The Majestic Bergamasco --
Isolation tends to keep breed populations- whatever the species – pure, stable, and unchanged for a long time. Such was the case for dogs around Bergamo in northern Italy – the Alps, where the Bergamasco lived virtually unchanged for more than 2,000 years. Few places can stay untouched forever, however, and change came to the Alps. The need for sheepdogs diminished with the introduction of modern technology in the late 1800s, particularly as the sheep industry boomed in Australia and New Zealand. Fewer farmers kept Bergamaschi (one of the plural forms of Bergmasco), and as was the case with other breeds, dog breeding during World War II was nearly completely abandoned, and the shepherds who used the dogs went into the Italian military. By the war’s end, the Bergamasco was nearly extinct.As we learned with the Kooikerhondje, sometimes it takes just one person to save a breed. While a few shepherds hung onto their dogs and somehow managed to maintain the breed, it was geneticist, Dr. Maria Andreoli, who collected the few surviving Bergamascos, brought them to her Dell’ Albera Kennel, and resurrected the breed using science. Through her efforts, other breeders became interested in the breed. In the early 1990 the breed was brought to United States.
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