- to rise: 22.5-24.5 inches
- Weight: 70-84 lbs
- life span: 13-15 years old
- group: Miscellaneous category
- Best suitable for: Families with children, active singles, farms/rural areas
- print: Attentive, determined, patient, intelligent
- Similar Breeds: Polish Shepherd Rabbits, Puli
The Bergamasco Sheepdog looks more like a dreadlocked Rasta than anything else. It is one of the oldest small dog breeds and has a history that stretches back nearly 2,000 years. Bergamasco’s body is square in shape and small in size. This gives this dog a perfect harmony between speed, agility and strength. This powerful and muscular dog is capable of running long distances for a fairly long period of time.
The Bergamasco Sheepdog has often been described as strong, vocal and courageous. Traits that are indispensable in a herding breed. They are very intelligent and able to think independently, and are very easy to train with positive reinforcement. These dogs are still used in many regions of Europe as shepherds. They also make excellent competitors for dog agility trials, obedience, flyball, tracking, professionalism and herding events. Many Bergamascos have also found homes as guard dogs and companion dogs.
The Bergamasco Sheepdog looks more like a dreadlocked Rasta than anything else.
Bergamascos are an ancient breed with a history of more than 2,000 years. It is believed to have originated from the ancient sheep grazing used in Persia. Persian shepherds who eventually migrated east settled the Bergamo Valley in the Italian Alps, hence the breed’s name. The breed has remained relatively unchanged since then.
The Bergamasco population reached an all-time low at the close of World War II as demand for wool and sheep grazing declined. It took dedicated efforts from an Italian breeder named Dr. Maria Andreoli saved and revived the dynasty during the 1960s. Bergamscos were first introduced to the United States around 1990, and they are still a relatively rare breed.
It is believed that most of the Bergamasco lineage is attributed to the ancient long-coated dogs used by the first shepherds in the Zagros Mountains. Much of the Bergamasco’s characteristics are those of its ancient ancestors and they remain unchanged, with some traits introduced to the breed through environmental and historical changes.
Foods / Diet
Bergamascos are a highly intelligent breed of dog that is capable of independent thinking and action.
Bergamascos are a highly intelligent breed of dog that is capable of independent thinking and action. This makes them very receptive to positive reinforcement-based training techniques. In ancient times, when Bergamascos were tasked with guarding large flocks of sheep or cows with little supervision, it was essential that they be able to think for themselves and make quick decisions. However, this also means that when faced with a lack of leadership, he can be stubborn and violent. So it is important that we provide them with firm and consistent leadership.
The ideal weight for an adult Bergamasco male ranges from 70 to 84 lbs.
mood and behaviour
Bergamos are generally a peaceful and balanced breed of dog. However, they require rules, boundaries, and limitations as well as love and attention in order to lead a healthy life. Faced with a lack of leadership, they can sometimes see themselves as equals in the human pack rather than subordinates.
Although not an aggressive breed, the Bergamasus make good guard dogs because they are naturally suspicious of strangers. However, they will not attack unless they feel their family is directly threatened.
Bergamasco are very caring and playful with children and have even been used in therapeutic work with disabled children. The presence of children seems to awaken their natural guarding and herding instincts. They also get along well with dogs and other animals, provided they are well socialized from an early age.
joint health problems
A well-cared-for Bergamasco will enjoy a healthy lifespan of 10-15 years.
As a working breed of dog, Bergamascos require a great deal of exercise and are not suitable for owners who are not physically active. They thrive when raised on large farms or expansive properties where they can run around freely and exercise by themselves. As a highly intelligent and independent breed, they also require “meaningful” tasks with which they can occupy themselves.
Bergamos are generally a peaceful and balanced breed of dog.
Here’s what the AKC says about the Bergamasco Sheepdog: “A salivating dog with a strong work ethic, the Bergamasco’s most unique characteristic is its coat, which contains ‘dog hair’, ‘goat hair’ and ‘wool’ that aggregates to form black or gray mat-like hair. Mats grow over the dog’s life, reaching the ground at about 6 years of age. The Bergamasco can smell like a sweater when wet. But despite its adorable looks, the Bergamasco is truly an elegant, athletic sheepdog.” The Bergamasco was first recognized by By the AKC in 1997.
The Bergamasco coat has three distinct layers. The undercoat is thin, dense and greasy, forming a water-repellent film. The second layer is tall and charming like a goat. The third layer is woolen and twisted with the second layer to form the Bergamasco’s signature like-like coat. And despite their curvy appearance, these dogs don’t require much grooming. Two to three baths a year and an occasional brushing is more than enough to keep the coat healthy.
Bergamasco puppies are very active and playful. They must be socialized with humans and other animals from a very young age.
Photo credit: Luigi Guidobono Cavalcini/Wikimedia; CT M/Flickr David McIlvey/Flickr