Height: Male 23.5 inches, Female 22 inches
Weight: 70-84 pounds
Coat Type: Long, thick and shabby
Also known as Alpine sheepdog and Northern Italian sheepdog, Bergamasco shepherd dog is a unique companion that forms and enjoys strong bonds with humans. This dog can be differentiated from others, since its coat has three types of hair. The undercoat is fine, dense and oily, forming a waterproof layer. It has also has long strands of harsh hair, similar to that of a goat. Finally, there is the finer woolly top coat that is soft to touch. Due to its coat, the dog is also referred as ’Doppio Pelo’ in Italian. Bergamasco shepherd dogs are excellent companions for sports-loving people, leading an outdoor lifestyle. To know more about the Bergamasco shepherd dogs, explore the following article.
Bergamasco shepherd dog originated in the Italian Alps, at the farm of Piero Rota near Bergamo hills, at least 2000 years back. The herding breed comes from the area of shepherds and cattle dogs, where the nomads migrated with their herds. While selling the sheep, dogs were also exchanged. The Bergamasco found its cradle in the Alps, where sheep herding was much developed. The dogs were taken to Po Basin in Piedmont and Lombardy in the winters.
Bergamasco is a medium-sized dog, with a rustic appearance. A distinguishing feature of this breed is its long and thick coat, with fur covering its eyes. The shabby coat is characterized by three types of hair that are abundant and form mats or flocks. The front half of the body is hard textured with wavy locks, while from the chest to the back and on the legs; the coat has matted strips. The length of the strips determine the age of the dog. Bergamascos are born with short, smooth fur, but develop the mat-look as they grow old. The color of the coat is solid grey or ranges from pale grey to black and shades of fawn, brown and coal. The colors serve as a camouflage when these dogs work in the mountains.
Solidly compact, Bergamascos shepherd dogs are lively, intelligent, always alert, determined, courageous and excellent guards. Their sweet face, with an almost languid expression, always makes you want to communicate with them. They know how to use their strength and control their behavior depending on the situation. They can be trained for a variety of tasks, like environmental services, man-work, obedience, agility and guarding and herding sheep. Bergamascos shepherd dog breed is resistant to all types of weather and does best in extreme cold climates. Though these dogs are not instinctively aggressive, they do not like strangers invading their world. They build special relationship with children. Patient, tolerant, attentive and protective, the Bergamascos are used as therapy dogs for handicapped children. These dogs enjoy the outdoors and exercise on their own when living and working on a farm.
Bergamasco shepherds represent a very healthy breed and hardly prone to any genetic diseases.
The adorable, soft, fluffy, puppy coat of the Bergamasco enters the flocking age when they are about 8 to 9 months. The flocking lasts till the dog turns two years. After this age, the coat continues to grow throughout the dog’s life. The dog sheds mildly, but slightly higher in its young age. Once the coat is fully flocked, it needs to be brushed and cleaned only once in a week or two. The top coat that humans come in direct contact with is quite soft while touching. Slight loss of this fur can be observed.