Prized for its agreeable nature, intelligence and devotion to family, the Entlebucher Mountain Dog makes a wonderful companion, especially for active, outdoorsy people. Entlebuchers are smart, friendly, agile and extremely loyal. They have an excellent work ethic; given a job to do, they transform from a high-spirited playmate to a tireless worker of commanding presence. Despite their independent and self-confident nature, Entlebuchers bond extremely closely with their people and want to be by their side every waking moment. This is not a breed for the casual owner, as they remain active and highly energetic throughout their life. The Entlebucher will not do well left unattended in the back yard for long periods of time. Because of the breed’s guardian traits, thorough socialization is required starting in early puppyhood. Entlebuchers are typically suspicious of strangers and some can be quite territorial. They are protective but not aggressive by nature. They have an authoritative bark and make good watch dogs. In general, they are playful and good with children.
This is an active working breed with above-average exercise needs that loves to pull carts and herd any other animals, including people. Daily walks are important, but walks alone are not sufficient to satisfy this breed’s exercise requirements. Entlebuchers should get at least one hour a day of vigorous exercise in order to stay physically and mentally fit. They love having a job to do and thrive on being trained to jump, run agility courses, track or play Frisbee. They also enjoy romping with other dogs at the dog park and going on long hikes with their owners. Entlebuchers excel at competitive canine sports, such as obedience, agility and rally. They are quick, tough and very physical and they need quite a bit of room to stretch their legs. This is not a breed for urban apartment-dwellers.
Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are highly intelligent, which makes them very trainable. However, they are strong-willed, which can make them challenging for first-time dog owners. Entlebuchers should be socialized from birth, to ensure that they remain friendly and well-mannered. They are deceptively strong for their size and are resistant to pain. As a result, physical corrective training techniques are not effective with this breed. Entlebuchers need consistent, reward-based, positive reinforcement during training. Praise, petting and treats are much more effective than harsh commands or physical punishment with this breed.
Entlebuchers are confident, willful dogs that need a firm, guiding hand starting in puppyhood to ensure that they mature into well-mannered adults. They have a keen sense of social hierarchy and naturally want to control all situations. Owners need to make it abundantly clear that they are alpha, and that they are in charge of the house and the dog. When treated consistently, Entlebuchers are happy to follow their master’s lead. It is important to maintain this hierarchy clearly at all times. Behavior problems in this breed usually only develop from lack of attention. An Entlebucher that is ignored may become depressed or destructive, while one that is not socialized properly may become defensive or dominant. Fortunately, when they are raised, exercised and trained properly, Entlebuchers are wonderful, well-behaved household companions.