Dr Maria Andreoli, fonder of IBSA, was born in Padova, 20 km north-west of Venice, in October 1927. She developed a love for animals and the passion for caring for them at an early age Spending much time of her youth in the Dolomite range. She enrolled at the university when she was just eighteen majoring in chemistry leading to her research on genetics.
Her first Bergamasco was born and bought in 1966. A little grey marvel that has to become the first interest for the remaining of her life. Her name was Maira, the founding stone of her kennel, Dell’Albera.
She choose Bergamascos, because they were one of the not many Italian breeds, who most needed help and support. They were rapidly degenerating because of their decline as working dogs as the shepherds were no longer roaming the mountainside with flocks of sheep.
For forty full years, till the end, she became engrossed in Bergamascos. First roaming through Italy and then all over Europe showing her magnificent dogs in countless rings, rising to be one of the first Bergamasco Sheepdog breeder and the most renown kennel out of the strict Italian boundaries.
From her kennel came champions who founded other kennel in a lot of European countries, among them Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Nederland, Spain and Switzerland, and overseas in Canada and USA.
Tempeludden Kennel in Sweden and Montevergine in Switzerland were the most faithful in following the dell’ Albera bloodlines in Europe and developed several breeders and strong national clubs while working with Dr Andreoli.
In the USA, the SilverPastori a true devotee of Dr Andreoli's lifelong work created the Bergamasco Sheepdog Club of America and with a group of avid breeders developed the breed in the American continent.
She published two important books, “Il Bergamasco – Pastore delle Alpi” (Gallo Arti Grafiche, Vercelli, 1994 - "The Bergamasco – Alpine sheepdog") both in Italian and later in English. And the fundamental “La genetica e il cane” (Kallisté, Torino – "Genetics and the dog"), in Italian in which the scientific background of Dr Andreoli's earlier studies is used in full, in the difficult task of explaining simply but in a scientifically very correct way to dog-fanciers, breeders and exhibitors all alike, the intricacies of the genetics applied to the canine world. Later on it followed an American Kennel Club Book, written together with Donna DeFalcis, “Bergamasco”, in English.
Dr Andreoli was still working, even if impeded by her now faltering health, on another still book, with a probable title of “The Man and the Dog”, researching the far away origins of the relationship between dog ancestors and man, when she suddenly passed away on October 26th, 2005. Her work touched so many and her legacy will continue to live on.