Coat Got Goat?

We were all set to post (in very dramatic fashion) that the Bergamasco is the only breed in the world which the word, “goat” appears in the breed standard.

Good thing we double checked.

As it happens, the Irish Terrier’s breed standard mentions that “either the profuse, goat-like beard, or the absence of beard, is unsightly and undesirable.”

The Pyrenean Shepherd breed standard is another one using the word. It mentions that with regards to the coat, the “texture is harsh, being halfway between the hair of a goat and the wool of a sheep.”

Undeterred, we can still post (with drama) that the Bergamasco’s AKC breed standard mentions “goat hair” seven times!

The Bergamasco coat is comprised of three types of hair: Undercoat, “goat hair” (straight, rough textured, and long hair), and an outer coat. Around a Bergamasco’s first birthday, coarse “goat” hair and fuzzy “wool” begin to appear. Real “felting” (what is called “cording” in Poodles, Pulik, and Komodorok) can’t really being until the undercoat begins to grow in conjunction with puppy coat molting –  and the wooly coat and goat hairs combine. This creates shapeless clumps (what we Puli owners affectionately call the “unmade bed” stage) that often tangle,  and require Bergamasco groomers to take care not to let them felt as this makes it harder for the adult coat to grow properly.

This process isn’t an “American” thing. The FCI breed standard reads: Coat hair: “Very abundant, very long and different depending on the regions. The texture is harsh, (goat hair) particularly on the front of the body.”

Remember that Bergamaschi (the plural form) do not have a corded coats. Their amazing coats are “flocked,” or more technically speaking, strands of hair weaved together creating flat layers of felted hair.

We are lucky enough to have some Bergamasco owners on the page – perhaps they’ll share with us some instructive photographs? (hint hint).

Image found on Pinterest and happily credited upon receipt of information

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