The Bergamasco is an ancient breed of a herd dog widespread across the Italian Alpine and pre- Alpine regions; a particularly large number of the breed could be found in the valleys of the Bergamo region where sheep breeding was carried out on a large scale. The dog was essential in aiding shepherds driving herds during the seasonal movement between the pastures of the Alpine regions and plains of the Po Valley. A painting by a famous artist depicting the breed in the sixteenth century provides evidence of the ancient origins. The first dogs were registered with the Italian Stud Book in 1891. (1)
The Bergamasco Shepherd is a medium-sized dog of rustic appearance with an abundant coat covering all parts of the body; powerfully constructed but very well proportioned. Conformation is that of a dog of medium proportions (mesomorphic) the body is square in outline, with well-balanced proportions in relation to size and the profiles of the head and body. (1)
The function of the Bergamasco Shepherd dog is to drive and guard herds and livestock in general, a task for which the breed expresses consummate behaviour thanks to the vigilance, concentration and harmonious built. The capacity for learning and the determination combined with moderation and patience make the dog an excellent guard and companion, suited to various functions. Known to establish a close relationship with man. The breed must never be aggressive or fearful, although a slight natural diffidence is mentioned as a somewhat typical characteristic of some sheepdogs. (1)
This breed can compete in dog agility trials, obedience, showmanship, flyball, and tracking events. Herding instincts and trainability mean the dog can be trained to compete in herding trials. Although the Bergamasco is often photographed herding sheep, it is traditionally a cattle dog that performs well in a mountain environment. The cattlemen let their dogs go and they bring the herd back without human supervision. (2)(3)
Height at the withers: Males: Ideal height at the withers 60 cm. Females: Ideal height at the withers 56 cm. With a tolerance of 2 cm over or under ideal height.
Weight: Males:32 – 38 kg. Females: 26 –32 kg. (1)
Now you know a little about the Bergamasco Shepherd Dog you may have think that this is the dog for you. Before you make a decision, please make contact with the breed club or your State controlling body for purebred dogs. They will be able to give you information about available puppies and also suggest dog shows where you can see the breed and speak to breeders. In this way you will gain a better perspective of the Bergamasco Shepherd Dog and its needs and whether this breed would suit your lifestyle.