bergamasco breed information

common health issues

Hip dysplasia is an inherited condition in which the ball and socket of the hip joint do not fit well together, resulting in a hip with increased laxity. This laxity can lead to degenerative changes and depending on the severity, may require surgical correction.

GDV describes a condition whereby a dog's stomach becomes dilated with air and then, while dilated, twists over on itself, effectively sealing the stomach. The most common sign of bloat is a firm, distended stomach, especially if it seems to occur rapidly. GDV is one of the true life-threatening emergencies in dogs and many cases require emergency surgery.

The hardy Bergamasco Shepherd (often shortened to Bergamasco) originated in what is now Iran, working with nomadic shepherds as a livestock guardian. Eventually, some of these shepherds ended up settling in the Italian Alps, which is where the breed took root. Known for her independent thinking, the Bergamasco maintains a strong work ethic and a desire to please her master. The breed’s numbers dwindled dangerously low after World War II, but was saved from the brink of extinction by an Italian breeder, Dr. Maria Andreoli. An American family brought the first Bergamascos to the United States in the mid-1990s.

The Bergamasco is a sociable and highly intelligent dog, with a protective personality that makes her an excellent watchdog. Because of her background, though, she often sees herself as an equal member of the family, so obedience training is required to establish authority. Though she is protective, she is not aggressive, and with children she is patient, tolerant and attentive — a wonderful family companion.

The Bergamasco is a large dog, weighing between 55 and 85 lbs., and she features a unique coat made up of three types of hair, which combine to form long mats. At around one year old, the coat must be "ripped" into the mats, but then they will continue to grow that way for life. The coat looks complicated, but it does not shed as other breeds do, and requires only a few baths a year.

Although a generally healthy breed, the Bergamasco is still prone to hereditary and congenital conditions that can adversely affect her health — not to mention your family budget. As large dogs, some of the conditions and illnesses Bergamascos are prone to include hip problems such as hip dysplasia; and stomach problems such as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV or bloat).

Thankfully, Petplan pet insurance covers all hereditary and chronic conditions as standard. Which means if your Bergamasco inherits anything more than a watchdog mentality, you’re covered.

Use the condition checker tool to learn what common conditions your pet may have.

claim calculator

  • your share of the cost: $450
  • Petplan's reimbursement to you: $1,550
  • coverage remaining in policy period: Unlimited
    (full policy limits are reinstated upon renewal)