Only a few know the shaggy Bergamasque because it is not widespread. With his patient, loving character, he is a very suitable family dog. Below you can read where the four-legged friend came from and everything you need to know about the shepherd dog.
History of Bergamasca
The Bergamasque dog breed is a very, very old one that served shepherds thousands of years ago as a loyal and reliable working and herding dog. Where exactly the Bergamasque comes from is not clearly documented. Some suggest that the shepherd dog came from Eastern Europe to Europe in the Italian Alps with nomads, where it tended the herds of cattle.
Even today, shepherd dogs similar to the Bergamasque, such as the Komondor, Puli, or Briard, can be found among nomadic peoples in the Hungarian Puszta, the French or Italian Alps. It may be related to the Chien de Brie, which is also adorned with “goat hair”. Others claim that the Bergamasque is descended from Persian shepherd dogs and that its ancestors came to Italy from Asia with Roman and Phoenician soldiers about 2000 years ago. The Bergamasque is mentioned in old writings by wandering shepherds in the Italian Alps from the 16th century. Its Italian name “Cane da Pastore Bergamasco” or “Cane Delle Alpi” means “dog of the shepherds of Bergamo” or “dog of the Alps”.
This is evidence that it was kept and bred by shepherds as a working dog in this area around Bergamo in the Italian Alps. Even today it is primarily bred for the personal needs of shepherds, which is why its distribution is relatively small. There are only about 2000 examples of the Bergamasque worldwide.
Already in 1891, the shepherd dog was registered as “Cane da Pastore Bergamasco” in the Italian breed register with the first breed standard. At the beginning of the 1950s, the Bergamasque shepherd dog was registered in the Swiss Dog Register and in 1959 it was recognized as Italian herding and working dog by the International Canine Federation FCI. The Bergamasque is listed under FCI standard number 194, and belongs to FCI Group 1 “Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs (excluding Swiss Mountain Dogs)”, Section 1 “Shepherd Dogs”.
The Appearance of the Bergamasque
The Cane da Pastore Bergamasco stands out like no other dog because of its robust, shaggy appearance. Apart from his head, ears, and shoulder area, he wears long felt curls, so-called dreadlocks, that reach to the ground. The felt hair mats lie like a coat over the strong, muscular body of the medium-sized four-legged friend.
Its thick tail, which tapers towards the tip and reaches almost to the hock, is covered with slightly wavy “goat hair” and also hanging dreads. In the resting position, the Bergamasque carries its tail bent like a saber and swings it back and forth like a flag when walking. His eyes, which are dark or light chestnut brown depending on the color of his fur, are hardly recognizable due to the falling hair on his forehead. The Bergamasque has a black sniffing nose and high set, triangular, semi-pendulous ears.
Essence and Character
The Bergamasca character is characterized by independent thinking, willingness to work, good nature, and people-relatedness. These qualities were and are essential for a good shepherd dog. As a shepherd dog who is extremely willing to work, he still herds and herds the sheep in Italy today. If he is not kept as a working dog, he definitely needs a meaningful alternative occupation.
The intelligent shepherd dog is also used to making decisions independently in his work. Therefore, he can certainly question the commands of his “master” if they do not seem sensible to him. On the other hand, he is extremely docile, attentive, and reacts quickly. You can absolutely rely on his services in any weather. The loyal shaggy bear is very watchful and fearless and guards the flock entrusted to him or his home extremely conscientiously.
Being very even-tempered, affectionate, and affectionate, he also makes a good family pet, provided he is given mental and physical exercise. Being alone is very difficult for the Bergamasque. He needs close proximity to his human pack to be happy. If the fur nose is allowed, he accompanies his “backup herd” everywhere and looks after them reliably. Even when he’s asleep, he always seems alert. The Bergamasque dog is good-natured and patient with children. He also meets strangers in a good-natured and relaxed manner.