Entlebucher Mountain Dog Breed Magazine - Showsight

Entlebucher Mountain Dog Breed Magazine features information, expert articles, and stunning photos from AKC judges, breeders, and owners.


Let’s Talk Breed Education!

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Official Standard of the Entlebucher Mountain Dog General Appearance: The Entlebucher Mountain Dog (Shepherd Dog from Entlebuch, or Dog of the Alpine Herdsman) is a native of Switzerland, and the smallest of the four tri-colored Swiss Sennenhund breeds. Swiss farmers have historically used the Entlebucher to move cows from pasture to pasture in the Alps. Their keen intelligence, speed and agility also made them useful for the management of other large animals such as horses and hogs. The Entlebucher is a medium-sized, compact, strongly muscled, elongated drover with ample bone. He has a short, hard and shiny coat, bright black with symmetrical markings of pure white on blaze, muzzle, chest, and feet; shades of rich fawn to mahogany are present on the eyebrows and between the black and white markings. Prized for his agreeable nature, ease of training, and devotion to family, the Entlebucher possesses an excellent work ethic, and the ability to work alone or in harmony with his master. Given a job, he transforms from a lively, high-spirited playmate, to a serious, tireless, self assured dog of commanding presence. Although primarily a drover, Entles excel at competitive sports and are willing and enthusiastic partners in any athletic canine activity chosen by their master. Purpose and heritage have resulted in an unusually intense bonding between the Entlebucher and his master; however the Entlebucher should not be considered a breed for the casual owner. He will remain an active, highly energetic dog for his entire lifetime. Because of the guardian traits of this breed, thorough socialization is required during puppyhood; typically Entles are indifferent to, or somewhat aloof with, strangers. Size, Proportion, Substance: Dogs - 17 to 21 inches, Bitches - 16 to 20 inches. Ratio of height at withers to length of body, 8:10 - length to height ratio 10 to 8 measured from point of shoulder to point of rump and ground to withers. Strongly muscled, agile, balanced dog with ample bone; but never overdone. Size alone should never take precedence over type, balance, soundness and temperament. Note that too small a dog generally lacks the power required and too large a dog may lack the agility and mobility desired in a herding dog. Head: In harmonious proportion to the body, slightly wedged-shaped; clean. Head planes of muzzle and skull more or less parallel. Ratio of muzzle to skull 9:10. Expression - Alert, attentive, and friendly. Eyes - Must be brown, darker eye preferred. Slightly small, almond shaped, with well fitted, black pigmented rims. Disqualifying fault - Blue eyes or yellow hawk eyes. Ears - Not too big, set on high and wide. When alert, are slightly raised at set-on, turned forward; in repose lay flat and close to head and form a nearly level plane with topskull. Firm, well developed ear-cartilage. Flaps pendulous, triangular, rounded at tips. Skull - Flat on top, broadest between set-on of ears, slightly tapering towards muzzle. Occipital bone barely visible. Frontal furrow barely pronounced with minimal stop. Muzzle - Strong, well chiseled, clearly set off from slightly pronounced cheeks, tapering but not pointed or snipey. Bridge of nose is straight. Whiskers to be left natural. Nose - Black. Lips - Close fitting to jaw, with complete black pigmentation. Bite - Scissor bite preferred, even bite tolerated. Disqualifying faults - Overshot or undershot jaw; wry mouth. Neck, Topline, Body: Pleasing smooth merge of neck into topline. Neck - Medium length, strong and clean, merging smoothly with the body. Topline - Sturdy and level. Body - Strong, slightly elongated, length to be in rib cage and not in loin; length to height ratio 10 to 8 measured from point of shoulder to point of rump and ground to withers. Chest - Capacious, broad, deep,

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and reaching to the elbows; well sprung ribs. Underline - Slightly tucked up. Back - Straight, firm, broad. Loins - Strong, flexible. Croup - Slightly sloping, relatively long. Tail - Natural tail or docked tail is equally acceptable. Natural tail set-on in continuation of the gently sloping croup. In motion can be elevated but never curled over back. Ring-tails highly discouraged. Forequarters: Strongly muscled but not too heavy. Shoulders are laid back, flat lying, well muscled and never loose. Upper arm length equal or slightly shorter than shoulder blade. Angle of shoulder blade forming as nearly as possible a right angle. Elbows lying well onto the body, turning neither in nor out. Forelegs are short, sturdy, straight and parallel; neither too wide nor too close together. Seen from side placed well under the body. Pastern seen from front in straight continuation of the forearm; seen from side slightly angulated and relatively short. Paws point straight forward; compact, slightly rounded with well-arched toes. Pads coarse and robust. Dewclaws - May be removed on the front legs. Nails - Short, strong; any combination of black or white. Hindquarters: Well-muscled. Hind legs not too close together; from behind, straight and parallel. Upper thigh - Fairly long, broad and strong. Lower thigh - Approximately equal length to upper thigh; clean. Stifle - Well angulated. Hock joint - Strong; turns neither in nor out. Hock - Relatively short, perpendicular to the ground when dog is standing naturally; from the rear, parallel to each other. Rear dewclaws - Must be removed. Rear feet - Overall description same as front. Coat: Double coat. Topcoat short, close fitting, harsh and shiny. Undercoat dense; of varying color. Wavy or soft coat tolerated but not preferred. Disqualifying fault - Single coat. Color: Tricolor. Basic color must be black with tan (fawn to mahogany) and white markings, which should be as symmetric as possible. The tan markings are placed above the eyes, on cheeks, muzzle, either side of the chest, under the tail, and on all four legs. On legs, the tan is situated between the black and the white. Small tan oval islands on cheeks are desired. White markings include a distinct small blaze, which runs without interruption from top of head over bridge of nose, and can wholly or partially cover the muzzle. White from chin to chest without interruption. An inverted cross on chest desirable. In full-length tail, tip of tail is normally white. White on all four feet. Undesirable but tolerated - small white patch on the nape of the neck (not more than 2 inches), high boot, socks and bib. Color and markings should not take precedence over overall soundness, balance and temperament. Gait: Ground covering, free, fluid movement with good reach and strong drive from rear. As the speed of the gait increases, legs converge - the rear more pronounced. Temperament: The Entlebucher is a confident cattle dog, neither shy nor vicious; may be reserved with strangers. He is lively, active, persistent, self-assured and determined. Cheerful and capable of learning, he is loyal and protective of family, herd and property. He is highly intelligent, versatile and adaptable with a strong willingness to work; is quick and responsive to commands from his owner making him especially suited as a companion, herding and general all-purpose dog. Faults: Any departure from the foregoing points must be considered as a fault, and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree. Disqualifications: Absence of undercoat. Blue eyes or yellow hawk eyes. Overshot or undershot jaw. Wry mouth.

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Approved May 2008 Effective January 1, 2009


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


W hen you add an Entlebucher 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 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 cre- ate a dog with explosive speed and agility. Entlebuchers were primarily used to herd cattle as drovers, while the Greater Swiss and Bernese were primarily used for draft work—though each would be con- sidered 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. At first glance, what people notice about the Entlebucher is their striking tri-col- or. However, as every owner may tell you, it’s their personality that is most striking. The Entlebucher is a confident cattle dog, neither shy nor vicious, and may be reserved with strangers. They are lively, active, persistent, self-assured, and deter- mined. 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 own- ers, 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 mod- ern athletic canine activities. The Entlebucher 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. Entlebuchers are strongly devoted to their family and develop a deep bond with their chosen person, making them a great compan- ion 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 phe- nomenal watchdog. Because of the guardian traits, Entlebuchers require mindful socialization. Entlebuchers 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 han- dling by strangers. It is okay for them to be reserved with strang- ers; 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. 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 Entlebu- cher Mountain Dog Association (NEMDA) supports various pro- grams 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 NEM- DA Pedigree Database where more detailed and comprehensive infor- mation 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: http://www.entlebucherdatabase.nemda.org/. 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 own- ers and judges together in a hands-on experience to increase each owner’s knowledge and understanding of their own Entle’s predict- able 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: https://www.nemda.org/CEBA . The Entlebucher is a complementary member of the Swiss Moun- tain Dog family, with its own distinct, captivating, charming, engag- ing, 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: breeding@nemda.org . ABOUT THE AUTHORS Joyce MacKay, Jen Shaul, and LeeLee Stefanki have each been in Entlebuchers for over 20 years. Each has owned both males and females for breeding, imported Entlebuchers from Europe, bred and raised litters, and competed in a multitude of sports and activities with their dogs; everything from Agility, Scent Work, Obedience, and Herding to Tracking, Therapy, Canine Freestyle, and Conformation. They are breed mentors and educators, and serve in a number of ways through NEMDA to support Entlebuchers and their owners.


Joyce MacKay

Jen Shaul

LeeLee Stefanki



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