Breed Category: Working
Country of Origin: Italy
Average Size:  55-60 cm (at the withers)
Average Weight: 27-35 kg
Average Life Span: 12-14 years
Grooming Requirements: Low
Exercise Requirements: High

History

The Bergamasco is a mountain sheepdog that is native to the northern Italian area of Bergamo. This is a skilled and tenacious herding dog that is known to work in difficult mountain terrain as well as in fields. This breed has long and deep roots which are thought to span thousands of years. It has remained largely the same in appearance and personality since its development.

The Bergamasco is skilled in herding sheep, cattle and other farm animals. It guides them in droves and safely escorts them when necessary, all the while protecting them from harm. Its work ethic has made it invaluable to shepherds and the breed is valued for both its work and its gentle temperament with its family.

Appearance

The Bergamasco is medium in size and is made to look larger by its unusual coat. The coat of this breed naturally mats and forms long, felted cords. Though the breed is born with short fur, the matting soon begins as the coat grows in length. This thick fur protects it from cold weather in instances where it spends a great deal of time outdoors. There are three types of fur in this breed: a water-resistant under coat, a layer of thick, harsh fur and a soft wooly outer coat. Together these mat and form the dreadlocks for which it is known. Once it reaches this condition, it is fairly low-maintenance. Occasional bathing and spot brushing may be necessary.

The colouring of the Bergamasco’s coat is typically gray, yellow, black or brown. It is often a combination of these shades.

This is a strong and muscular breed, which is a testament to its working roots. It has large, round eyes that are dark in colour and are typically covered by its long coat. It also has a long, expressive tail that wags when working or at play.

Female Bergamascos are typically visibly smaller in size than their male counterparts. The breed averages 55-60 cm in height and 27-35 kg in weight.

Temperament

The athleticism and energy of this breed cannot be underestimated. If it is not used in its original herding role, the Bergamasco’s endurance should be put to use in other ways. It may enjoy and excel in herding and agility exercises in dog competitions or at home. It needs to spend a great deal of time outside, so a large piece of land is ideal.

The Bergamasco is also extremely intelligent. It responds well to fair and consistent obedience and discipline. It will otherwise attempt to become the dominant member of the household, which can lead to undesired behaviours. It is very eager to please and takes pride in its work as a herding dog. If not used for this purpose, it needs other forms of stimulation that will help it achieve a sense of accomplishment.

This breed has a wonderful and patient temperament. It is enjoys being around children and will be both playful with and protective of them. It will naturally guard its home and become defensive when necessary in order to protect its family. The natural herding and primitive nature of this breed means that it requires early socialisation with other animals such as cats in order to peacefully cohabitate with them.

Health

The Bergamasco is a breed with deep roots and a hardy nature. It is not prone to any health conditions, though that does not mean that none will develop. It is not predisposed to any particular illness.

This medium-sized sheepdog lives to be an average of 12-14 years of age, which is slightly longer than average for its size.

Bergamasco Dog Organisations in Australia
No club information listed

Bergamasco Dog Organisations in the UK
Bergamasco (Imp) Breed Rescue

Bergamasco Dog Organisations in the US
Bergamasco Sheepdog Club of America
American Kennel Club – Bergamasco

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