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About the
Entlebucher Mountain Dog breed

From the first Entlebucher you meet you will be captivated and intrigued by this unique breed.  They have many merits - their moderate size, short hair and self grooming, their playful energy and amusing antics.  Of course, they also have some detractors - a very loud and startling bark, a tendency to jump when excited and an endless supply of energy, especially if there is a ball within sight.

We strongly encourage all hopeful puppy families to make the effort to meet at least one Entlebucher in real life.  Reading about them and their original work helps us to understand many of their behaviours and better prepare for a puppy of this breed, but nothing beats meeting one in person.  NEMDA can help you find an Entle in your area and help to arrange a visit.

Once you have your own Entle, you will enjoy reading these stories again and hearing about other Entles that have the same odd habits as your own.  They have incredibly expressive puppy dog eyes and can often get their way.   They communicate  their needs and desires incredibly well given their lack of language.  They have a variety of squeaks and mutters to cover numerous situations.  They love to be with their people and are often known for following their owners into the bathroom.  Waiting outside is just so hard!  You can imagine how difficult it is to wait when you have to leave them for an hour at home. 

From a former owner - "She was the best dog I've ever been owned by".


The origin and history of the Entlebucher

The Entlebucher is believed to have descended from the Mollossoids, ancient, large, mastiff-type dogs of the Roman Empire.  It is the smallest of the four Swiss Mountain Dogs, which include the Greater Swiss, the Bernese, the Appenzeller and the Entlebucher.  All of them have the tri-colour coat, unlike the other Swiss dogs, St. Bernards and Swiss Shepherds.

The Entlebucher breed was first described in 1989 but for many years, it was not distinguished from the Appenzeller.  In  1913 four bobtail Entlebucher Sennenhund (Entlebucher Cattle Dog) were shown to Albert Heim and the breed was entered into the Swiss Kennel Club stud book.  

War disrupted life in Europe.  In 1926 the first breed club was formed with just 16 dogs.  Originally a guardian and herding dog, most Entlebuchers are now kept as loyal family pets.  Today, Entlebuchers are found around the world, but still only in small numbers, in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and the Czech Republic as well as the United States, Canada and Australia.

The Entlebucher Mountain Dog originates from Switzerland, where its traditional job was to assist the herdsmen (Senn).  Each spring, an elaborate celebration is held to announce the departure of the herds of Swiss milk cows from the valley villages in the areas of Entlebuch and Grindewald.  A full day's walk up the steep mountain paths, with Senn, cows, dogs and cheese making supplies makes quite the spectacle, the cows sporting their huge, clanging bells so that none go astray.  Although today's farmers are government subsidized in order to retain this way of life, it continues much as it has for hundreds of years.

Once in the Alps, the bells are hung in the eves, the Senn settle into their summer hut and the cattle enjoy grazing high mountain pastures for the summer.  Each day, the cattle are milked near daybreak and then sent out to graze with the dogs.  Each evening, the cows and dogs return for milking.  During the day, the herdsmen make cheese in large rounds, preserved in wax.  These will be sold in the village in the fall upon their return.

entlebuch village location.png


Where is Switzerland?

Switzerland is a mountain nation located in central Europe.  With France on the west, Italy to the south, Germany to the north and Lichtenstein and Austria to the east, Switzerland is a multi-cultural country.  There are four official languages, French, Italian, German and Romansh.

Switzerland has maintained a neutral position politically through two world wars.  Living between the high alps, fortification and security of the citizens was achieved by road blocks including tank barricades on the few access points.

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Where is Entlebuch?

Where is Entlebuch?

Entlebuch is a village in the Swiss canton of Lucerne.  It is adjacent to the UNESCO Entlebuch Biosphere, between the cities of Bern and  Lucerne, and close to the tourist areas of Interlaken and Grindelwald.  This is the German speaking area of Switzerland, within sight of the alps called the Berner Oberland. 

In this area, you find the real life versions of tourist images of Swiss countryside, the massive alps, the valleys, rivers and lakes and the traditional Swiss architecture featuring roofs that shed snow and flower filled balcony boxes to savour the view.

The enlarged map below shows the location of the village of Entlebuch, between Bern to the west and Zurich to the north.

Return from the alps
Cattle grazing in the Alps
Swiss alpine village
Swiss cow
Mountain goat in the Swiss Alps
Alpine village
Swiss architecture
Farm homes in the alps
Swiss Mountain Dogs

Swiss Mountain Dogs

Swiss flag with Mountain Dogs
The four Swiss Mountain Dog breeds
Swiss Mtn Dogs by size

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

23.5 - 28.5 in. at withers

110 - 140 lbs.

Greater Swiss

Appenzeller Mountain Dog

18.5 - 23 in. at withers

49 - 70 lbs.


The Greater Swiss is the largest of the Swiss Mountain Dogs, known for pulling milk carts in the villages in Switzerland.  They have a short coat and are excellent guardian dogs.

Next is the Bernese, similar in size but with a long, flowing coat.   These affable giants are great with children. 

The Appenzeller is smaller, stocky and strong, with a tightly curled tail.  They are even rarer than Entles.

The Entlebucher is the smallest with a short coat, and an elongated body.  They may have bobbed tails or a long tail with a white tip.

Bernese Mountain Dog

23 - 27.5 in. at withers

65 - 120 lbs.


Entlebucher Mountain Dog

16 - 21 in. at withers

45 - 65 lbs.


Entlebuchers are the smallest of the Swiss Mountain Dog breeds.  All of these Tri-Colour (black, fawn, white) dogs have similar markings but vary tremendously in size, proportion and coat style.

The Greater Swiss and Bernese are giant dogs. The Appenzeller and Entlebucher are medium sized cattle dogs

Other Swiss Dogs

Other Swiss Dogs


Other dogs originating in Switzerland include
the Bruno Jura, on the left,

the Swiss Hound, to the right


the Saint Bernard, to the  left

and the White Swiss Shepherd, to the right.

About Entlbuchers

More about Entlebuchers

  • Entlebuchers are medium sized dogs, although their size can vary significantly, and European lines tend to be leaner and smaller overall than American lines.  Males can weigh from 50 to 70 lb and females from 40 to 50 lb.  Males are between 17 and 21 inches at the shoulder and females are 16 to 20 inches.

  • Entles, (rhyming with either Gently), as they are commonly known in North America, are strong and can pull a cart.  They can also push or pull their owners over if not trained.  They are known for the 'Entlebucher Leap', an almost vertical jump that can easily exceed 5 feet.  Their enthusiasm is contagious but they do require training to be a good household pet.

  • ​Entles are happy, active, friendly dogs and love their families.  They are devoted companions, sensitive to their owners, easy to train and have a very agreeable nature.  They are enthusiastic and lively.  They love to play or work.  They are almost tireless.  In Switzerland, they are called the 'laughing dog' because of their intelligent and friendly face.


  • ​Entlebuchers are slightly longer than they are tall and especially as pups, they have an elongated middle section that 'waddles' when they walk.  ​

  • Females are smaller and finer than the males, with a feminine look, but often it seems the females run the roost and have fire-cracker personalities.

  • ​Entlebuchers were developed to be cattle drovers, escorting the cattle up the mountain paths to the summer pasture in the alps.  All summer, they lived with and protected the cattle and the cheese maker from wild predators.  In the fall, the cattle and cheese returned to the valley for the winter. 


  • Entlebuchers were all round farm dogs in the Swiss alpine villages, providing herding and guarding of the cattle all summer and then pulling the milk cart in the winter.  They allowed small farmers to supply milk to the village without the cost of a horse.

Size of Swiss Mountain Dogs
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