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The Bergamasco is a herd and guard dog famous for its extraordinary coat of loose mats and cords that are super dense. This dog breed is a native of Italy, known for its herding and guarding skills. Bergamascos are independent thinkers and real problem-solvers, thus must be given proper training from a young age. They are lively and friendly dogs with the instinctive desire to protect. It has a lifespan of 13 – 15 years.
Have you decided on a Bergamasco dog? Here is a brief background of this highly intelligent and independent dog.
The Bergamasco is a native of Italy, specifically in the Italian Alps near Bergamo. It was originally bred as a herding and guarding dog because of its exceptional intelligence and independent nature. However, the Bergamasco breed can be traced back seven thousand years in the Middle East, now believed to be somewhere between Iran and Iraq. The ancestors of the Bergamasco arrived in Italy in the middle of migratory populations, some spreading over the borders of the Alps.
This dog breed was once in danger of becoming extinct during World War II when the need for wool was driven low. Thus, shepherds and dogs found themselves unemployed. Dr Maria Andreoli, an Italian breeder, saved the breed in the early 1960s when she re-established the consistency and homogeneity to the Bergamasco Breed.
Today, the Bergamasco standard is upheld by enthusiasts in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, United States, Canada, and other countries.
The Bergamasco is a heavy-boned, muscularherding dog with a large head and a long, thick tail that curves slightly upwards at the end. This medium-size sturdy-looking dog breed weighs 60 to 85 pounds, and stands 56 to 60 centimetres at the withers. The Bergamasco has a strong underjaw, oval eyes that look calm and attentive, and triangular ears that are set high on the head and drop down over the brow. Bergamascos are easily distinguishable because of its unique coat made up of three types of hair, which form its dense, flat, and felt-like mats. Their coat covers their body and legs to protect them from the weather and predators. They grow every year and reach the ground until their fifth year when their growth stops. According to breed standards, the Bergamasco's hair is typically coloured grey, solid black or gradations of shade including merle. Other colours include Isabella and fawn. Some Bergamascos sport a solid white coat colour, albeit not acceptable to breed standards.
Contrary to what most people think, the Bergamasco's coat is not too difficult to maintain. Its coat is manageable once the cords have developed and formed. It will then be dense enough that few things will get caught in them. The Bergamasco will not require bathing more than 1-3 times a year, thanks to its coat's natural oils. Also, brushing is not required. The rest is basic grooming such as cleaning the ears, trimming the nails and making sure there are no signs of infections, ticks or fleas.
The Bergamasco is a working dog bred to herd, guard and protect. It is an extremely intelligent dog and is known as an independent thinker. It is also a very affectionate dog with a deep desire to please its owners. However, its desire to please must not be confused with being submissive. It is loyal and protective of its family, sociable with friends but suspicious of strangers. The breed is also known to show dominance around unfamiliar dogs.
Bergamascos are not ideal for first-time dog owners because they need proper training and handling at a very young age. Bergamascos need to be given an extraordinary amount of physical exercises and mentally stimulating activities for them to be happy, relaxed and to stay out of trouble. The Bergamascos are quiet and only bark to alert owners. This dog breed is patient and gentle with small children, but playtime must still be supervised to avoid accidents.
A typical serving of an adult Bergamasco is 3 to 4 cups of high-quality dry dog food. You can use a variety of food products such as a diet of kibble and premium quality canned or raw foods. It is recommended that Bergamascos be fed at least two times every day – mornings and evenings. Here is a typical calorie needs per day of a standard Bergamasco adult weighing 60 to 85 pounds.
The amount of food and frequency in feeding will largely depend on the dog's size, age, build and activity level. The Bergamasco is a large dog with a life expectancy of 13 to 15 years. The best diet for this dog breed is one that is grain-free, all natural food. Stay away from foods with fillers, added sugars, artificial flavours, colours and preservatives.
The Bergamasco is a healthy breed with almost no genetic medical disorders at all. Just to make sure you have a healthy Bergamasco dog or puppy, contact a reputable breeder or a consult a veterinarian if you already own a Bergamasco dog.
One thing to remember is Bergamasco does not thrive in hot climates. Cutting and shaving are out of the question since cutting the shaggy locks can cause irritations that may develop into skin infections.
When you own a Bergamasco dog or any dog breed for that matter, full commitment is involved. This means you are ready to care for it in its lifetime, which includes paying for its needs. To start, a Bergamasco puppy will cost from £700 to £100 for a well-bred pedigree. Pet insurance will depend on the coverage (basic cover is £30 a month; lifetime policy is £80 a month). When it comes to food, be prepared to shell out £40 to £50 a month.
Regular health checks, vaccinations, boosters, neutering, and other basic vet procedures will quickly cost you around £1,000 a year. However this estimate does not include special procedures to treat other medical conditions, so consult a veterinarian so you can get a quote and to check if insurance covers it. On top of this, you might want to set aside budget for dog supplies and equipment such as leashes, toys, collars, and beds.
Are you sure the Bergamasco is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.Dog Breed Selector Quiz
Are you still unsure if a Bergamasco dog is for you? See if other dog breeds suit your lifestyle and personality using our Pet Finder.
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