The history of the Italian breed Maremma and Abruzzes Sheepdog (Cane da pastore Maremmano-Abruzzese) is very old. It is believed that it is one of the oldest dog breeds that has ever existed since people have begun to raise sheep. It is assumed that they have arrived in Europe during the migration of Asian tribes or are brought by the Romans in their Asian conquests. It is known that 2000 years ago the Romans already possessed white shepherd dogs.
In the 50's of the last century there was an idea to separate the two varieties of the breed, Shorthair of Maremma and long-haired from Abruzzes, but eventually the canine specialists accepted that this is the same breed.
This is a legendary guard of flocks, not only in its homeland, but in all Europe. In recent decades Maremma and Abruzzes Sheepdog became a very popular companions.
The Maremma and Abruzzes Sheepdog is a big animal with powerful physique, majestic and elegant. The head is large cone-shaped and resembles the head of a polar bear. The skull is convex in profile. Dog's eyes are dark brown or ocher. The ears are small compared to its size, and have a triangular shape. The chest is broad and capacious. The coat is long and very thick. Available colors are pure white, ivory, pale yellow or pale orange, but only if small parts are painted in these shades.
The males of this breed are high between 65 and 73 cm, and weighs from 35 to 45 kg, females are between 60 and 68 cm high and weighs from 30 to 40 kg.
Character and behavior
The Maremma and Abruzzes Sheepdog has a reputation of being an aggressive, biting and very nervous dog, but this is not true. Indeed, this is a sheepdog that protects the herd from predators and if you educate it properly, it becomes a great guard dog and gentle and loving companion. Just do not stimulate its natural aggressiveness. Dogs of this breed are strong, smart and loyal to their master. They are able to make independent decisions and can easily guard flocks without human presence.
The Maremma and Abruzzes Sheepdog is energetic, fearless and responsible dog with strong instincts, always alert. If we compare the nature of this breed to human nature, we could say that it is true sanguine: the dog is active and cheerful, easily excitable and difficult to soothe.
Training and education
This breed should not be trained, because they do not respond well to this kind of coercion. Instead, you should gently educate it.
This dog is energetic and it is not advised to be raised in an apartment. It has to spend energy, to run and feel free. If bored, it can acquire destructive habits.
The owner of such a dog should act calmly with it. If relationship between master and dog is good, the Maremma and Abruzzes Sheepdog becomes an obedient dog. Very important are motivation and mutual understanding. If you prefer to have a friend and helper, a servant and not a robot, then this is your dog. You should know that it does not like cruelty and uniformity.
This breed can be trained as guide dogs for blind people.
Grooming and care
The Maremma and Abruzzes Sheepdog should be grown in a large yard, because narrow spaces make it nervous. The owners of this dog should be familiar with the dog's needs, otherwise it may become stubborn and sometimes even show aggressiveness.
Brush the coat of your pet regularly and bathe it once every six months.
The breed cannot bear the heat in the summer, so you must provide it with a shady place and a lot of fresh water.These dogs easily tolerate the cold and like to wallow in the snow.
It is best to give extra calcium to your puppy and feed it twice a day.
There aren't any specific health problems for the breed. Some representatives are prone to volvulus and otitis.
The average lifespan is about 13 years.
Children and other pets
Maremma and Abruzzes Sheepdog is a faithful family dog that loves children. It can live peacefully with other dogs and even cats.
The first written evidence of the breed dates back to 100 BC in the writings of the Roman agronomist Varro.
In 1982, after many years of comparative testing, the breed was designated as the best guard dog in the world. After this statement, the puppies for sale became much more expensive.