|Sensitivity to strangers
|Affection for family
|Suitable for first-time owners
|Ease of grooming
If you see one walking by the street it will surely not go unnoticed: we are talking about the Bergamasco Sheepdog, also known as Bergamese Shepherd, Cane da Pastore Bergamasco, and Bergamo Shepherd Dog, a dog with a really extravagant appearance.
The Bergamasco Sheepdog is one of the most famous Italian breeds, even among those who are not passionate about dog-fancying. Its “look” is really unmistakable and its hair has turned it into an icon.
Probably you have not seen a Bergamasco Sheepdog, and if you have, surely you must have felt like touching its wonderful “hair”. Besides it is pleasant and likable, what makes this dog unique is its matted, mop-like coat. In short, before we go into the details, we may suggest that the Bergamasco has a really “alternative” hair look.
Bergamasco Sheepdog: Origins
The origins and history of this Padano fluffy toy (from the Padano plains in Italy) are closely related to the destiny of nomad peoples in the last centuries. As its name indicates, we are obviously in the presence of a shepherd dog, that has always been adequate to herd cattle and for a shepherd life.
Probably, it arrived in the Padano valley from the East, to later become one of the most used dogs by cattlemen who worked in those regions. Since the 14th century and for approximately 4 centuries, the Bergamasco Sheepdog strengthened its reputation as an excellent cattle guardian, in virtue of its patient and determined temperament, earning the title of a trustworthy and totally diligent dog.
Since the 18th century, it experienced a crisis period, associated with the decrease of shepherd activities. Later, as the 20th-century wars contributed to a great decrease of this breed’s presence, and at one point it was at risk of extinction.
Nevertheless, thanks to the fact that the breed had been “recorded” or “institutionalized” at the end of the 19th century, by the declaration of marquis Paolo Cornaggia, the breed could survive. At that time, it was still called “Mountain Dog“, its old name, of bucolic style. The official breed standard was established in 1949 with the creation of the Bergamasco Sheepdog Amateur Society.
Bergamasco Sheepdog: Physical Appearance, Aesthetic Characteristics, and peculiarities
It is a dog of large size, that may look bigger due to the immense amount of hair it has. However, it is a well-proportioned dog breed. We will mention some important measurements: generally, a male specimen weighs around 70-83 lb (32-38 kg) and maybe 23 inches (60 cm) tall at the withers.
Females are slightly smaller but they have a bigger coat. The Bergamasco Sheepdog has big dark eyes, while the ears are triangular and hang elegantly. The snout is very visible and big. Now we have arrived at the most important part: the coat. It provides this Italian giant with a rustic and somehow exotic look. Let´s begin by saying that it grows year after year but it becomes fully grown when it becomes an adult, only at the age of 2.
Let´s try to analyze it a little better: the unique “cords” may also be called mats. However, the fur surface and composition are not uniform in the physical build of Bergamaschi. The front has a harsh fur, pretty similar to goats. while the back hair is slightly curly and softer, with the signature mats.
The hair is also very abundant around its eyes and the mouth, both areas are pretty delicate. The tail starts rather big and becomes smaller in the end, and is also very wide. Chromatically, several colors or tones are allowed, from black to grey and fawn, with the exception of total white. White is allowed only with mattings, but it should not exceed 1/5 of the total surface of the coat.
Bergamasco Sheepdog: Let´s Talk about Bergamachis Temperament
As we mentioned above, with relation to its ability as a herding dog, the Bergamasco Sheepdog is a balanced dog, with a commanding attitude, but it is very patient. It is obedient and loyal, but it also knows how to make important decisions independently.
It is affectionate without being possessive, proud without being aggressive. It loves to be in contact with its family, even if it is numerous: probably because it sees them as a kind of flock to take after! In this sense, the Bergamasco Sheepdog also has a good relationship with children, it looks at them as the little lambs of the family.
In short, we are in front of a very diligent and cordial dog, with the ability to carry out tasks with a lot of responsibility (its excellent sense of smell also gave it a place in police forces as a tracker dog!). But it also knows how to show it is a funny companion dog.
Bergamasco Sheepdog: Health
As one can imagine, it is integral to know that the Bergamasco Sheepdog’s coat needs care. It is necessary to omit immediately a myth, or rather eliminate it. Many fear a dog with this amount of fur may emit an ugly smell.
In fact, the Bergamasco Sheepdog does not smell, at least not as much as its colleagues, sometimes less voluminous. Besides, even though it seems impossible, it is not difficult to clean its coat. Surely it is advisable to prevent instead of solving. By treating its hair with care every day you will avoid matting. In this sense, you will be able to disentangle imperfections directly with the hands, without any great difficulties.
With respect to bad smells, these can only be perceived if the dog stays locked in for many hours, in places like a garage, in a room, or in places like a kennel. If your 4-legged friend is free to have daily walks outdoors, it should not present any kind of problem.
Have you ever thought of making your dog wear perfume? All you need to do is pay a little additional care during rinse and air-drying, to get brand-new hair in a perfect state. If you wish so, you can also cut its hair every once in a while, pay attention only to the face and eyes area.
Bergamasco Sheepdog: Price, Breeders, and Puppies for Sale
How much can a giant like this cost? The situation is not so clear. Prices oscillate between 800 and 1100 dollars, or 600-900 English pounds. However, these are not golden days for the Bergamasco Sheepdog, because unfortunately, demand is not so high: this is the reason for which you may find affordable offers.
When you reach for your pocket, bear in mind that this is a pretty sturdy and long-lived breed, remember that historically it used to be inaccessible since it lived in the Alps!
It does not present any recurring conditions and it has a good level of fertility. In terms of diet, this breed does not have any problems or restrictions. Its feeding should not be too expensive, since this shepherd is too big but it does not overeat.
This is a dog that is a trustworthy guardian, a pleasant company, and that also has an attractive look… Could it be your new 4-legged friend?
You may be interested in reading another article related to other dog breeds such as:
- Bergamasco Sheepdog
- Saarloos Wolfdog
- Fila Brasileiro
- Dogue de Bordeaux