Is the Bergamasco a hypoallergenic dog breed? Do you even know what a Bergamasco is? Here’s a hint: you’d definitely remember seeing him! The Bergamasco is one of those breeds we see on televised dog shows but not out and about. These funny-looking guys may appear to be neglected by their owners, but their coats are actually supposed to look matted and ratty. With a winning personality and a unique look, the Bergamasco makes an excellent pet for both personality and flair.
Bergamasco – A Shaggy Super Friend
The Bergamasco is an ancient shepherding breed with a lineage beginning in the Middle East. Thousands of years ago, the precursors of this breed worked with nomadic shepherds in Persia, known today as Iran. Eventually, some of these nomadic shepherds and their dogs settled down in the Italian Alps. This is where the shaggy, matted dog we see in dog shows began to take shape.
It’s hard to miss this dog. He has a coat that is either merle or black in color and is made up of three different types of hair which blend and mesh together to form the mats that cover his body. These mats are designed to protect him from the elements as well as from injury during fights with predators. They’re on the large side of medium as far as size goes. Males top out around 23.5 inches tall and around 84 pounds.
This breed’s history of independent herding and working have created a deep, bred-in desire to please coupled with a high degree of intelligence. Also, this breed has a self-control about it which makes it easy to handle in public, and an alert, observant air. All of these traits combined make an excellent pet that is easy to train and easy to control.
The Bergamasco is known to be a generally healthy breed. They have a very good lifespan for their size, averaging upwards of 15 years, and they have no known breed-specific propensities to specific illnesses. That being said, like all breeds of their size, it’s important to be on the lookout for hip dysplasia, a condition in which the ball of the femur does not seat correctly in the hip socket. Otherwise, these dogs are extremely healthy.
The Bergamasco is a highly intelligent working breed, and as such, he requires adequate physical and mental stimulation. Brisk walks and some play time in the backyard are necessities as are games that let him work his mind. These dogs do especially well in herding trials and agility training.
These guys require very little grooming after the first year. That first year is when owners will have to “rip” their dog’s coat as he loses his puppy coat and comes into his matted looking coat. Ripping is simply a matter of pulling the tangled hair apart so that it grows in locks rather than just huge balls.
After the first year, these guys only need to be bathed 1 to 3 times a year, and since they don’t shed, they fall into the hypoallergenic category. This means that they’re easy on the grooming and easy on the allergies. You can’t beat that.
Bergamasco – A Funny Looking Friend
Although their appearance might take some getting used to for some, the Bergamasco makes a fine family dog. His intelligence, eagerness to please, and calm demeanor make him easy to train and easy to live with. Just remember that being so intelligent, he’ll need to play games to keep from getting bored.
As always, make adoption your first option. While you almost certainly won’t find this breed at your local shelter, there are all sorts of breed-specific rescue websites out there that you can check. You might end up finding the perfect family companion who needs a home as much as you need a furry addition to the family.