Above all else, the Bergamasco is a loyal and loving companion. Their personalities are as beautiful and unique as their appearance. The Bergamasco gives you it's entire self and once you have had that kind of of love, there is no turning back. They are quirky and playful but sometimes lazy and serious. They are protective and loyal but social and permissive. They put on the appropriate mask for the occasion and sometimes use their intelligence to their advantage.
They are wonderful with children and other pets if raised with them as puppies. They require heavy socialization with new surroundings, other dogs and people at an early age and throughout their first year to become well rounded adults. They can sometimes be wary of new people and new situations but this tends to get better with age as they gain confidence. Bergamascos will have a differenent relationship with each person they know, as people do. They are great judges of character and will act accordingly.
Due to their sensitive nature, they do not do well with harsh discipline but require firm and consistent training and are very praise driven. Positive reinforcement is very effective.
Bergamascos are not Livestock Guardian Dogs (LGDs). They are not meant to live outside with livestock and rely on their Shepherd (family) for protection, love and inclusion in the family. They can be protective of livestock, family and home but it is not their primary function and they were not bred for this purpose.
Being an Alpine breed, Bergamascos do best in a cooler climate with real winters and moderate summers. Due to the nature of the coat, they are not well suited for southern states and humid climates.
Is the Bergamasco right for you?
1. Bergamascos require someone at home most of the time when they are puppies for socialization and training. They can be trained in an ex-pen while being housebroken and overnight but should be fully integrated into their family.
2. Bergamascos must live in a home with available air conditioning. In the hot, humid summer months it will be necessary.
3. Bergamascos require socialization in the way of frequent car rides, introduction to different people, places and dogs. They do not do well at dog parks and this method of socialization should be avoided.
4. Bergamascos are NOT for the house proud. Their coats will bring in debris from the outdoors such as leaves, grass clippings, twigs, dirt. Although they do not shed, they can create dust and would not do best in a home that needs to remain spotless.
5. Bergamascos may bark at intruders, doorbells, people they see from a window or fence.
6. Although they would ideally like to roam free on open land, they do well in an urban environment as long as they get plenty of walks and adventures.
7. The coat is best kept natural and full. The coat provides a very important function and is protective from the heat and the cold. Shaving your Bergamasco may cause them to overheat faster in the summer.
8. Bergamascos can be picky eaters. They do not eat much or often but do require a very high quality diet to keep them from being underwieght.
9. Bergamascos respond well to firm verbal commands and want to please. They should not be trained with shock collars, prong collars, or other harsh methods. Clicker training and positive reinforcement work best.
10. Bergamascos are great hikers. We encourage our families to do some off leash activities once they are past their adolescent phase. A free Bergamasco is a happy Bergamasco.