The Bergamasco: A Complete Guide

Whether you’re looking to purchase a mixed breed or a purebred, a dog is a dog, and it helps to know everything that you can about what type of dog you will be bringing into your home.

If you neglect to learn what you can about a breed, you may end up surprised to learn that your dog is not at all what you expected.

If you want to avoid any unfortunate issues with your dog, you will have to do your research before you even take a look at the puppies and start falling in love.

Today, I’m going to be giving you all of the info that you need about the Bergamasco, a very distinct and recognizable purebred dog.

Regardless of whether you are looking to purchase one of these dogs, or if you are just a dog lover who wants to learn more about the different breeds, you’re welcome to read on.

I’m going to start with what you can expect from Bergamasco puppies, including what you might pay, where to find breeders and more.

Bergamasco Puppies – Before You Buy…

The Bergamasco was bred for herding.

As with any breed, you will want to do your preliminary research about Bergamasco puppies and see whether or not they will be able to fit into your home environment.

While some breeds change quite a bit over the course of their puppy phase, you will find that there are others that do not.

What Price are Bergamasco Puppies?

The first thing you should know is how much the Bergamasco will end up costing you, as that will give you an idea of whether it is within the range of your budget or not.

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There are few things more heartbreaking than growing to love a particular dog breed and then realizing that the price is too steep.

While the Bergamasco isn’t necessarily a giant dog, you will find that it is priced similarly to one, with most examples of this breed costing over 1000 dollars.

Seeing as this is a dog breed from the Italian Alps, there are places in the US where they are quite uncommon and can often sell for even more.

Where to Find Reputable Bergamasco Breeders?

If you want to get the right dog, you have to find the best breeder possible. Of course, you will also have to deal with the minefield that is finding a breeder who is not cruel and inhuman.

There are far too many people in the dog breeding industry who do it out of self-interest instead of genuine care for animals.

When you visit your dog breeder’s home, you should pay attention to their interactions with the dogs under their care.

There will be many cues that the dogs are afraid of an untrustworthy breeder, and it is likely that the breeder themselves will demonstrate a subconscious lack of care for the dogs.

3 Little-Known Facts About Bergamasco Puppies

  1. Even when they are puppies, Bergamascos are immediately recognizable, and they are often referred to as “the mop dog.” Of course, this breed’s nickname comes from their coat’s resemblance to a string mop, and their charcoal grey coloration does not help with that stigma.
  2. The Bergamasco gets its name from the area in Italy where it comes from; Bergamo, in the Italian Alps. As you may have guessed, this breed’s thick coat helps keep them warm in the snowy mountains of the Alps, so it has a purpose beyond making this breed recognizable from a mile away.
  3. The Bergamasco is often also referred to as the Bergamasco Shepherd, as it is a herding dog, and it is closely related to a few other European herding dog breeds. These breeds include the German Shepherd, the Berger Picard, and a few more Italian dogs.
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The Bergamasco isn’t necessarily a large dog.

Physical Traits of the Bergamasco

Of course, the most immediately identifiable trait of this breed is the matted coat which has several benefits in the Alps that have historically helped this breed do their job.

First off, the thick coat helps insulate the dog from the freezing cold of the Italian Alps, but it also helps deflect attacks that can occur while herding.

As with most dogs that are bred for herding, you will find that the Bergamasco is a dog that is substantial and muscular, along with some surprising athletic capabilities.

Due to this breed’s capable legs, they can run faster than you would assume just by looking at them, a necessary trait for a shepherd.

This breed also has a recognizable head due to the long fur nearly covering its face, obscuring most of the features.

Just by looking at one of these dogs, you would assume that their fur blocks their vision, but the Bergamasco tends to do a good job of keeping its eyes clear so that it can remain attentive.

How Big is a Full-Grown Bergamasco?

The Bergamasco is relatively large, and it is surprisingly substantial for its size, a trait that is often hidden by its fur, resulting in many people being surprised by just how large this breed is.

Judging this dog’s proportions is a bit of a challenge, and most will overestimate or underestimate the size of the Bergamasco.

Male examples of this breed have a weight range that varies between 70 and 85 pounds, making them quite a bit bigger than the females who weigh between 58 and 70 pounds.

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While there is a rather substantial difference in weight between the genders, they are both between 22 and 23 inches tall.

What is the Bergamasco’s Life Expectancy?

The Bergamasco has a surprisingly long life expectancy for a larger dog, which is not something that is very common.

Though some larger breeds will have a lifespan that is above average, the vast majority of them tend to suffer from more complications than small dogs because there is more to them and more to go wrong.

While purebred dogs are often derided (unfairly) for being less healthy than mixed breeds, you may be surprised to learn that the Bergamasco doesn’t face too many issues that will need a vet.

Most dogs of this breed will live between 13 and 15 years, which is right on the average for most canines.

Intelligence, Temperament, and Personality Traits of the Bergamasco

As with most herding dogs, the Bergamasco tends to be relatively calm around the house, and they will rarely get excited by anything besides the sound of a leash.

While the Bergamasco is intelligent enough to be trained, they don’t commonly take well to training, which comes as a bit of a surprise.

Of course, when you account for the substantial independence that is common to most shepherds, it makes sense that the Bergamasco is not all that amenable to training.

Unlike other herders, the Bergamasco won’t try to herd children or strangers, making them an excellent choice for those with families.

The Bergamasco may be surprisingly standoffish when they first encounter a stranger, even if you treat them like a friend, but they are usually quick to warm up to someone.

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If you have children, a lot of visitors, or you merely want a dog that is sweet and easy to live with, the Bergamasco is an excellent choice.

The Bergamasco is a very distinct and recognizable purebred dog.

The Bergamasco’s Diet

While the Bergamasco wouldn’t be classified as a giant dog, it certainly has the appetite to compete with some of them.

Even though this breed doesn’t exercise all that often, it will need more food than some other dogs of comparable size.

If you want to ensure that your Bergamasco is adequately fed, you will have to feed it around 3 cups of dog food per day.

While high-quality fare will be less critical for a larger breed like the Bergamasco, you should at least try to give them at least one meal of premium food per day, with the rest being standard food.

How Much Exercise Does the Bergamasco Need?

While the Bergamasco tends to eat a lot, you may be surprised to learn that this breed doesn’t need as much exercise as most other larger dogs.

In fact, about 15 to 30 minutes of exercise per day should be more than enough for these dogs, though it will often depend on your particular dog’s preferences.

Since a set workout schedule is rare for one of these dogs, you may find that they get enough exercise just when you take them out to do their business.

If you find that you’re often too busy to take your dog for longer runs, then the Bergamasco should be an excellent option for you.

Bergamasco Health and Conditions

As I have already mentioned, the Bergamasco is rather surprising for a larger dog in that it is much healthier than you would expect.

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This breed doesn’t typically suffer from the issues that are prevalent in other large herding dogs.

However, some proponents argue that this breed is no healthier than others and the perception is simply due to a lack of information.

Serious Issues:

  • Hip Dysplasia

Minor Issues:

  • Eye problems

My Final Thoughts on the Bergamasco

I hope that this guide has been able to provide you with all of the info you need so that you can make an educated decision about the Bergamasco.

Whatever your choice, I wish you luck in finding the right dog for your needs!

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3

OVERALL SUMMARY

4
Cost to Buy
8.5
Cuteness Level
8
Family Safety
8
Friendliness
6.5
Health Concerns
8
Life Span
8
Exercise Required
3
Food Required
OVERALL RATING 6.8 / 10

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