As a side-hobby, I run the Facebook Entlebucher page. Entlebuchers are an amazing breed of dog. They’re closely related to the Bernese Mountain Dog and the Swiss Mountain dog. What sets them apart is size, life span, and hair length. Entlebuchers are about 50 pounds, they have short hair and live around 14 years.
Personality wise, Entlebuchers (pronounced Ent-Lee-Booker or Ent-Lees) are velcro dogs. That is, they want to always be with you. There is a saying about Entlebuchers:
“One does not call an Entlebucher because the Entlebucher is already there.”
It makes for some pretty amazing demonstrations to other people. Without any serious training, I can walk around anywhere and my Entle will follow me around without a leash. When I go downtown, she’s always on a leash but I didn’t have to “leash train” her for her to nicely walk with me because she wants to always be near by. When off leash, I could be walking one way, abruptly turn around and walk the other way and the Entle will quickly turn and follow without being called.
There are, however, some downsides of owning an Entlebucher which makes them unsuitable for most people.
First, the attachment thing I mentioned can’t be turned off. When she has to go to the bathroom, I have to go outside with her. She simply won’t go outside with one of her people being with her. That means, early morning, there is no opening the door and letting her go out. You are going with her. This is something I have never had with any dogs I’ve had before.
Second, the attachment thing means leaving them alone during the day is not good. They want to be with their humans all the time. If you have multiple dogs, you might be able to get away with keeping them together but these are not dogs to be kept alone during the day. My Entle goes to work with me (though she could stay at home with my wife too in a pinch).
When the family traveled to Europe this Summer, we couldn’t take her. My mom babysat her at our house. When we got home a week later, I thought she was going to stroke. She was just insane at us being home. It’s certainly endearing but is a reminder that these dogs want to be with their family – all the time –.
But the downsides of their extreme attachment (which has many good sides itself – no such thing as a runaway Entlebucher) are more than made up by their other qualities. They barely shed. People with dog allergies can generally tolerate them because there’s very little hair. They are extremely low maintenance.
They’re also very easy to train. Being so eager to please, they learn tricks even when you’re really not trying to teach them. My son taught Bailey to roll over in less than 10 minutes. She loves to play fetch. She is extremely intelligent which allows me to tell her to get specific objects and bring them to me (if she knows where they are). She is pretty stubborn – she’ll bring me her toys but she won’t bring me my slippers.
Entles are also full of mischief. I can put a sandwich on a plate on the floor next to the couch while I’m reading and Bailey will loyally not touch it. However, if no one is around, she’ll open the pantry door, go in and steal something.
Speaking of doors, she also knows how to open and close doors which can lead to mischief if she thinks we’re not paying attention and thinks there is food in the garage. It also means that if I have her at work and I go out to lunch without her, she’ll open my office door, open the stairway door and try to get out to where I parked my car (the outside doors pull in so she can’t open them). At least once a week we have to bring her in from the stairwell where she got herself stuck when we went out to lunch.
Entles aren’t common in the United States. And, like I said, they’re not for everyone – or even most people. But if you’re someone who’s able and willing to invest time and energy into a dog that they’re able to keep around them most of the time, they’re a great companion.
Bailey being weighed moments after being born
Bailey on her first day home.
Bailey snoozing when she was a puppy
Bailey’s first walk
Even on laundry day, Bailey is ready to play
When programming, I’ll look over and have someone staring at me…
If you take a nap, your Entlebucher may decide that’s the time to join in.
Entles make good pillows (my daughter and Bailey)
At the city park
Bailey and my son on the boat