The Bergamasco Shepherd: A Herding Dog

The appearance of the Bergamasco Shepherd is unmistakable. Want to know more about this herding dog?
The Bergamasco Shepherd: A Herding Dog

Last update: 14 June, 2019

Today we’re going to talk about another unmistakable dog breed: the Bergamasco Shepherd Dog. This animal comes from the mountainous regions of Italy. For decades, farmers have used it as a herding dog. Next, we’ll tell you about its origins, characteristics, and personality.

The origin of the Bergamasco Shepherd Dog

There are several possible origins for this breed. The best known and most probable option is that they come from the Molossian hounds of Persia. These animals were brought to Persia by the Greeks and Phoenicians almost 2000 years ago. Other theories point to their kinship with the Hungarian Komondor breed or even with Tibetan bulldogs.

However, there is no written document that fully confirms any particular theory. On the other hand, we do know that the Bergamasco Shepherd has led to many other breeds of herding dogs.

During much of the fourteenth century and onward, this breed is was a predominant feature in the rural and livestock landscape. This is due to its great versatility in herding flocks. However, as the industrial revolution took hold, this breed began to fall into disuse and almost disappeared.

The Bergamasco Shepherd is a herding dog.

Since then, different associations have fought to preserve the breed. Today, we can see specimens scattered all over the world as pets.

General characteristics

The Bergamasco or Bergamo Shepherd is a medium-sized dog with a robust body and a voluminous head. What people most notice about this breed is its dense coat. It often forms thick strands that give it a characteristic look.

These thick strands of hair form when the longer outer coat comes together with the wooly inner coat. The Bergamasco Shepherd’s coat, apart from giving it a distinct look, serves as protection against all kinds of weather. These dogs are predominantly gray, but with a variety of shades.

A Bergamasco Shepherd in the snow.

The behavior of the Bergamasco Shepherd

This breed’s balanced character makes them the perfect animal to guard herds. They are also intelligent, courageous, hardworking, and able to adapt to any type of situation.

However, above all, this dog is calm, respectful, patient, and faithful. Even though the Alps are a harsh environment, the character of the Bergamasco Shepherd is very gentle. They are usually docile and affectionate towards humans and other dogs.

They don’t only work as shepherd dogs. Currently, these animals help in rescues and work on police forces. Of course, the Bergamasco Shepherd is a breed that is suited for any terrain.

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  • Talenti, A., Dreger, D. L., Frattini, S., Polli, M., Marelli, S., Harris, A. C., … & Caniglia, R. (2018). Studies of modern Italian dog populations reveal multiple patterns for domestic breed evolution. Ecology and evolution8(5), 2911-2925.