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Bergamasco Sheepdog


Bergamasco Sheepdog Facts

  • Group
  • Herding
  • Affiliations
  • AKC, UKC
  • Height
  • 22" - 25" (56 - 63.5cm)
  • Weight
  • 60 - 85lbs (27.2 - 38.6kg)
  • Lifespan
  • 12 years | Add yours

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  • Exercise Requirement
  • Moderate - This breed enjoys typical daily activity
  • Training Requirement
  • A Quick Learner
  • Grooming Requirement
  • Easy
  • Colors
    • Cream
    • Silver / Grey
  • Breed Characteristics
    • Can be trained as a watch dog or guard dog
    • Good with children
    • Ok outdoors

True Cost Of Ownership

Alternate Names

Cane de pastore Bergamasco


The Bergamasco Sheepdog breed originated in Italy.

Date Of Origin

The Bergamasco Sheepdog is an ancient Italian breed, however the exact date of origin is unknown.


The Bergamasco Sheepdog is an ancient dog believed to be related to the Maremma sheepdog and the Briard. The Bergamasco Sheepdog is believed to have originated in Persia, where hardy herding dogs lived and worked with their nomadic masters, tending to their flocks of sheep in the mountain climate of Persia and west to Europe. Some of these nomads settled in the Italian Alps, where the Bergamasco Sheepdog was developed as a sheepherding dog. This breed was named after the Bergamo region of northern Italy. At the time, the Bergamasco Sheepdog was so valued by the shepherds using it that the bloodlines of this unique breed were kept secret. Afterward, the Bergamasco Sheepdog spread into France and Spain, where they provided the foundation for many excellent breeds.

The Bergamasco Sheepdog came close to extinction following World War II, when wool production dropped off and there was less need for sheepherding dogs. An Italian breeder named Dr. Maria Andreoli was instrumental in saving the breed before it became extinct. Dr. Andreoli spent nearly 40 years studying characteristics and genetics of the breed to develop quality and stability in the bloodlines.

As an exceptionally independent worker, the distinctive corded coat of the Bergamasco Sheepdog evolved to help protect the dog from both the weather and from the flailing hooves of livestock.

The Bergamasco Sheepdog was recognized by the AKC in 1995.


The Bergamasco Sheepdog is a medium to large, heave boned and muscular dog that is slightly longer than it is tall. It has a large long head with a blunt muzzle; a large, black nose; and thin drop ears. The tail is long and thick and the long, heave, rough coat forms matted flocks (like cords). The hair on the head is long covering the eyes.


The Bergamasco Sheepdog is a courageous and intelligent dog that is also eager to please. They are a dog with excellent character - respectful, loyal, intelligent, courageous, a good worker, and retains a long memory. The Bergamasco Sheepdog is adaptable to the simplest living conditions and modest feeding.

The Bergamasco Sheepdog requires a confident, dog-experienced owner in a rural home. They require moderate exercise, such as a daily walk or play session will suffice. While they enjoy spending time with family, the Bergamasco Sheepdog will not thrive if confined inside a home for hours on end. They are devoted to friends and family, especially children, but weary with strangers.

The Bergamasco Sheepdog were bred for thousands of years to be independent thinkers and training may be a challenge. They are not submissive and respond to firm consistent training, rather than harsh punishment. Their natural stubbornness can be overcome by an energetic and effective master. Owners seeking a highly obedient breed should not consider this dog.


The build and and character of the Bergamasco Sheepdog make it an excellent sheepdog. It loves the flock and is an energetic herder, impervious to all sorts of bad weather. However, with a minimum of training the Bergamasco can be trained as a guard dog, a body guard, an aid to fireman, or a companion. As a companion dog the Bergamasco Sheepdog is distinguished for its sweet, affectionate manner. It is not however adapted to apartment life.

Affectionate and courageous, the Bergamasco Sheepdog makes a superb companion and guard dog.

Health Concerns

Due to its ancient origins and little modification by humans, the Bergamasco Sheepdog is a very healthy breed with no specific illness related to the breed.

Additional Information

Although the Bergamasco Sheepdog does not require regular grooming, the owners should be aware that skin problems may develop under the matted coat due to lack of air to the skin. If the dog becomes wet the mats must be dried to prevent skin problems. The Bergamasco Sheepdog should be bathed a few times per year.

This breed is not well suited to city life or apartment life.

Show Sources & Contributors +


The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Dogs, Dog Breeds and Dog Care

Publisher: Anness Publishing Limited, 1999

Website: http://www.southwaterbooks.com

Authors: Dr. Peter Larkin, Mike Stockman

Simon & Schusters Guide to Dogs

Publisher: Simon & Schuster inc, 1980

Website: http://www.simonandschuster.com

Author: Elizabeth Meriwether Schuler

Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Author: Liz Palika

The All Breed Dog Grooming Guide

Publisher: Aaronco, 2002

Website: http://www.aaroncopet.com

Author: Sam Kohl

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