|Bergamasco in the Italian Alps at work|
|Other names||Bergamasco Shepherd Dog
Cane da pastore Bergamasco
|Country of origin||Italy|
|Dog (Canis lupus familiaris)|
The Bergamasco should be a medium size dog, well proportioned and harmonious having a rustic appearance. It is a solidly compact dog with a strong, powerful build that gives it great resistance without taking away any of its agility and speed of movement. Males weigh 32–38 kilograms (71–84 lb) and females weigh 26–32 kilograms (57–71 lb). Their height is around 54–62 centimetres (21–24 in) and the life expectancy is 13-15 years.
Coat and color
The breed's most distinctive feature is the unusual felted coat, a normal and healthy characteristic of the breed. The coat is characterized by three types of hair: a fine, dense, oily undercoat, long harsher hairs similar to a goat's and a top woolly outer-coat. The three types of hair weave together as the dog gets older to form flat mats or flocks. The mats start from the spine and go down the flanks, growing every year to reach the ground. The color of the coat can be anything from an appearance of gray or silver gray (in fact a merle) to a mixture of black to coal, with brown shades also intermixed. These colors may have served as a camouflage when working in the mountains.
Bergamascos are born with short, smooth fur, which slowly develops the characteristic mats as the dog grows.
Bergamasco can compete in dog agility trials, obedience, showmanship, flyball, tracking, and herding events. Herding instincts and trainability can be measured at noncompetitive herding tests. Bergamasco exhibiting basic herding instincts can be trained to compete in herding trials. The Bergamasco is still used in the Alps in Italy and in Switzerland to herd cattle. The cattlemen just let the dog go and the dog brings the herd back to the stable without human supervision. Bergamascos are often photographed herding sheep, but they are actually superb cattle dogs, who can perform in a mountain environment.
Health information for this breed is sparse. The only health survey appears to be a 2004 UK Kennel Club survey, which had a sample size of 0 deceased dogs and 10 living dogs, far too few dogs from which to draw any conclusions.
- Dog Breeds Expert Website: Bergamasco Sheepdog
- Hartnagle-Taylor and Taylor, Jeanne Joy, and Ty. Stockdog Savvy. Alpine Publications. ISBN # 978-157779-106-5.
- http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/item/570 Kennel Club/British Small Animal Veterinary Association Scientific Committee. 2004. Purebred Dog Health Survey. Retrieved July 5, 2007
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bergamasco Shepherd.|
- International Bergamasco Sheepdog Association
- Bergamasco Sheepdog Club of America
- Bergamasco Sheepdog Association of Canada