Characteristics

The Entlebucher is lively, intelligent, obedient, loyal and loving to  its family. This dog needs to feel purposeful and seeks approval from its master for its accomplishments. They are incredibly faithful to their master and very protective of all other family members. They are very playful, yet very astute when told it's time to stop. With their intelligence and instincts, they learn their boundaries quickly and easily. Entlebuchers are 'thinking' dogs, and innate problem solvers. They can be persistent when they want something, but always polite. 

Their persistence and determination is evidenced early on. At eight weeks, Alida Delux was absolutely as determined as an Entle can be that she was going to use the dog door. I really didn’t like the idea. At that stage I wanted to be present when she was with the big dogs. I was afraid that she would get hurt. She headed after the big dogs every time they went out through the dog door. Unfortunately, she had no trouble getting out whenever I took my eyes off of her. She could get out without difficulty. However, coming back in was another story. There is a little step outside and the outside of the door is therefore lower than the inside. She had great difficulty hoisting her puppy belly in as her hind legs were treading nothing but air. She would wail for help when she got stuck, but she persisted in trying. In no time, she was somehow launching herself back in, delighted to be such a grown up dog. By then I had given up trying to intercept her exits as I had determined that she was quite safe. Henri was her protector/guardian. 

Oona was initially not very nice to Alida. She tended to discipline Alida more energetically than necessary when the puppy violated a dog rule. Henri quickly intervened and had zero tolerance for Oona’s excesses. Henri disciplined Oona rather aggressively when he thought her behavior was excessive and then he placed himself between Oona and the puppy. Very quickly Oona’s behavior changed and they then all got along  well until Alida became an adult. Henri displayed similar protective behavior toward Oona when she was a pup and my old lab was too aggressive with her. 

Henri was always tolerant of pups but in his later years preferred that they leave him alone... he avoided them as much as possible. I guess he thought he had trained enough of them.

PLAY

Henri and Mira would play fetch till they dropped if you let them. But when there is a group of dogs playing a competitive fetch game, Lida would rather chase, herd, and bark at the dogs who are chasing the ball. 

The only thing much better than a game of fetch to my pack of Entles is a long, long serious stretch of multiple dog tug. They all love tug. It is a sight to see four or five Entles all tugging ferociously on one deflated basketball or a Holey Roller ball or a Jolly Ball or a stick. It sounds as though someone will surely be killed.

DO ENTLEBUCHERS LIKE WATER?

I am frequently asked this question. Having had Labs I understand how dogs can be drawn to water by their genetic material. No, Entles are typically not drawn to water. I would say that the vast majority really have no interest in going much past their pasterns into the water on their own, if that. However, there are exceptions and then, as with most things, if the master wants a   water dog an    Entle will comply and even learn to love water.

My Entlebuchers have never been encouraged and in fact have been discouraged from becoming “pond dogs”. After years of bathing pond muck off of my Labs before we could reenter the house I welcomed my Entles lack of interest in swimming. There were many times on a “before bedtime” walk in the dark with my Labs that I would hear the ominous splash and groan at the thought of bathing a dog covered in algae and muck before I could go to bed.

My Entles wade across the shallow river in the summer when we hike, and snuffle around a little but that is it. Lida will sometimes wallow in the muddy shallows like a pig in mud, carefully making sure she gets both sides of her head and muzzle slathered but swim – Never.

Most Entles learn to swim when the master or mistress swims and leaves them on shore. Horrors! They have been known to take a flying leap off of the dock, as scary as it must seem, just to catch up. Entles will go to any length to be with their people. Some of my pups go boating and swimming with their families and love it but they were typically encouraged to do so as pups and it becomes a normal, pleasant part of their lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ARE ENTLEBUCHERS GOOD WATCHDOGS?

Entlebuchers are not aggressive by nature, however they can be unafraid if the need arises. They have a 'big dog' attitude packaged in a small body. Typically, they are for people who are experienced dog owners. Their energy level requires them to keep busy, so they need ample space and direction.

If you are looking primarily for a watchdog, an outside guard dog, please choose another breed. Entlebuchers are great inside alarm barkers. No one will sneak up on you. There is little doubt that they would protect you if such action were needed but they are primarily a companion dog. They will protect you because you are their purpose for being in life, their companion, their job so to speak not because they are inherently vicious.

DO ENTLEBUCHERS GET ALONG WITH OTHER DOGS?  WHAT ABOUT CATS?

 Entlebuchers are not dog aggressive by nature. They get along very well with other dogs as long as they are socialized with other dogs when young and have the opportunity to learn “Dog Rules”. Puppy classes are a must at minimum. They like the companionship of other dogs but can also be quite happy being the only dog in the house. 

They have a very strong social hierarchy (pack) instinct even though as a breed they were never raised in large groups or packs. This instinct also plays a large role in training Entles as they require that there be clear roles of authority in the families they live with.  

Although Entles catch and kill small vermin in the yard/woods, they are incredibly fast, they get along fine with cats when raised with them. In fact, when Oona went to live with her new family in CT they had a large Persian who had lived with Berners previously. He missed his good Berner friend who had died and when Oona and I arrived he rushed up to meet the new tri-colored mountain dog in his living room. What a shock – he took off for the basement not to be seen again the two days I was there. He did come out, he and Oona cautiously examined one another. They must have decided they both belonged there as they gradually became fast friends. He even groomed her ears.

It is typically the cat who determines the extent and tenor of the relationship. I worry more about my pups than the cat when they go to a home with cats, especially when the cats have their claws.