NEMDA’s inception was simultaneous with the explosion of the Internet; making this North American breed club a product of the incredible ease of transmission of information and communication across state and national borders. Mass communication and transparency of vital information about health and pedigree has given this breed club the ability to demand a level of attention to breeding that would have been unavailable without the Internet. The Internet has enabled our breeders and owners to share successes and heartaches. It has enabled the club to form cohesion and unity with friends across the miles that would have taken decades longer in the past. Our history as a breed club showcases the technical and medical innovations of our times. Perhaps it may serve as a model for new breed clubs as they develop in the future.
Andrew Luescher, DVM, A Veterinary Behaviorist, was the first documented importer of Entlebucher Sennenhunds into North America. Dr. Luescher was living in Canada when he imported his first North American Entlebuchers from his home country of Switzerland. In 1986, Dr. Luescher contacted the Canadian Kennel Club about including the Entlebucher into their Registry. Having no luck at that time, Dr. Luescher began the ECDR /EBE Entlebucher Registry and Club. While active, the ECDR enrolled around 80 Entlebuchers. The ECDR club disbanded in 1995 and the ECDR Registry folded.
In 1989, Leslie Elliot of Tucker Kennels succeeded in obtaining full breed recognition for the Entlebucher by the Canadian Kennel Club. Unfortunately several generations of Entlebuchers that were from documented imported dogs had been enrolled in the ECDR Registry but were never Registered in the Canadian Kennel Club Registry. This resulted in a population of Entlebuchers in North America without officially recognized and documented pedigrees. Without access to a recognized Registry, Entlebucher breeders resorted to using the United Kennel Club or the All American Rare Breed Association. All of these services provided enrollment certificates but were not Registries of due diligence. For two years, no Breed club for Entlebuchers existed in North America.
Entlebucher Breed Club and Registry -1996
In late 1996, Rebecca Hahn, DVM, wrote a letter to all known and interested Entlebucher owners and breeders about forming an Entlebucher Breed club and Registry. With overwhelming response and enthusiasm, NEMDA was born. With the Internet capability, by the end of 1997, a dedicated group of founding members formed an official Entlebucher Breed club beginning with a Board, small group of members, the NEMDA name and the wonderful logo! The founding Board governed with by-laws and minutes and a Member’s Code of Ethics. It was not long before the membership surged with more volunteers helping to build the extensive framework of the club: The NEMDA Board, Membership Committee, Breeding Committee with the Breeder Code of Ethics, Health and Genetic Committee, Training Committee, The Entlebook, Rescue Committee, PRA Support Committee, Trials and Show Committees, Events, and a NEMDA Club website. In the late summer of 1999, the NEMDA Registry formed using the strict identification and documentation guidelines as used by the Canadian Kennel Club and various other FCI affiliate Registries.
In the fall of 2000, several NEMDA Board members under the guidance of NEMDA President / Jan Vincent, Secretary / Lynda Featherstone and Director / David Denis, presented the NEMDA Club documents and Registry to the Canadian Kennel Club. The CKC recognized NEMDA as an Official foreign breed club and the Ministry of Agriculture gave recognition to the NEMDA Registry. This provided International recognition for the NEMDA Club and Registry. This was the first major milestone for the Entlebuchers in North America.
First EntleFest – 1998
1998 also saw NEMDA’s first Entlefest held at the home of Kathy Marshall and Gina Thomas in Oregon. By 2003, NEMDA’s yearly event boasted a breed specialty, trials, educational seminars as well as fun and games for the Entles and their families. By this time, NEMDA had grown to over 200 members across North America. Entlefests continue to be held yearly at locals on either side of the continent to include as many members as possible. Events at Entlefest have grown to include a Championship program for conformation and trial events, herding aptitude tests, CEBA seminars, temperament testing, fly-ball demos and much more! Maifests and Entle days are informal gatherings held by members across the continent which also offer many of these fun events for the Entles and their families.
American Kennel Club: Parent Breed Club – 2007
In 2007, NEMDA was named the Parent Breed Club for Entlebuchers by the American Kennel Club and the breed became eligible for Companion Event participation. This decision was made by the AKC after a successful presentation by Jan Vincent and Kathleen Kinney, NEMDA Breed Committee and Rebecca Hahn, DVM, NEMDA Registrar. During 2007 and 2008, under the guidance of Joyce MacKay, AKC Liaison, NEMDA submitted the documentation for complete American Kennel Club recognition. This included the official Breed Standard, records of Trials and Shows, club minutes, by-laws and committee activities. NEMDA materials weighed in at 16 1/2 pounds!
In 2009 we rebuilt our website and we have constructed an on-line database. We continue our dedicated support of the Veterinary universities who are researching the health issues of our breed.
American Kennel Club: Miscellaneous Class – 2009
In 2009, the Entlebucher was admitted into the Miscellaneous Class of AKC. In preparation for full AKC admission, NEMDA solidified the Entlebucher Breed Standard to match the format required by the AKC. NEMDA members are participating in AKC sponsored judges’ seminars to help familiarize the judges to the Entlebucher breed and Standard. We encournage members to participate in AKC sponsored companion and conformation events.
American Kennel Club: Herding Group – 2011
In January 2010, the AKC voted to award the Entlebucher full Herding Group breed recognition beginning January 2011. NEMDA members continue to participate in AKC judges’ seminars in all regions of the country.