Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to dog breeds. While some people like big dogs, others prefer small dogs, and different features will appeal to different people. However, choosing the right dog breed for you is about more than whether you find the physical characteristics appealing, as not all dogs are suited to every lifestyle or home situation. Therefore, it is crucial that you find out more about a breed to decide if it is the best option for you. One breed that you might consider is the Bergamasco. If you are interested in this breed, then here are 10 things that you might not know about the Bergamasco.
1. It is Known by Many Names
The Bergamasco is also known by several other names. These include the Bergamasco Shepherd, the Italian Shepherd, the Bergamasco Sheepdog, and the Cana de Pastore Bergamasco.
2. The Bergamasco May Originate from Italy
Although the origins of the Bergamasco are unknown, it is believed that it may have come from Italy. A study of the breed’s genetics indicates that the Bergamasco shares genes with other European breeds, such as the Briard, the Bernese Mountain Dog, and the Berger Picard. Another indicator that the breed is possibly from Italy is that it was first shown at an Italian dog show in Milan in 1881. Originally, the breed was used for sheep herding.
3. It is a Medium-Sized Breed
The Bergamasco is a medium-sized breed, although there are weight and height differences between males and females. An average healthy female is 22-inches tall and weighs between 57 and 71 pounds. Males are around 23.5-inches tall, and they weigh between 70 and 84 pounds. It is crucial that your Bergamasco maintains a healthy weight for their height and gender, as obesity can lead to multiple serious health problems. Check with your vet the appropriate weight range for your dog, and ask for their advice on how to keep your dog healthy.
4. They Have a Long, Thick Coat
One of the breed’s most notable features is its coat, which is long and thick. The coat is unique as it has three types of hair. Each layer of hair is woven together to create layers of felted hair that hang down in loose mats and hang down over their eyes. A Bergamasco’s coat is so long and thick to protect the dog from the cold and from predators. Coat colors vary from very pale gray to almost black, and some have a fulvous or Isabella coat.
5. The Breed Is Recognized by Several Organizations
There are several dog registry organizations that recognize the Bergamasco. In 1949, the Associazione Amatori del Carne de Pastore Bergamasco was formed, and became the breed’s first official club. It was then recognized in 1956 by the Ente Nazionale Della Cinofilia Italiana and the Federation Cynologique Internationale. The American Kennel Club did not recognize the breed until 2015. In Italy, the annual registration of this breed between 2011 and 2019 was 97 per year.
6. They Have Very Long Eyelashes
One of the notable features of the Bergamasco is its very long eyelashes. While these are an appealing physical characteristic that dog lovers may find appealing, they serve a functional purpose. According to the American Kennel Club, the breed’s long eyelashes prevent the hair that falls down the dog’s forehead from going into its eyes.
7. They Do Not React Well to Being Left in the House Alone
The Bergamasco is a loving and loyal companion to their human, and they love to spend time with the family. This breed does not like being left in the house alone or shut out in the yard. Some dogs can suffer from separation anxiety if they are left alone for too long. Therefore, they are best suited to a family where at least one person is at home for most of the day and are not a good option for those who work long hours away from home.
8. The Bergamasco Is an Active Breed That Needs Daily Exercise
Making sure your dog gets enough exercise is essential for your dog’s health, and each breed has different activity needs. The Bergamasco is a relatively active dog, so they need to exercise daily. Although a daily walk will suffice, they enjoy varying their exercise routine and love any activities that involve interacting with humans. Therefore, vary your routine by playing ball games or encouraging agility tasks instead of just going on the same walking route every day.
9. They Do Not Need a Lot of Grooming
Many breeds that have a long, thick coat are high-maintenance as they need a lot of grooming. That is not the case with the Bergamasco, as they are a low-maintenance breed that does not need grooming regularly. The three types of hair in their coat are called dog, goat, and wool. While the Bergamasco has dog hair from birth, their goat and wool hair does not come through until they are about a year old. At this stage, owners of this breed must separate the coat into mats, and this can take many hours. However, once this process is done, the dog needs no further grooming. The mats continue to grow until the dog is around six, by which point the mats usually reach the ground.
10. They Are Often Nervous Around Strangers
The Bergamasco is a loyal and friendly breed that builds a strong bond with their family. However, the breed is often nervous around strangers. According to Vet Street, the best way to tackle this issue is to begin socialization early. While the training process is generally straightforward due to the breed’s intelligence, the Bergamasco may need more socialization than many other breeds. Starting socialization early will help your dog become accustomed to strangers and other dogs when out on their walks.