The Bergamasco breed of dogs has its origins in the Italian Alps, this dog like many others of its style, was used as a sheepdog and guardian of flocks. This dog looks similar to the famous Komondor, a dog from Hungary. However there are other breeds similar to the Bergamasco such as the Bearded Collie, Puli, Bobtail, Valée Shepherd, Brie Shepherd, Schapendoes and the Schafpudel (an ancient German Shepherd dog). This article will answer the question What is a Bergamasco like? Both from their physical appearance and their temperament and the basic care that must be taken with this breed of dog.
History and Origin of the Bergamasco breed
Bergamasco breed dogs are dogs with a lot of history and quite old, what's more, they are one of the modern pedigree dogs, descendants of the dogs that made trips with Phoenician merchants during pre-Roman times. Little is known of their ancestors, however they lived in the Italian Alps, currently north of Milan; there these dogs took care of the flocks of the local shepherds. They lived there constantly with extreme cold and strong winds, so it was incredible the protection provided by their shaggy fur, being impenetrable against them. During the herding work, the Bergamasco had to mix among the sheep, so it had to be very intelligent and independent to be able to carry out the tasks, since the dog was never next to the shepherd. Another of the tasks of that time, in addition to always having the herd united; the Bergamasco, had to dissuade and drive away threats, such as wolves or bears, that wanted to attack the herd; That is why it has a very protective instinct that can currently be seen in these dogs.
Unfortunately, after World War II, there were some changes in certain agricultural management and practices. This caused a significant loss of sheep and their livestock in Italy; That is why the breed also caused a sharp decline in its growth, almost reaching extinction around the sixties. However, thanks to Maria Andreoli, an Italian woman with a great interest in the breed, she developed the world famous dell 'Albera kennels. In this way, a large number of dogs grew up and then they have been exported all over the world. In any case, the Bergamasco breed of dogs is not a well-known breed worldwide, except in its country of origin.
Physical characteristics of the Bergamasco
The Bergamasco breed of dogs is a large dog, which according to the FCI is in the classification of Group 1: Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs, except Swiss Cattle Dogs. Section 1: Sheepdogs. In addition, it can be said that these wonderful dogs are in the category of large breeds.
Bergamasco breed dogs have a square build, which means that they are equal in length and height. Their chest is quite wide and reaches the elbows, they have a wide and rounded rib cage and a tucked belly. The upper line of these animals is straight and the withers protrude above their back. Its rump tends to be strong, wide and with a slight descent. The tail of the Bergamasco has a low insertion in the shape of a triangle, that is, it is wide at the base and it becomes thinner until it reaches the other end. The legs are straight, parallel, robust and strong, like its shoulders and the feet are oval like the feet of a hare with curved and compact toes. Its neck is very firm and strong and has an arched shape at the base. The measurement from your shoulders to the birth of your neck should be less than the size of the animal's head.
The head also has a square shape. It is wide and quite long, the part of the skull between the ears is slightly curved and in the area of the forehead it is wide and rounded. The eyebrows are well marked and the muzzle and skull are the same length. They have a straight nasal bridge and their muzzle tapers slightly towards the nose without becoming sharp.
Its lips are quite thin and stick to the animal's teeth, the ears are triangular in shape, soft and thin, approximately 12 centimeters long and hanging. They are set high, above the line of the skull. The eyes, although not too visible, are large and oval with low implantation. The teeth of these dogs are strong and complete in the shape of a scissor.
Height and weight of Pastor Bergamasco
The height of the Bergamasco is approximately 60 centimeters for the male and an average 56 centimeters for the female. The standard admits in both a difference greater or less than 2 centimeters from the indicated numbers.
Regarding the weight, the females range between 26 kilograms and 32 kilograms and the males range between 32 and 38 kilograms.
Fur of the Bergamasco Shepherd
The hair of the Bergamasco is rough, thick and in the form of cords or sheets of about three centimeters. They have a long and abundant coat that tends to be rougher on the front of the body. In the area of the head and shoulders it is softer and does not acquire the texture that it has in the rest of the body. Its coat is waterproof which makes it possible for the animal to be resistant to many meteorological conditions and to be very resistant to cold.
They tend to be gray in various shades, it is the most common color to see in this breed. It is also common to see specimens of black color, gray with spots of another color, black with spots of other colors. They are accepted with white spots as long as they do not represent more than twenty percent of the total.
Temperament of the Bergamascos
These "woolly" dogs are of a very good temperament, they are very intelligent and patient dogs. Also thanks to their original tasks they are incredible protective and extremely vigilant dogs. In this section we are going to make a division so that it behaves better as is the temperament of a Bergamasco; starting with the character of these dogs and then by their behavior.
How is the character of the Bergamasco?
Bergamascos are quite intelligent dogs that have great character. They are brave and also good watchdogs who do not care much, thanks to their fur, the weather conditions. Although they do not bark too much, if they feel any danger they will do so without hesitation.
These dogs are usually very close to their master and the family with which they live. They are quite independent and friendly, they are not aggressive at all and they have a lot of self-confidence.
How does a Bergamasco Shepherd behave?
This breed of dog is very friendly in terms of its behavior, if it has a good socialization process it will adapt perfectly to living with children, other dogs and even other animals. He has a protective instinct with the children of the family with which he lives. While not aggressive, an intruder on the property where you live can be in for a big surprise with this animal if they discover it. With strangers, he is shy at first but then he will loose himself as encounters are added.
General care of the Bergamasco Shepherd dog breed
As for the basic care that we must have with the Bergamasco breed, they are not so exhaustive; however, you must pay special attention to their fur and skin. It is also important to give him a good diet and frequent walks so that he maintains a good mood and excellent health. We recommend that you visit a veterinarian at least once a year to check its growth. This section details the most important care to have with a Bergamasco breed dog.
Find the best kennels for dogs, here.
Find everything you need to know about dog beds, here.
How to bathe or groom the Bergamascos?
Regarding grooming, Bergamasco breed dogs must be combed and brushed until approximately the first year or year and a half of age. When the hair begins to adopt a felt texture, you should stop brushing and combing the animal. After this time has passed, the animal's hairstyle will become manual and what should be done is to try not to form very thick cords in its fur. Your cords should be about three-centimeter strips.
The hair on the head does require a brush or comb hairstyle and more regularly than the rest of the body. If the animal is to be given a bath, it should preferably be in summer since its laces take a long time to dry.
How to train or educate a Bergamasco?
It is essential to bear in mind that for the training to be fruitful, the master or the person who tries to train it must be firm and persevering. This dog is not one of the easiest to train because it tends to be quite stubborn and does not obey orders that it does not consider of utmost importance. It is highly advisable to socialize puppies from an early age, which will pay off with living with other dogs or pets and with their training process.
The best offers in dog collars, here.
How to exercise a Bergamasco Shepherd?
As for exercise, these dogs do not adapt easily to life in the city and places with high temperatures. It is ideal to live in temperate or cold climates and in country houses or with large grounds. The Bergamasco requires a lot of physical activity, it is recommended that you be active at least 2 hours a day, which implies several walks a day. But it has the characteristic that it is a very independent dog and in large areas it usually plays and runs on its own. It is a dog that fits perfectly with sports families who tend to go for bike rides or go for a run. It is a resistant dog that thanks to its waterproof coat can remain in the open without causing a discomfort for it.
Recommended diet for Bergamascos
The ideal diet for this furry breed of dog is a dry food for dogs rich in nutrients and minerals, a balanced diet for the Bergamasco is ideal. The Bergamasco Sheepdog. It is important to give him a good amount of food twice a day. To determine the portion of food or dry feed, they should take it to the veterinarian to give it the right amount for its growth and development. The animal nutrition specialist will inform you and determine how much to give based on the age, size and amount of exercise the dog performs.
All the variety and the best prices in feeders and drinkers for dogs, here.
Find the best deals from dry food for dogs here.
The best offers of wet food for dogs here.
Find the best deals from dog snacks here.
Health and possible diseases of the Bergamasco Shepherds
The Bergamasco breed of dogs are in good health thanks to their history with cold and windy environments in the countryside. They are dogs that do not have health problems or hereditary diseases that have been recognized as such; However, the reason for the ignorance may be due to the scarce quantity of these dogs in the world; Since the Kennel Club only relied on a last 10 dog health survey, it is of this breed, so the sample is small to make a generalization.
In any case, it is advisable to check its coat and skin from time to time to avoid infections such as fungi or parasites. We recommend that you visit the vet at least once a year to check their health, weight and growth.
How long does a Bergamasco live?
As we said before, the Bergamasco is in good health thanks to its origins with windy and cool climates. This great breed of dogs has a life expectancy of between 13 and 15 years, however they can live longer depending on the care that one gives them. We always recommend giving a good quality balanced dog food or dry feed and doing frequent exercise, such as walks or games with the dog. However, it is necessary to take him to the vet once a year to check his health and growth according to the age of the dog.
Uses of Bergamascos dogs
Currently we can find these dogs that are still used as cattle dogs. The good disposition of these dogs and their ability to learn make them suitable for owners who have perspectives in dog sports.