The Smallest of the four Swiss Mountain Dogs
Entlebucher Mountain dogs, or Sennenhund as they are known in their native Switzerland, is the smallest of the four Swiss Mountain Breeds which include theGreater Swiss, Bernese, Appenzeller and Entlebucher. Don’t let their size fool you however, the Entlebucher, or Entle for short are compact dogs that packs a punch and carry all the muscle of a bigger model!
Swiss Mountain Dogs
It is said that these Sennenhund breeds have descended from the ancient molossus dogs that were brought to Switzerland somewhere around 500 B.C by Roman troops, although some sources suggest the breed might be much older than that.
The word Senn means Alpine herdsmen or dairy men who tend the farmer’s cattle, and Sennen hund means dogs of the Senn. Their jobs was to be a general farm dog, livestock guardian, herding dog, guard dog for the family and farm, chasing away wolves and other large predators.
The AKC Gazette (Jan, 2011) describes these dogs as so intelligent and dependable that they can oversee dairy production from clover to cheese. They do everything but milk the cows:
“They can be trusted, because they are a thinking dog, to take the cows into the hills and bring them back. Then the farmer milks the cows, puts the milk in the cans and sends the dogs off alone to the cheese maker. Then the cheese maker send the dogs home” (Jan Vincent, president of the National Entlebucher Mountain Dog Association, NEMDA)
Establishing the breed
The Sennenhunds, especially the larger ones, had begun to disappear in the 1800s, as butchers and carting dogs were less in demand. The two smallest Mountain dogs, the Entlebucher and the Appenzeller were considered the same breed for most of the 19th century.
In fact, NEMDA say the word Entlebucherhund was first recorded in 1889. It was thanks to Albert Heim, an Alpine geologist and Swiss dogs breeds advocate, that the breeds exists the way they do today. He brought several Sennenhunds to an international dog show in 1908 and the dogs were sorted into the four breed types and given their separate breed names (Your Dog Magazine, April 2011).
The Entlebucher Mountain dog originates from the village of Entlebuch in Switzerland. The Swiss breed standard for the Entlebucher wasn’t established until 1927, and was first introduced to North America in 1984 when animal behaviouralist Andrew Luescher imported a puppy named Tessa and went on to breed her with an imported male imported from Switzerland. Canada recognised the Entlebucher breed in 1989 and in 2011 the breed became eligible to compete in AKC conformation in the herding group.
In 2000, the breed was introduced to the UK by Lucy Denman who went on to breed one litter of puppies and achieved recognition of the breed on the kennel club’s import register. Breed enthusiasts and theEntlebucher Mountain Dog Club of Great Britain are hoping that the Kennel Club will issue an interim breed standard within a year or two.
[UPDATE: 25th February, 2013 – Kennel Club Approval. The Kennel Club awarded our Interim Breed Standard on February 12th to be effective from the 1st of April. This will allow the Entlebucher to be entered into the import classes of KC registered dog shows for the first time.]
What they look like
Appearance: Entlebuchers are Medium-sized, heavy-boned and with a muscular body with compact motion – in short, they are a big dog in a small compact package!
Coat and Color: Short, thick, hard, glossy coat. Tri-colored black, white and rust with symmetrical markings on the toes, chest and blaze; the rust always lies between the black and white. The two little spots on the brow is the ‘herding eye’. If the Entle goes to sleep in the sun, the cattle will look at the dog and think ‘yes he is still watching’.
Head: Flat skull with a straight, strong well-formed muzzle; small, lively dark brown eyes; medium-sized, triangular-shaped, rounded ears, set high and hanging against the cheeks. In short, they have such beautiful features, especially as puppies, they could probably get away with anything!
Tail: Natural white tipped tail, or docked.
Key Facts about the Entlebucher Mountain Dogs
- Pronounciation: Follow this link and hear a native Swiss speaker pronounce the breed’s name: ehnt-lu-boo-KAHR
- Height: Dogs 43-53.5cm (17-21in); Bitches 40.5-51cm (16-20 in)
- Weight: 23-30 kg (51-66lb)
- Health issues: Heart murmurs, ectopic uterer, hip dysplasia, and progressive retinal atrophy
- Average Lifespan: 10-14 years
- Temperament: Self assured and fearless. Bright, intelligent and incredibly loyal family dogs who love being surrounded by his favourite people. They build a very strong bond with their primary carer. The Entlebucher needs a firm but calm pack leader who can train his dog using positive reinforcement methods.
- Suitable activities: They are very athletic and suitable for almost any dog sport such as agility and fly ball.
- Living Conditions: The Entlebucher needs a garden or yard to run off excess energy, but he will not want to stay out there on his own – he will want to be with his family at all times.
- Exercise: The Entlebucher needs at least one hour of exercise a day – generally you will tire before they do.
- Grooming: This is a low maintenance dog who only needs to be brushed once a week, and bathed a couple of times a year.
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