Press Release

Bergamasco News
Winter 2008-2009, Issue 16
Bergamasco Sheepdog Club of America
Email: [email protected]
Summary: Special issue Anatomy study
1- Bergamasco structure and anatomy analysis:
Study of the skeleton and proportions of the Bergamasco Sheepdog
- Health:
3 - New litters
4- Rescue
1- Bergamasco structure and anatomy analysis:
The Bergamasco is a muscular, heavy-boned herding dog with a large head and a thick tail that hangs down
to the hock and curves slightly upward at the end. The entire dog is covered with an abundant coat that
forms mats. The Bergamasco is compact in profile but is just slightly longer than tall, with the length of
body measured from point of shoulder to point of buttocks about 5 to 6 percent longer than the height
measured at the withers. The ribs are well-sprung and let down to the elbows. The depth of the rib cage is
equal to half the dog's height at the withers. The line of the back inclines very slightly downward from
prominent withers to a strong, broad back with a straight upper line. The loin is well-muscled and broad.
The croup is slightly sloping, about 30 degrees downward from the horizontal. Tuck-up is nearly absent.
They are built for strength and resistance with a type of herding traditionally associated with nomadic. The
dogs had to adapt to various ways of moving the flocks, sometimes covering long distances every day to
get to the grazing grounds, while at other times they would only cover short distances within specific areas.
- Sheeps are timid in nature and tend to bolt when scared, the dogs job is to keep the upper hand without
provoking panic.
- When the flocks moves, it is slowly with a tendency to disperse, the dogs had to walk along side the flock,
moving back and forth with no specific need for great speed. On the contrary, the gait has to be slow and
even requiring great resistance.
- When the grazing area are reach, the dogs had to keep an eye on the flock, seethe the sheeps did not
wander too far or run into danger by getting to close to ravines and cliffs. When intervention is
indispensable, the dogs needed to avoid brusque movements to avoid the sheeps to panic with a full
The best suitable gait for the Bergamascos to achieve a calm and balance movement while preserving
energy is the trot, a flowing ad regular gait which can be maintained over long period of times without
exhausting the dogs.
A very important structural characteristic, affecting the Bergamasco Sheepdog locomotion for optimum
efficiency while performing their tasks, is the importance of the length of the body.
Many dog fanciers would like the dog to be square, meaning that the body length to be equal to the height
at the withers.
In trotters, it is mechanically necessary for the body to be longer than the height at the withers. A typical
galloper (i/e Pointer) would have an equal proportion of the lumbar tract (1/5 of the height at the withers).
If the square dog’s (galloper) proportions were to be applied to a trotter, the body would be squeezed into
unnatural proportions and a shortening of the croup.
This would create an insufficient length of fallaway and, in consequence, hind limbs which are too straight
and a tail inserted too high up.
To fit into a square two body parts can be shorter:
- if the lumbar region, it would not be an advantage to a trotter, provided that the gait remains flowing.
- if the croup with insufficient fallaway, it would be a serious fault because it would alter the entire build of
the dog.
Dog built with either shortening could never develop a flowing gait. Their paws would hit the ground hard
and they would take short steps with rigid limbs, covering very little ground. In addition, when trotting, the
front paws would start lifting from the ground when already passed the middle of the body, so that the back
paws would bump into the front ones when lifted. To avoid this, the dog would either have to alter the setdown rhythm, and forfeiting the typical synchronism of the trot, or loose the possibility of utilizing the rear
hand drive which would shorten the step. None of which would be suitable for a long day of work.
It is essential for the loin to be sufficiently long so as not to encumber the advance of the rear limbs and
alter the rhythm sequence of support and suspension.
In the case of wild trotting canids, such as wolfs, coyotes and jackals for which efficient locomotion is an
essential factor for survivor, the body length is 10-20% above their height at the withers.
The Bergamascos who always carried out its work in mountainous regions needs a solid and compact build.
The loin is the suspended track of the spine, if excessively long; it would not be suitable for rapid ascent
and for downhill leaping required for Alpine dogs, while less pernicious for sheepdog breeds which work in
In order to be most efficient in its environment which requires work on steep hill, the Bergamasco is best
built with a difference of 5-6% between the two measurements (body length and height at the withers)
without making the dog any less compact.
Below are 2 diagrams analyzing the proportions and angulations of the Bergamasco Sheepdogs:
* Height at the withers: 60 cm +/- 2 cm for males 56 cm +/- 2 cm for bitches
* Body length: 5-6'% above the height at the withers = 63 cm
* Distance from withers to elbow = distance from elbow to ground
* Croup (pelvis): 31-32'% of the height at withers = 18-19 cm
* Neck: longer than head =19-20 cm
* Shoulder blade: more than 1/4 of height at withers = 16~17 cm
* Humerus: same length or slightly longer than shoulder blade = 19 cm
* Radius: same length or slightly longer than humreus = 19-20 cm
* Metacarpus: short, distance from ground = 10 cm.
* Femur: 10% longer than coxal = 20-21 cm
* Tibia: same or slightly longer than femur'" 20-22 m
* Hock: from hock to ground 25% of height at withers' =15 cm
Limb articulations of the Bergamasco
* Shoulder blade: 55°-60° from horizontal
* Humerus: 60 from horizontal
* Angle between humerus & shoulder blade: 115°-120°
* Angle of metacarpal from vertical: 10°
* Pelvis fallway from horizontal: 35°-40°
* Coxo-femoral angle: 95°-100°
* Tibia: 40°-45° from horizontal
* Femuro-tarsal angle: 105°-110°
* Tibio-tarsa angle: 130°-135°
Below Two diagrams comparing the Bergamasco structure tow the Briard, the Bearded collie, the
Komondor and the Puli
Health :
Clinical Aspects, Diagnosis and Therapy of CANINE PYODERMA
There are a large number of bacterial diseases of the skin in dogs, with
different histopathological and clinical aspects. Some are superficial and benign (the basement
membrane is not destroyed by the infectious process) and some are deep and severe (the
basement membrane is destroyed). Pseudopyodermas are not real pyodermas since infection plays
only a secondary role and anti-infectious therapy is not effective. Staphylococcus intermedius is
the most common infectious agent cultured in canine pyoderma. It can multiply easily in the dog's
skin, due to the thinness of the stratum corneum and the lack of sebum plug in the hair follicles.
Inflammation of the skin, particularly due to allergy, is the most common cause of pyoderma,
more than real immunodeficiency. SUPERFICIAL PYODERMA 1. Skin fold pyoderma (intertrigo) These lesions are seen in anatomical defects where there
is an important bacterial colonization: lip, facial, vulvar, caudal, obese and mammary folds. The
dermatosis is localized with erythema, exudation, suppuration and bad odour. 2. Impetigo
In juvenile impetigo, subcorneal pustules are present on the ventral side of the
body, with crusting. The disease is self-limited. In adult impetigo, large pustules ("bullae") are
seen all over the body. In general, adult impetigo is severe and secondary to an underlying disease
(hyperadrenocorticism, glucocorticoid therapy...) or multiple traumas (e.g., during hunting). 3. Folliculitis
Juvenile folliculitis: numerous follicular pustules are present on the ventral side of the body.
The condition often heals at puberty. Short-haired dog pyoderma: there are generalized follicular pustules, epidermal collarettes and
crusts, with a "moth-eaten" hair. Pruritus disappears when the lesion heal. Secondary folliculitis: this common disease is characterized by follicular pustules, epidermal
collarettes and crusts which are often generalized. Pruritus is still present after lesions healing in
case of underlying pruritic dermatosis. The disease may also generate pruritus in a usually
nonpruritic dermatosis (in such cases pruritus disappears when lesions heal).
Juvenile folliculitis: numerous follicular pustules are present on the ventral side of the body.
The condition often heals at puberty. Short-haired dog pyoderma: there are generalized follicular pustules, epidermal collarettes and
crusts, with a "moth-eaten" hair. Pruritus disappears when the lesion heal. Secondary folliculitis: this common disease is characterized by follicular pustules, epidermal
collarettes and crusts which are often generalized. Pruritus is still present after lesions
healing in case of underlying pruritic dermatosis. The disease may also generate pruritus
in a usually nonpruritic dermatosis (in such cases pruritus disappears when lesions
heal). "Bacterial hypersensitivity" and/or superficial spreading pyoderma: bacterial hypersensitivity is
an uncommon disease based on a clinical triad: erythematous follicular pustules, target
lesions/seborrhoeic plaques, haemorrhagic bullae. There is sometimes a severe pruritus.
The existence of a real bacterial allergy is presumed and debatable. In superficial
spreading pyoderma, nummular areas of alopecia and erythema are centrifugally
expanding, with epidermal collarettes and crusts. These lesions are often associated to
intact but transient follicular pustules. Deep folliculitis: it is the so-called acral lick dermatitis, most often a deep follicular bacterial
infection with retrograde hidrosadenitis secondary to a psychogenic and/or an allergic
cause. Pyotraumatic folliculitis: some cases of folliculitis (e.g., in Labradors, Retrievers) appear as
oozing suppurative plaque with pain. They are surrounded by satellite pustules of
folliculitis or even furunculosis, which help to differentiate them from the "classical"
pyotraumatic dermatitis.
D E E P P Y O D E R M A 1 Furunculosis
Acne: papulo-pustules and pustules are seen on the face, particularly the chin, in young
dogs. Secondary furunculosis: localized or generalized pustules are associated or secondary to a
folliculitis and the disease is triggered or aggravated by an excessive therapy (e.g.,
glucocorticosteroids). Nasal pyoderma: pustules and crusts are present on the bridge of the nose and eyelids. There
may be an unpleasant scaring. This true bacterial nasal pyoderma of unknown cause
should be differentiated from the sterile eosinophilic furunculosis possibly due to
arthropod bites.
2. Cellulitis
A. Localized cellulitis
Pressure points pyoderma: there are necrotizing lesions of the elbows, the rump, the stifles, the
hocks and the lateral digits. They are due to permanent trauma in heavy dogs. Various localized cellulites: These are other localized necrotizing lesions (e.g., perianal). Their
cause is often unknown; they are sometimes secondary to a furunculosis.
B. Generalized cellulitis
Pyodemodicosis: There is an extensive necrotizing skin disease, which is secondary to a
generalized demodicosis (an immunodeficiency status). Various generalized cellulites: necrotizing lesions are extensive and often secondary to other
3. The interdigital pyoderma complex There are very numerous causes of non infectious
pododermatitis with erythema, oedema, oozing and alopecia. The same lesions are present in
interdigital pyoderma along with furunculosis, ulcerations, fistulae and necrosis (cellulitis).
Interdigital pyoderma is often secondary. PSEUDO-PYODERMA 1. Pyotraumatic dermatitis The typical lesions have an acute onset and are characterized by
alopecia, erythema, oozing, suppuration, pruritus and/or pain. These lesions are common, and
most often associated to pruritic skin disease. They are poorly understood (sometimes due to
vasculitis?). There is a spontaneous healing in a few days, but a short treatment is useful. 2. Juvenile pyodermas Juvenile pyoderma of new-born puppies: crusty lesions are present
on the face, thorax and dorso-lumbar area. They might be due to trauma. No treatment is required
since there is a spontaneous healing. Juvenile cellulitis: The aetiology of this disease is
unknown. The typical clinical aspect is a facial oedema and furunculosis, with fistulae, crusting
and a suppurative otitis externa. Adenopathy and sterile abscesses (cellulitis) are present. The
onset of this uncommon disease occurs before 4 months of age in one or several puppies of a
litter. There is a spontaneous healing in a few weeks with scaring but treatment is required.
D I A G N O S I S O F C A N I N E P Y O D E R M A Diagnosis of canine
pyoderma is based on history, physical examination and complementary examinations: cytology,
histopathology and bacteriology. 1. Cytology
In intertrigo (skin fold pyoderma), images
of "bacterial colonization" are observed, i.e., healthy neutrophils, Cocci and Bacilli in an
extracellular position and degenerated neutrophils in a state of phagocytosis. In impetigo and
folliculitis, impaired (degenerated) neutrophils are only found. The pictures of Cocci
phagocytosis are not particularly numerous. This is an image of "bacterial invasion", i.e., the
penetration of pathogenic germs into the skin. The significance of the pictures of phagocytosis
differs considerably depending on whether they are observed on the surface or in a cutaneous
lesion. In effect, when they are observed inside the skin (epidermis, hair follicles, dermis) one
might consider that the phagocytosed germs are pathogenic and that there is a real bacterial
pustulosis. In contrast, phagocytosis observed on the surface indicates multiplication of germs
which are not necessarily and probably rarely pathogenic. In deep pyoderma cytology is less
likely to reveal the germs and pictures of phagocytosis, although they must be looked for.
Frequently there are a granulomatous reaction, eosinophils and red blood cells. Bacterial
colonization is observed in pyotraumatic dermatitis as in intertrigo but it is not significant and
treatment with antibiotic does not result in remission. In juvenile cellulitis, the degenerated
neutrophils are very numerous, with a granulomatous reaction. No germs are seen. 2.
This will show typical lesions, but is relatively rarely performed for the
diagnosis of canine pyoderma, except in case of difficult differential diagnosis. 3.
Bacteriology This can confirm the bacterial infection and allows sensitivity
T R E A T M E N T O F C A N I N E P Y O D E R M A Systemic
(antibiotic) and topical therapy can be used in canine pyoderma. 1. Selection of
antibiotics The criteria for the choice of an antibiotic are as follows: appropriate kinetics and
good cutaneous penetration, activity against Staphylococci, activity in pus and reactive tissues,
bactericidal activity rather than bacteriostatic activity particularly in severe cases, easy
administration (oral, q12h or q24h), absence of secondary effects, reasonable cost. The choice can
be empirical, particularly in superficial pyoderma, after cytological examination of pus from an
intact pustule which shows bacterial invasion. Bacteriology and sensitivity testing must be used in
case of deep pyoderma, recurrent pyoderma, when cytology shows a complex flora with rods, and
in case of empirical antibiotic therapy failure. They can be repeated during therapy. 2. Dosage
and duration of treatment Ideal doses must be used and duration of treatment must be long
enough (a few weeks to several months depending of extension and depth of lesions, and always
beyond clinical cure). Maintenance pulse treatment (e.g., 2 to 3 days a week) can be used in
chronically relapsing pyoderma but it could theoretically select resistant strains as well as the use
of subminimal doses. They are both used for economical reasons but the former is
preferable. 3. Antibiotics useable in canine pyoderma Antibiotics useful in canine
pyoderma are included in the following table. They all have a good cutaneous diffusion (because
of their liposolubility) and can be given orally, which is useful because of long therapeutic
courses (ease of administration). They are all bactericidal except macrolides which are
Penicillin G (which is injectable) and A are sensitive to penicillinases. Aminoglycosides have a
low cutaneous diffusion (they are hydrosoluble), are injectable and toxic. Chloramphenicol has a
bad reputation in humans and the cat (haematologic toxicity). Tetracyclines have a very low
activity against Staphylococci. These antibiotics are never or rarely used in canine pyoderma.
Rifampicin is effective against Staphylococci but, as it is still used to treat human tuberculosis, it
should be used when there is no other possibility (5 to 10 mg/kg SID). In addition, it should be
then associated to a betalactamine to prevent the selection of resistant strains of Staphylococci.
Mupirocine, a topically active bactericidal antibiotic, in a polyethylene glycol base is effective
against Gram+ Cocci, is not systematically absorbed and is not chemically related to other
antibiotics. It can be used in localized pyodermas (acne, pressure point pyoderma, interdigital
pyoderma). 4. Associated treatments Topical therapy is always beneficial in canine
pyoderma, particularly in superficial staphylococcal disease. Clipping can be useful and is
necessary in deep pyoderma such as cellulitis. The main useful topical products are chlorhexidine
(lotion and/or shampoo), povidone-iodine (lotion and/or shampoo), benzoyl-peroxide (shampoo
and eventually gel), ethyl-lactate (shampoo). They should be used frequently, e.g., once a day, at
the beginning of therapy. Later, frequency of application may decrease. Each shampoo should be
followed by the application of an appropriate humectant. Topical or systemic glucocorticoids
should never be used in true canine pyoderma, even in case of pruritus, because they cause severe
relapses ("rebound effect"). In contrast they can be used and are effective in pseudo-pyoderma
(e.g., oral prednisolone: 1 mg/kg/day for pyotraumatic dermatitis and 2 mg/kg/day for juvenile
cellulitis). C O N C L U S I O N Canine pyoderma is a group of various skin diseases
and an accurate diagnosis is mandatory. An appropriate antibacterial therapy is required in most
cases of canine pyoderma, in association with topical therapy. Antibiotics must be selected
carefully and used with appropriate dosage and duration of treatment. D.N. Carlotti, DECVD Cabinet de Dermatologie Vétérinaire
Bordeaux-Mérignac, France
3 - New litters
Ch Niso Dell Albera
Silver blue and Ch Nyx Dell Albera
from Artos Bergamascos
8 puppies: 4 girls 4 boys
Litter Born December 21th 2008
Silver Night
and Karhmae from SilverPastori
6 Puppies: 6 boys
Litter Born November 10thst 2008
Rescue: Smiley
Thanks to its network, the rescue department of the Bergamasco Sheepdog Club of America
found Smiley in a kill shelter in Missouri.
Smiley’s story has been posted in the Bergasmasco form on line and within hours Smiley had
several homes ready for her.
After a little investigation, we found out that Smiley was actually a Komondor and not a
Bergamasco. While the Bergamasco folks were still offering smiley a home, the rescue club
contacted Joy Levy at MASKC (Mid Atlantic Komondor Club). They put us in touch with Ruth
Keller from their rescue department, and together we worked at finding a home for Smiley. After
a few days of coordinated work, Smileys future was bright. Here is Ruth’s latetst update on Jan
“I have good news. Smiley is going to be picked up from the Pound tomorrow at noon and she
will arrive in NY state on the 19th around mid-day.
I got a very nice couple through U-Ship. I put in a request for transport and received bids. I can’t
recommend it enough for people needing to transport dogs.
Smiley will ride in the back seat of their jeep.
Smiley is going to a friend, Bunny who helps me with rescue, and her vet will give her vaccines,
de-worm, check heartworm, etc.
She will be there for two weeks in foster care as a house dog. A very good friend of Bunny’s,
Deanna, who lives in Indiana and is currently in S. America will return to NY. They will drive
together back to her place in Indiana. Deanna breeds a rare type of goats and has had
Komondors in the past. She lost her oldest one at 13, and the 9 year old needs a companion. Her
dogs are very well cared for and are inside at night.
I know it will be a wonderful home. All of the policemen I have spoken with at the Rolla Animal
Control center have raved about what a wonderful dog she is.
Thank you and the Bergamasco people so very much for saving this dog’s life. We are all very
grateful to you.
Ruth Keller
M.A.S.K.C. Rescue Chair”