We are a herding and guard dog from the alpine region of Italy. In fact we hail from the city of Bergamo in the Alps, which explains our name. It’s a fantastic part of the world and is the gateway to the Alps – we heartily recommend it! We’re an ancient breed of sheepdog, with a heritage dating back at least 2,000 years. Ancient dog lovers speak of a dog of the Alps and some describe a sheepdog in the Vallese region. The only common element in these vague sources is that the coat is described as long, thick and shabby. Which pretty much describes the Bergamasco Sheepdog to a tee! We were nearly extinct after World War II but a wonderful breeder by the name of Dr Maria Andreoli saved us. We owe her everything. Even today, we only number around 600 worldwide, so if you see one of us, you might want to take a joint selfie!
What do I look like?
Imagine a ginormous Vileda super mop? That’s the Bergamasco Sheepdog. Mind you, that distinctive cord-like coat has served its purpose – it helped us to ward off wolves! Aside from our coat, our head has a broad skull, which is slightly convex between the ears. Our eyes are large, oval and chestnut in colour. They make us look alert and calm – good traits for a herding dog. Our ears are triangular and droop somewhat. The Bergamasco Sheepdog has muscular legs, a broad, straight back and a high carrier tail.
What do I need from you?
We specialise in the matted and unkempt look! Our coat is made up of three types of hair: a fine undercoat; goat hair, which are long strands of harsh hair similar to the coat of a goat; and the woolly top coat, which is finer and softer to the touch. This combination weaves together to create the flock. These flocks continue to grow throughout our life, creating multiple layers that eventually reach the ground at about five years of age. This means our coat is best left to develop as naturally and spontaneously as possible, which means limited grooming for you. We are well suited to mild and even cold climates. Our dense coat provides so much protection from the elements that it is not uncommon for us to sleep outdoors. We do not tend to live happily in apartments.
What I will give in return
Our history comprises of managing endless herds of sheep. This demonstrates our natural intelligence and great problem solving ability. We’re a peaceful dog – our puppies play together nicely and we participate in everything that goes on around us. Despite not being instinctively aggressive, we do make an excellent watchdog because of our instinct to guard our flock. We form great relationships with children – we’re patient, tolerant, attentive and protective. We seek their company and join in their games – particularly if they involve a ball or anything fluffy!
How big will I get?
Up to 25in (63cm) in height and around 84lb (38kg) in weight. Female dogs are slightly lighter and shorter.
How long should I be around for?
Life span of a Bergamasco Sheepdog is pretty good. Expect us to live to around 13-15 years.
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Disclaimer: the views expressed on this page and any comments below are only a guide to typical traits and views on the breed. Individual circumstance and traits will always vary so we can be in no way responsible for any of the information provided.