Bergamasco Shepherd

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Bergamasco shepherd dog - merle female cropped.jpg
Bergamasco shepherd dog - a merle female
Other names Bergamasco Shepherd Dog
Cane da pastore Bergamasco
Country of origin Italy
Weight Male 70–84 lb (32–38 kg)
Female 57–71 lb (26–32 kg)
Height Male 23.5 in (60 cm)
Female 22 in (56 cm)
Coat felted on the main parts of the body
Color merle or black
Life span 13-15 years
Dog (Canis lupus familiaris)

The Bergamasco is a breed of dog with its origins in the Italian Alps near Bergamo, where it was originally used as a herding dog.


Bergamasco is a medium size dog with a rustic appearance

The Bergamasco is a muscular, heavy-boned herding dog with a large head and a thick tail that hangs down to the hock and curves slightly upward at the end. The entire dog is covered with an abundant coat that forms mats. The Bergamasco is compact in profile but is just slightly longer than tall. The Bergamasco’s characteristic feature is its unique coat, made up of three types of hair. The coat forms flocks (strands of hair weaved together creating flat layers of felted hair) or loose mats, which cover thedog's body and legs, and protect the dog from weather and predators. The hair on the head is typically long and hangs over the eyes. [1]

Dogs stand 23½ inches and bitches 22 inches, measured at the withers. One inch taller or shorter than the ideal is acceptable. Males weigh between 70 and 84 pounds. Females weigh between 57 and 71 pounds. The Bergamasco is a muscular, heavy-boned herding dog with plenty of substance. The Bergamasco is very slightly longer than tall, with the length of body measured from point of shoulder to point of buttocks about 5 to 6 percent longer than the height measured at the withers.[1]

Coat and color[edit]

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.[2] 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 can be solid gray or gradations of gray (including merle) up to and including solid black, provided it is not shiny or lustrous. Color also includes shadings only of isabella and fawn at the lower part of flocks (as a result of discoloration of old hair, not as a base color), Solid white is not allowed but white markings are acceptable if they cover no more than one-fifth of the body.[1]


The Bergamasco is an alert, observant and patient dog breed with good self-control and balance. This breed is suited even as a guard and companion dog. The Bergamasco establishes close bond with his owner. Aggressive or overly shy behavior is a fault.


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.[3] 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.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "AKC Breed Standard" (PDF). AKC Breed Standard. 
  2. ^ "Dog Breeds Expert Website: Bergamasco Sheepdog". 2013-11-01. Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  3. ^ Hartnagle-Taylor, Jeanne Joy; Taylor, Ty (2010). Stockdog Savvy. Alpine Publications. ISBN 978-1-57779-106-5. 
  4. ^ "Kennel Club/British Small Animal Veterinary Association Scientific Committee. 2004. Purebred Dog Health Survey. Retrieved July 5, 2007". Retrieved 2014-01-01. 

External links[edit]