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Bergamaschi Breed Description

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Breed Organization

United Kennel Club (UKC)

Native Country

Other Names
Bergamasco, Bergamo Shepherd Dog, Bergamese Shepherd, Cane de Pastore Bergamasco, Bergamasco Sheepdog

Life Expectancy
Approximately 13-15 Years

Litter Size
Average 6-10 Puppies

Breed Group

General Description

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 Standard

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).


The origins of the Pastore Bergamasco are unknown. A genetic study in 2018 found evidence of haplotypes shared with other European breeds including the Berger Picard, the Bernese Mountain Dog and the Briard.

A dog of this type was exhibited at the first Italian dog show in Milan in 1881. The first registration of the breed in the Libro Origini Italiano, the Italian national stud-book, was in 1891. A breed association, now called the Associazione Amatori del Cane da Pastore Bergamasco, was established in 1949. The breed was recognised by the Ente Nazionale della Cinofilia Italiana in 1956, and was definitively accepted by the Federation Cynologique Internationale in the same year.

In the nine years from 2011 to 2019, annual registrations in Italy averaged 97 per year, with a maximum of 149 and a minimum of 48.


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.

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.


Health information for this breed is sparse.

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The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®) was the first humane society to be established in North America and is, today, one of the largest in the world.

Our organization was founded on the belief that animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans and must be protected under the law. Headquartered in New York City, the ASPCA maintains a strong local presence, and with programs that extend our anti-cruelty mission across the country, we are recognized as a national animal welfare organization. We are a privately funded 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, and are proud to boast more than 2 million supporters across the country.

The ASPCA’s mission, as stated by founder Henry Bergh in 1866, is “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.”

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