Bergamascos are a rare breed with a limited gene pool. It is imperative that every breeder and every owner take the health of this breed seriously. Careful selection must be made to maintain the breed standard and continue genetic diversity. We recommend verifying these health checks before purchasing a puppy:
• Certification by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) that both parents are certified to be clear of hip dysplasia. Ask to see if the grandparent’s hips were certified as well.
• Certification that the parents have had a recent exam of their eyes by a certified Veterinary Ophthalmologist (VO) and have normal results.
• Verification that the parents' hearts were checked for heart murmurs after they were 4 months of age and were normal.
To help keep Bergamasco Sheepdogs healthy the breeder may also ask that you have your puppy checked for certain problems as it matures, such as hip x-rays, so that any problems that might occur can be found as soon as possible and the parents can be retired from the breeding program. Hip dysplasia can be prevalent in some medium to large breeds, therefore; all Bergamascos should have an OFA x-ray for hip dysplasia whether or not they are going to be bred. If they are affected, you can start some treatment early to lessen the effects. Your dog's breeder will want to know that they have produced an affected dog. This will also give us the knowledge and prevalence of the problem if it exists.