History of the Bergamasco
The Bergamasco: It is difficult to talk about a breed as old as the Bergamasco without mentioning the beginning origins. We will take a long journey back into time, when man was making the first step of progress towards the beginning of civilization. We will begin as we tell a story, Once upon a time…
During the stone age, a symbiotic relationship was formed between completely diverse species, man, dog and sheep. This relationship was extremely important for the future of human civilization and helped to shape human actions for many millennium thereafter.
The strong relationship and influence that the man, dog and sheep had on one another, created the conditions towards the evolution of each other.
The complex coat of the Bergamasco is of very old origin and has to be considered an adaptation of the habitat in which the dog originally lived. This area is found in the Asian Plateau, at the base of the Himalayans and the mountains between Iran and Turkey, the same place believed to be the beginning of the domestication of the sheep.
Throughout time, various groups of people moved from this original habitat, searching for more abundant pastures to feed larger herds of sheep. These mountainous people continually moved Northwest through the mountains bringing them to the Hungarian Valley from where they entered Europe.
In Europe they went along the Alps and Pyrenees Mountains, they found conditions similar to their original habitat and began to settle in this place. As some people settled along this nomadic route, it is possible to find a group of breeds that have characteristics of the original Asiatic Dog.
The Coat: One of the more important characteristics is the coat and the main breeds of this group are the Komondor and Puli in Hungary, the Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Briard and Pyrenees Sheepdog of France and the Catalan Sheepdog of Spain. As the dogs migrated north, the Bearded Collie and the Bobtail can be found.
From the group of people that settled among the Alpine Mountains their dog is now called the Pastore de Bergamasco. This name is of recent origin and not truly correct. This type of dog was found in all of the Alps. It would be better to retain the original name, (Pastore delle Alphi). Pastore delle Alphi was the given name that this breed had until the end of the last century.
The coat is very complex, because of the presence of three types of hair. The Bergamasco is the only dog that has three types of coat and this makes them different from all other breeds and particularly interesting in the viewpoint of historical evolution.