The Bergamasco is a solid, square-bodied, medium-sized dog with a thick distinctive
coat that is one of its trademarks, designed to protect it from all kinds of
weather and attacks from other animals. Its coat has three different types
of hair that forms flocks, easily marking the breed. The coat also drapes over
its eyes, which is protected from the sun's rays. In spite of its heavy coat
appearance, the Bergamasco is a highly energetic and agile dog.
Some Quick Facts:
13 - 15 years
Gentle but attentive
Not for apartments. Distinctive flocks provide protection against variety of climates.
Daily walk plus active outdoor life that is safe but unleashed.
Standard Hair Colors:
Black, gray, fawn, and some white
National breed club:
The Bergamasco Sheepdog Club of America
The Bergamasco breed has been thought to exist for over 2000 years and hails chiefly from the Alpine regions of Italy. Their ancestors migrated from Persia to Central Europe. They were originally used for herding sheep and livestock, a talent that they have kept until today. The Bergamasco became nearly extinct during the second World War because of a shortage of wool; fortunately, Dr. Maria Andreoli helped lead the effort of saving them.
The Bergamasco bonds quickly and easy with a family. Aside from being intelligent, well-balanced, and lively, the Bergamasco is also friendly and easy of temper. It is known for being peaceful, adapting well with other dogs outside of its breed so long as they don't represent a threat. While not instantly aggressive, the Bergamasco makes for an excellent watchdog as it does not let strangers get too close. If you are unable to spend time with the Bergamasco, however, the dog will become easily bored.
The Bergamasco is best suited for taking daily walks, as it is very active and agile. They can also be left alone in a yard with a well-fenced area and do their own exercise.
An apartment would not be considered ideal living conditions for the Bergamasco. They need a large yard to play and exercise in and more importantly, they need to always be around people.
The Bergamasco's coat during its first year will only need combing. Because the Bergamasco has a thick layer under its coat, it has a tendency to become very felt-like as it matures. To prevent this, owners and breeders have to pull out bunches of hair by hand. They do not need daily baths, and it is recommended that they be bathed during the summer as it can take a whole day for their fluffy coats to dry out.
The Bergamasco is considered a healthy breed, although it is wise to take caution against hip dysplasia and eye issues.
If you liked this dog…
...consider another breed from the same group, the Briard, which shares some physical characteristics with the Bergamasco (although their coats are not flocked) and also excels in herding livestock.