The Bergamasco Shepherd dog is widespread in the region of Bergamo, as his name suggest. He is an excellent assistant of shepherds in the Alps thanks to his hardworking and guarding instincts.
Ancestor of the Briard Shepherd and Maremma, the Bergamasco Shepherd dog is a very old breed. His path has crossed with European breeds like the Polish lowland sheepdog, the Bouvier des Flandres and some Eastern Cattle Dogs. Many experts believe that the ancestors of this dog are brought near Bergamo with the Phoenicians and this explains why along their trade routes there are a lot of European breeds with similar appearance and properties.
Born as a shepherd, he is now mostly a guard dog and a beloved pet.
The most significant characteristic of the Bergamasco Shepherd Dog is his coat, which has three layers - the first undercoat is thick, the second is called "goats" and is rough and long, and the top is thick with long fibers that form clumps and cover the whole body. Locks are wide at the base and narrow at the end, during the moulting period they do not fall. The color of the hair is in all shades of gray, silver and charcoal. This dog has proper proportions and muscular body. The height of representatives varies between 55 and 59 cm and weight - between 26 and 38 kg.
Character and behavior
The Bergamasco Shepherd Dog is friendly and very loyal. They have highly developed protective instincts and can behave suspiciously with strangers, but would not show any aggression.
The function of the Bergamasco Shepherd Dog is to lead and keep the flock, work in which he shows exemplary abilities due to his vigilance, concentration and psychological balance.
Training and education
His ability to learn and to determine, combined with moderation and patience makes him an excellent guard dog and companion, capable of the most diverse jobs. This dog establishes a close relationship with man. You should keep in mind that sometimes these dogs can be stubborn, so the puppy needs a strong education. You need to control his nature of dominant guard dog. Don't overlook this part of the training to reduce the negative effect of his natural distrust towards strangers.
The Bergamasco Shepherd dog can live almost anywhere but prefers, by far, the great outdoors. He will be very happy on the outside taking advantage of walks with his beloved family.
The breed is rare and there are no known specific diseases to which these dogs are prone. The average life expectancy is about 13 to 15 years.
Grooming and care
Apartments are not suitable homes for these dogs as they need more space and a lot of movement to spend their energy. It is recommended to be grown by people with some experience.
Unfortunately, although this breed has an exceptional character, puppies for sale are really hard to find because his particular dress "scares" potential buyers. In fact, the Bergamasco Shephered Dog's dress should never be groomed. It can be washed (it is even recommended to do it regularly) but should not be brushed; simply let it dry in the sun. This is one of the easiest coats to maintain.
The Bergamasco Shepherd Dog needs a balanced diet to complete his development. It must be very rich during its growth. It is advisable to give him a traditional diet of raw red meat, rice or pasta and vegetables. Industrial specially adapted food may also suit the Bergamasco Shepherd.
Children and other pets
Representatives of the breed are very patient and kind to children and other pets especially if they were grown together.
After World War II, the breed was almost extinct but was saved thanks to Dr. Maria Andreoli, Italian breeder and geneticist. Shortly after the efforts of the doctor, dog farms in Italy resumed their work and soon a lot of new puppies were born.