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Bergamasco… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

Ok, get ready because we’re about to talk about one of our all time favorite dogs in the world so please understand that while we’re going to try and be as “objective” as possible, chances are we’re going to fail miserably!

Because the truth is…

These dogs are awesome!  And provided you know what you’re in for when adopting a Bergamasco, chances are you’re not only going to be happy with your decision, so are all of your neighbors!  Yes, these dogs are that cool!

But the last thing…

We want to have happen is for someone to run out and adopt a Bergamasco only to regret their decision six months from now because their Bergamasco is behaving exactly as he or she should be.  Which is why in this article, we’re going to try to discuss some of the pros and cons of owning a Bergamasco so that at the end of the day, you’ll be able to determine if adopting a Bergamasco is going to a good “fit” for you and your family.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!

Bergamasco Dog Breed Fast Facts

Country of Origin:  Italy

Original Purpose: Herding Dog, Companion Dog

Height:  22 to 23.5 inches tall

Weight:  55 to 85 pounds

Life Span: 13 to 15 years

Dog Breed Classification:  Herding Dogs

The Origins of the Bergamasco

There are currently several competeing theories as to the original ancestery of the Bergamasco sheepdog.  Some believe that it’s a decendent from several Middle-Eastern breeds while other believe that it may it may be a Gallic breed.

That said however…

If you ask any native Italian, they’re sure to tell you that the Bergamasco is 100% Italian and it is these “other” dogs that originated from him!

And who are we…

To say what’s right or wrong, all we know is that today, the Bergamasco is a very popular breed in Italy and it seems ideally adapted to living in the Italian Alps where it is said to have originated in and around Bergamo.

And like many other…

Strong, brave and loyal dog breeds throughout Europe, the Bergamasco solidified his role in history by proving his “merit” time and time again during both World War I and Wold War II.

Ironically…

Despite the courage that they showed, the breed was nearly forgotten and almost went extinct until a famous Italian breeder by the name of Dr. Maria Andreoli, made a conscious effort to save the Bergamasco Sheepdog and bring it back into the public consciousness.

And while…

The breed is now quite popular throughout Europe, it continues to remain a relatively “rare” breed here in the United States.  That said however, we here at IndulgeYourPet feel that it is only a matter of time until this too change particularly after the American Kennel Club (AKC) finally got its act together and officially recoginized the breed in 2015 and finally created a “breed standard”!

Physical Characteristics of the Bergamasco Dog Breed

The Bergamasco Sheepdog is a big, muscular dog with a rectangular body shape and a large head. But that’s definitely not the fist thing that you’re going to notice about him….

The first thing…

That you’re going to notice about a Bergamasco Sheepdog is his fur or hair!  It’s his thick matted coat that is actually a twisted mess of three different “types” of hair that is going to be the first thing that you and everyone else is going to notice.

When this fur is…

Completely grown out and in “full” effect, you’re Bergamasco is either going to look like a walking “mop” or a true “Rastafarian” depending on what generation you come from!

And while…

You might think…

“Oh my Goodness, what a mess that fur must make”

Truth is, grooming a Bergamaso really isn’t all that big of a deal because basically you just need to leave his or her fur alone.  Sure you may need to take a pair of scissors to areas around his or her eyes and mouth, but once you get a few tips from your local groomer, owning a Bergamaso isn’t all that difficult, at least when it comes to his grooming needs.

Now one thing that you definitely want to avoid is…

Letting his somewhat “laid back” look fool you.  Just because his hair tends to hang over his eyes, and just because his coat can sometimes make him look a little like a “lump”

But don’t get fooled by that…

Because underneath all of that fur lies a very strong and athletic dog that is just ready to run and chase down anything that moves.  And if you thought that a Bergamasco dog looks cool just standing there, wait till you see them move!

Similar in appearance…

To the Spanish Water Dog, but is much bigger in size. The Bergamasco is actually much closer in size to an English Mastiff, except for the fact that he has a lot of hair on him and the Mastiff doesn’t.

People also confuse this breed with the:

  • Puli breed,
  • Komondor,
  • And the Hungarian sheepdog.

So if your just looking for a dog with this type of appearance, you may also want to consider checking out these dog breeds as well.

So if there are other dogs that look like a Bergamasco, what’s so special about the big guy?

The Bergamasco Shepherd dog is more than just a companion dog or show dog – he is very devoted to his flocks, in this case, his human family. He is always alert and is sure to warn you in time about a stranger or trespasser entering your property.

But don’t expect him…

To help out with things like fetching the newspaper.  That’s not their style.  You see they’re more of the kind of dog that will be there when you need him but not one that is going to be constantly at your feet begging for attention.

The problem is…

Sometimes, they also think they are in charge and don’t really understand the relationship he has with his human family! He can be so protective, fearful of anything different and suspicious of any new person you meet that it can be really irritating at times!

This “tendency” is often referred to as a trait associated with “flock-guarding” breeds.

You see…

Unless trained otherwise, your Bergamasco can become over zealous in his need to protect his family and at times fail to listen to his or her owners.  This is why it is important to train and socialize the Bergamasco puppy as early as possible.

Early socialization is key…

So, be sure to take your Bergamasco puppy to obedience classes right away so that he can meet other puppies in his age group. The more he interacts with other people and other dogs, the better he will behave as he grows older.

How are Bergamasco’s with children?

In general, the Bergamasco Shepherd is GREAT with kids. Because this breed tends to be kind and protective of all of its family members, it only makes sense that they will extend this devotion to the children in the household.

Plus…

Kids love these guys too!  But remember because Bergamasco’s are such a large dog, you should supervise your children when they are playing with him.

Just to make sure they don’t do anything to irritate him, like pulling his tail or pinching his ears – we all know how kids are sometimes (especially the neighbors kid, right!).

 Keep him active…

Bergamasco puppies can get bored easily when they don’t get enough exercise. Don’t give them the freedom to move around as they please as they can chew almost anything – shoes, clothes, cushions, etc.

An older, well trained Bergamasco doesn’t do that, as long as he gets enough exercise. The exercise can be a long walk, or just a visit to the local dog park where he can “Steal” the show!

The good news…

Is that the Bergamasco breed does respond well to obedience, agility and rally training methods so as long as you put in the time and effort, you should notice positive results right away.

Are there any health issues related to the Bergamasco?

The Bergamasco is a strong, healthy dog, but even he can develop certain health issues. Most of the serious health problems a Bergamasco can have are hereditary by nature.

For this reason…

Make sure to ask the breeder for a CHIC certification before buying the Bergamasco puppy from him. This is very important. This certification proves that the puppy has healthy parents and is in good health.

The Bergamasco is also prone to many common health problems that affect most large dog breeds such as…

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Bloating or Gastric Dilatation Volvulus
  • Eye problems

Which is why…

If you do decide that a Bergamasco is right for you, take a few moments and see what it might cost to purchase a pet insurance policy for him as well.  This way if your puppy does develop any medical issues or is injured in an accident you won’t be on the “hook” for all of the expensive veterinarian bills that will likely follow.

Now will a pet insurance policy be right for everyone?

Probably not.  But until you know what they “will” and “won’t” provide coverage for and what that coverage will cost per month, can you really know for sure if it’s not the right choice for you?

We don’t think so…

Which is why we’ve also taken the time to write our Top 10 Best Pet Insurance article we we outline some of the pros and cons of buying a pet insurance policy as well as provide links for you to see what it might cost should you decide to purchase a policy.

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