The Breed History
The Swiss Mountain dogs are descended from Molossus type dogs brought by the Romans as they passed through Helvetia over two thousand years ago. The Entlebucher Mountain Dog is the smallest of the four tri-colored Swiss Sennenhund breeds. Originating from Entlebuch, a valley in the district of the Cantons Lucerne and Berne, the first description under the name "Entlebucherhund" dates from the year 1889. The first breed standard was completed in 1927. AKC recognition occurred in 2011.
Breeding for Function
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.
Height at withers: Males 17 to 21 inches (43-53 cm), Females 16 to 20 inches (40.5-51 cm).
Weight: 55-66 pounds (25-30 kg).
Coat: Double coat. Topcoat short, close fitting, harsh and shiny. Undercoat dense. 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. 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. White on all four feet.
Longevity: 11-15 years.
Points of Conformation: Strongly muscled, agile, balanced dog with ample bone; but never overdone. Head is slightly wedged-shaped, clean with parallel lines. Eyes are slightly small, almond shaped, brown with black rims. Ears are high set, nearly level with the topskull, wide, and triangular. Nose and lip margins are black. Teeth are scissors or even. Level topline. Length is elongated in the 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. Tail is natural bob or cropped, with the tail set in continuation of the gently sloping croup. Shoulders are laid back. Upper arm length equal or slightly shorter than shoulder blade. Angle of shoulder blade forming a right angle. Stilfe is well angulated. Legs are short, sturdy, straight and parallel. Paws point straight forward, slightly rounded and well-arched. The gait is ground covering, free, and fluid with good reach and strong drive from rear. As the speed of the gait increases, legs converge вЂ“ the rear more pronounced.
Recognized Behavior Issues and Traits
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. Entles excel at competitive sports and are willing and enthusiastic partners in any athletic canine activity. 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.
Normal Physiologic Variations
Hip Dysplasia: Polygenically inherited trait causing degenerative joint disease and hip arthritis. OFA reports 16.8% affected.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (prcd-PRA): Autosomal recessive progressive rod cone degeneration (prcd) form. Age of onset between 2-3 years, initially affecting night vision, and eventually causing blindness. 1.9% of Entlebucher Mountain Dogs CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005 are identified as affected, and 1.59% as suspicious for PRA. In a German study, 11.1% of Entlebucher Mountain Dogs were diagnosed with progressive retinal atrophy. A genetic test is available. The frequency of the defective gene in the breed has not been published. CERF does not recommend breeding any Entlebucher Mountain Dog with PRA.
Elbow Dysplasia: Polygenically inherited trait causing elbow arthritis. Too few Entlebucher Mountain Dogs have been screened by OFA to determine an accurate frequency.
Patella Luxation: Polygenically inherited laxity of patellar ligaments, causing luxation, lameness, and later degenerative joint disease. Treat surgically if causing clinical signs. Too few Entlebucher Mountain Dogs have been screened by OFA to determine an accurate frequency.
Cataracts: Posterior cortex intermediate and diffuse cataracts predominate in the breed. Genomic research identifies a significant marker-trait association to a region on canine chromosome 1. Identified in 8.89% of Entlebucher Mountain Dogs CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005. In a German study, 23.5% of Entlebucher Mountain Dogs were diagnosed with noncongenital cataracts, with a heritability of 0.15 to 0.32. CERF does not recommend breeding any Entlebucher Mountain Dog with a cataract.
Persistent Pupillary Membranes: Strands of fetal remnant connecting; iris to iris, cornea, lens, or involving sheets of tissue. The later three forms can impair vision, and dogs affected with these forms should not be bred. Identified in 6.35% of Entlebucher Mountain Dogs CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005.
Ureteral Ectopia: Congenital disorder identified in related North American Entlebucher Mountain Dogs. Affected dogs present with varying combinations of urinary incontinence, hydronephrosis, and urinary tract infection. Diagnose with excretory urography, ultrasonography, and urethrocystoscopy. Findings include bilateral intravesicular ectopic ureters (usually associated with hydronephrosis), and bilateral extravesicular ectopic ureters (usually associated with incontinence). Reported at a high frequency. Undetermined mode of inheritance.
Hypothyroidism: Inherited autoimmune thyroiditis. Not enough samples have been submitted for thyroid auto-antibodies to Michigan State University to determine an accurate frequency. (Ave. for all breeds is 7.5%).
Glaucoma: Ocular condition causing increased pressure within the eyeball, and secondary blindness due to damage to the retina. Diagnose with tonometry and gonioscopy. In a Swiss study, 3.3% of Entlebucher Mountain Dogs were diagnosed with glaucoma, associated with goniodysgenesis. CERF does not recommend breeding any Entlebucher Mountain Dog with glaucoma.
Isolated Case Studies
Tests of Genotype: Direct test for prcd-PRA is available from Optigen.
Tests of Phenotype: Recommend hip and elbow radiographs, CERF eye examination, thyroid profile including autoantibodies, cardiac examination, and patella evaluation.
- Breed name synonyms: Entlebucher Sennenhund, Entlebucher Cattle Dog, Entelbuch Mountain Dog, Shepherd Dog from Entlebuch, Dog of the Alpine Herdsman, Entles
- Registries: AKC, UKC, CKC, FCI, KCGB (Kennel Club of Great Britain), NKC (National Kennel Club)
- AKC rank (none): AKC recognized in January, 2011. Entire stud book entered.
- Internet resources: National Entlebucher Mountain Dog Association: www.nemda.org
Entlebucher Mountain Dog Club of America: www.emdca.com
Entlebucher Mountain Dog Club of Great Britain: www.entlebucher.co.uk
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