One of the most attention-grabbing coats in the canine kingdom is also one of the easiest to maintain, but that’s hardly the only way Bergamascos set themselves apart. The ancient Italian dogs are even-tempered and protective family pets that thrive with capable owners.
If you have the positive attitude and authority to get the most out of owning one of these dogs, the only question is if it can fit your budget. In general, one of these dogs usually costs around $100–$600 per month, plus one-time costs and other additional factors.
Find out how much it costs to own a Bergamasco and what you can do to bring this magnificent breed into your home today.
Bringing Home a New Bergamasco: One-Time Costs
Beyond the initial cost of buying a Bergamasco, you’ll have several essential purchases and services to perform for your new dog. You’ll need supplies, including a leash, bed, food bowls, and crate, to welcome your pet into your home. Vet exams, vaccinations, and desexing add to the relatively high costs in the first year of owning a Bergamasco puppy.
Bergamascos are rare, ranking 179th out of the AKC’s 200 most popular dogs, right behind the Kuvaszok and Norwegian Buhund. Finding one for free is highly unlikely. If you don’t know somebody who has one, you may have some luck in online forums or social media groups.
Adopting a Bergamasco from a shelter is less expensive than buying from a breeder, yet often includes initial vet services like vaccinations and desexing. Considering their cost, adoption is usually the cheapest avenue for getting a puppy. But locating a rescue Bergamasco is about as challenging as finding one for free.
Online pet matching services rarely include Bergamascos in their listings. You may get results with a basic Google search, inquiries with the Bergamasco Sheepdog Club of America’s rescue page, or outreach to local shelters. You’ll most likely need to contact a breeder for information on avenues for adoption.
A Bergamasco puppy usually costs around $1,000–$1,300 from a breeder. Though expensive, reputable breeders typically provide health testing and verified pedigree information, a critical aid when adopting a rare breed with a limited gene pool. The following are a few helpful resources for finding the nearest Bergamasco breeder:
Execute due diligence in vetting breeders for authenticity and be wary of those who rush the process, withhold health information, or avoid in-person meetings with them and their dogs. Breeders rarely disclose pricing. Most prospective pet parents must complete an application and questionnaire to ensure the breeder releases a suitable puppy to a capable, responsible owner.
Initial Setup and Supplies
Bergamascos are relatively large, reaching up to 24 inches in height and weighing over 70 pounds when mature. While they still need the typical starting materials, like a leash, collar, bed, and toys, the Bergamasco’s size means they will be more expensive than average.
List of Bergamasco Care Supplies and Costs
|ID Tag and Collar||$20|
|Food and Water Bowls||$10–$50|
How Much Does a Bergamasco Cost Per Month?
- $60–$500 per month
The monthly costs for a Bergamasco will primarily come down to their food, training, and vet visits. As with the supplies, these will be the costliest during the first year.
- $0–$100 per month
Bergamascos are a generally healthy breed with few unique medical susceptibilities. As a larger dog, bone and muscle conditions like hip or elbow dysplasia are common issues as they age. Gastric torsion and eye problems may also occur. Exams like hip screenings from breeders are critical in avoiding future health problems. Still, you must stick to routine vet visits and preventative care no matter where you get your dog.
- $60–$100 per month
Maintaining a Bergamasco’s powerful body and thick fur depends on a high-quality diet. Protein-rich dog food will supply the energy for muscle growth, and nutritious fats will ensure the healthiest skin and coat.
Once mature, your Bergamasco will eat 2–3 cups of food daily, with a feeding in the morning and one at night. Frequent discussions with your vet will help you adjust your dog’s food and feeding schedule as they progress from a small puppy to a full-grown adult.
- $0–$50 per month
Grooming is perhaps the most exciting part of a Bergamasco, as once they’re mature and the coat settles, your job is practically done! A Bergamasco grows three types of hair—an undercoat, wool, and goat hair—in a non-shedding coat. After about a year, these hairs will start combining into “flocks,” which are matted strands almost resembling dreadlocks.
Once they start matting, you’ll need to attend to the flocks by hand to ensure they don’t mat too close to the skin or grow overly thin or thick. Grooming by hand for the first 1–2 years of flock development is crucial, but you don’t have to rely on expensive services or special tools.
At around 3 years old, the Bergamasco’s flocks will be well-established. From there, it’s smooth sailing, and you’ll enjoy almost no grooming requirements. You don’t have to brush their hair and only need to bathe your dog about 2–3 times annually. Nails and teeth will need frequent routine care, and you must groom the hair around the face and ears. Otherwise, you only have to spot clean when your dog gets dirty.
Medications and Vet Visits
- $50–$150 per month
Your Bergamasco will need two annual checkups, typically involving updated vaccinations and other preventative treatments. Due to the difficulty of grooming the skin, flea and tick prevention is a critical consideration for an active outdoor dog. Supplements like glucosamine or chondroitin can help these dogs as they age to stave off signs of arthritis and joint deterioration.
- $20–$100+ per month
Pet insurance covers accidental injury or illness, paying you back 70–100% of the cost of care for eligible claims. Basic insurance is inexpensive for an adult Bergamasco, starting around $20 monthly. Coverage will vary based on your reimbursement level, deductible, coverage amount, and add-ons.
- $0–$50 per month
Beyond the toys you replace, your Bergamasco won’t require much upkeep around the home. Always have some enzyme cleaner on hand to handle a random indoor accident. But everyday shedding isn’t an issue, so you won’t have to worry about specialty pet cleaners to manage free-floating hair around the home.
You may not have many recurring entertainment costs for your Bergamasco if you have the outdoor space to let them get their exercise and walks in for the day. Though they don’t need significant mental stimulation, keeping toys on hand for when you’re gone will stave off boredom and prevent unwanted behaviors.
Total Monthly Cost of Owning a Bergamasco
- $100–$600 per month
Veterinary costs will be the most noticeable expense you put toward your Bergamasco annually. Every month, your most pressing concern will be food, which can get costly compared to other dogs due to the breed’s size.
Monthly costs will be easy to budget as you understand your dog more. However, avoiding unpredictable expenses is only possible with pet insurance, as it can help reimburse you for emergencies that often cost several hundred dollars.
Additional Costs to Factor In
Training is crucial for a Bergamasco, but you may want to seek extra help from an expert during their puppy months. Although highly intelligent and eager to please, they can be hard to manage without an experienced owner. Bergamascos aren’t indifferent or contentious, but their independence can add an extra challenge to the training process.
Individual training sessions typically cost at least $100 per hour. Group sessions may only cost a few hundred dollars for several weeks of classes. Beyond training, the only recurring expenses include a pet sitter, doggy day camp, or boarding services for when you travel. Agility and obedience courses are also fun opportunities to exercise, socialize, and show off your dog without spending too much money.
Owning a Bergamasco on a Budget
There aren’t many options to save on acquiring a Bergamasco due to their rarity, but that doesn’t mean you can’t cut costs while still giving your dog an excellent quality of life. Let’s look at a few ways to keep a Bergamasco on a budget.
Saving Money on Bergamasco Care
Although you’ll want to save money on the cost of owning a Bergamasco, opting for lower-quality food and supplies is not the best place to start. Rather than make decisions that might affect their health or contentment, work to find bargains or DIYs on essentials, toys, and treats.
Online marketplaces and thrift stores are fantastic places to find supplies, and you can take advantage of coupons and seasonal sales to get the best deals on new products. Buying in bulk can be an excellent way to stay stocked on necessities while saving significant change.
With the doodle craze hitting a fever pitch as more owners want a combination of hypoallergenic hair, high intelligence, and easy-going temperaments, there’s never been a better time to stray from the beaten path and check out the Bergamasco. The non-shedder is an excellent family dog that will surely create a memorable ownership experience without demanding a ton of money.