The Bergamasco breed's coat is the most striking feature of this dog. It is greasy, long, abundant and hangs down in loose mats. Coat colours include grey, black, Isabella (pale/dappled fawn) or light fawn. Large and powerful, dogs stand at 58-62cm when fully grown and females at 54-58cm. Adult dogs weigh 32-38kg and females 26-32kg.
- Category size: Large
- Grooming requirements: Daily
- Shedding: None
- Allergies: Yes
- Noise: Vocal
- Dog Group Kennel Club: Pastoral
- Alone: More than 3 hours
- Other pets: High
- Stability as a guard: High
An ancient herding and guarding breed, the Bergamasco dog breed is thought to have originated in Persia thousands of years ago where he accompanied nomadic farmers, moving the flocks in often harsh conditions and guarding them against predators. Some nomads settled in the Italian Alps and the dogs took the name of the region where they were found: Bergamasco. The breed almost died out with a decline in post-war wool production in Italy, but was revived by dedicated breeders.
The Bergamasco dog breed's guarding roots are still in evidence today: he is naturally cautious and vigilant and has a strong protective instinct. Early socialisation is therefore crucial, together with experienced handling. Not an ideal breed for the first-time owner, he requires ongoing training and has a strong desire to please.
The Bergamasco appears to be a very healthy breed, with no widely recognised breed specific problems.
Around an hour's exercise is needed daily, although this energetic breed has plenty of stamina and will happily accept more if you can offer it. Remove any debris from the coat when you return home!
Large breed dogs, as well as having large appetites, benefit from a different balance of nutrients including minerals and vitamins compared to smaller-breed dogs. Some large breeds, such as the Bergamasco, are also prone to bloating and stomach problems; smaller, more frequent meals can help minimise this risk.
This dog has a special coat that requires different amounts of grooming at different stages of its development. Initially, the puppy's coat needs a weekly brush. But from around 10 months to three years, the adult coat begins to replace the soft puppy coat and needs daily attention to help the dreadlocks form. After three years, the mats are all formed and the coat needs very little attention – just brushing twice a month and a once- or twice-yearly bath. It will reach ground level when the dog is around five years of age.
Is this the right dog breed for you?
All dogs have their own, unique personality, but some instincts and behaviours they’re born with. Try our breed selector and find out which dog breeds better match your preferences and lifestyle. If you and your dog enjoy similar things, you will be more likely to live a happy, fulfilling life together.
What to Consider next
It is incredibly fulfilling to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue organization. It often means offering them a second chance in life. There are many dogs waiting for a loving family, a forever home. Reputable centers will be very careful about matching the right people with the right dogs. Staff learns all they can about the dogs they take in, and will spend time getting to know you, your family and your lifestyle, before they match you with any of their dogs. They’ll also be happy to give you advice and answer any questions you might have before and after the adoption.
Finding a good breeder
If your heart is set on a pedigree puppy, then your best bet is to find a reputable breeder. Contact The Kennel Club or a breed-club secretary who may have a list of litters available, or should be able to put you in contact with breeders in your area. Try to choose a breeder who is part of the Kennel Club’s assured breeder scheme.Visit dog shows to meet breeders in person and inquire about availability of pups of your chosen breed.
Welcoming your dog home
Whether you’re bringing home a tiny puppy or rehoming an adult dog, this is a hugely exciting time for everyone. While you’re waiting for the big day you might need to distract yourself, so luckily there are a few things you need to sort out before you welcome your new arrival. Click here for more information