The Bergamasco Sheepdog is an ancient shepherding breed which traces its origins back thousands of years. Believed to have originated in Persia (in the area that is now Iran), hardy, vigorous shepherding dogs worked with their nomadic masters, tending and herding flocks of sheep in the harsh mountain climates from Persia west to Europe. Certain of these nomads ultimately settled in the Italian Alps and remained there; their dogs became what is now known as the Bergamasco.

General Appearance

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. The Bergamasco’s characteristic feature is its unique coat, made up of three types of hair. The coat forms flocks (strands of hair weaved together creating flat layers of felted hair) or loose mats, which cover the dog’s body and legs, and protect the dog from weather and predators. The hair on the head is typically long and hangs over the eyes.


The Bergamasco is a vigilant guard, with a strong protective instinct. It is naturally stubborn and will persevere with a task until done. The Bergamasco is a very intelligent animal, courageous but not aggressive without cause. The Bergamasco’s patient, quiet, and eager-to-please nature makes him an excellent companion, but he requires a lot of space.


Dogs stand 23½ inches and bitches 22 inches, measured at the withers.


Solid gray or gradations of gray (including merle) up to and including solid black, provided it is not shiny or lustrous.

Learn more at the Bergamasco Sheepdog Club Of America.