Maremma Sheepdog is a large-sized, courageous livestock guardian dog. The breed originated in Italy and was primarily used by shepherds for protecting their sheep from wolves. In the present scenario, these dogs are quite popular in Great Britain but comparatively rare in other countries.
The breed was earlier divided into two separate breeds namely, Abruzzese and the Maremmano. These dogs are believed to have descended from other flock guarding dog breeds such as Pyrenees Mountain Dog, the Kuvasz and Komondor of Hungary, Karabash and Akbash dogs of Turkey and the Kuvac of Slovakia.
Some other names for Maremma Sheepdog are Maremmano-Abruzzese, Abruzzese, Abruzzese Shepherd Dog, Abruzzenhund, Maremma, Pastore Maremano Abruzzese, Cana da Pastore Maremmano-Abruzzese etc.
Maremma Sheepdog is a sturdy and well built dog with a large, bear-like head and slightly rounded skull. The almond-shaped eyes are dark in color and not too large. The small triangular ears are set high on the head and tend to hang flat along the side of the head. The lips and nose are usually black in color but the nose may turn slightly pink-brown with the passage of time. The long and low-set tail is covered with dense hair.
Color: These dogs are mostly solid white in color with shades of yellow, cream, lemon, pale orange, lemon or ivory colors.
Height: The average height of Maremma Sheepdog breed is generally 23.5 to 28.5 inches.
Weight: The ideal weight for both male as well as female Maremma Sheepdogs ranges between 66 to 100 pounds.
This is a fairly healthy breed. However, die to the large size, there may be chances of developing Hip Dysplasia and other similar bone diseases. These dogs may also be susceptible to eye problems.
Life Expectancy: The average lifespan of a Maremma Sheepdog is generally 10 to 14 years.
Litter Size: 6 to 10 puppies
Maremma Sheepdog grooming chiefly consists of at least weekly brushing and combing of the long, harsh and slightly wavy double coat so as to remove loose hair and maintain the hair coat in perfect condition. Extra attention and care should be taken during the shedding seasons. Besides, the dog needs to be bathed only when necessary to retain the weather proofing texture of the hair coat.
Maremma Sheepdog temperament is intelligent, brave, determined, friendly, loyal, affectionate yet strong willed and independent. Therefore, it is essential to train and socialize these dogs right from puppyhood.
The task of obedience training can seem challenging because these dogs do not like to be dominated. Hence, it would be better to use firm and consistent training methods rather than the harsh ones lacking mutual respect.
These dogs are usually good with children and tend to be protective for them. Maremma Sheepdogs are also compatible with others pets in the house. However, these attentive and intuitive watchdogs are known to be aloof and reserved with strangers. These smart and alert family pets serve as excellent guard dogs as well. They are generally not recommended for passive and inexperienced first time dog owners.
These large working dogs require moderate amount of physical exercise and mental stimulation on a regular basis. They do best when they have a job to do. In case the dog is not being used for livestock guarding then owners need to eliminate the dog’s boredom avoid destructive behavior by taking him out for frequent long daily brisk walks. Moreover, the dog should also be given sufficient opportunity to run freely in a safe open area.
Due to these requirements, this breed is considered more suitable for open and spacious rural or suburban settings rather than sedentary apartment situation with space constrictions. Maremma Sheepdog has been endowed with a weather proof hair coat that makes it easy for the dog to stay outdoorsin temperate to cool weather conditions but your beloved doggy may find it difficult to withstand extremely hot weathers.