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 head is long, more or less, proportionate to the size of the dog, with the skull and muzzle of equal length, parallel to one another, and joined at a pronounced stop. The skin on the head is tight with no wrinkles.
Eyes - The eyes are large, oval, and set just slightly obliquely. Eye color is brown, with the darkness of the color varying with the color of the coat. The eye rims are tight-fitting and black. The expression is attentive and calm. Disqualifications - Any lack of pigmentation of the eye rims; one (or two) full blue eye.
Ears - The ears are soft and thin and hang down on either side of the face. The ears are set on high. At its widest point, the ear is from 2½ to 3 inches wide. Ear length does not exceed half the length of the head, and shorter is preferred. The top two-thirds of the ear is triangular in shape, with slightly rounded tips. When the dog is alert, the ears prick up at the base, with the top two-thirds semi-drooping. Viewed from the side, the ears appear to be an extension of the curve of the back of the neck. The ears are covered with soft, slightly wavy hair, forming fringes at the tip.
Neck, Topline, Body
Neck - The neck is strong, slightly arched, and, measured from the nape to the forward edge of the withers, should be about 20 percent shorter than the length of the head. There is no dewlap. The hair on the neck forms a thick collar.
Body and Topline - The line of the back inclines very slightly downward from prominent withers to a strong, broad back. The loin is well-muscled and broad. The croup is slightly sloping, about 35 degrees downward from the horizontal.
Chest and Ribs - The ribs are well-sprung and let down to the elbows. The depth of the rib cage is equal to half the dog's height at the withers.
Tuck-up - Tuck-up is nearly absent.
The shoulders are massive and strong. The shoulder blade is moderately laid back, about 60 degrees from the horizontal. The shoulder blades should be tightly knit. The upper arm is just slightly longer than the shoulder blade. The angle formed by humerus and shoulder blade is about 115 degrees. The vertical forearm is about the same length as the upper arm and is placed so that the point of the elbow is on a vertical line failing from the tops of the shoulder blade. The elbows are neither close to the body nor out. The wrist follows the vertical line of the forearm and is very mobile. The pasterns are straight when viewed from the front, and slightly sloping when viewed from the side (10 percent from vertical).
Pelvis slopes at 35 degrees from horizontal. The upper thigh is long, wide, and well muscled. The upper thigh slopes downward and forward at a 95 degree angle from the pelvis. The lower thigh is as long as the upper, with strong bone and lean muscles. It slopes downward and backward, forming an angle of about 105 to 110 degrees at the stifle (femur-tibia). There is a well-defined furrow between the tendon and the bone above the hock. The distance from the point of hock to the ground is no less than 25 percent of the height at the withers. Viewed from behind, the rear pasterns should be vertical and parallel to one another. Viewed from the side, the rear pasterns are vertical and placed so that the hocks just slightly extend past a vertical line dropped from the point of buttock.
The Bergamasco coat is made up of three types of hair: Undercoat, "goat hair," and outer coat. The undercoat is short, dense, and of fine texture. It is oily to the touch and forms a waterproof layer against the skin. The "goat hair" is long, straight, and rough in texture. The outer coat is woolly and somewhat finer in texture than the "goat hair." The "goat hair" and outer coat are not distributed evenly over the dog and it is this pattern of distribution that is responsible for the formation of the characteristic flocks (strands of hair weaved together creating flat layers of felted hair).