Bergamasco Sheepdog

Dog breed coverage from the 2012 AKC/Eukanuba 2012 National Championship Dog Show >>

Fast Facts

Country of Origin:Italy
AKC Group:Rare
Life Span:13 to 16 years.
Color:Solid or shades of gray with black markings or all black.
Coat:Short, dense undercoat, with long, straight "goat hair" and woolly outercoat.
Grooming:Do not brush.
Size:Large Dog Breed
Height:22 to 23.5 inches at the shoulder
Weight:57 and 84 pounds

Developed in Asia, bred in Italy and dreadlocked like a Rastafarian, the fun-loving, protective Bergamasco Sheepdog creates a special bond with owners. While their coat attracts attention, the dogs' intelligent mind, protective nature and amiable attitude make them wonderful pets. Breed historians believe Bergamascos originated in Asia more than 2,000 years ago. Phoenicians and Roman soldiers took the breed to the Italian Alps where shepherds from Italy's Bergamo region discovered the obedient dogs could drive sheep into Switzerland to graze. When 20th-century technology reduced the need for sheepdogs in farming, the breed's numbers slowly declined. Fortunately, its popularity as a house pet has renewed interest in raising Bergamascos. When specifically charged, a Bergamasco will gently watch over its family, investigate strangers and carry out tasks it understands. When allowed to let down its guard, the Bergamasco displays its playful sheepdog traits with a friendly, patient and affectionate attitude. Its perfect match is a farm family with kids. Like its ancestors who drove flocks of sheep and played lovingly with their owners, a modern Bergamasco will guard the children and be a perfect, gentle companion to its owners. Add some farm animals and you are all but guaranteed a happy dog.

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