The Bergamasco is muscular breed of dog with its origins in the Italian Alps near Bergamo and was used as a herding dog.
There are top 10 interesting facts about Bergamasco!
1) A large sized breed originally used as a herding dog in the Italian Alps near Bergamo from where its name derives, the Bergamasco is over 2000 years old and was primarily bred to herd working cattle, sheep and other cloven footed animals. The breed's natural herding instincts have meant that the modern Bergamasco thrives in competition, whether in dog agility trials, tracking, obedience or showmanship. A great competitor with high trainability; single-minded, determined and agile.
2) The Bergamasco is a rustic, powerful, medium-to-large-sized sheepdog that hailing from the mountains and valleys of north Italy. The most distinguishing characteristic of the breed is its coat, which forms “flocks” or flat felted mats that provide protection from harsh weather and wild predators. The hair on its forehead falls in a curtain over its eyes, which are protected by extremely long upper eyelashes. Bergamascos have long, feathered dropped ears. Despite their formidable appearance, underneath their hair Bergamascos actually are trim and athletic in build.
3) Mature male Bergamascos ideally stand 23½ inches at the withers, and females usually are about 22 inches tall. One inch taller or shorter than the ideal is acceptable. Males typically weigh 70 to 85 pounds; females weigh between 60 and 70 pounds. These are muscular dogs with plenty of substance. Young Bergamascos generally are active and lean, growing into magnificent muscular adults. Owners of older Bergamascos should watch their food intake to ensure that they don’t gain too much weight.
4) The Bergamasco’s coat is far and away its most distinctive trait, which even breed experts have difficulty describing. It is made up of three different hair types: an undercoat (“dog hair”), a "goat hair" coat and a wooly outer coat. The undercoat is short, thick and fine. It is slightly oily and forms a protective layer against the dog’s skin. The middle "goat coat" is long, straight and rough. The outer coat is long, woolly and a bit finer in texture than the middle coat. The middle and outer coats are distributed unevenly over the dog’s body, which is responsible for its curious cording or “flocking,” in which strands of hair become naturally woven together into layers of loosely matted, or felted, hair. This breed comes in all shades of silver, black and gray, including merle.
5) As a relatively rare breed, the Bergamasco has not received the same genetic scrutiny as some others, making information about its health somewhat limited. Because this is a very old breed that hasn’t changed much over centuries, it is generally very healthy. Bergamascos reportedly are not prone to any specific disorders or diseases, major or minor. Their typical life expectancy is 12 to 15 years. Because of its dramatic dense coat, this breed does not thrive in hot or humid climates. Cutting or shaving the Bergamasco’s shaggy locks can cause irritation and predispose it to skin infections.
6) Bergamascos are smart, strong but docile dogs that have a deep desire to please their people, but are not submissive animals. They are independent thinkers and usually act more as partners than subordinates within a family unit. Bergamascos share their time and attention equally with all family members, treating each of them as individuals rather than bonding tightly to only one. They are extremely loyal and protective of their owners, affectionate with family and friends and suspicious of strangers. Bergamascos have a reputation for being dominant around unfamiliar dogs. Owners who respect and return the Bergamasco’s intelligence, loyalty and affection will have a rare, steadfast companion.
7) Bergamascos are fairly large dogs that require regular exercise in order to maintain health, happiness and an even temperament. They like having a job to do and love stretching their legs outside. Most enjoy playing fetch and participating in other outdoor activities, such as Frisbee. They perform well in athletic competitions, such as herding, agility and obedience. While these are not overly rambunctious dogs, long daily walks are always a good idea. Bergamascos are not suited for apartment living. They need plenty of room to romp and do best in rural settings with large, securely fenced yards.
8) These are bright, obedient dogs that bond deeply with their owners and want to please. However, they won’t follow orders blindly. A Bergamasco wants to know why it is being asked to do something. Once it figures that out, it usually will happily comply, on its own terms. Bergamascos respond best to firm, consistent, patient training using positive reinforcement and rewards rather than harsh corrections. They are quickly learners and have a terrific work ethic.
9) Bergamascos are known to be lively, intelligent and friendly dogs that boast a natural desire to protect. They form extremely strong bonds with their owners and members of a family. In general, they are also known to be tolerant of children although adult supervision is always advisable when dogs interact with the kids to make sure things stay nice and calm.
If a Bergamasco grows up with other pets in a household, they are generally quite tolerant when they are around them. However, if they have never met a cat or other small pet before it is best to avoid leaving them alone together.
10) If you get a Bergamasco puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule for your new pet and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same type of puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upset and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change their diet again.