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The Essence of the Entlebucher – Physical & Character Traits and So Much More

Entlebucher Mountain Dog Puppy Sitting


When you add an Entlebucher Mountain Dog to your family you will get used to hearing two questions repeatedly: How do you pronounce that breed? and “Are Entlebuchers a smaller version of a Greater Swiss or Bernese Mountain Dog?

The Entlebucher Mountain Dog has been an AKC recognized breed, in the Herding Group, since January 2011. There are two North American pronunciations: ENT-leh-boo-cur or Ent-LEE-BOO-cur. (Incorrect pronunciation is En-TELL-boo-cur.) For simplicity, we often refer to them as Swiss cattle dogs or “Entles.”

To the unfamiliar onlooker, the Entlebucher Mountain Dog may look like a mini version of the Greater Swiss or a short-coated Bernese puppy; however, they are quite different in their physical characteristics as well as in their personality traits. Two examples of distinguishing features are: the Entlebucher has a more elongated proportion than the Greater Swiss and Bernese and is also not as heavy-boned. These differences create a dog with explosive speed and agility.

Entlebucher Mountain Dogs were primarily used to herd cattle as drovers, while the Greater Swiss and Bernese were primarily used for draft work—though each would be considered all-purpose farm dogs to the Swiss farmers. The following is not a comparison of the Swiss breeds, but rather, points out some defining features of the Entlebucher.

Entlebucher Mountain Dog

At first glance, what people notice about the Entlebucher is their striking tri-color. However, as every owner may tell you, it’s their personality that is most striking.

The Entlebucher Mountain Dog is a confident cattle dog, neither shy nor vicious, and may be reserved with strangers. They are lively, active, persistent, self-assured, and determined. Cheerful and capable of learning, they are loyal and protective of family, herd, and property. They are highly intelligent, versatile, and adaptable, with a strong willingness to work; and quick and responsive to commands from their owners, making the Entlebucher especially suited as a companion, herding, and general all-purpose dog.

The Entlebucher’s size, intelligence, agility, and strong work ethic also makes them excellent partners in a wide variety of modern athletic canine activities.

The Entlebucher Mountain Dog has retained many of the herding and livestock guarding traits, making them more intense and driven to control movement than their generally more easy-going Swiss cousins. The persistence and determination in the Entlebucher can come across as demanding. Because most of us don’t have any cattle hanging around, the Entlebucher will demand to be involved in all aspects of your life. They possess a contagious enthusiasm, energy, and zest for life, with an above average need for physical and mental exercise to be content, well-adjusted family members.

Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are strongly devoted to their family and develop a deep bond with their chosen person, making them a great companion dog. As a cattle drover and livestock guardian, the Entlebucher has a heightened awareness about every movement and change in their environment. This keen awareness makes this breed a phenomenal watchdog. Because of the guardian traits, Entlebuchers require mindful socialization.

Entlebucher Mountain Dog

Entlebucher Mountain Dogs enjoy opportunities to actively use their bodies and their minds. During play, Entles wrestle, utilize their paws, and body slam—all often rather loudly. Their strength and “voice” is somewhat bigger than you might expect for their size. Many people who do not know or understand the breed may mistake this for aggression, but most of the time it is simply rough, vocal play.

They may not show their full personality in the show ring, as they tend to be quite serious and stoic when working. Most Entles do not appreciate being hovered over. Since they are not interested in becoming best friends with most strangers, it takes time and patience to condition an Entlebucher to tolerate handling by strangers. It is okay for them to be reserved with strangers; however, a dog showing aggression or extreme shyness is one lacking confidence.

On the flip side, the Entlebucher will often come up with silly, clever, and playful antics to get their humans to laugh and play along with them. As a mountain dog, they also love to climb up on things, to become more elevated to get a better commanding view of their environment.

Entlebucher Mountain Dog

Physically, their proportions are longer than they are tall. The lower center of gravity and agile nature of an 8 to 10 ratio is unique in the dog world. They are compactly built to give them just the right amount of balance between agility and power. In other words, just the right amount of substance for their size, to give them balance as it relates to this breed’s function as a cattle drover and general all-purpose farm dog.

Type, balance, soundness, and temperament are always a higher priority over size, color, and markings. Size is a combination of height and substance. Substance, as it relates to bone, is ideally in balance with the height of the dog.

Lack of genetic diversity is a major issue. Therefore, consistency in type has not been the main focus for the breed due to such a limited gene pool. Instead, various styles of Entlebuchers are a contributing value to the breed as a whole. Encouraging breeding decisions that are in the best interests of the health, temperament, function, and longevity of the breed are first and foremost.

To assist breeders in achieving their goals, the National Entlebucher Mountain Dog Association (NEMDA) supports various programs for the health and well-being of the breed. NEMDA, as the AKC parent club, encourages Entlebucher breeders to stay current on all OFA CHIC requirements for the breed. One resource is the NEMDA Pedigree Database where more detailed and comprehensive information about the Entlebucher can be found; everything from health information to physical and character traits, and photos, as well as the opportunity to do trial-matings and discover the coefficient of inbreeding for each dog:

In addition to webinar and educational workshops, NEMDA annually offers its members and breeders, as well as companion dog owners, the Comprehensive Entlebucher Breed Assessment (CEBA).

CEBA is an educational resource which profiles the conformity of an Entlebucher (18 months or older) to the AKC breed standard. Offered in a relaxed, non-competitive atmosphere, CEBA brings owners and judges together in a hands-on experience to increase each owner’s knowledge and understanding of their own Entle’s predictable qualities among the range in the breed’s characteristics. The temperament evaluation provides a physical and written assessment of each dog’s inherent abilities regarding sociability, play, hunt, nerve strength, and defensive drives.

The conformation evaluation provides a physical and written assessment, including 51 breed characteristics based on structure and movement. CEBA is a facsimile of the Swiss Ankörung, which, in contrast, is a mandatory requirement for Swiss Entlebucher breeding stock. To learn more about CEBA, information can be found on the NEMDA website:

The Entlebucher is a complementary member of the Swiss Mountain Dog family, with its own distinct, captivating, charming, engaging, and totally lovable traits and quirks that have earned the breed a loyal following of Entle enthusiasts.

If you are fascinated by this breed and want to learn more about the Entlebucher, contact us at: [email protected].





Are you looking for an Entlebucher Mountain Dog puppy?

The best way to ensure a long and happy relationship with a purebred dog is to purchase one from a responsible breeder. Not sure where to begin finding a breeder? Contact the National Parent Club’s Breeder Referral person, which you can find on the AKC Breeder Referral Contacts page.


Want to help rescue and re-home an Entlebucher Mountain Dog?

Did you know nearly every recognized AKC purebred has a dedicated rescue group? Find your new best friend on the AKC Rescue Network Listing.


Entlebucher Mountain Dog Breed Magazine

Showsight Magazine is the only publication to offer dedicated Digital Breed Magazines for ALL recognized AKC Breeds.

Read and learn more about the loyal Entlebucher Mountain Dog breed with articles and information in our Entlebucher Mountain Dog Breed Magazine.


Entlebucher Mountain Dog Breed Magazine - Showsight