It all began in 1995 with Fauno dell albera. We now have between 9-12 bergamascos living within our home. Our Foundation Stock was founded through the guidance of Dr Maria Andreoli, with over 45 yrs of experience. With her knowledge, she has helped us to select a multitude of various styles and types again to help us keep true breed characteristics. Today, we have bergamascos from a variety of Breeders from Sweden, Switzerland and England, all sharing the same dream of Dr Maria Andreoli — The continuation of one of the first bloodlines created, known as “dell albera”.
Bergamascos — This wonderful Italian breed is independent, proud and regal yet loves human companionship. Most are a bit wary of newcomers, alerting you that an unknown is among us by barking a bit until you let them know it is okay or the Bergamasco feels comfortable with the newcomer. These written basic personality characteristics seem rather simple, but the true complexities of the Bergamasco’s personality can only be known through mutual companionship. They need to respect, communicate and love you within their relationship, call you theirs and they will do what you would like them to do, maybe not in a thrilled manner but by having a close, communicative relationship between the two of you, allows them the understanding of your needs and gives them the grace to carry on.
Direct communication through eye contact is one of the ways a Bergamasco talks to you. This complex personalty is the Bergamasco that we have come to know, respect and love! Obedient they are not, repetition is not really what they enjoy, thinking and resolving problems is what they thrive on. The older they become, they will and do understand what you need and want and will do so with their own style. When our 6 year old is off leash in the woods, 1/2 block away I whistle or call his name, he will turn respectfully around as to let me know he is there, and now he will wander back on Bergamasco time, from tree to tree, watering all, but will end up at my side. That is what I call Bergamasco style and obedience. We wouldn’t have it any other way, usurping his character and taking away his independence would not give him the ability to herd on his own.
The Bergamasco is a herding/flock guardian that can work with a shepherd and or tend to a flock on their own and also fend off predators. At the same time, they were bred to be gentle and not excitable so as not to disturb the sheep. This gives us a bit of insight to their character! Independent, strong willed, thinking through everyday problems and at the same time working with their shepherds to drive sheep from valley to valley through dawn to dusk. The Bergamasco has an understanding of what their needs are and your wants and will do so with their own style!
The Bergamasco isn’t necessarily a one person per family breed. They deal with all within the family a bit differently, seeking what the child or adult needs are and encouraging that type of individual relationship. I have seen the Bergamasco with children of all different age groups, infants to teenagers. One of our puppies went to a home with a sickly infant, she never left the child’s side. Donna takes each of our Bergamascos to her classroom, consisting of 8 handicapped children, all with various degrees of disabilities. The Bergamasco deals with each child differently, lays down with the non mobile children, plays ball with the more active children and allows their hair to be pulled without a complaint.
The Bergamasco is not really complacent to all, just patient and tolerant, one of our females snarled at 3 normal overly aggressive children whom were getting too rough for her liking, as if to say to the human mother at hand, if you won’t teach them limits, I will. If the Bergamasco is a puppy and young children are running around your grounds, the Bergamasco may try to tend to his flock by nipping at their hind quarters. An awareness of the herding dogs innate behavior should be made to your children. A runaway flock is a runway flock. The Bergamasco’s instincts are still with them.
We were sitting at a dog show not more than 20 feet from a photographer taking a picture of another breed and their owner, Fauno, 3 years old at the time was laying next to us, Fauno emitted a low warning growl in the direction of the photographer, 5 seconds later the dog attacked the photographer. If our neighbors’ loose dog approaches our home, our eldest male will approach the approaching dog and stand still, he then looks intently in the eyes of the approaching dog, the neighbor’s dog tucks her tail between her legs, puts her head down and goes home. They will do whatever they can do to avoid aggressive behavior. They do alert you to anything that is out of place within their environment, even when a plastic bag is blown onto your property and do sound an alarm when a strange noise is heard or someone is approaching, although there is a different alert for family members coming home at late hours verses strangers approaching.
The Bergamasco has a triple coat, undercoat, wooly coat and a wiry goat like hair. Some of this hair joins together and becomes flocked, with a felted like appearance, it does not twist. Flocks should be no smaller in width than 2 fingers wide. The coat can be initially easy to take care of or very difficult, depending upon the ratio of the different types of hair. The hair should not be washed regularly, this allows the natural oils to keep the hair healthy and weather and dirt resistant. There isn’t an oily feel to the touch, nor does the coat have any particular odor, other than doggy when wet. Spot bathing works wonders and of course a bath upon occasion is okay.
Bergamascos are quite serious in nature but can be playful if taught to play ball and frisbee when young. Of course each Bergamasco’s personality is different, some extremely serious, some always young and playful, some more demanding than others. Our females are quite talky when there is something they want, although that isn’t necessarily a breed trait, more of a learned behavioral character.
A Bergamasco is yours as much as you are theirs!
More Info: BERGAMASCO BEGINNINGS