Ancient Italian writers have mentioned the Maremma Sheepdog, and a 13th century picture in the church of Santa Maria in Florence depicts a Maremma. The original stock came from migrating Eastern shepherd dogs which developed into the individual breeds particular to a region, for example, the French Pyrennean Sheepdog and the Hungarian Kuvasz. In Italy, the shorter coated Maremmano and the longer backed Abruzzese merged into one breed sometime in the 1860s, due to seasonal movement of flocks. Today's Maremma is still the most popular and common sheepdog in Italy. It is said that the courageous Maremma can ward off wolves, bears and human predators. The Maremma was first exported to England in 1931 with the dog "Drago of Castlenuova." A mate was later sent for him and a breeding programme was started by Helen Home-Robertson and Mrs. J.M. Pryor. Maremmas now have their own class at Crufts. In this country they are generally used for estate guard dogs or as pets.
This is a large, sturdy dog with a coarse white outercoat and dense protective undercoat. The dog should be a solid white colour and feature heavy bones and well developed musculature. The head is wide between the ears and narrows to the muzzle. The ears are small and high set.
|Colour||The Maremma is usually solid white in colour although orange or yellow tints around the ears occur. Ivory and pale fawn can also be seen in their coat colours.
|Coat Length||Medium Long
|Weight/Height Range||This is a very large breed which can stand between 59 and 73cms and weigh between 30 and 45kgs.
|Ailments||This is a hardy breed but can be subject to some ailments common to the lines of large breeds. Hip dysplasia affects the Maremma as does achondroplasia and slipped patellas. The veterinary surgeon should be careful when anaesthetising this breed as it is sensitive to anaesthetics.
|Breed Classification||Maremma Sheepdogs belong to the pastoral group and are used as guard dogs for herds, as companions and seen in the show-ring.|
Feeding & Ownership
Whilst this is quite a large dog, on reaching maturity it is not a big eater and therefore can be kept on a low maintenance diet. It matures slowly, not reaching full maturity till two years so it is advised that it be fed a special diet for giant breed puppies. It is important not to overfeed the puppies but be aware that there are growth spurts. Poor nutrition in its youth will lead to skeletal problems in older dogs.
|Food Cost||More than $20|
The Maremma's herding instinct is highly developed and the dog is happiest when at work tending its flocks. They will be loyal to their master and devoted to their flock but intolerant of intruders. For this reason, the breed is also a good guard dog and has been used as such on many a successful occasion. Intelligent and strong willed, this can be a difficult dog to train and it does not take kindly to children or other dogs unless well socialised with them at an early age. Although not aggressive, this dog is courageous in protection of its flock and home.
|Intelligence||This breed can be very difficult to train as it is very strong willed. It will be loyal to one master but training may still take considerable effort. Early socialisation is essential as this is a big, strong dog and accidents could happen if the dog were not trained to get along with smaller pets and children.|
|Suitability for Children||Medium
|Tendency to Bark||High|
|Overall Exercise Requirement||This breed is best suited to farm life with lots of open space and livestock to guard. They are not an overly active breed, preferring to quietly watch over their flock. They are not suited to suburban living as they can become bored quickly. |
|Suitability as a Guard Dog||High|
|Ease of Transportation||Low|
|Level of Aggression||Medium
|Other Animal Compatibility||Low
This heavy, dense coat takes a lot of upkeep and the dog needs a thorough brushing and combing nearly every day or the coat will become matted and the dog will develop eczema and hot spots. The pads should be examined and trimmed between them, if necessary.
|Grooming Requirements||More than once a week|
|Amount of Hair Shed||Heavy|
Discover Other Dog Breeds
Welsh Corgi (Cardigan)