The Entlebucher (Sennenhund), first documented in 1889, takes its name from Entlebuch, a valley in the area of the Lucerne and Berne Cantons. It is the smallest of the four Swiss mountain and cattle dogs and was widespread in the Alpine regions since at least medieval times. They were used to assist the sennen (cow herdsmen) to drive cows from the valleys to the higher Alpines pastures and to watch, guard and move the cattle as required. They also assisted in driving cattle between Switzerland and Germany and to Italy and France. When railway transport was introduced this traditional method of moving cattle came to an end, as did the jobs of the majority of sennenhunde. In 1913 Entlebuchers were recognized as the fourth of the Swiss cattle and mountain dog breeds. A breed club was founded in 1926 and the breed has slowly developed as people have come to recognize its sterling qualities as both worker and companion.
Bright, outgoing, and of a very pleasant disposition Entlebuchers enjoy interacting with people and, generally, other dogs. Intensely loyal and devoted they need to be a true part of the family and will only be completely happy if allowed to be with you at all times. Definitely not a breed to be consigned to the yard and left alone for hours at a time. Usually very good with children if raised and socialized correctly, this is a very strong and solid dog for its size and may accidentally knock over and hurt small children. The Entlebucher is an excellent and brave watchdog and will not be distracted by bribes from what he perceives as his duty. They can be territorial and very suspicious of strangers and will alert to trespassers, but are unlikely to mount any form of attack, relying on their impressively deep bark to warn and to attract your attention. They have very little hunting instinct and are not prone to wandering but secure fences and gates are a sensible precaution. This breed is not recommended for areas of high heat and humidity. Their intelligence, strength of will, high energy level and physical power may mean that they are not the best choice for the first time dog owner.
Bred to walk and run with cattle for many miles each day Entlebuchers require a considerable amount of exercise to keep them fit and happy. An hour of vigorous exercise daily is the recommended minimum. Long hikes and energetic games such as frisbee or running after a ball will combine their greatest joys - being with the family and expending some of their energy and ebullience. They love, and need, a job to do, whether it is play or sports such as agility, flyball, tracking, herding, obedience exercises, etc., all of which will keep them in good physical and mental health.
This is a very trainable breed but their high intelligence and strength of character may prove to be a challenge for all but the most experienced owners. Training should be commenced early and all members of the family should be involved as Entlebuchers have a keen sense of social hierarchy and should be taught to respect the entire household. This respect will be engendered by firm, fair, and consistent training based on positive reinforcement methods which praise and reward good behaviour. Harsh verbal and physical methods are unnecessary and will only cause the dog to become confused and fearful. Socialization from a young age with people and other dogs is important to produce a confident, stable adult.
- Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
- hip dysplasia
Some photographs of the Entlebucher Mountain Dog...