Bergamasco Shepherd Dog: Characteristics, Origin, Temperament

The Bergamasco Shepherd dog is a breed of dog which was originated from the Italian Alps near Bergamo. It was originally used as a herding dog. The breed is also known by some other names such as Bergamasco Shepherd Dog, Bergamasco, Cane da pastore Bergamasco and Italian: pastore bergamasco.

The Bergamasco Shepherd dogs are among several Middle-Eastern breeds that were bartered around the Mediterranean basin in the distant past by the Phoenicians, wily seafaring traders of the pre-Roman ancient world.

French authorities have theorized that the Bergamasco is descended from the Briard, an ancient Gallic herder. Patriotic Italians, however, insist that the Bergamasco came first and contributed to the genetic makeup of the Briard and other Euripean flock dog breeds. They make the sound argument that if the breed was originally Middle-Eastern, it must have arrived in Italy before it was established as far west as France.

The Bergamasco’s numbers dwindled in Italy during the years after World War II, but more recently dog people around the world have rallied behind this serene but fearless protector. The breed’s American devotees scored a triumph in 2015, when the Bergamasco Sheepdog was admitted to the AKC Stud Book.[1]

Bergamasco Shepherd Dog Characteristics

The Bergamasco Shepherd dogs are medium in size with a rustic appearance. They are muscular, heavy-boned herding dog with a large head and a thick tail that hangs down to the hock and curves slightly upward at the end.

Entire body of the dog is covered with an abundant coat that forms mats. The Bergamasco is compact in profile but is just slightly longer than tall. Common coloration of these dogs are merle or black.

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The characteristic feature of the Bergamasco Shepherd dog is it’s unique coat, which is made up of three types of hair. The coat forms flocks or loose mats, which cover the dog’s body and legs, and protect it from weather and predators. And the hair on the head is typically long and hangs over the eyes.

Average body height of the mature Bergamasco Shepherd dog is between 22 and 23.5 inches at the withers. And average body weight of the mature dog is between 32 and 38 kg for males, and between 26 and 32 kg for females.

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Temperament

The Bergamasco Shepherd dog is an alert, observant and patient dog breed with good self-control and balance. It is suited even as a guard and companion dog. The breed establishes a close bond with it’s owner. Aggressive or overly shy behavior is a fault.[2]

These dogs are generally happy with kids and other animals. They are healthy and require low maintenance and they are much more than a show-stopping hairdo. They are eager to please, smart, and stubbornly devoted to work. They are patient but protective.

Lifespan

Average lifespan of the Bergamasco Shepherd dog is between 13 and 15 years.

Feeding

How much a mature dog eats depends on it’s size, age, build, metabolism and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don’t all need the same amount of food.

The Bergamasco Shepherd dogs are medium in size. So, their diet should be formulated for a medium-sized breed with average exercise needs. You can consult with a vet in your area for better recommendation.

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Caring

Taking good care of the animals is very important for raising Bergamasco Shepherd dogs. They generally require only a moderate amount of exercise everyday. Because they bond closely with their owners, this exercise should come in the form of some sort of mutual activity rather than the dog being left alone in the backyard.

And while they are generally calm, Bergamascos have a good deal of energy and are happy to join their owners in almost any sort of activity, whether that entails retrieving a ball, going on a brisk walk or hike, or romping together in an open field.

As with all breeds, early socialization and puppy training classes are recommended. Gently exposing the puppy to a wide variety of people, places and situations will help him develop into a well-adjusted, well-mannered mature dog.

The Bergamasco Shepherd dogs are sociable and highly intelligent breed who possesses a deep desire to please it’s master. They think independently, however, and often see themselves more as an equal partner than as a subordinate to the members of their family.

Health

The Bergamasco Shepherd dogs are generally healthy. But like all other dog breeds, they are also prone to certain health conditions.

Their common health problems include hip and elbow dysplasia. Always keep good contact with a vet in your area.

Breed NameBergamasco Shepherd
Other NamesBergamasco Shepherd Dog, Bergamasco, Cane da pastore Bergamasco and Italian pastore bergamasco
Breed SizeMedium
HeightBetween 22 and 23.5 inches at the withers
WeightBetween 32 and 38 kg for males, and between 26 and 32 kg for females
Good as petsYes
Climate ToleranceAll climates
ColorMerle or black
LifespanBetween 13 and 15 years
Good for childrenYes
RarityCommon
Country of OriginItaly