to their thick top and undercoat, which keeps them warm. They do not handle warm weather well and can get overheated. Leave plenty of fresh water out for them if you live in a warmer climate.
  • They are such a family oriented dog breed! Though they do rough house a little bit occasionally, they are very loving, loyal and love children a lot! They need early socializing to get used to other dogs, and strangers, as they can be wary and on alert.
  • Overall, their health is decent and they are easy to groom! They shed moderately but tend to not drool much, so that’s a plus! This medium sized dog does not have a high potential for weight gain, which is probably due to his high energy level.
  • While they are smart and easy to train, they have tendencies to get stubborn and rather “mouthy”, when it comes to their independent streak and tendency to bark at times. Training will nip these problems in the bud, as well as their potential to wander at times.
  • The Entle’s exercise needs are high, as they are intense, hard-working, playful dogs. You should take them on an hour walk each day to stay healthy, even if they have had a full day of excitement and moving around. They are very playful so getting them the exercise they need should not be too hard.
  • Of the four types of Sennenhunds; the Grosser Schweizer, Berner, Appenzeller, and Entlebucher. Of the four, the Entlebucher Mountain dog is the smallest, but it is definitely able to play with the big boys and is just as smart.
  • This breed would be great for dog competitions like with agility, Frisbee and tracking. They can be trained to learn these competitions and win medals. It also keeps them active and exercised, which is great for their body and mind.
Breed History

Originally coming from Switzerland, the Entlebucher Mountain dog is one of four Sennenhund breeds that came to Switzerland from Rome, which happened in the 1st century B.C. Those four are known as the Grosser Schweizer Sennenhund, the Berner, the Appenzeller, and the Entlebucher, of which is the smallest.

In the early 1900s, some of the Entles were introduced to an advocate for dogs named Albert Heim due to their rare breed. They nearly went extinct around World War I, but in 1927, some of these dogs were found even though the first club for this breed was founded one year earlier. While they are still used for herding and as guard dogs, they are mostly family pets in this present day.

The American Kennel Club accepted the Entle into their club in 2010 and the following year they were allowed to compete in herding competitions. The breed is also accepted by The Kennel Club of the UK, The Canadian Kennel Club, and the Federation Cynologique Internationale, among others, but is not accepted into all just yet.


With this breed, the males tend to be larger than the females, coming in at 1 foot, 4 inches tall to 1 foot, 8 inches tall at the shoulder. The females come in around 1 foot, 3 inches tall to 1 foot, 7 inches tall, and both genders can weigh in between 45 and 65 pounds if fed properly and given daily exercise.

Personality and Character

Because this breed can sometimes wander, bark, and nip, and be wary of strangers, it should be trained and socialized as a puppy. They may nip at you or kids due to their nature of herding, and because of their occasional sense of independence, may decide to disobey, so taking proper precautions can be necessary.

However, this dog is great and is perfect for families or people with lots of energy and like to exercise. Also, your pup will enjoy as much companionship with you as you will with them! They are very family oriented and playful. As a good owner, you need to take them out to explore so they can get used to strangers, noises, new places and sounds.

Health and Potential Problems

Because this breed is rare, there are many dogs of this breed who come from inbreeding, which can lead to health issues that can affect your dog’s quality of life. Otherwise, if they are not inbred, they should not have too many issues, except common dog diseases and afflictions.

  • Hip Dysplasia is a condition in which the bone in the thigh does not fit correctly into the hip joint. One way to tell if this is hurting your dog is to check for pain and lack of use of that area. While this condition is hereditary, it can be attained from other factors like diet, falling, or any injury. A veterinarian can help to provide comfort for a dog with hip dysplasia.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy means loss of vision, which is when the retina is losing the ability to process light. Most dogs who begin to suffer from retinal atrophy will first have a hard time seeing at night, and over time their vision will suffer when the sun is out. This can and does lead to full blindness, and is not treatable currently.
  • Hemolytic Anemia is a condition in the body where red blood cells are taken from the blood stream before they are supposed to be. Red blood cells provide carry oxygen through the body, so if they are destroyed before their normal time, this can cause pain, irregular heartbeat, heart failure, fatigue, and an enlarged heart.
  • Cataracts, which occurs in the lens of the eye, causes cloudiness and therefore will give your dog blurry vision. When they become thicker, the dog can go blind if surgery is not an option. Most times, genetics are the cause of this but injury, age, and other diseases can inhibit this type of degeneration.
  • Diabetes is a condition in which the body is unable to process sugars correctly. Check for the symptoms which include increased appetite, being really thirsty, and going to the bathroom a lot. A dog will live with diabetes for the rest of its life so it is important to get them on insulin shots and control what they eat.
  • Parvo Virus is a viral and very contagious disease that is either defined as the intestinal form, which is most common, or the cardiac form. The intestinal form has symptoms of weight loss, vomiting and diarrhea. The cardiac form will affect the muscles in the heart. Parvo can lead to death and the dog should have shots to prevent this from happening.
  • Food allergies can be avoided if they are eating a proper dog food. Contact allergies could be from shampoos, powders and other chemicals in the house. Also, inhalant allergies can affect your dog because of pollen outside or dust and mildew.
  • Lyme Disease is a common disease found in dogs that come from ticks that leave behind a bacteria that spreads in the dog’s body. This can cause inflammation and lack of use of the affected area. Some dogs lose their appetite and subsequently lose weight, and may become depressed. If the disease is very serious, the kidneys and nervous system can be affected.
Care Features

While this breed is great overall, they can have stubborn times, which is where proper training and patience come in with this dog. They are very smart, and will learn quickly, and can get bored or do their own thing unless reeled back in. Training them to bark when necessary may be hard at first as they are wary of strangers.

For exercise, they need a one hour walk per day, which is necessary to keep them healthy and active. They have a lot of energy to burn and exercise is absolutely needed for them. They do love being outside and having a big fenced in yard to watch birds from and run around in, as they do not do well in apartment living. They love cold weather and their thick coat can handle it, but they do not like warm weather too much.

Feeding Schedule

With this breed, you should feed it 1.5 to 2.5 cups of dry kibble with protein twice per day, depending on size. If you have a bigger dog, it will need more nutrients to be healthy. Another thing with this breed is that it is not recommended to leave food out for grazing, as they can gain unnecessary weight.

Coat, Color and Grooming

You can expect to find this breed with a tri-colored coat that comes in mostly black, with white on the chest, tail and muzzle, as well as the feet. Then you will find hints of red or “rust” all throughout the body. The coat will be thick on top and bottom and very dense, which would have kept them warm in the Swiss winters.

You should brush your dog once a week to remove dander, hair and debris, as well as do a fully body check to see if there is any infection, scrapes, or abrasions that may need attention. Also, check out the ears, nose, mouth and eyes to be sure they are normal. Bathing can be done when necessary and you should clip their nails once a month or as needed. If you brush their teeth, it can be done 2 times a week up to 7 days. This will help curb gum disease, halitosis, and keep the teeth healthy and free of decay.

Children And Other Pets Compatibility

If socialized early enough, this breed can get along famously with children and other animals. However, this breed is naturally prone to being on alert when another animal (or stranger) is around. And while they do love children and will play with them and love them, small children should be supervised, though they are great exercise companions and playmates.

This breed can nip at the heels of children due to their herding mentality. This behavior and more can be curbed with proper training by an owner who is firm but fair when it comes to discipline.

This is why taking them out to explore new people, places, things, and sounds is so important, because it shows them that those are normal things and sounds; that they do not have to worry, and it can release stress from them.

In essence, the Entlebucher Mountain dog is a great family companion that has some quirks bout them but with proper training and patience, with a great owner, this dog can be the perfect pal! If you have a home with a yard, or a big open space, this breed will be at its happiest, especially if the home has children to play with!

They may not like having other animals in the home, so socializing them as puppies can curb this behavior. Otherwise, they are a great herding dog, guard dog, and family friend that will return the love and loyalty for many years!

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.