WORK AND GAIT
As a result of their ancient roots and the geographical
locations where they have always been found, the Bergamascos must be seen as
They are built for strength and resistance with well developed chests and ample thorax, relatively short necks with strong muscles, wide heads with fairly short, square muzzles, hanging ears and round eyes.
Since the flock was being driven from dawn to dusk, it is obvious that the dog covered very considerable distances whilst pacing to and fro. It, therefore needed to be highly resistant. For this, speed is not important, but resistance is, no sprints or unpredictable action, but a homogeneous and regular gait.
When analyzing the various types of gait, it is obvious that the one best suited for a shepherds’ dog is the trot, a flowing and regular gait which can be maintained over long periods without exhausting the dog.
The Bergamasco Sheepdog is a good and very resistant trotter.
The preferred and natural gait is the trot free, extended, elastic. The
motion should be long-striding, untiring and highly economical. In fact when the
forepaw is raised from the ground in order to be carried forward, the metacarpal
is flexed at an angle of 90° and is carried forward parallel to the ground at a
height corresponding to the height of the carpal joint when the paw is on the
ground. Continuing the forward movement, the metacarpal continues to extend,
until, when the limb passes in front of the shoulder blade, is fully stretched .
At this point the paw goes back onto the ground at a point directly under the eye or ear, according to the length of the dog’s neck.
This movement of the forepaw, close to the ground, is the most
favourable to guarantee maximum efficiency and minimum loss of energy as well as
For the purpose of producing the desired flat action of the forelegs the head is not carried high but the neck is carried forward with its upper profile almost a continuation of the top line with only a slight angle at the withers and the head is carried so that its axis is almost perpendicular to that of the neck.
He has to have the built of a trotter but since he has always carried out its work in mountainous regions his loin, that is the suspended tract of the spine, if excessively long, would not be suitable for rapid ascent and for downhill leaping whilst this build is less pernicious for sheepdogs which work on the planes.
In totality, the Bergamasco is a solid and compact dog but not so much to prevent a long and smooth gait.