By Elaine Waldorf Gewirtz
The Entlebucher Mountain Dog is the smallest, most agile, and perhaps the busiest of the four Swiss mountain breeds, but like the Bernese and Greater Swiss Mountain dogs and Appenzeller Sennenhund, it shows off the same black, white and brown tuxedo markings.
Four Entlebuchers will make the breed’s presence known for the first time ever at Westminster on February 13, 2012.
The Entlebucher Mountain Dog. Photo courtesy Westminster Kennel Club.
Medium-sized, compact, strongly muscled dogs, males measure 17 to 21 inches in height and bitches reach 16 to 20 inches. The ratio of height at withers to length of body is 8-to-10.
In the Swiss town of Entlebuch, these dogs were bred to move cows up into the mountain pastures of the Alps and valued because of their ability to do so. The breed relied on its intelligence, extreme speed, agility and boundless energy to complete the job.
A trio of Entles enjoy the snow. Photo by Jay Schuff, DVM.
“Entles move dairy cattle by jumping up and bumping them,” said Rebecca Hahn, D.V.M., one of the founders of the National Entlebucher Mountain Dog Association. “This takes a real thinking dog.”
According to Hahn, the dogs’ excellent work ethic and high-energy make them ideal sports companions who can do it all – from herding, drafting and agility, to search and rescue, freestyle, obedience and rally.
Entlebuchers are most content when close to their owners. “They’re waiting for the general picture of what it is you want them to do so they can go ahead and fill in the dots.”
A smiling Entlebucher. Photo by Jay Schuff, DVM
A healthy dog with few issues to confront in its small gene pool, the national club’s top priority is eliminating Entlebucher Urinary Syndrome, a rare disease of the renal-urinary system that shows up in puppies. “We’re working with Michigan State University and the breed club in Switzerland,” Hahn said.
Although an Entlebucher will live comfortably as a single dog, when they live in a pack, “they even sing to one another,” Hahn said.
Perhaps if you’re lucky enough to be In New York next month, you’ll hear a little singing coming from Ring 5.
For more about the Entle standard, and its history, temperament and health, visit the National Entlebucher Mountain Dog Association website at www.nemda.org.