Italians breeds

Bergamasco Sheperd - Cane da pastore Bergamasco
Italian breeds of dogs

Origin, classification and brief historical summary

Origin: Italy.
Classification F.C.I. N. 194: Group 1 - Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs (except Swiss Cattle Dogs); Section 1 Sheepdogs; without working trial.

This particular dog breed has been selected in ancient times as shepherd dog in order to protect, guard and lead flocks and herds. Its name originated from the Province of Bergamo, and spread in the Alps, where sheep-herding was highly developed. Ancient Tibetan shepherds are thought to have been the remote ancestors of this breed.

General appearance

Medium-sized dog, having a rough appearance with abundant coat and a particular aspect: a powerful building and excellent proportions.

Behaviour and temperament

Strong, fearless and courageous dog like its progenitors that used to fight against wolves. It is an extraordinary breed mainly used as guard for the herd and property as well. He never gives up when he suspects an intruder or an enemy being able to attack with violence either people or animals menacing his properties. Thanks to his excellent smelling , sometimes he has been used as a police dog. He can be a good family companion, always grateful to those who take care of him.

Bergamasco Sheperd Bergamasco Sheperd (photo

Bergamasco Sheperd Bergamasco Sheperd (photo


 - males 60 cm
 - females 56 cm
(with a tolerance of 2 cm).
 - males kg 32-38
 - females kg 26-32

The length of muzzle is the same as that of the skull. In its parallelepiped ensemble, the head seems large. The skin must not be thick, but close fitting to the underlying tissues without forming wrinkles. Cranial region
Skull: the skull is broad and slightly convex between the ears; is also wide and rounded in the region of the forehead. The upper longitudinal head plane of the skull is the same as the muzzle. Its width must not be more than half the length of the head. The protuberances of the forehead are well developed both in longitudinal and transversal planes, the zygomatic processes of the frontal bone are well defined. The median frontal furrow (or flute) is marked; the occipital protuberance is obvious and prominent.
Stop: rances and superciliary arches.
Facial region
Muzzle: tapers progressively towards its extremity and its lateral sides converge slightly, so that the muzzle itself is not pointed but truncated, with a rather flat foreface. Its length, is the same as that of the skull. Its width, measured at half lenght reaches about 50% of its length. The height of the muzzle must not be less than half its length. The height of the muzzle must not be less than half its length. The upper profile of the muzzle, traced by the profile of the face, is straight. The lower profile is not determined by the lip, but by the jaw. Because of this conformation, the corner of the lips is not obvious; the mouth is well split so that the corner of the lips is at the level lower of an imaginary vertical line from the outer angle of the eye. The profile of the jaw is almost straight.
Lips: fine and of little importance, they separate under the nose making a well opened arc which forms a third of a circle; hence the teeth in the jaw are only just covered. The rims of the lips are well pigmented.
Jaw: upper and lower jaw well developed; the lower jaw (mandible) really strong and large.
Teeth: white, complete and well developed dentition; incisor in regular alignment. Scissor bite.
Cheeks: not very prominent.
Eyes: large; iris of a more or less dark chestnut colour depending on the colour of the coat. They are set on an almost identical frontal plane. Their expression is soft serene and attentive. The opening of the eyelid is slightly oval and the eyelid axis has an obliqueness of about 15ƒ on the horizontal. The eyelids fit tightly over the eye, with black pigmented rims; eyelashes are particularly long so that they can lift the hair falling from the forehead over the eyes.
Ears: set high, semi-drooping, i.e. the last two thirds of the lobe are drooping. When the dog is attentive, the ear lifts slightly at is base. Triangular shape. Length is between 11 and 13 cm., width 6,5 to 8 cm. It has a wide base which, towards the back, extends to where the head sets on the neck, whereas towards the front, it reaches the middle of the skull. The tip is slightly rounded. Hair on the ear is slightly wavy and soft; ends up forming fringes on the tip.

Upper profile is slightly convex. The neck is a little bit shorter than the head; in effect, when extended, is not more than 80% the length of the head. The perimeter of the neck, taken halfway at its length, must be at least twice the length. The skin is never flabby, so always without dewlap. Hair must be dense.

Topline: withers well defined from the straight topline. The lumbar region shows a certain convexity and the rump is somewhat sloping.
Withers: high and long. The neck harmoniously joined to the body.
Back: straight, well muscled and of good width, its length about 30% the height at the withers. Lumbar region merging well with the topline and the rump. The length of the lumbar part is about 20% the height at the withers; it is thus definitely shorter than the dorsal part. The width of the lumbar region is about the same as its length; muscles of the whole region are well developed.
Rump: wide, strong, well muscled and slanting, with an inclination of 30ƒ below the horizontal; transversal width between the hips must be 1/7th the height at the withers.
Chest: must he ample, brisket down to the level of the elbows and well curved. Its perimeter (measured behind the elbows) is 25% more than the height at the withers. Its transversal diameter must reach 30% the height at the withers. Depth and heigth of the chest must be 50% the height at the withers.
Underline: from the sternum, the lower profile rises very slightly towards the belly which is slightly tucked up. The length of the flanks must correspond with that of the lumbar region, which is short. The hollowness of the flanks is minimal.
Tail: set on last third of rump, thick and strong at its root, tapering towards its extremity. Covered with goat-like hair slightly wavy. Its length is 60 to 65% the height at the withers and reaches the hock easily when the dog is standing normally, though is shorter preferable. At rest the tail is carried "sabre" fashion i.e. dropping in its first third, then slightly curved in last third. In action the dog wags his tail like a flag.

On the whole seen from the front and in profile, the forequarters are straight. Height from ground to elbow is 50% the height at the withers; they are well proportioned in relation to the size of the dog.
Shoulders: well constructed and massive. The length of the shoulder blade is a little more than a quarter of the height at the withers and measures between 15 and 17 cm.. Its obliqueness below the horizontal is 45 to 55 degrees. Muscles must always be well developed.
Upper arm: must be well muscled with strong bone construction. Its length is 30% the height at the withers. Its inclination below the horizontal is between 60 and 70 degrees. The opening of the scapula-humerus angle varies between 105 and 125 degrees.
Elbows: must be in parallel planes to the median plane of the body. The point of the elbow must be on an imaginary vertical linedown from the caudal angle of the shoulder blade. The opening of the radial-humerus angle varies between about 150 and 155 degrees. From the level of the elbow going downwards, the hair must be abundant, long and dense, with a tendancy to resamble flocks of hair.
Forearm: e clearly protruding, it extends the vertical line of the forearm.
Metacarpus (Front Pastern): Must be lean and mobile. Seen from the front must be on in the same vertical plane as the forearm. Seen in profile, is slightly oblique to the front.
Foot: oval shaped (hare foot) with well closed and arched toes. Strong nails, curved and well pigmented. Tough pads of a dark colour.
On the whole, the hindquarters relate well to the size of the dog. Limbs straight, as much in profile as from behind.
Upper thigh: long, wide, well muscled with a rear profile slightly convex. Its length exceeds about 30% the height at the withers, and its width 75% of its length. The aperture of the coxal-femoral joint angle varies between 100 and 105 degrees.
Leg (second thigh): robust bone structure and lean muscle, the groove in the muscle is well marked. Length of leg is about 1/3 the height at the withers. Inclination below the horizontal is about 55 degrees.
Knee (stifle joint): is on perfectly straight lin with the limb, is not turned either in or out. The tibial-femoral angle is open and measures about 130 - 135 degrees.
Hock: lateral sides of the hock joint must be really wide. The distance from the point of the hock to the ground must not be less than 25% of the height at the withers. Aperture of the angle of the tarsal-tibial articulation varies between 140 and 145 degrees.
Metatarsus (rear pastern): its length is about 15% the height at the withers if gauged independently; if measured from the point of the heel bone, its length is the same as that of the hock. Its direction must be vertical. Eventual dewclaws must be eliminated.
Foot: As the front.

Step free and long; the trot rather extended and well maintained, is the preferred gait. Because of its conformation, the dog can go easily into an ordinary gallop, which he is able to maintain for a retative long time.

Tight to the body, must be fine all over, but especially on the ears and forequarters. Neck without dewlap and head without wrinkles. Colour of the mucous membranes and third eyelids must be black.

Very abundant, very long and different depending on the regions. The texture is harsh, (goat hair) partticularly on the front of the body. From halfway of the chest towards the rear, and on all the limbs, the coat tends to form strands or is already in strands, depending on the subject's age; these strands must start from the topline of the back and fall on the sides of the body. On the head the hair is less harsh and covers the eyes. On the limbs, the coat must be evenly distributed everywhere in the shape of soft flocks falling towards the ground; forms a kind of pilaster on the front and strands on the hindquarters, this whithout fringes. The undercoat is so short and dense, it is not easy to see the skin. Must be greasy to the touch. Colour of the coat - Solid grey or with grey patches of all possible shades from a most delicate grey to a brighter shade of grey to black; Isabel and light fawn shades are permitted. An all black coat is allowed providing the black is really opaque (zain). An all white coat is prosribed - White patches are tolerated as long as their surface is not more than a fifth of the total surface of the coat.

Any departure from the foregoing points constitutes a fault which when judging must he penalized according to its seriousness and its extension. The same conditions apply to dogs with too small a head and those who amble permanently.

by Vinattieri Federico - Ente Nazionale della Cinofilia Italiana

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