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Bergamasco

The Canine Chronicles Directory

Bergamasco

Bergamasco's are a medium-sized, powerful looking breed. Their outer-coat is long, thick, abundant and wiry. It may have a greasy consistency, and forms loose mats or flocks from the spine, down the flanks and reaching the ground. The curtain of hair covering the eyes serves as a visor protecting it from the reflecting sun off the snow covered mountains. The coat color can range from gray or silver gray to anthracite (color of coal). This allows the Bergamasco to be camouflaged from predators while working in the mountains. The coat is made up of three types: the undercoat, the goat hair and the woolly undercoat. The woolly hair mixes with the goat hair, weaving together to create the flock. The skull is broad with a round forehead. The large oval eyes are either dark or chestnut in color. They have long eye lashes which assist in keeping the hair back from their eyes. The strong arched neck joins the high set withers and should not have a dewlap. The chest should be of moderate depth and the ribs well sprung. The back should be broad with a straight topline and a sloping croup. The oval feet should have arched but even toes. The tail is thicker at the top and tapers to the tip.

Temperament Bergamasco's are a well-balanced, alert, patient, independent, brave and peaceful breed. They enjoy working and bond closely with their families. They are excellent guard dogs and have a strong tendency to protect the children in the household. It has been said that they act like a "Nanny" towards their charges. They have been used as therapy dogs for handicapped children. Bergamasco's are very intelligent and want to be treated more like a friend. They will obey commands but need to understand the reason for the task. They are constantly aware of their surroundings, even when supposedly asleep their eyes will still follow activity around them. Due to this, they are perfect guard dogs although they are not naturally aggressive. Bergamasco's also show a lot of respect for each other and generally live peacefully in a community. If socialized, they also get along with non-canine and other household pets. They are generally reserved with strangers.
Height, Weight Male Height: up to 23" ; Weight: 70-84 lbs.
Female Height: up to 22" ; Weight 57-71 lbs.
Health Problems There are no known genetic diseases with this breed.
Living Conditions The Bergamasco is best suited for seasonal to cold climates. Their dense coats allow for sleeping outdoors. They would not do well living in an apartment. They would do best with a large yard where they get plenty of exercise.
Exercise This breed loves to be outdoors and will provide all of their own exercise needs with a large yard or a farm environment.
Life Expectancy About 13-15 years
Grooming This breed is born with a soft and downy coat which begins to flock as early as 8-9 months. The flocks continue to grow, eventually reaching the ground by the time the breed is 5 years old. It is best to let the flocks grow naturally and spontaneously. They do not shed like other breeds once they are grown. The Bergamasco coat is considered hair, not fur, and is considered non-allergic.
Origin Although not much is known about the Bergamasco, they are an ancient breed and are said to have contributed to the development of the Briards, Polish Lowland Sheepdogs and Bouvier des Flandres. It is believed that Phoenicians, the ancient world traders, brought their ancestors to the Bergamo region (near Milan) of Italy and the breed evolved from there. The Bergamascos were chosen for their work aptitudes and for a long time, their bloodlines were kept secret by shepherds. They are recognized by the FCI, UKC and by the AKC in their Foundation Stock Service® group.
Group Herding