Bergamascos are a very old breed from the Italian Alps and are referred to by different names: Bergamasco Sheepdog, Bergamasco shepherd, Bergermaschi, Italian Alpine Sheepdog and Cane da Pastore Bergamasco. Bergamscos have worked for a very long time in the Alps herding and guarding flocks. They are named for the Bergamasche valley in northern Italy.
The adult’s coat is unique and becomes felted or flocked. It is made up of three different hair types. The coat does not fully develop until 2-3 years of age. The flocks look similar to dreadlocks. The flocked coat protects the dogs from the environment and attacks from other animals. Bergamascos have 2 coat colors black or grey & black (merle). There is a gene that can cause the black coat to become shaded to grey. Within the 2 colors there are many of variations of grey and black. Their coat does not require the daily brushing of other long haired breeds although it does require attention in certain areas. The coat can form large matted regions as the flocking is developed. These areas will need to be separated. The dogs can be bathed frequently but should not be brushed when wet. They do not smell more than any other breed if groomed and bathed properly.
We have learned a lot in the past 6 years. As in all parts of life there are many approaches and beliefs in dog breeding. Some breed to sell puppies, using whatever dogs they have despite the flaws that may present themselves as the dogs mature. If they do health test they are vague about the results. We believe that in order to have a healthy gene pool, health testing and transparency regarding those tests are key. (Sadly very few Bergamascos are listed on OFA or on Penn Hip) We believe that only the healthiest dogs from the various lines should be bred, and that our Bergamasco community should be working together to ensure the health of the breed for the future. Our start wasn't easy but we were determined because of our love of the breed. Thanks to the internet and social media we found our people! We wish to thank those who have helped and guided us along the journey thus far. Some by spending countless hours of their time answering our many questions and sharing their experiences and knowledge and some by producing the lovely dogs we now have. Here are links to our friends and mentors in the International Bergamasco community. Do visit their websites as they have much to offer.
National Bergamasco Sheepdog Alliance
Luna di Lana
Di Valle Scrivia Kennels
Windy Hill Bergamascos
Ancient Eyes Bergamascos