The Bergamasco sheepdog is a very ancient Italian breed. For many centuries it was commonly found in the Alpine valleys, thanks to its exceptional skills as a flock guide, when sheep raising was the main economic resource in this area.
However, after the II world war, industrial expansion and the development of tourism brought about profound economic changes in the lifestyle of these valleys. The flocks with their dogs were inevitably affected by this process of modernization, which led to their partial extinction.
No longer jealously protected by their shepherd masters, the dogs have gradually disappeared or mongrelized, since greater communication facilities favored the infiltration of new breeds in the previously isolated regions where the only dogs with the right of existence were the ones useful for the shepherd’s work.
It is only thanks to the efforts of a few enthusiastic breeders that it has been possible, after a long period of decline, to restore consistency and homogeneity to this Italian breed. Although, in view of its exceptional qualities, it can compete on equal footing with the best-known foreign breeds. For many years the Bergamasco was confined within the Italian borders and it was only recently that, thanks to keen breeders, they have participate to the most important European shows with enormous success, thus becoming highly popular.
The International Bergamasco Sheepdog Association (IBSA) was created in 2000 by Dr Maria Andreoli founder of the Dell Albera Kennel in Italy. In the early 1960's geneticist Dr. Andreoli started her life's work and for over 40 years analyzed the wide scale historical evolution of the Bergamasco Sheepdog, and scientifically defined a deep and accurate study of genetics, locomotion, skeletal, muscular and cellular structure and temperament of the breed.
Being responsible for the introduction of the breed abroad, she began a careful breeding program, selecting the best available and genetically diverse dogs together with a handful of other breeders. In the recent decades, widespread interest for the Bergamasco finally emerged and groups sprung up all over Europe and in the USA. However widespread and numerous, these groups were unevenly scattered and this fact has led to the need for a common point of reference, where information was given and received.
Internet represents the best solution to the problem of isolation caused by distances; the Bergamasco breed will surely benefit from the cohesion of all the breeder’s efforts. A second aim of the IBSA is to provide useful information to anybody interested in the breed so as to promote further diffusion.
Dr Andreoli not only made her dogs available to her new international partners, but also her research and knowledge of a "heritage" sheepdog breed. This shared understanding of the Bergamaco Sheepdog and this deep knowledge of all its characteristics is what led to the creation of IBSA.
Today's goal of IBSA and its supporters is to preserve and promote the characteristics of the Bergamasco breed as analyzed by Dr Andreoli, which preserves all the natural qualities of this unique heritage breed. IBSA supporters main goal is to preserve the breed as it once was, with a natural coat, natural proportions and with the least amount of human "manufacturing" influences.
IBSA also shares news from the world, be it in performance events shows, sports, social gatherings, breeding or breed evolutions in our modern world. It also focuses on an international breeding program geared towards the preservation of the Bergamasco Sheepdog.