Fun Facts About Bergamasco

The Bergamasco Shepherd has heredity starting in the Italian Alps near Bergamo. It is a remarkable dog and looks almost like a “mop.” Bergamascos are hypoallergenic, so if you are allergic to dog fur, this dog will not bother your allergies. Bergamascos are muscular, heavy-boned, and are used as herding dogs.

They have a large head and a thick tail. The dog is covered with an abundant coat that forms mats. They are remarkable since they do not shed or “throw a coat.”

History

The Bergamasco Sheepdog is an old breed, and it is believed that the dog breed is at least 2,000 years old. Bergamascos come from breeds of shepherds and cattle dogs that traveled from the Orient to the Western world.

These dogs traveled with nomad tribes and their herds. Dogs were exchanged when the herds were sold, which added to the journeys of the dogs.

Sheepherding was developed in the Alpine Arc, and that is where the Bergamasco was first employed. The Bergamasco has exceptional work attitudes, and their shepherd owners guard their bloodlines against outsiders. The AKC recognized Bergamasco as a breed in 2015.

The breed was in danger of becoming an extinct bred during WWII. The war drove down the need for wool and shepherds, and their dogs became unemployed.

Dr. Maria Andreoli, an Italian breeder, saved the breed in the early 1960s. She carefully bred and founded deli’Alera kennel, and a bloodline was reestablished for the Bergamasco Sheepdog.

The Bergamasco is relatively rare, but enthusiasts of Bergamascos love them for their intelligence, gentle manner, and ability to learn.

Personality

Strong, brave, and sound are the words that describe the Bergamasco. The dog is very intelligent and has learned over the centuries to think by itself and sort out unexpected problems.

The Bergamasco is a peaceful dog, attentive, and reserved. Do be aware, though, that the Bergamasco will be following you with his eyes even if you think he is asleep.

The dog is not instinctively aggressive, but it will get irritated if strangers invade its world. Children are the favorites of the Bergamasco. They will seek out the company of children and establish adorable friendships with children. Bergamascos are used as therapy dogs for disabled children.

Bergamascos are excellent watchdogs. They will alert you when strangers are around, but if there is no serious threat to the family, they will not be aggressive. Bergamascos see every person as an individual.

If they are friendly with strangers, they first must “feel” that person and sense what type of person they are. They do tolerate other dogs as long as other dogs are not threatening.

Bergamascos are not for everyone. If you are calm and firm, set rules for your dog, and are consistent, the dog is a pleasure to be around and own.

Your Bergamasco will grow to be about 23 inches at the shoulder and weigh anywhere from 70-85 pounds. Females are 22 inches at the shoulders and usually weight from 57 -71 pounds. A nice size dog for protecting your family.

Grooming

The Bergamasco requires truly little care. You will only need to brush and bathe them to keep them clean occasionally. The coat starts as soft and fluffy puppy hair to the flocking stage.

The soft baby stage lasts until the Bergamasco is about two years old. From 2-3 years, the coat settles into a flocking pattern and grows throughout the dog’s life.

The coat has three types of hair. First, there is the undercoat, which is fine, dense, and oily to the touch. The undercoat forms a waterproof layer for the dog to keep it warm and dry during herding duties.

The second layer is goat hair, which includes long strands of harsh hair similar to a goat’s coat. Next is the woolly topcoat, which is soft to the touch. When the woolly hair mixes with the goat hair, they weave together to create the flock.

Flocks on the Bergamasco are multilayers that eventually reach the ground. Let the coat develop as spontaneously and naturally as possible. Bergamascos do not shed like other dogs. Once the flocks are set, hair loss is very minimal. The Bergamasco’s coat is considered hair and not fur.

When your Bergamasco is fully mature, and flocks have formed, groom your dog by using your hand and running your fingers through the dog’s coat. Do not panic! The flocks are not mats are not pulling at the dog’s skin. Do not cut or shave the flocks.

These are natural and how the dog has evolved. Do not cut the flocks that fall into your dog’s eyes. Hair, in the eyes of a Bergamasco, acts as “sunglasses.”

Bergamascos can be gray or silver-gray to a dark coal color. Their coat colors serve as camouflage when working in the mountains or herding sheep.

Health

The breed is usually extremely healthy and has no specific health issues. You will need to give your Bergamasco plenty of exercise, however. They love to be outdoors and usually exercise however they want. A long walk or romp with children is usually ample exercise.

Take care of your Bergamasco, and your dog will live for about 13 to 15 years.

Bergamascos are best in colder climates. Its dense coat provides them protection from the cold, and they do not like to be hot. Apartment dwelling is not recommended. Let them run in a yard and choose their activities.

Feeding and exercise

Feed your Bergamasco plenty of high-quality dry dog food. Feed them twice a day or about 2 cups in total. Try not to feed them from the table, or they will learn to beg for food and become annoying.

Bergamascos have hearts of gold. They are athletic, medium-sized sheepdogs and have a social personality. Their coat is unique, but they often are confused with the Old English Sheepdog.

They are gentle, smart, and their coats are flocked or woven together to form “mats” that look like dreadlocks. Do not try and untangle their coats. Their coats are their remarkable feature.

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