Philosophy — the dictionary defines philosophy as the love of wisdom and the search for it, a definition which describes a life with dogs, remarkably well. And, that finding and then refining one’s focus is a lot like the art of photography.

Cane da Pastore Bergamasco, the Bergamasco Shepherd dog, or the Bergamasco Sheepdog, is still relatively rare in its country of origin, Italy, as well as other parts of the European community and North America. Primarily a herding dog that works with the shepherd guarding and moving sheep and cattle, it is highly intelligent, forming a close association and lasting bond with their chosen humans.

This quality temperament, as attractive as its unique appearance, makes the Bergamasco an outstanding companion. Being that it is considered a rare breed, the most important focus is to work closely with those who are like-minded, in identifying and maintaining the integrity of the breed gene pool, on an international level. This would be in the role of active protectionist regarding the future of the breed, achieved through preserving the Bergamasco with the country of origin (Italy’s ENCI-FCI) standard, international co-operation and well-designed breeding plans.

Tending to nurture and develop the more pastoral breed aspects, the dogs and I all share this place we call Stonedance. All my dogs have been to shows, winning countless ribbons for well-earned championships, but they have also had successful herding trials. They would really like their own little herd to work with and hopefully that will come in the future. That’s one goal! Bergamasco love a job and seem to have their very own work ethic.

They are a very dignified dog, being ever watchful but once introduced, the individual personality is evident, including what I consider to be a very real sense of humour! This breed, this antiquity has earned its niche and as such deserves responsible treatment to maintain that integrity. Here, we are one small part, breeding carefully with an ongoing interest in the issues that concern genetics and similar perspectives that are involved with a whole breed approach.

A lifelong interest in personal holistic care, has now grown to include my animals and in this case, the dogs. While there is no substitute for supportive and excellent veterinary care, it is becoming much easier to find veterinarians who use traditional as well as homeopathic and holistic methods in their practice. Educating myself in the holistic approach and applying what is learned, has been very beneficial and very rewarding. There are other ways of dealing with pests and parasites and yearly vaccine schedules. Much kinder methods, such as a titre to test for immunity as well as homeopathy that works for an amazing number of issues.

I prefer my dogs on a raw diet of meaty bones and other protein sources, like fish for example, as well as a broad variety of fruits and vegetables which my dogs love, each with their particular favourites. Since the results have been undeniably healthy and rewarding, this will continue.

There has been much written on the character and appearance of the Bergamasco with its unique coat as well as its breed history. Instead of repeating that valuable information, there are links to sites with great illustrations and points of view for perusal in Perspectives. Here you will also find important and relevant reading material concerning Health; Breeding; Genetics; Ethics; in short, the future of this wonderful breed.