Bergamasco Sheepdog

September 25, 2020 // 7 minute read

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The Bergamasco Sheepdog is a large-sized dog known for its one-of-a-kind coat – matted and mop-like. Their large, muscular body is covered with these strands of matted hair in various colors: black, silver, fawn, merle, cream, white, and gray.

Bergamasco Sheepdog’s coat protects them from extreme cold weather, which explains the appearance. This is why they were the perfect shepherd dogs in the Alps. As common with working dogs, Bergamascos needs tons of exercise in long walks or plays.

With the right family, these are bright, loyal, and loving dogs. You should be an experienced owner if you’d love to own one of these dogs. These dogs are trainable, given that you’re consistent and firm.

Bergamasco Sheepdog

Bergamasco Sheepdog Statistics

Dog Breed GroupHerding
Breed SizeLarge
Height23.5 inches (male); 22 inches (female)
Weight70-84 pounds (male); 57-71 pounds (female)
Lifespan13-15 years

Bergamasco Sheepdog Ratings

Energy level
Exercise needs
Requires attention
Friendly with family
Friendly with kids
Friendly with strangers
Friendly with other dogs
Prey Drive

Bergamasco Sheepdog History

The Bergamasco Sheepdog, or Bergamaschi (plural form in Italian), is an Italian Shepherd dog breed with a long history. Its origin can be traced as far back as 7000 years ago in Persia (now Iran).

They are believed to be among the many dog breeds from the Middle East that were bartered around by Phoenician traders in ancient times. Many historians also believed that these dogs descended from the Briards while others insisted that the Bergamascos came first and that they were in fact, ancestors of the Briards.

The name Bergamasco came from the Alpine town of Bergamo near Milan, Italy. The dogs spent many centuries in this place as working dogs fitting their build and appearance.

It’s also believed that the coat of the Bergamasco Sheepdogs changed as time passed to protect the dogs and help them adapt in the extreme cold. This also serves as their protection to predators looking to hunt for sheep. Their long upper lashes did well in protecting the dog’s eyes, too, from snow blindness.

Bergamasco Sheepdogs were excellent at what they do, but after the Second World War, their numbers started to dwindle down. Fortunately, their fans didn’t leave this breed behind and supported it until they were registered in the American Kennel Club in 2015.

Today, the dogs rank 187th in popularity in the US. They are quite hard to find, but fans of this breed will surely argue how great of dogs they are.

Bergamasco Sheepdog Temperament

If there’s one thing that people love about the Bergamasco Sheepdogs, it’s because they’re calm and patient dogs. They show great love and affection to their owners, but not to the point that they’ll jump at you and lick your face.

These are great dogs to be around kids. They are very gentle with children, and can even be trained as therapy dogs for handicapped children. This is a herding dog, so close supervision is still needed as he might herd your kids.

They are kind to other dogs and pets that grew up with them, too. But you have to make sure to show equal love to each of your pets so there’s no jealousy.

Bergamascos have strong protective instincts but they are never aggressive. They will bark when he sees someone suspicious, but he won’t jump at them unless provoked. So, if you want an excellent watchdog, this dog can do the job.

As with any other dog breeds, Bergamasco Sheepdogs need to be socialized at an early age. Get them accustomed to anything new so that they would become more well-rounded. This will also help in promoting a more stable temperament.

These are shepherd dogs so they tend to have a mind of their own. However, they are still trainable, you just have to be consistent and firm. They are great at following instructions, which makes them excellent working companions.

Bergamasco Sheepdog2

Bergamasco Shepherd Dog Care Requirements

Nutrition: Bergamasco Sheepdogs should do well on any type of diet as long as it’s high quality and well-balanced. It should also be formulated to be fit and appropriate to his age and what he needs in terms of his activity level. Proteins, fats, and carbohydrates are essential nutrients needed by any growing dog breed. So, you need to make sure that you only buy high-quality ingredients that have these nutrients present. Adding fruits and vegetables is also great to provide fiber and vitamins. If you’re serving commercially manufactured food, then it’s best to choose the premium quality ones. Always check the label to ensure that the product doesn’t contain fillers, additives, and by-products that can be harmful to your dog. Watch the number of calories you feed your Bergamasco Sheepdog in a day. An overweight dog can become more susceptible to health conditions, and for sure, you don’t want this for your furry friends. If you don’t know the right feeding requirements for your dog, it’s always best to ask for your vet’s advice. He’ll be able to create a feeding guide that is appropriate for your dog’s needs.

Grooming: The coat of a Bergamasco Sheepdog may look very hard to maintain, but you’ll be surprised to know that it’s not. These dogs are known for their matted, flocked coats made up of three types of hair – dog, goat, and wool. As puppies, Bergamasco Sheepdogs have soft hair until they reach one year. As they grow older, the goat and wool hairs start to grow, forming into mats. By the time these dogs reach the age of 6, their coat can reach the ground. These dogs don’t need brushing, they don’t shed, and would only need to be bathed two to three times a year. If you wish proper grooming, take them to a professional groomer to keep them looking their best. Never shave these dogs’ coats as they aid in keeping your Bergamasco Sheepdog warm. And like other dog breeds, clean out the ears regularly to avoid ear infection, and trim down the nails to prevent pain and discomfort.

Exercise: Bergamasco Sheepdogs are calm dogs. But they do require moderate amounts of exercise daily in the form of brisk walks, hikes, or field romping. They are happiest when doing activities with their owners, increasing the bond between both of you.

Health: Bergamasco Sheepdogs are generally healthy dogs with a long life span. But like any other dog breeds, they are still prone to getting diseases if not taken care of well. For these dogs, you only have to worry about hip dysplasia and bloating. You need to provide them the right nutrition and exercise so they stay healthy. You can also meet at least one of your dog’s parents to be aware of any hereditary conditions your dog might acquire. We advise closely monitoring your dog’s behavior. If you notice any changes, don’t hesitate to bring him to the vet.

Lifespan: The life expectancy of Bergamasco Sheepdogs is 13-15 years.

Fun Facts about Bergamasco Sheepdogs

  • Bergamasco Sheepdogs originated from Persia more than 2000 years ago.
  • They are believed to be descendants or ancestors of Briards.
  • These dogs were named after the region of Bergamo in Italian Alps.
  • They worked as herding dogs.
  • Their coat is made of three types of hair: dog, goat, and wool.
  • Their coat protects them from extreme cold and predator attacks.
  • They almost went extinct during World War II as the need for shepherding dogs declined.
  • They are rare dogs.
  • They are registered in the American Kennel Club Stud Book in 2015.

Check Out Other Herding Dog Breeds:
Australian Cattle Dog, Australian Shepherd, Bearded Collies, Beaucerons, Belgian Malinois, Belgian Sheepdog, Belgian Tervuren, Berger Picards, Border Collie, Bouviers des Flandres, Briards, Canaan Dog, Cardigan Welsh Corgis, Collie, Entlebucher Mountain Dogs, Finnish Lapphund, German Shepard, Miniature American Shepherd, Norwegian Buhunds, Old English Sheepdog, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Polish Lowland Sheepdogs, Puli, Pumi, Pyrenean Shepherd, Shetland Sheepdog, Spanish Water Dog, Swedish Vallhunds

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