Tuesday, March 13, 2012
I’ve never met an Entlebucher Mountain Dog in person. In fact, I’d never heard of this dog breed until I learned they were one of the six new breeds that competed in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in February. The pictures I’ve run across show good looking, tricolored dogs with wonderfully expressive faces. I wanted to know more about these beauties.
About the Entlebucher Mountain Dog
A native of Switzerland, this dog breed is also known as the Entlebucher Sennenhund or the Entelbucher Cattle Dog. They are the smallest of the four AKC Swiss breeds. The original purpose for this easily-trained dog was herding and guarding, and they were highly valued for their strength, vitality and work ethic. These days, Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are usually kept as an energetic companion animal.
Medium-sized and muscular, this dog looks square and sturdy. They have a well-proportioned head with a strong skull and a long, powerful jaw. Their smallish eyes are brown and their triangular ears are black. Some Entlebuchers have a congenital bobtail. They all have a smooth, close coat with balanced black, tan (fawn to mahogany) and white markings. The coat is white on their chest, blaze, toes and the tip of their tail; the tan color always separates the black from the white. It’s the tricolored markings on their faces, however, that drew me in. Those symmetrical markings give their faces so much expression; these dogs look extremely intelligent and responsive. Regarding their size, male Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are between 17 to 21 inches and females are between 16 to 20 inches tall at the shoulder.
The Entlebucher is confident but not aggressive. They are an active, highly energetic breed with a healthy dose of self-assurance and determination. This lively dog is cheerful and intelligent. The breed is known as a loyal and protective companion animal that is easy to train and responsive to commands.
Generally a healthy dog, the breed is subject to Entlebucher Urinary Syndrome (EUS) which is a disease of the renal/urinary system. The most common symptoms of EUS are slight urine leaking and occasional bladder infections. For dogs with nominal problems, this issue is easily treated with incontinence medication. Researchers are working to discover a genetic link that may help Entlebuchers overcome this issue. Otherwise, the breed is prone to the same diseases as other mixed breed and purebred dogs. A few eye diseases including progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts and glaucoma have been found in the breed, and responsible breeders test for canine hip dysplasia at an early age to help minimize the problem for future generations.
This dog breed’s determination and strong desire to work can lead to a single-minded persistence. With a sturdy body and commanding presence, they can quickly shift from an exuberant playmate to a serious, self-confident dog. Additionally, these dogs require a high degree of activity and socialization their entire lives. For all of these reasons, the Entlebucher Mountain Dog is best suited for an active and experienced dog owner.
After doing my research, I’m convinced these dogs are as wonderful as they look. Have any of you met an Entlebucher Mountain Dog in person?
To learn more about these dogs, visit the National Entlebucher Mountain Dog Association website.
Top photo by Tambako the Jaguar
Bottom photo by Denis De Mesmaeker
Read more articles by Langley Cornwell