The Maremma Sheepdog (Cane da pastore Maremmano-Abruzzese) is a rare working dog breed primarily used in herding livestock that originated in the Maremma and Abruzzo region of central Italy. For two centuries, the Maremmano as it is called in its native abode, has been used for guarding flocks and property. Years of breeding has allowed this dog to develop a very strong guarding instinct and an amazing ability to work independently without supervision from its owner. There are theories that say this breed may have come from ancient European herding dogs that may have descended from the Turkish Karabash, Slovakian Kuvac, Hungarian Komondor and the French Pyrenean Mountain Dog. Its early ancestors have evolved into a smaller profile but with the same demeanour.
The Maremma Sheepdog is a lively breed and does not display any expression of nervousness or aggression. It is an intelligent, sturdy and protective breed which makes it a very suitable guard dog. It barks more than any other breed of sheepdogs but proper training at an early age will curtail this behaviour if it is to be kept as a house pet especially in a suburban neighbourhood. It can take any weather condition you can throw at it because this breed is weather resistant. It is a hardy and rugged dog that enjoys being outside.
The Maremma Sheepdog needs early socialization and obedience training, just like any other dog for it to be a good companion inside the house. This dog has an active mind and it’s intelligence slightly better than most breeds. Without proper training and social exposure, preferably during the puppy stage, the Maremma may display destructive behaviour because it will channel its boredom into other activities like chewing and digging holes. It is very receptive to basic obedience training, albeit not as receptive like other sheepdogs like the Border Collie. The Maremma sheepdog tends to “think first, then act” where it will analyze the command and check if it’s reasonable to obey. This behaviour makes the Maremma not very suitable for obedience trials. Training and socialization should start between four and six months from a gentle but firm handler.
It is a breed with no dog odour except when its coat is wet as is normal with other breeds. It is particularly an exceptionally clean dog by nature and puppies are easily house trained. The harsh and dense white outer coat is water-resistant and thus, needs minimum grooming. Dirt will normally fall way if the coat catches any so this breed always looks clean. However, regular brushing will keep the hair and the skin in perfect condition. The Maremma Sheepdog sheds its coat lightly once a year typically before winter but female Maremmas also shed in early summer,
If you decided to own a Maremma sheepdog you’re in for a treat. The Maremma is a very hardy and robust breed which is not prone to illness or disease. Vaccines recommended for a 10-week old puppy include anti-Hardpad, Distemper and Leptospirosis. Booster is required every 12 months.
This is a rugged and hardy breed that enjoys a lot of time outdoors. It can withstand any weather conditions thanks mainly to its harsh double coat which is water repellent and weather resistant. Long walks along the sidewalk or an hour of running and playing in a large yard are suitable exercises for the Maremma sheepdog. It will typically lay down and sleep when it had enough of exercise for the day.
A Maremma Sheepdog is an intelligent working dog that can live peacefully with other animals, big or small. It is very tolerant of other animals and is very slow to anger. However, there are some instances where two female Maremmas can be difficult together, but early socialization is the key for two female Maremma sheepdogs to live together in harmony. It loves the company of other pets in the house regardless of size and will typically guard them against intruders or strange dogs. It is a natural when it comes to children. It will treat small kids in the family as his own and will typically responds well to other children. Care must be taken though, when it is around toddlers or smaller children because this breed loves to play and may easily knock a small child around during “innocent play” but they will never hurt anyone intentionally.