The Bergamasco is a medium size dog originally bred as a herding dog in the Italian Alps near Bergamo. It is one of the most easily recognized dog breeds because of its distinctive feature – a unique coat made of three types of hair that weaved together as the dog grow older. These strands form flat layers of felted hair or what is known as flocks. Some Bergamascos form loose mats which cover the body and legs. This unique feature protects the dog from extreme and harsh winter climate as well as from predators that roam the Italian Alps. The Bergamasco’s body is muscular and made of heavy bones. It has a large head, slightly domed between the ears with long hairs that hang over the eyes. It has a blunt muzzle that tapers slightly towards the nose. It has a fully pigmented dark nose and slightly oval and large eyes. It has soft, thin ears that hang down on both sides of the head. It has massive, strong shoulders, a square-shaped body, long muscular thighs and oval feet with very tough pads. The tail reaches to the hock and carried in a saber fashion with a slight curve at the end. The coat is made of three types of hair – a short, dense, oily undercoat that acts as a waterproof layer, a long, straight and rough “goat hair”, and a woolly outer coat. The “goat hair” and the outer coat are what forms the characteristic flocks. Coat colours are solid gray, gray with patches, all shades of gray, and solid black. Males are 60 cm in height while females are 56 cm in height. Males weigh between 32 – 38 kg while females weigh between 26 – 32 kg.
All dog breeds have different levels of intellect. Some dog breeds; working dogs in particular, are very independent thinkers and have been evolved to be very intelligent. Typically, a highly intelligent dog does well in obedience training and other activities. A highly intelligent dog can be very demanding and do require lots of physical and mental stimulation. If you’re looking for a relatively laid-back dog, that doesn’t require lots of mental and physical stimulation, then you must fully understand the level of intelligence of your dog breed of choice.
Before committing to a certain dog breed, you must fully understand their intellect levels and their specific levels of energy. To keep your dog well-balanced and happy, their needs must be met and maintained.
All dog breeds have different needs when it comes to the level of exercise they require. For the high energy dogs; which are your typical working dogs, they have a lot of energy and require lots of daily exercise along with plenty of mental stimulation. A highly energetic dog breed would suit an individual or family that is equally as active and loves the outdoors. There are also breeds that have relatively low exercise needs, such as toy dog breeds. Although they require daily exercise and mental stimulation, they’re just as happy chilling at home with their loved ones. This type of dog breed would suit an individual or family that prefers the peace and quiet and relaxation.
Before deciding on your chosen dog breed, Mypetzilla recommends that you research the exercise needs and whether you’re well equipped before committing to buying or adopting a particular dog breed.
There are several dog breeds that are known and potentially predisposed to developing health related conditions. Sensible breeding can help prevent the onset of health related conditions and this should always be taken into condition when researching your dog breed of choice. Before committing to a dog, you should speak to the breeder about any health related conditions that may affect the dog you’re looking to buy or adopt. You can also request to see any test results from genetic testing.
There are many dog breeds that tolerate children really well and are not affected by the constant noise and need for play-time. However, there are some dog breeds that don’t do very well with children and can become frustrated and snappy. That being said, all children should be shown how to handle and care for a dog in their home and should always be supervised when playing. As much as a dog can become annoyed and snappy with a younger child, the child can also become less tolerant and misbehaved towards the dog.
Mypetzilla recommends that you always supervise play-time between your children and dog. Children need to respect the boundaries and feeding time for the dog and likewise for the child. We also strongly advise that play-time doesn’t get out of control and too rough which can cause injury to both child and dog.
There are lots of dog breeds that are well suited to living in an apartment. It’s worthwhile noting that you need to check that you’re allowed dogs in your building before committing to bringing one home. If you do decide to own a dog and are living in an apartment, then you must make sure that they have plenty of room to roam around and frequent walks outside to prevent them from becoming bored and depressed.
Mypetzilla recommends that you check as to whether you’re allowed dogs in your apartment building and to fully ensure your apartment is dog proof before committing fully to bringing a dog home.
All dog breeds shed to some extent, some more than others. With this, all potential dog owners should be aware of this, as it will be a matter of putting up with some hair or lots of hair being left around the house. Depending on the dog breed, there are certain times during the year where some dog breeds shed the most and this is typically around spring and autumn. However, there are some dog breeds that shed all year round.
If you’re very house-proud, they you may want to choose a dog breed that sheds very little. Mypetzilla strongly recommends that you fully research your dog breed of choice and their shedding levels before committing.
All dog breeds require different levels of grooming. Some dog breeds are easier to maintain than others and only require a weekly brush to help keep their coat in good condition. There are some dog breeds that require regular trips to the grooming parlour and this can come at a huge cost. Either way, all dog breeds require their coat and nails to be maintained and cared for.
Mypetzilla strongly advices that potential owners research the grooming needs and associated costs with their desired dog breed before fully committing.
Barking is a necessity for your dog to communicate. However, it can also be a nuisance to yourself and fellow neighbours if it’s not kept under control. If you live in an apartment, then you’re better off choosing a dog breed that doesn’t bark as much. If you live further out and far from civilisation, then it’s worthwhile looking into a dog breed that does bark and will bark to alert you of any other company on your property.
Mypetzilla advices that you research the behaviours of your dog breed of choice and whether this would work for you and your family. It’s worth noting that dogs can be trained to bark less and this will take a lot of effort and training from the owner.
Majority dog breeds form very close relationships with their owners and as a result can become very stressed when left alone for a period of time. If a dog is suffering with separation anxiety then they’re very likely to become destructive around the home as a way of dealing with their anxieties. Dog breeds that do form strong bonds with their owners are better accustomed to a household where one member of the family remains home, whilst the others are out, this is to help avoid further anxieties and destructive behaviours.
Mypetzilla recommends that all potential owners research their dog breed of choice on their bonding abilities and how well-adjusted they are to being left alone at home. It’s also worth noting that you should never leave your dog for longer than 4 hours alone at home.
There are certain dogs breeds that have very high intellect and therefore easier to train than other dog breeds. There is also a downside to this; as fast as they learn the new trick or command, they can easily pick up bad habits just as quick. Other dog breeds that don’t rank as high on the intellect scale require patience and plenty of reward treats from their owners during training.
Before committing to a certain dog breed, Mypetzilla advices you to fully research your dog breed of choice and their level of training needs.
All dog breeds have different energy levels. The working dog breed has one of the highest energy levels in comparison to the low-energy dog’s breeds such as the Toy dog breed group. To keep a dog truly happy, healthy and well-balanced, their energy levels must be met.
High-energy dog breeds need lots of exercise and mental stimulation. High energy dog breeds would suit an active family or person. Dog breeds that are considered as low-energy, love to spend the majority of their time relaxing and sleeping in their favourite, comfy spot. A low-energy dog breed would suit an individual that equally loves the quiet life and relaxing lifestyle. Of course, low-energy dogs still need their daily walks and mental stimulation, just not as much as a high-energy dog breed.
Mypetzilla recommends that potential owner research fully on the type of dog breed that would suit their existing lifestyle and to also take into consideration the dog breeds energy levels and exercise requirements.
Before you decide on what dog breed would be suitable for you and your family, you must consider whether they’re a friendly dog breed and if you already have other pets within the household. For homes that already have dogs and other domestic pets, then it’s wise to choose a dog breed that has a friendly personality and temperament.
There are some dog breeds that mix well with other dog breeds and there are others that don’t suit one another and this could potentially cause issues later on down the line.
Another important point to consider is whether the dog breed of choice is friendly towards people and children.
Mypetzilla recommends to research fully on the right dog breed for your family and to also consider their temperament and characteristics.
The Bergamasco is an ancient sheep herding dog which traces its roots back thousands of years in the past. It is believed that the Bergamasco originated in ancient Persia (what is now Iran) and was used by nomadic tribes to herd sheep, cattle and goat in the unforgiving climates of the mountains of Iran and eventually found their way to the Italian Alps where they settled and eventually became known today as the Bergamasco. Like other dog breeds in the 1940s who became victims of the war, the Bergamasco also almost became extinct during that period. Another main reason for the decline is that there were no more need for shepherding dogs due to the dwindled number of the sheep and goat population. It was Italian breeder and scientist Dr. Maria Andreoli that observed and studied the genetic traits of the Bergamasco and successfully revived the breed through decades of selective breeding from reliable bloodlines. Her first Bergamasco was a little grey dog named Maira which would become the cornerstone of her Dell’Alberta kennel and other breeders throughout Europe. Today the Bergamasco thrives as a pet companion and as a show dog.
Back when it was working sheep, cattle, and goats in the mountains of the Italian Alps, the shepherd would let the Bergamasco tend to the sheep independently with little to no supervision. As a result, the Bergamasco became an intelligent and independent thinker, highly observant of its ever-changing environment while watching over the flock. Years of working in this environment made the breed highly tolerant to extreme cold weather which is why it has its distinctive coat today. The Bergamasco is a very good watch dog and guard dog. It will warn its master when it sees people approaching the property but it will typically not be aggressive unless provoked. It is highly affectionate, playful and calm which makes it a good addition to the family.
The Bergamasco is an intelligent breed that can excel in dog agility trials, obedience, showmanship, flyball, and tracking events. It has natural herding instincts and is highly trainable which means it can be trained to compete in herding trials. The Bergamasco needs a firm, consistent and dependable trainer to excel very well. It will not respond to harsh or coercive training.
The weatherproof coat of the Bergamasco starts as a fine, soft curly coat during puppyhood up to about a year, when it will start forming mats. The hair will continue to grow and produce flocks as the dog age and will typically reach the ground by age five or six years old. Grooming is easy and not as hard as it looks. There is no need for brushing or combing because the Bergamasco does not shed. There is also little to no need for bathing because the dog has natural oil protection in its undercoat. The ears however, should be checked and cleaned regularly to avoid ear infections.
The Bergamasco is a sturdy and healthy breed with no major specific health issues associated with it – so far. It is still a relatively rare breed and the negative effects of overbreeding have yet to take a toll on this breed’s health. There are rare incidences of hip dysplasia and eye problems but these are generally seen in other large breeds as well.
Like other sheepherding dogs with similar size, the Bergamasco has a high energy level which requires a good amount of exercise. A Bergamasco who lives with a family in a suburban home needs daily long walks or an hour of play outside the yard or in a dog park. Jogging alongside a bike is also a good physical exercise which will keep the breed happy.
Like most herding dogs, the Bergamasco is wonderful with children and will often seek them out and herd them, but in a gentle manner. It loves to play and has a high tolerance level so it is also an excellent playmate to children who knows how to play with a large breed. It will do fine with other dogs as long as the other dogs do not display aggressive or dominant behaviour or seen as threats. Cats are also accepted as long as they are within the same household especially if they grew up with them.