Bergamasco: The Missing Link? (winkie winkie)

What’s better than kids loving on a rare breed?

Learning to tell the difference between the rare breed with a flocked coat, and the ones with corded coats.

The Bergamasco‘s flocks are its visual calling card, but it’s a muscular, heavy-boned herding dog with a big head and a thick tail that hangs down to the hock and curves slightly upward at the end.This is nothing like a Puli.

The Bergamasco’s coat is comprised of three types of hair that form flocks, or strands of hair intertwined to create flat layers of felted hair. The head coat is mostly “goat hair” that shouldn’t be flocked, or even or matted. This is nothing like the Komondor.

Breeds like the Komondor and Puli have coats that are wooly and often curly, but goat hair isn’t mentioned in the breed standards of either. The opposite is true for the Western European breeds like the Briard or Catalonian Sheepdogs that have coats that are a lot of goat hair. Interestingly, the Bergamasco Club of America points out that their breed may form a bridge between the two. Its coat has both types of hair present in almost equal quantities, though more differently distributed, and straighter.  In jest, we refer to the Bergamasco as the missing link, but perhaps truth is stranger than fiction.

Image: Susan Wyant Pickerill‎’s photograph of Bergamasco Italian Sheepdogs from 2014

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