Bergamasco (Imp)

Last updated October 2009

A breed standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance including the correct colour of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed.

From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Breed Watch information related to this breed for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure. However, if a dog possesses a feature, characteristic or colour described as highly undesirable, it must not be rewarded in the show ring.

General appearance

Medium-sized sheepdog of ancient origin. Powerfully constructed, square in profile, heavily coated.


Vigilant guard with strong protective instinct. Tight skin. Unusual and distinctive coat.


Intelligent, cautious, patient. Good companion/guard.

Head and skull

Skull and muzzle of equal length. Tight skin with no wrinkle. Broad skull, slightly convex between high set ears, but rounded forehead. Width of skull no more than half length of head from occiput to nostril. Top of skull and top of muzzle parallel in profile. Prominent occiput. Definite stop with marked median furrow. Fairly deep truncated muzzle tapers slightly towards nose, but never pointed with rather flat foreface and strong under jaw. Well-pigmented, tight lips just cover front of jaw.


Oval, large, dark chestnut colour preferred, but depends on colour of coat. Soft, serene but attentive expression. Tight fitting black eye rims with long lashes.


Set high, top two-thirds semi-drooping. Ear lifts from base when attracted. Triangular shape, wide base tapers into neckline. Slightly rounded tips. Covered with soft, slightly wavy hair forming fringes at tips.


Well-split lips, with inner corner directly below vertical line from outer corner of eye. Scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.


Medium length, strong, well arched, no dewlap. Densely coated. Joins back in gentle slope to high set withers.


Straight when seen from front and side. Well-angulated shoulder with good lay back, and length and angulation of upper arm. Elbows set under body. Straight forelegs, with strong bone and muscle. Short pasterns.


Depth is half height at withers, which are well defined. Length from point of shoulder to point of buttocks equal to height at withers. Brisket reaches to elbow. Broad back. Well-sprung ribs. Straight topline. Sloping croup.


Long, wide, well-muscled upper thigh, good turn of stifle, fairly high set hocks. Straight when viewed from rear.


Oval with well-closed and arched toes. Strong, well-pigmented nails. Hard pads of dark colour.


Strong at root, tapering towards tip. Reaches hock easily, but preferably no longer. Slightly curved towards tip at rest, carried flag-like when animated.


Free, long steps. Extended trot is desirable. Capable of maintaining free gallop.


Abundant and long. Harsh texture on front of body, softer on head and limbs. Short, dense undercoat obscures skin. Tends to form into strands or loose mats from topline of body (not cords). Greasy to the touch.


Solid grey, or with patches of all shades of grey through to black. White patches allowed providing no more than one fifth of coat. Black, Isabella and light fawn allowed.


Height: dogs: 58-62 cms (23-24½ ins); bitches: 54-58 cms (21-23 ins). Weight: dogs: 32-38 kgs (70-84 lbs); bitches: 26-32 kgs (56-70 lbs).


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.


Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

*Note for prospective puppy buyers

Size – The Kennel Club breed standard is a guide and description of the ideal for the breed; the size as described does not imply that a dog will match the measurements given (height or weight). A dog might be larger or smaller than the size measurements stated in the breed standard.