True or false: The Bergamasco Sheepdog is the only AKC breed that mentions “goat” hair in its breed standard.
Experienced fanciers and “dog geeks” know this statement is false. The Bergamasco famously has three kinds of hair combine to form its dense, flat, felt-like mats called flocks, and the breed standard mentions goat hair seven times, but it is not the only breed standard to refer to goat hair as a desired coat texture.
The Pyrenean Shepherd has two different types of coat, the Rough-Faced and Smooth-Faced. The breed’s AKC standard writes: “Demi-long dogs have culottes on the rump, while the long-haired dogs are often more heavily furnished with woollier hair that may cord, especially on the elbows, croup, and thighs, but never on the head. The texture is harsh, being halfway between the hair of a goat and the wool of a sheep.”
Even more interesting is that the Pyr Shep’s standard is the only one among all AKC breed standards to include “wool of a sheep” as a desired texture. For this reason, Pyr Shep fanciers are encouraged not do a lot of bathing or blow drying because it changes texture of their dog’s coat.
The FCI standard also mentions goat and sheep when describing Pyrenean Shepherd coat texture, as do the standards for the Canadian Kennel Club standard and United Kennel Club.
Interestingly, the Pyrenean Sheepdog Club of Great Britain’s breed standard does not mention “goat” or “sheep” texture, stating instead: “Coat: Long or semi-long. Fairly harsh, dense almost flat or slightly wavy, denser and more woolly on rump and thighs. In some dogs the mixture of coarse and woolly hair can produce cords or felted mats. Hair on muzzle short, longer on face and cheeks, where it grows away from the nose and eyes.”
Nor does the Australian National Kennel Council which uses “woolier, “coarser” and “fine” to describe texture: “Profuse undercoat of very fine hairs; outer coat longer; coarser textured, thick, lying flat and straight or slightly wavy. Longer towards tail and forming mane round neck and shoulders. Forelegs fringed. Long, very dense woolier hair on thighs giving ‘pantaloon’ effect.”
Only goat hair is mentioned in the Chien de Berger des Pyrenees a Poil’s (long) breed standard in the Centrale Canine, or French Kennel Club, though it does allude to a “wooly” texture: “The hair in the “long hair” is quite dry on the shoulders and more woolly on the back of the body where it can form cadenettes or matelotes. The ‘mid-long hair’ are generally more “goat hair” in texture…”
Coat texture isn’t mentioned in the Japanese Kennel Club standard at all.
Image of a Pyrenean Shepherd by © Erik Lam/Dreamstime.com