Entlebuch Cattle Dog (Entlebucher Sennenhund)

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black with yellow-to reddish-brown tan markings; white markings
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Pros Cons
  • forms strong bonds with its master
  • easy to groom
  • great watchdog
  • indepedent-minded
  • doesn't like strange people
  • requires a sufficient amount of daily exercises


The Entlebuch Cattle Dog (Entlebucher Sennenhund) is a multifunctional working dog with its homeland in Switzerland. This tenacious and stocky breed traversed the pastures of this country since the beginning of time, performing the wide range of tasks for local farmers. Nowadays it mostly serves as a lovable companion animal.


The Entlebuch Cattle Dog was initially referred as a unique canine variety in the late XIX century although it was definitely developed much earlier. The origin of this breed remains debatable and there are three distinct theories about its age as well as its ancestors.

The least probable version suggests that it appeared well before the Roman occupation of Swiss lands and descended from dogs owned by the various Alpine tribes.

However majority researchers are agreed that the dog inherited its strong herding instinct and incredible stamina from the Molossus and Roman Cattle Droving Dog, which were brought to this region when it was ruled by the Romans.

The third hypothesis denies such an ancient development of this dog and concludes that it was created by German tribes, which settled down in this area after the Romans. If it’s true then that the breed mainly descended from various types of Pinshers and Spitzen.

However the Entlebuch Cattle Dog was first invented, it was widely used by local farmers since at least the Middle Ages. It was a truly multi-purpose working dog and was indispensable in such kinds of tasks as cattle driving and herding and cart pulling. The dog also frequently fulfilled the function of a property guardian since this mountainous country teemed with marauders and other criminals during that period. It was named after the place of its origin, Entlebuch, situated in canton of Lucerne in central Switzerland.

At the turn of the XIX century progress eventually reached the remotest areas of Switzerland’s highlands and the Entlebuch Cattle Dog suddenly lost much of its usefulness for local population. It caused significant drop in its number although some faithful fanciers kept on the dogs’ breeding. Fortunately the four breed members who were exhibited at a dog show in Langentahal in 1913 caught attention of the Professor Albert Heim. At that time this proclaimed geologist was actively engaged into promotion of so-called Sennenhunds, which included three breeds. Thanks to his efforts the Entlebuch Cattle Dog was recognised by the Swiss Kennel Club and officially declared the fourth Sennenhund.

The revival of the breed was interrupted by two World Wars but its organised breeding was resumed in the post-war years. In 1993 the Entlebucher Sennenhund was formally recognised by the United Kennel Club (UKC). The American Kennel Club (AKC) gave its recognition to the breed in 2011. Presently the vast majority of its specimens are kept either for companionship or as show dogs.


The Entlebuch Cattle Dog possesses stable and amicable disposition, which makes it a superb companion. At the same time it retains much of its working drive so early and extensive socialisation is a must for this breed if you plan to keep it exclusively as a pet. It tends to form close bonds with its master and his family and can become restless and destructive if left alone for long periods of time. This dog loves spending time with children although it shouldn’t be trusted with a younger child (those eight and below) since it’s probably too boisterous for it.

The well-mannered Entlebuch Cattle Dog is commonly polite with unfamiliar people. Nonetheless this dog is naturally wary of strangers because of its strong territorial instinct. In most cases its sonorous and deep bark is quite sufficient to deter a possible intruder. This alert and observant dog makes an outstanding watcher. Most breed members are also suitable for the role of a guard dog. this breed will also defend its family at the cost of its life and will without hesitation attack anyone who is intending to make physical harm to its special people.

As a rule the Entlebuch Cattle Dog has good reputation with other dogs and will be quite satisfied to live with one or several of other dogs. Some individual dogs can demonstrate aggression towards canines of the same sex. This breed will pose serious threat for any animal, canine or non-canine, if it tries to trespass the borders of its subordinated territory. The Entlebucher Sennenhund will get on perfectly well with a cat or other household pet with which it has been raised. However it’s prone to herd other creatures, a habit which cats simply can’t stand.

Health Problems

The most common problems for the breed include:

· canine hip dysplasia;

· elbow dysplasia;

· eyes problems;

· ectopic ureters;

· hemolytic anemia;

· rapid weight gain;

· obesity.


The Entlebuch Cattle Dog has very basic grooming requirements. The master should brush this dog couple times a week in order to distribute natural oils along its hair and make them shiny. The breed is pretty heavy shedder so it won’t make a perfect pet for meticulously clean individuals or allergy suffers.

The dog’s nails need regular trimming preferably every other week. Large hanging ears of the Entlebuch Cattle Dog also should be systematically checked and cleaned if necessary.


The training of the Entlebuch Cattle Dog requires moderate amount of efforts. On the one hand with correct training methods this quick-witted dog can learn very sophisticated tricks. Actually it can be turned into a highly successful contestant of agility, obedience and other canine sports.

On the other hand this dog certainly has mind of its own and won’t follow commands of a meek or indecisive handler. Additionally some of its specimens are prone to be quite stubborn and even outright obstinate. Training efforts will pay off only if the dog is motivated to work with plentiful of kind words and tasty treats. Any form of harshness during the lesson will only make it more wilful and disobedient.


The Entlebuch Cattle Dog was developed with capability of herding cattle for numerous hours in the one of the most dangerous terrains in the world. It’s obvious that it needs sizeable amount of daily vigorous activity to stay well-behaved and fit. Its master should take it for an energetic walk of minimum an hour long on the daily basis.

This hardy dog can become a decent companion for a jogger or a bicyclist but it would definitely prefer to roam and play freely in a well-fenced area. Be mindful that without sufficient amount of exercise the Entlebuch Cattle Dog will most likely develop a tendency to hyper active, destructive and even aggressive behaviour.