Canine Breed Menu



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Breed Organization
United Kennel Club
Native Country
Other Names
Cane de Pastore Bergamasco, Bergamese Shepherd, Bergamaschi, Bergamo Shepherd Dog, Bergamasco Sheepdog
Life Expectancy
Approximately 13-15 Years
Litter Size
Average 6-10 Puppies
Breed Group
Herding Group
Breed Appearance
The breed's most distinctive feature is the unusual felted coat, a normal and healthy characteristic of the breed. The coat is characterized by three types of hair: a fine, dense, oily undercoat, long harsher hairs similar to a goat's and a top woolly outer-coat. The three types of hair weave together as the dog gets older to form flat mats or flocks. The mats start from the spine and go down the flanks, growing every year to reach the ground. The color of the coat can be anything from an appearance of gray or silver gray (in fact a merle) to a mixture of black to coal, with brown shades also intermixed. These colors may have served as a camouflage when working in the mountains. Bergamascos are born with short, smooth fur, which slowly develops the characteristic mats as the dog grows.

Breed Description
Head: Large appearance. Capacious skull. Pronounced superciliary arches. Marked stop. Fairly short, blunt muzzle. Large nose.
Ears: Soft, triangular drop ears. Thin leather
Eyes: Large and oval. Brown color. Darkness of shade varies with color of coat. Black rims. Long fall covering the eyes.
Body: Square body outline. No dewlap on the neck. Full brisket. Short, powerful loin. Straight, well-muscled back. Broad, sloping, solid, well-muscled croup.
Tail: Thick and strong at the base tapering toward the tip. Covered in slightly wavy, shaggy hair. Hangs in the shape of a saber when relaxed.
Hair: Very long and wiry (goat hair) on the front portion of the body. Corded over the rest of the body. Short, dense, soft undercoat.
Coat: Gray flecked with black, tan, or white. Uniform black coat is acceptable, though uniform white is not. White spots covering no more than 1/5 of the body are permitted.
Size: Dog: 58 to 62 cm. (22.8-24 in).Bitch: 54 to 58 cm. (21.2-22.8 in).
Weight: Dog: 32 to 38 kg. (70.5-83.8 lb).Bitch: 26 to 32 kg. (57.5-70.5 lb).

This ancient sheepdog spread throughout the Alps region of Italy, but were most concentrated in the Bergamo area where sheep farming was particularly developed. Some believe the Bergamasco is descended from the Briard. Others hypothesize that the Bergamasco came to Italy from Asia, stating that sheepdogs of this type arrived in Western Europe during the Mongol invasions.

Alert, keen, and well-balanced, this dog has an ideal personality for flock guarding. This breed's friendly disposition, gentleness, and patience also make him an excellent pet. His impressive size makes him a good guard dog. This often stubborn dog requires early, firm training.

Health information for this breed is sparse.

This is not a city dweller. He needs space and a lot of exercise. Groom the coat by running your fingers through the hairs to separate the cords.

Sheepdog, Guard Dog, Search-And-Rescue Dog (avalanches, natural disasters), Pet.

Horse Herd