The first thing that comes to mind when looking at the Bergamasco Sheepdog is often how unique their coat is. These dogs are true standouts thanks to their thickly matted fur. But underneath is an extremely loyal and protective hard worker that is a real charmer. These dogs are excellent herders, but also make great family dogs. Read on to learn more about the Bergamasco Sheepdog.
Description of the Bergamasco Sheepdog
The Bergamasco Sheepdog is a tough breed both in discipline and physical strength. These compact dogs are excellent at herding and warding off predators.
They originally traveled to Italy by way of the Middle East, and it was in the town of Bergamo, outside Milan, that these dogs flourished. Their compact and well-muscled bodies are adept at moving over rocky mountain terrain.
The crowning glory of this breed is their thick coat. They have three different types of fur, a soft and oily undercoat for repelling water, a layer of “goat hair,” and a long and coarse outer coat. The two outermost coats are patched over the body and it is the uneven distribution that creates the flat mats that are called flocks. The flocks can be anywhere from one and a half to three inches wide. The Bergamasco Sheepdog comes in solid gray, and various shades of gray all the way to matte black.
Life Expectancy and Size
The average lifespan for these healthy dogs is 13 – 15 years. Working with a reputable breeder will help ensure you get the healthiest puppy possible.
These compact dogs stand just under two feet tall, with males standing around 23.5 inches, and females around 22 inches. Males weigh 70 – 84 pounds, and females are 57 – 71 pounds.
The Bergamasco Sheepdog views the world with an intelligent and vigilant gaze. These dogs do not miss a beat, and make alert watchdogs and protective guard dogs. They are wary of strangers and will require proper introductions before warming up to outsiders.
While the Bergamasco Sheepdog is highly sensitive and attentive to the needs of his family, this breed does tend to have a certain level of independence. This requires a firm and patient hand when it comes to training. They are quick to learn and happy to comply, so long as they are given proper guidance.
Positive training methods are a great way to work with this breed. Treats, games, and other rewards offer good motivation, and are the perfect way to make training fun and efficient. Just be sure not to overfeed, as your dog may become overweight if given too many treats.
Early socialization is also an important aspect of training for the Bergamasco Sheepdog. They are naturally sociable, and exposing them to many different people, places, and things will help them develop into well-mannered dogs.
These dogs don’t need to have an ultra runner parent to be happy, but they do have energy and love spending it by doing fun activities with you. They are always up for something if it means they get to spend time with their owners.
But the Bergamasco Sheepdog isn’t so active that he can’t be happy in a more sedentary family. These dogs are content lounging around with their families. Just be sure to get them active enough every day so they stay healthy.
What Living with a Bergamasco Sheepdog is Like
This is an all around kind breed.
These dogs are hard workers and perfect for jobs like herding, but they are also family dogs that do well with children and other dogs they are raised with. Their adaptability makes them a great choice for all different types of people.
Both active and sedentary families alike can find a great companion in the Bergamasco Sheepdog. They are up for long runs or cuddles — anything really, as long as it is with you! But always give your dog enough daily exercise for his health and happiness.
Care of the Bergamasco Sheepdog
The Bergamasco Sheepdog can do well in a huge variety of homes and families, as long as he is given adequate exercise and family interaction.
The thick triple coat of the Bergamasco Sheepdog is excellent at protecting these dogs from cold weather. Their water resistant undercoat blocks out rain and snow, and their long facial fur helps keep them from becoming snow blind. They can adapt to warmer weather, but be sure to keep them out of the extreme heat, as they are very quick to overheat under all of that fur!
Unlike many other herders, moderate exercise is often enough to satisfy the Bergamasco Sheepdog. Just be sure this exercise comes in the form of time with you. This breed is quite social and prefers to be active with his family.
Long daily walks, games, backyard playtime, and herding are all great ways to get your dog moving and mentally stimulated as well.
Shedding and Grooming
The coat of the Bergamasco Sheepdog looks quite daunting, but after a few initial hours of work it is virtually maintenance free! The two outer coats begin coming in at about a year of age and these layers must be separated into mats, which may take a few hours of work. But once their locks are made there is no brushing, shedding, and only a few baths a year! A great bonus if you are looking for a dog with an amazing coat with little effort.
This breed doesn’t shed.
Always be sure to keep their nails trimmed and ears cleaned so they don’t develop any infections or discomfort.
Ideal Home Environment
These protective dogs are a great choice for families and flocks of sheep alike. They make diligent workers and devoted family members. They thrive on social interaction with their family so be sure you can give them enough interaction everyday.
The Bergamasco Sheepdog is a great choice for those looking for an even-keeled guard dog. They are quick to alert of any approaching strangers and ever watchful over their families.
A generally healthy breed, the Bergamasco Sheepdog often lives a full life, but can have certain issues. Hip and elbow dysplasia are two of the more common problems in this breed. Working with a reputable breeder can help mitigate these problems, but always be prepared as your dog may become sick at any time.
A naturally social and family-oriented breed, the Bergamasco Sheepdog can suffer from separation anxiety. Proper socialization and adequate daily interaction can help prevent your dog from becoming overly dependent of you.