Bergamasco Shepherd: The Ultimate Dog Guide

Bergamasco Shepherd


The Bergamasco Shepherd has a rich heritage that dates back centuries. Originating from the Italian Alps, this breed was primarily used for herding and guarding livestock. This versatile breed has served humanity faithfully, gaining a reputation for its work ethic, intelligence, and unmistakable coat.

Attribute Details
Origin Italian Alps
Size Medium to Large
Weight Range 57 to 84 pounds
Height Up to 24 inches
Coat Matted “flocks”
Personality Intelligent, Patient, Observant
Lifespan 13 to 15 years
Common Health Issues Hip dysplasia, Eye problems
Grooming Minimal
Diet High-quality dog food suitable for size and activity level
Exercise Needs High
Suitable for Families Yes
Suitable for First-Time Dog Owners Yes, with proper training and socialization

Characteristics of the Bergamasco Shepherd

Physical attributes

Standing up to 24 inches tall and weighing between 57 and 84 pounds, the Bergamasco Shepherd is a medium to large dog breed. One distinguishing feature of this breed is its unique coat, which is characterized by matted “flocks” that provide protection against weather and predators.

Personality and temperament

Bergamasco Shepherds are known for their intelligent, patient, and observant nature. They can be a bit reserved but are generally friendly and protective of their families.

Lifespan and health

On average, a healthy Bergamasco Shepherd can live between 13 to 15 years.

Understanding the Bergamasco Shepherd Breed

Breed standard

As recognized by major canine organizations, the breed standard for the Bergamasco Shepherd outlines the ideal physical and behavioral attributes for this breed.

Common health issues specific to the breed

Although generally healthy, Bergamasco Shepherds can be prone to hip dysplasia and eye problems.

Grooming requirements

Despite the complex appearance of their coat, Bergamasco Shepherds require minimal grooming.

Exercise and dietary needs

Bergamasco Shepherds need regular exercise to stay healthy and happy. Their diet should be balanced and suitable for a large, active breed.

Training a Bergamasco Shepherd

Training basics

Training should start early and use positive reinforcement methods.

Socialization from a young age

Socializing a Bergamasco Shepherd from a young age helps them to be well-rounded, confident dogs.

Training challenges specific to the breed

Bergamasco Shepherds are intelligent and can be stubborn, so consistent, patient training is key.

Tips and techniques for successful training

Use reward-based techniques and make training sessions short and fun.

Living with a Bergamasco Shepherd

Interaction with children and other pets

Bergamasco Shepherds generally get along well with children and other pets, especially if socialized early.

Space needs (apartment vs house, yard, etc.)

A Bergamasco Shepherd can adapt to different living conditions, but they need space to move and play.

What to expect when adopting a Bergamasco Shepherd

Adopting a Bergamasco Shepherd means committing to their exercise, grooming, and training needs.

Activities Suitable for a Bergamasco Shepherd

Exercise and play activities

Regular walks, playtime, and agility exercises are great for a Bergamasco Shepherd.

Work and competition activities (herding, agility, obedience, etc.)

Being a natural herding breed, Bergamasco Shepherds can excel in related competitions.

Mental stimulation requirements

To keep their sharp minds engaged, provide puzzle toys and regular training sessions.

Feeding a Bergamasco Shepherd

Puppy feeding guidelines

Puppies should be fed a diet designed for large breed puppies, split into multiple meals a day.

Adult feeding guidelines

Adult Bergamasco Shepherds should have a balanced diet of high-quality dog food suitable for their size and activity level.

Senior feeding guidelines

Senior Bergamasco Shepherds might require a diet tailored to their changing health and energy levels.

Common food allergies and sensitivities

Some Bergamasco Shepherds may develop food allergies, so be observant of any changes in their behavior or health after meals.

Health and Wellness for a Bergamasco Shepherd

Common health issues and preventative care

Regular check-ups and preventative care can help keep your Bergamasco Shepherd healthy.

Regular veterinary check-ups

Regular veterinary visits are important for maintaining the health of your Bergamasco Shepherd.

Importance of vaccinations and neutering/spaying

Vaccinations protect your Bergamasco Shepherd from various diseases, and spaying/neutering has health benefits.

Recognizing signs of health issues

Know the signs of common health issues so you can seek veterinary care promptly.

Grooming a Bergamasco Shepherd

Frequency and process of grooming

Though the Bergamasco Shepherd’s coat looks high-maintenance, it requires less frequent grooming than you might think.

Dealing with shedding

The Bergamasco Shepherd’s unique coat sheds less than many breeds but still requires care to keep it in the best condition.

Nail trimming, ear cleaning, and dental care

Regular nail trimming, ear cleaning, and dental care should be part of your dog’s grooming routine.

Grooming tools and products recommended for the breed

Special grooming tools and products can help keep your Bergamasco Shepherd’s coat healthy and beautiful.

Adoption vs Buying from a Breeder

Pros and Cons of Adoption

Adoption can be a wonderful choice for giving a dog a second chance, but it may require patience and flexibility.

Pros and Cons of Buying from a Breeder

Buying from a reputable breeder means you’ll likely know more about the dog’s history and genetics.

What to Look for in a Breeder

Always choose a responsible breeder who prioritizes the health and well-being of their dogs.

Rescue groups and shelters for the Bergamasco Shepherd

There are breed-specific rescue groups and shelters where you can find Bergamasco Shepherds needing a home.

The Bergamasco Shepherd’s Unique Coat

Perhaps one of the most striking features of the Bergamasco Shepherd is its distinctive coat. Unlike most dogs, the Bergamasco has a complex three-layer coat that forms mats or “flocks” as the dog matures. These flocks provide protection from the elements and predators. They can range in shape and size, giving each Bergamasco a unique appearance. Despite its complex look, the Bergamasco’s coat requires less maintenance than you might expect. It does not need regular brushing or trimming, and bathing is only needed a few times a year.

Working Abilities of the Bergamasco Shepherd

While the Bergamasco Shepherd can make a great family pet, they also have a strong working heritage. They were originally bred for herding and guarding livestock, and they retain these instincts today. This makes them well-suited to activities such as herding trials, agility, and obedience. Their patient and observant nature also makes them excellent therapy and service dogs. The Bergamasco Shepherd’s work ethic and versatility are just a few of the traits that make this breed so special.

The Bergamasco Shepherd and Travel

Due to their adaptable nature, Bergamasco Shepherds can be great travel companions. Whether you’re going on a road trip or a hike in the mountains, this breed is generally up for the adventure. However, due to their size and exercise needs, they may not be suited to all types of travel. Always ensure that your travel plans can accommodate your Bergamasco Shepherd’s needs, and remember that some accommodations may have restrictions on dog breeds or sizes.


In summary, the Bergamasco Shepherd is a remarkable breed with a distinct appearance and character. This breed is not for everyone, but for those who can meet their needs, the Bergamasco Shepherd can be a loyal, loving companion. Whether in a family home or on a working farm, this breed is sure to make a lasting impression.


Sergey Uhanov, a certified veterinarian, has authored all of the content here. With over 20 years of experience in dog care and breeding three dogs of his own, he has a deep passion for these furry friends. Sergey owns a pet clinic in Israel where he provides care and treatment to dogs. He enjoys sharing his expertise and knowledge to assist others in caring for their dogs.

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