Breed Spotlight – Bergamasco Sheepdog

This ancient Middle-Eastern breed has been connected with Bergamo, an Alpine town near Milan, for centuries. These sociable, independent and intelligent dogs were bartered all around the Mediterranean by the Phoenicians, seafaring traders in the pre-Roman world.

The Bergamasco’s coat is the hallmark of the breed, with three distinct textures that form loose mats of hair that become woven together over the dog’s body and legs. These mats or “flocks” as they are called, provide insulation and protection from the harsh winters of the Italian Alps.

The Bergamasco is sometimes confused with the corded Komodor, it’s Hungarian cousin, but the coats are different. The Komodor’s hair has cords that are round like a rope, while the Bergamasco has flat flocks.

During the years following World War II, the Bergamasco breed saw declining numbers until global fanciers got behind the preservation of the breed. In 2015, the Bergamasco Sheepdog was admitted to the Stud Book of the AKC.

These dogs are trainable and are loyal and loving, plus they have a good streak of mountain dog independence. They make great watchdogs and are calm and confident, and only become aggressive if they have no other choice.

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By Ellen Britt

Dr. Ellen Britt has loved dogs since she was a child. She is particularly fond of the Northern breeds, especially Alaskan Malamutes. Ellen worked as a PA in Emergency and Occupational Medicine for two decades and holds a doctorate (Ed.D.) in biology.

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