Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Bergamasco Sheepdog: Breed Guide, Info, Pictures, Care & More!

Bergamasco-dog-stands-on-the-green-grass
Height 22 – 25 inches
Weight 70 – 85 pounds
Lifespan 13 – 15 years
Colors Black, white, gray, brown
Suitable for Active families, families with children, active singles, rural areas and farm dwellers
Temperament Smart, patient, gentle, vigilant, loyal & loving

The Bergamasco Sheepdog is a gentle giant with a heart of gold. Skipping the scales at over 70 pounds, these dreadlocked dogs are an ancient herding breed dating back nearly 2,000 years. A strong, smart, and extremely devoted canine companion, the Bergamasco gets along well with small children and other pets. Despite his massive size, the Bergamasco Sheepdog is actually a big mush and loves to cuddle up on the couch.

If you’re looking for the perfect family pet that can spend as much time playing as he can relaxing, the Bergamasco Sheepdog might be great for your household. Here’s everything you need to know about this fantastic breed.

divider-dog

Bergamasco Sheepdog Puppies – Before You Bring One Home…

Bergamasco puppy_michelangeloop_Shutterstock
Image Credit: michelangeloop, Shutterstock
Energy:
Trainability:
Health:
Lifespan:
Sociability:

 

3 Little-Known Facts About the Bergamasco Sheepdog

1. They are Very, Very Smart

A natural herder, the Bergamasco can easily learn how to herd a flock of sheep without any training or directions. A keen problem solver, this smart pooch can learn basic commands and tricks with ease.

2. They Almost Became Extinct

After the end of WWII, the Bergamasco Sheepdog almost became extinct. This was because the demand for wool and herding dogs was greatly reduced because of the Great Depression. Thankfully, an Italian breeder named Dr. Maria Andreoli saved the breed in the 1960s.

3. They Make Excellent Guard Dogs

Because of his massive size, the Bergamasco Sheepdog can be easily confused with a fierce fighter. However, quite the opposite is true. This breed is typically well-balanced and very, very gentle and affectionate.

Bergamasco Sheepdog_volofin, Shutterstock
Image Credit: volofin, Shutterstock

divider-dog paw

Temperament & Intelligence of the Bergamasco

The Bergamasco Sheepdog is a calm, loving dog. However, this breed does require boundaries in addition to attention and love. Without a lack of leadership, the Bergamasco can quickly establish himself as the alpha and see his human pack members as subordinates. Because of his large size, it’s imperative to establish yourself as a “top dog.”

Though not aggressive, the Bergamasco is suspicious of strangers. Socialization from an early age is key to making your Bergamasco cool, calm, and confident around new faces.

This dog is extremely independent. If you’re looking for a smart, self-sufficient dog, the Bergamasco could be perfect for you.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Absolutely! The Bergamasco Sheepdog is amazing with children. Because of his patient nature, this dog doesn’t get easily annoyed by tiny tots. However, it’s always important to keep a close eye on your dog whenever he is interacting with your kids. Socializing your Bergamasco from the time he is a puppy will ensure he treats your children with love and respect.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

Yes, the good-natured Bergamasco Sheepdog will get along perfectly with your other dogs. He even tolerates cats. However, due to his intrinsic desire to herd, the Bergamasco may try and chase and coral smaller animals. Never leave him alone with small dogs, cats, or other tiny animals without supervision.

divider-paw

Things to Know When Owning a Bergamasco:

Now that you know a bit more about your new Bergamasco’s personality, here’s everything you should be doing to ensure he’s happy and healthy.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

The Bergamasco is a large-sized dog that needs a high-quality, protein-packed kibble that accommodates his size and activity levels. His dietary needs will change as he ages. Always consult with your vet about the proper formula for your dog. Your Bergamasco will need two to three cups of kibble divided into two meals every day. If your Bergamasco grows to weigh over 85 pounds, ask your vet about a weight-control diet plan. This breed is prone to obesity, which can cause other health issues such as heart problems.

Exercise 🐕

As a herding dog, the Bergamasco Sheepdog needs adequate amounts of daily activity. They love living on large farms where they’re free to run and roam. This dog is not well suited for apartment living. Walk your dog twice a day and ensure he’s getting at least an hour of daily exercise.

Bergamasco in snow_michelangeloop_Shutterstock
Image Credit: michelangeloop, Shutterstock

Training 🎾

The Bergamasco is a highly intelligent canine that can easily learn tricks and commands. He responds best to consistent, positive reinforcement training methods. Never hit your dog or be too harsh with him. Establish your alpha status when your Bergamasco is still a puppy. Never allow this dog to overstep his boundaries. Due to his large size, it’s vital that you maintain control over him with ongoing training.

Grooming ✂️

This breed has unique grooming needs. The Bergamasco Sheepdog has a thick, three-layered coat that is oily, dense, and waterproof. The wooly, dread-like locks don’t need to be brushed regularly unless you plan on showing your dog. Bathe your dog only twice a year. Clip his nails as needed. Routinely clean his ears and eyes.

This breed makes an excellent pet for people with severe pet allergies, except those who are allergic to wool or lanolin.

Health and Conditions 🏥

The Bergamasco is a generally healthy breed that can live to be up to 15 years old. However, as with all dog breeds, the Bergamasco can develop health issues later in life. While their rarity has discouraged overbreeding, it is still crucial to buy your Bergamasco from a responsible breeder to avoid potential health concerns.

Minor Conditions
  • Eye problems
Serious Conditions
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Gastric torsion
  • Obesity
Bergamasco sheepdog_michelangeloop_Shutterstock
Image Credit: michelangeloop, Shutterstock

Male vs Female

The male Bergamasco will weigh several more pounds than the female. Both genders are gentle, intelligent, and eager to please.

divider-dog

Final Thoughts

If you want to add a loving and loyal dog to your family, the Bergamasco Sheepdog may be a great choice. Smart, calm, and patient, the Bergamasco does well with other dogs and young children. Early training and socialization are important because of this breed’s large size. Additionally, the Bergamasco needs regular exercise and affection. If you’re looking for a wonderful dog to add to your household, consider getting a Bergamasco!


Featured Image Credit: volofin, Shutterstock

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets