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Maremma

(commonly referred to as Livestock Guard Dogs or LGDs)


General Description:

Originating in Italy, the Maremma is a classic European livestock guarding dog, similar to the Akbash, Kuvasz and Komondor of Hungary and the Pyrenean Mountain Dog of France. It is alert, independent, strong-willed and not easy to obedience train, but makes a super guard. As a pet, they may seem a bit detached and reserved, however this rugged wolf-slayer breed has adapted into a marvelous companion, without reducing its extraordinary working abilities. Held in high esteem by shepherds, especially in the mountains where it thrives in the snow; the Maremma is resistant to both cold temperatures and brambles. This is not a breed for beginners.

Size:

One of the large-sized breeds, the Maremma stands 23 to 28 tall and weighs between 66-100 pounds

Color:

Coat colors include white with markings of ivory, light yellow, or pale orange on the ears. The long, harsh and very abundant hair has a slight wave. The under-coat is dense.

Energy Level:

Medium activity level is typical, but the breed will show great strength and energy when their stock are threatened by predators. Although they can be quiet indoors, they require quite a bit of daily exercise. They are calm and observant of their surroundings, instinctively protective, not inclined to go looking for trouble, but may not back down if challenged.

Life expectancy:

11 to 13 years

Children:

Maremma can be good with children if raised with them, but are recommended for families with children over twelve years of age. It is important that children always be supervised by an adult when interacting with a dog. Older children with an active social life need to realize that, although their friends may like dogs, it may not be appropriate for the dog to interact with every visitor. The Maremma will defend both house and master, and it is particularly attentive with children.

Other animals:

Properly trained, the Maremma has the ability to bond closely to and protect sheep, goats, alpacas and llamas from predators. They will demonstrate aloof awareness as leader of its adopted family (the flock), while also accepting a secondary role to its bonded humans. The Maremma tends to get along well with other dogs and family pets but can be reserved with strangers. The Maremma has been bred to guard sheep, and once bonded, these dogs will not hesitate to risk their own lives to protect their flock.

Abilities:

Ideal property and farm-stock guarding dog. Proven to be a successful companion dog.

Shedding/Grooming:

They are heavy shedders. A seasonal heavy shed occurs, in some areas twice a year. Their all-weather coat requires regular, thorough combing and brushings to remove all dead and loose hair.

Health:

Some may develop hip dysplasia. Because the Maremma is prone to bloat, should be fed smaller meals throughout the day, as opposed to one big meal.

Best with:

Requires experienced and confident dog owners who understand how to be gentle yet firm leaders. They are ideal for people needing a protective guard dog to watch over farm stock animals. They are relatively inactive indoors but need plenty of exercise and a job to do. If provided adequate daily exercise, the breed can be a quiet house dog. They can live successfully in an urban setting as family companions, with enough exercise and constant socialization. However, they are more adapted to life in semi-rural or rural settings where they can have a job to do.

This breed needs space - mentally as well as physically. If they are not working as an active flock guardian, they need to be taken on daily, brisk walks. A short walk around the block three times a day is not enough for this dog. Long and alternating walks are necessary. It must have frequent opportunities to run free within a large fenced area.

Not for:

Maremmas are not recommended for inexperienced first-time dog owners. They are not recommended for apartment life, regardless of the amount of on-leash exercise provided. They are not for people who require instant, unquestioned obedience to commands by their dog, nor for those who lack large fenced-in yards. The Maremma is not recommended for small children.

Pros:

They are highly intelligent and can be depended on to protect family and property as well as farm-stock. They love to work. The breed thrives in cold climates. They can be a quiet house dog if provided adequate daily exercise, which includes long daily walks or runs.

Cons:

May be overprotective of property and children in the family when rough-housing with friends. May appear stubborn and non-compliant to obedience commands. Needs lots of daily exercise. Sheds heavily. Will roam if not fenced adequately.

Further Information:

Maremma Sheepdog Club of America
UK site for the Maremma
Maremma Wikipedia page
Breed Details

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