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Weight: 55-85 lbs.
Energy Level: Moderate
The American Kennel Club recognizes the Bergamasco in the following colors:
Health & Longevity
Average Life Span: 13-15 years
The Bergamasco is a fairly robust breed, although there are a couple of health problems they may experience.
Hip dysplasia, a condition in which the malformed hip joint does not allow the thighbone to fit properly into place, may impact some Bergamascos. This degenerative condition results in discomfort, pain, and limping in some cases. In more severe cases, it can lead to arthritis or even lameness, and surgery may be required. A reputable breeder will not breed a dog with hip dysplasia, so ensure that your puppy’s parents have no history of the condition. Although it is hereditary, hip dysplasia can also be triggered by rapid weight gain and injury, such as falling on a slippery floor. While your puppy’s joints are still developing, monitor his activity and do not allow excessive jumping or running on floors that may cause slippage.
The Bergamasco may also experience gastric torsion, or bloat. Bloat occurs when the stomach is overly full of gas, fluid, or food, resulting in a dangerous expansion that puts pressure on vital organs. In some cases, the stomach may twist, trapping blood in the stomach and preventing it from flowing to the heart and other essential areas. Bloat can be deadly, so take your dog to the veterinarian right away if you notice symptoms like excessive drooling, pacing, shortness of breath, failed attempts to vomit, and a swollen stomach. The veterinarian will release the pressure in the stomach with either a tube or a hollow needle. In some cases, the affected dog will require antibiotics, steroids, or intravenous fluids. If the stomach is twisted, emergency surgery will be necessary to untwist the stomach and put it correctly back in place.
Temperament & Train-ability
Like many herding dogs, the Bergamasco is intelligent, independent, and a self-sufficient problem solver. He is also social, friendly, and highly devoted to his family. Due to his history as a herding dog who worked in tandem with his owner, he does consider himself to be a friend or an equal of his master. The Bergamasco has a unique, signature coat that drapes over its eyes to protect them from the sun.
The Bergamasco should not live in an apartment because he needs plenty of space and exercise. In some cases, a long, brisk daily walk will be sufficient, but your Bergamasco should also be given time to run freely in a large, securely fenced yard. Although generally well-behaved indoors, the Bergamasco does become bored if left alone for long periods of time. He is a hard-working, loving dog who needs companionship and tasks to complete. The Bergamasco is an excellent family companion who is extremely loyal and devoted to his family, and he quickly forms strong bonds with his people.
This friendly, good-natured dog tends to get along with most people and animals. He is especially good with children and forms a special relationship with the children in his life. He is patient, protective, and encouraging, as well as unfailingly polite to children, and he loves to play games. He will get along well with other dogs, assuming that these dogs are courteous to him in return. He also tends to do well with unfamiliar people. Although the Bergamasco is not aggressive, he is brave, protective, and alert, making him an excellent choice for a family guard dog.
The Bergamasco tends to be very trainable. He is intelligent, hard-working, and persistent. He is also incredibly perceptive of intentions and tends to be very in-tune with his owner. He also picks up on emotions easily, so try to be positive and do not let frustration or irritation show. Use positive reinforcement like treats, praise, and extra playtime, and training your Bergamasco should be an enjoyable experience for both of you.
The Bergamasco’s unusual coat weaves together three different types of hair called dog hair, goat hair, and wool. This coat does not usually trigger dog allergies, but people who are allergic to wool may be allergic to the Bergamasco as well. Surprisingly, the coat does not require particularly extensive care. A quick weekly brushing to remove dirt should be sufficient, and the coat sheds very little.
When your Bergamasco is about a year old, you will need to “rip” the coat into mats. This may be a lengthy process, but it only needs to be done once in the dog’s lifetime. By the time the Bergamasco is five-years-old, his coat is likely to reach the ground. If you do not like this look, you can trim the coat, but you should never shave it. Due to the coat’s similarity to wool, it can have a particularly unpleasant odor when wet.
Bathe your Bergamasco only as needed; he typically will require no more than three baths per year. Do not use shampoo, because it can dissolve his signature coat’s natural oils. If your Bergamasco gets a little dirt or debris on his coat, you can wipe it with a wet towel or cloth. Bathing him in the summer is recommended because his coat can take an entire day to dry. Some Bergamasco owners surround him with box fans to speed the drying process.
Depending on size, the average Bergamasco should eat 2-4 cups of high-quality dry dog food daily. The best type and amount of food for your individual dog will depend on factors like weight, metabolism, activity level, and age.
You should also take preventative measures against bloat. Ensure that your dog does not eat too rapidly, and do not allow him to drink excessive amounts of water directly before or after eating. Enforce at least a one-hour waiting period between eating and exercising.
The Bergamasco is prone to obesity, so be sure to avoid overfeeding. Ensure he has access to clean, fresh water daily.
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On average, a Bergamasco puppy will cost $1,000-$1,200. Pricing will vary according to gender, breeder location, and pedigree.
Paws ‘N’ Pups Ranking
Paws ‘N’ Pups ranks every breed out of 4 with 1 being easiest to integrate into your life and 4 being the toughest – The lower the ranking the better.
Ranking takes into account a few basic factors including cost, skill level needed, high vs low maintenance and how critical regular training is to success. The Bergamasco ranks a 3. He is a healthy dog who gets along well with people and animals alike, and he is typically not difficult to train. However, he needs plenty of companionship and needs tasks to keep him occupied. He also has a unique coat that, while not particularly high-maintenance, does have its own special needs.
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