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Maremma Sheepdog

History

The Maremma Sheepdog has its origins in italy where it was originally used by shepherds to guard sheep from wolves and other potential predators. These dogs have been used for this very purpose for at least the past 2000 years. They are similar to the Pyrenean Mountain dog and the Hungarian Kuvasz. They are still used by farmers in the Abruzzo region of Italy where wolves still pose a threat. They are also used to protect cattle, goats and even a dwindling population of penguins in Australia.

Behaviour

The Maremma is a guardian at heart, whether it be sheep, cattle, chickens, territory or people. They will be constantly on the lookout for any signs of danger. This makes the great guard/watch dogs. They are good in a family setting, but will be naturally wary of any strangers entering the house. This can be somewhat prevented with early socialisation, though they are bred to protect their families so this wariness will never fully go away. Even if assured that they are no harm, a Maremma will always have their eye on any strangers in the house, ready for any signs of danger. They enjoy being in the company of people and other dogs alike. They will even befriend cats if that is the only company they have throughout the day. They can be trusted with chickens in the garden, and will most likely see it as their job to guard them.

Maremmas generally bark to ward off intruders, some individuals can take this to the next level and will bark at pretty much anything, this is why the “quiet” command should be one of the first things you teach them. They are an intelligent breed and wont blindly follow all your commands. They like to think for themselves and will often respond after a few seconds during which they weigh up the pros and cons of what you want them to do. Whilst they can be trained, no Maremma is going to win first place in an obedience competition. They need a fair amount of exercise, but should not be taken on long walks until they are 6 months old. Once they’ve reached this age, one long walk a day and some play time will be ideal.

Maremma Sheepdogs have a thick double coat which protects them from the elements outside when they’re guarding sheep. Their coats will need brushing regularly, but bathing isn’t really needed. They moult once/twice a year, but don’t seem to lose all that much fur.

Healthwise these are hardy dogs that rarely suffer any major health issues, however due to limited gene pool, Canine Hip Dysplasia can sometimes be seen.

Temperament

The Maremma Sheepdog are a dignified and rugged breed. Bred to kill wolves, this is no dog for beginner owners. Make sure to do extensive research about this breed before making any sort of commitments. They will need firm, authoritative training from day one and it’s crucial that you gain the respect of his dog in order for them not to see themselves as pack leaders. Make sure to give them plenty of exercise in as many different locations as possible. They have incredible stamina and could walk for miles on end without tiring. Be cautious when introducing strangers, as they have a natural wariness towards all they don't know.

Health Problems

Maremma Sheepdogs may be prone to canine hip dysplasia (CHD) and entropion (inward rolling of the eyelid which can irritate the eyeball).

Breed Details

  • Status: Rare
  • Life Expectancy: 11 - 17 years
  • Weight: 66 - 100 lbs
  • Height: 24 - 29"
  • Rare: No
  • Coat: Medium
  • Grooming Requirements: More than once per week
  • Town or Country: Country
  • Minimum Home Size: Large House
  • Minimum Garden Size: Large Garden
  • Breed Type: Herding
  • Size: Large
  • Energy Level: High
  • Exercise Required: Over 2 hours

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Maremma Sheepdog Pictures

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