Dog Breed Group: Pastoral Dog (hunting Dog)
Life Span: 13-15years
Weight: 70-84 pounds (male), 57-71 pounds (female)
Height: 23.5 inches (male), 22 inches (female)
Origin of Name: The Bergamasco Shepherd, Italian: Cane da Pastore Bergamasco, is an Italian breed of sheepdog.
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The Bergamasco Cherdogs (Italian plural: Bergamachi) has been associated for many centuries with the Alpine town of Bergamo near Milan. They are among the many Middle-Eastern breeds that were intercepted around the Mediterranean basin in the distant past by the Phoenicians, who were seafaring merchants of the pre-Roman ancient world.
French authorities have testified that Bergamasco is descended from an ancient Gallic herd briard. However, patriotic Italians insist that Bergamasco came first and contributed to the genetic makeup of the brayard and other European herd-dog breeds. They make sound arguments that if the breed was originally Middle-Eastern, it would have immigrated to Italy before it was established as far west as France.
The powerful, balanced and resilient Bergamasco is ideally suited to move and protect sheep on the rocky slopes of the Italian Alps. "It would not be an exaggeration to call this breed the smallest dog in the world," says an expert. Exuberant and conspicuous herds covering the dog protect him from the bitter cold of high altitude, and they serve as armor when fighting with sharp-toothed, razor-clawed hunters in search of a feast on a high sheep. (It should be noted that although Bergamasco passes through its Hungarian cousin, the Corded Komondor, the coats vary. The flanks of the Bergamasco are flat, while the cords are rounded like a rope.)
Bergamasco's numbers plummeted in Italy during the years following World War II, but recently dogs around the world have raced behind this quiet but fearless defender. American devotees of the breed won in 2015, when the Bergamasco Sheepdog was recruited to the AKC Stud Book.