Bergamasco Sheepdog

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Bergamasco Sheepdog

Independent as Bergamasco Shepherds are, they can be perfect at herding. As one of herding breeds, Bergamascos are often trained well to take part in some athletic competitions. It takes some efforts to bath and groom the Bergamascos if the amount of exercise is large.

Other Names Affen, Diablotin Moustachu, Monkey-faced dog
Color merle or black
Height Males: 22-23.5 inches. Females: 21.5-22 inches.
Weight Males: 70-48 pounds. Females: 57-71 pounds.
Life Span 13-15 years
Personality Independent, Sociable, Intelligent
Exercise Calm
Popularity #180
Groom Needs Occasional Bath/Brush and Infrequent Shedding
Kids Friendly Yes with supervision
Dog Friendly Yes with supervision
Watch Dog Yes
Family Dog Yes
Litter Size 2-8 puppies

Bergamasco Sheepdog Pictures

Bergamasco Sheepdog Video


The Bergamasco Sheepdog is known for its high level of intelligence and independent behavior. However, the outstanding hallmark of the breed is its unique felted coat that appears matted. The Bergamasco Sheepdog was bred as an intelligent herding dog and lives up to that reputation to date. Although they appear shaggy, these dogs don’t shed easily, which makes them an apt choice for dog lovers with allergies for fur. Bergamasco Sheepdogs are much welcoming and good companions as well. The felted coat is composed of three different types of hair referred to as goat hair, dog hair, and wool. They are well-suited to work under harsh climatic conditions. The usual colors are black or merle, or a silvery combination of black and gray. 

A standard male stands roughly 24 inches at the shoulder and weighs 70-85 pounds at maturity. A similar female should pack weight of about 55-70 pounds on her 22-inch tall frame (measured from shoulder to paw). They are remarkably intelligent and devoted to work. Bergamasco Sheepdogs have a life expectancy of 12-15 years, on the average.

Living with Bergamasco Sheepdog

Bergamasco Sheepdogs can be easy to get groomed after one year old. A new puppy buyer need to groom them regularly to avoid any tangles or mats. A kind of felt-like hairs of Bergamascos will grow on their body. It takes Bergamascos a few hours or a few evenings to rip their coat into mats. This kind of hairs are basically comparable to wool of goat. As you can see, it takes owners little efforts to groom adult Bergamascos. The length of ripped mats will somhow reach the ground, coming with dog’s whole life. Never should an owner shave Bergamascos’ coat down. Their hairs protect coldness away, taking a helpful role in thermoregulation. Hardly will the Bergamasco shed hairs. This breed has low requirement for brushing and grooming. It’s advisable for owners to bath them twice a year. Owners should trim their nails regularly. Use a vet approved cutton ball to clean their ears, avoid any signs of irritations, infections and wax build-up.

Bergamasco Shepherds are fond of exercising and playing. As one of herding breed, Bergamasco Shepherd can be athletic and energetic. However, if owners don’t aim at having Bergamascos herding, they should be taken out for exercise moderately. Once-a-day exercise can be applicable to them perfectly. This breed has tight emotional connection with their owners. So a irresponsible and busy owner might cause unhealth of the Bergamasco. Keeping dogs at an apartment will hardly lead to the gloominess of the Bergamascos, but this breed will become physically unhealthy. Moderate exercise can keep them active and playful. This breed can be willing to take part in any kind of activities with owners, such as entails retrieving a ball, going on a brisk walk or hike, or romping together in an open field. 

Bergamasco Shepherds are not critical about food, yet owners need to feed them certain amount of food according to their amount of exercise, healthy and nutrient. Both commercially manufactured or home-made dog food can be applicable to the Bergamascos. If owners still find it diffcult, it’s advisable to ask veterinarian for suggestions. Dogs should be fed on different amount of food who are at different age. Puppy, adult and senior dog should need appropriately. They might get into health troubles when fed on too much food, resulting bloat or overweight. Vet approved dog food can be suitable for them perfectly, since the food formula is more appropriate. When dogs suffer from overweight problems, owners should check out dog’s calorie consumption and weight level regularly. When it comes to treats during training period, it’s likely to get the Bergamascos especially fat and thirsty. Last but not the least, owners should feed them on clean and fresh water.

Bergamasco Shepherds are basically in good health, since careful breeder have done some health screen tests. A new puppy buyer can rest assured that the Bergamascos barely comes with inherited disease. However, ther health information for this breed is not that much. According to 2004 UK Kennel Club survey, the survival rate of this breed is 100%. Yet this survey only gather 10 dogs. Dogs are too few to come to any conclusion. Yet most people find Bergamascos have tenacious vitality. Hardly will the Bergamascos die when fed on healthy food and taken out for exercise regularly. Owners should make fresh and clean water available. They can live up to 15 years when they are mentally and physically healthy. They are likely to suffer from bloat or overweight issues. Though not a big deal, owners need to take some certain measures. For example, owners need to check their calorie consumption and weight level regularly. Feed them nutrient food and clean water, with mostly same amount of food every meals. Health challenges are not serious in the course of their lives, but owners still need to concern about some basic symptoms of certain problems.

Total Annual Cost: $2770

Cost is estimated for the first year and may vary depending on many factors, such as dog food, health care, leash, collar, licensing, possible fencing, crates, training and obedience classes, dog-walking, grooming, treats, toys, flea, tick, and heart-worm meds, microchips, etc.

As one of herding breeds, Bergamasco Shepherd can be perfect at controlling the movement of some certain things. A new puppy buyer can choose to get Bergamascos familiar with world at a young age, which is known as early socialization. Intelligent and sociable as adult Bergamascos are, it takes trainers little efforts to train them well. Trainers need to develop some emotional connections between each other, since the Bergamascos are desire to please human. Bergamascos are very independent somehow, and they will think of themself as an equal partner instead of a subordinate. After some certain training process, trainers can choose to let the Bergamascos take part in some herding trials, as they have herding instinct for controlling sheeps. Trainers can use some positive reinforcement method to teach them accomplish some directions about agility. Though this breed is not perfect at agility trails, the Bergamascos can develop some athletic ability and interact more with owner, keeping physicality and mentality healthy. This breed can be intimate with their favorite human, so obedience trails can be a piece of cake for the Bergamascos. They can be a highlight when trainers teach them some certain stage showmanship. Interactive flyball games can be a easy task for them after certain training process.


Many years ago, shepherds and herdsmen from Persia (now known as Iran) traveled through Europe with their flock for pasture. These nomads are said to have moved with their herd dogs which assisted them when instructed to. Some of these nomads settled in Italy, near Bergamo, they and their animals. There, they pitched a tent and began breeding their dogs to herd the flock. These ancient Persian dogs are believed to have given origin to some breeds associated with the Italian Alps. Such was the case of the Bergamasco Sheepdog, named for the place where it was developed, Bergamo. They were used as herding dogs and, on instructive training, these dogs evolved the instinctive ability to perform the job with so much flair. They were soon the preferred choice for herding amongst farmers and breeders of the region.

However, with the Great Depression of the 20th century and the decline in demand for wool, Bergamasco Sheepdogs became less and less fancied by most breeders. The downturn continued unabated until the period of the Second World War. After the war, the number of Bergamasco Sheepdogs had depleted so much that there were hardly enough members of the breed to revive the bloodline. Italian breeder, Dr. Maria Andreoli, is credited with the revival of the Bergamasco Sheepdog after the war, for her intensive breeding program which involved breeding for hardiness and higher intelligence. Subsequently, the breed was exported across countries. When it arrived in America, breeders engaged it with fervor and developed on the work of their Italian predecessors. In 2015, the Bergamasco Sheepdog was admitted into the AKC (American Kennel Club) Studbook.

Helpful Information

Breed Club: Bergamasco Sheepdog Club Of America

Breed Club Link:

Breed Club Rescue: Bergamasco Sheepdog Club Of America

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