Originating from a town in Italy called Bergamo, the Bergamasco Sheepdog was used for herding purposes, specifically for sheep, hence the breed's name. They are an ancient breed that dates back thousands of years and their ancestors are believed to have originated from Persia, an area now known as Iran, but migrated west with nomads to Central Europe. Capable of independent thought and action, the nature of their herding work encouraged problem-solving as a common trait among them. The Bergamasco almost became extinct at the end of World War II because of the falling demand for wool, the sheep the wool was sheared from, and the shepherd dogs that watched over them. Due to the large efforts of Dr. Maria Andreoli, an Italian breeder, with careful breeding and exceptional knowledge, this beloved sheepdog's numbers increased and were successfully introduced to the United States.
Despite the matted appearance of the Bergamasco, they are actually muscular, lean, and athletic due to their compact, square-shaped bodies. The coat of the breed consists of two layers: a short, dense, fine-textured, and oily water-proofing undercoat and a matted outercoat that contains three types of hair: dog hair, "goat-type" hair, and "wool-type" hair. Even though Bergamascos have plenty of matted hair, they still do not have the tendency to overheat when working and require little-to-no grooming maintenance. They have large, brown, oval-shaped eyes and soft, thin ears. The muzzle of the Bergamasco Sheepdog is blunt with a large black nose. The breed's tail hangs down when relaxed or is raised in a curve during movement.
Commonly described as being attentive, patient, and loyal, the Bergamasco Sheepdog is very protective of their family, especially children. These protective herding dogs can be wary of strangers and will not hesitate to bark when they hear unfamiliar noises. They are intelligent, respond well to obedience training with positive reinforcement, and are said to be stubborn, but in the way that they are not done until the task is complete. In order to tone down their protective instincts, it is recommended that they are socialized and properly trained at a young age so they can get along better with other pets in the household. Unlike some breeds, the Bergamasco does not regard themselves as under the control of a certain leader, but instead, they believe they are equals in the family that they belong to. Although they are considered to be fairly non-active, they still require regular exercise for mental and physical health. It is ideal if they have a large area to run around in, making them not recommended for individuals living in apartments or condos but they are a highly adaptable breed to all types of living conditions. Determined and always has a desire to please, Bergamascos are self-sufficient companions that can also act as great watchdogs for families with children.