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Maremma Sheepdog breeder / Maremmano Abruzzese

BREED DESCRIPTION of the MAREMMA SHEEPDOG

SUMMARY

In English the Pastore Maremmano-Abruzzese is called the Maremma Sheepdog. It is a big, solidly build dog, with a white, half-long coat, that needs grooming now and then. He originates in Italy, to be more precise in the regions of Maremma and Abruzzo.
Dogs: 65 - 73 cm (25 - 28 inches) and 35 - 45 kg (77 - 99 pounds)
Bitches: 60 - 68 cm (23 - 27 inches) and 30 - 40 kg (66 - 88 pounds).
Originally he has been bred to protect sheep. As a family dog he is a good guardian of hearth and home. He gets along rather well with children and other pets. He is devoted to his owner, but remains aloof to strangers. He can be stubborn and self-willed, he is independent and intelligent and therefore needs a consequent, but not a harsh,  training.
The dog is accustomed to being outdoors and needs sufficient room, such as a large garden.

ORIGIN

The Maremma sheepdog as the Pastore Maremmano-Abruzzese is called in English comes from Italy and originates from two regions; the Maremma situated at the coastal area north of Rome and the Abruzzo, a mountainous region east of Rome. The breed is over 2000 years old and originally comes from Asia. People have different opinions on how the breed came from Asia to Europe. It is very probable that the dogs came along with the shepherds, when they migrated from the east to the west. A fact is that all of the Big White Dogs, such as the Tatra, the Kuvac and the Pyrenean Mountain dog etc. belong to the same group. They were bred and used to protect and defend flocks of sheep against predators such as wolves or other thieves.

HISTORY

It is said that the breed is over 2000 years old and originates in Asia. There are different opinions on how the breed came from Asia to Europe. Probabely the breed came with the shepherds, when they travelled from the east to the west.
Though there is rumour that in the second century BC a 'Canis Pastoralis a Pequaris' is mentioned in a book by Marco Porzio Catone ( 234 BC), the first description of a Maremma is attributed to Marco Terenzio Varrone (116-26 BC), who in 37 BC describes a 'canis pastoralis' in his book 'de Rerum Rusticarum'; a large, white dog with black nose and lips, that guards the flock against predators. They wear 'melli', big leather collars with sticked out nails, that protect the throat of the dog from bites of wolves. Later these collars are made of iron, the so called 'vreccale' or 'roccale'.
One century later Lucio Columello, by origin a Spaniard, writes a book 'de Re Rustica', in which he describes among other things the 'Canis Pastoralis, that should be of a white colour, so the shepherd can distinguish between his dog and the wolve.
In further history we find paintings and prints of dogs that resemble the Maremma a great deal.

ITALIAN BREEDCLUB

In 1922 in Genua a breedclub was established for the Italian Shepherddog. This club did not live a very long time. In 1924 the first, very short standard was made for 'the Shepherddog Maremmano also called Abruzzese'.
In 1938 Professor Solara describes the differences between the Maremmano-type and the Abruzzese-type: the Maremmano is smaller, has a lesser dense coat, has lesser hair around his collar, doesn't need to be all white and can have brown eye rims instead of black ones. In 1950 'Il Circolo del Pastore Abruzzese' is founded by Prof. Peschedda. He sees a fundamental difference between the Maremmano and the Abruzzese: the Maremmano is lupoid and the Abruzzese is a molossoid.
In 1953 a breedclub for the Maremmano is founded. They propose to make one breed out of the two different types. After some squabbling one breedstandard is issued, that is effective from January 1st 1958, revisited in 1989 and in 2015.
There have been people who want to classify the Pastore Maremmano Abruzzese in FCI group 2, molossoid dogs, or change the standard in favour of the Abruzzese type, or separate the two 'types' into different breeds again.

APPEARANCE

height cm height inch weight kilo weight pound
Male 65 - 73 25 - 28 35 - 45 88 - 99
Bitch 60 - 68 23 - 27 30 - 40 66 - 77


The Maremma sheepdog has a majestic and a distinguished appearance; large head, that should resemble that of a polar bear; strong jaws with good teeth with scissor bite; small, almond shaped eyes; big, straight, black nose; triangular shaped, high set, hanging ears; white half-long coat, which should be rather harsh to touch, flat to the body. The Maremma Sheepdog is a strong, well built dog, that should not appear coarse of heavy. 'Agile' qualifies one of the main characteristics. Thanks to his coat the dog can resist cold weather conditions. Heat can be more of a problem. Especially in summer the dog should dispose of a shady place to stay and have sufficient water supply. The coat should not be trimmed. The dogs are used to staying and sleeping in the open air, also in winter and they are used to having space. Therefore the dog should at least have a large garden at his disposal.

GROOMING

Considering the white, half long fur coat a Maremma has, he needs very little grooming. Of course you can give him a nice brush to take out the loose and dead hairs, but the coat does not tend to become entangled. Washing should be avoided or limited. The skin/coat contains a greasy layer, so sand and dirt will fall out of the coat all by itself. When you wash your dog very often, this layer will be washed away and the dog will become dirtier every time.
When the dog is outside most of the time, in winter he will develop a thick undercoat, that will moult in spring. In autumn the dog will moult again, but not as much as in spring.
The Maremma is for his size not a big eater. They are usually not very demanding and don't gulp.

 

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