White with occasional markings in ivory, yellow or orange around the head and ears. The nose is always dark; usually black.
25.5-29.5 inches (65-75cm)
75-100 pounds (34-45kg)
23.5-27.5 inches (60-70cm)
65 -90 pounds (30-41kg)
The Maremma was bred to live outdoors for months at a time in harsh mountainous conditions. They should live on farms and ranches with as much room to roam free as possible. They have an all-weather coat that once allowed them to sleep in the open. Most Maremmas will be perfectly happy sleeping outside if you decide that's how it will be, though they usually won't bother with the doghouse you so thoughtfully provided - they prefer to find their own spot to lie instead.
Even rural homeowners who want to keep them as pets in large yards are not advised to do so. The Maremma is are absolutely not apartment dogs and are certain to go insane and eat the walls or something else as impressively destructive.
This large, fluffy, white shepherding dog is native to the mountainous regions of the Apennine Mountains in the Italian region of Abruzzo. They are somewhat smaller than many similar working dogs, but they make up for it with fierce determination and intelligence.
In it's native Italy, the Maremma Sheep Dog is well known for its endurance. Males and females are both quite strong - more than capable of resisting you and a few friends if they really want to. They tend to form partnerships with humans rather than bow to being man's servant.
What Maremmas lack in bulk, they also make up for in hair: great billowing mounds of it in the heat of summer. They are not very well adapted to heat. Being smart, they usually lie down in the shade near a water source and refuse to move when it's too warm.
They've been bred for 2,000 to be fierce and smart guard dogs. They will not take kindly to anyone trying to tease themselves or their families, and they feel they're in the best position to make that decision, no matter what you think. The Maremma Sheepdog can be quite fierce, given that they were bred to defend against human robbers and wolves. Though not typically aggressive, they are very defensive.
Though not terribly affectionate, they do get intimate with their families very much on their own terms. This usually involves leaning, pawing and nuzzling. They are fiercely loyal and this trait increases with age. This guarding instinct often means there's a constant barrage of barking to alert all potential threats that he or she is on duty and no one in your household is to be trifled with.
Thick and white. There is a significant undercoat that requires regular maintenance or dreadlocks develop - especially in moist environments. The Maremma's fur actually helps keep the dog cool, so it is very important not to cut the hair close in the summer. Shedding events can be significant in a household environment.
Bred in the Apennine Mountains of East Central Italy, there were once two separate breeds of dog that were adapted just a bit differently to accommodate different altitudes. Today's breed is actually a hybridisation of the two, as decided in the 1950s.
From "the Italian Alps" of the Apennine Mountains of East Central Italy, this working dog is bred for the very specific purpose of individual herding villages high in the hills. The Maremma is related to several other types of European mountain dogs and is thought to have descended from a common ancestor during the Roman Era.
Like many of the other mountain dogs, the Maremma was bred large enough to defend flocks against both wolves and human thieves.
The breed was not imported to the United States until the 1970s, though it now has many devotees. They are more common in the UK, though still rare in even sub-urban areas for obvious reasons.
A fierce defender of life and property, this rather intelligent dog spends much of its time being very cheerfully methodical and thoughtful, while slow to anger. These dogs are proud and usually consider themselves something of a partner. They don't tend to be particularly affectionate, but are sure to be loyal.
The key characteristic of their training is dealing with the breed's general indifference to what you want. Training can be rather demanding for this reason. They have no respect for people who can't make up their mind, being very contemplative themselves.
Though quite intelligent, they are just intelligent enough to question orders mush of the time and just do what they think is best. This can be rather vexing, depending upon your dog's judgement. However, in working situations, they usually do know what's best as far as sheep and their own safety is concerned.
Indeed, they take their jobs very seriously once they get the idea that's what they're supposed to do and enjoy. Fundamentally, they are guard dogs and that means anyone or anything that wants to mess with what your dog considers His or Hers. Though not quick to anger, the Maremma can nonetheless be very imposing to anyone who doesn't belong.
Though not overly affectionate, the Maremma will bond very tightly with his or her human family. This often takes the form of people herding, but may also include leaning and pawing. Regardless of the form it takes, affection is always on the dog's terms - not yours.
Despite being a large dog, they are not prone to the congenital defects that plague many of the more popular large breeds. As they age, their noses may change colour, but this is normal and not a cause for alarm. A couple of problems are Lifestyle related:
Hip and joint disorders: Usually as a result of far too many calories, many Maremmas are placed on a low calorie and low protein Diet to keep from putting too much stress on the connective tissues.
Bloat: They should be fed in two small meals during the day to avoid this twisting of the stomach that's a consequence of eating too much, too fast.
Because of so much thick, white hair designed to keep the Maremma warm in the mountains, you'll need to brush your dog's hair a lot unless you want his or her fur to become a mass of matted dreadlocks or let them stay outside in the weather all the time.
The coat is ideally suited to resist weather and regular rolls in the dirt help keep the coat from matting on dogs that live outside all the time with their flocks. Some dogs have a finer-haired coat than others, and those are especially prone to getting terminal tangles.
Maremmas that live outside and tend a flock usually don't need to have their claws trimmed, but a regular inspection for their dewclaws is very important to keep them from growing into their feet. Since any resistance to such inspection could be problematic in the extreme. It is vital that you get your dog used to regular inspections and grooming when he or she is a puppy.
If fleas or ticks besiege your sheepdog, you can treat him or her with commercially available insecticides, but you'll need to be careful how you administer the treatment. Because they have so much fur, dips and sprays are usually applied in far higher quantities than necessary or healthful. The type of treatments that are applied directly to the skin may actually require you to shave a small spot on the back of the neck so you can actually find some skin. Using combing to keep flea populations down is not an option because there are is simply too much hair to hide in.
The shedding season occurs in the late spring and late summer with the spring shed being the more significant of the two. Given how much hair this dog produces, the shedding process can be extraordinary, with fluffs of white hair falling off like a bear. Sometimes they'll rub themselves against rocks or trees to try and assist the process, like bears. A doubling of your already regular combings during this time is a good idea to help prevent matting and turning your house into a single mass of white fuzz. If your dog is going au-natural, he or she is going to look a bit ugly for awhile.
To say the Maremma Sheepdog needs exercise is an understatement. They absolutely require not only the freedom to run around, but also psychologically, they need to be masters of their own destiny and, that includes a rather large range. Like a polar bear, they are territorial and really suffer if they don't have a fairly large outdoor tract to call their own.
Walking on a leash will not be enough, and all the dog's nervous energy will be directed back into behaviour that you probably won't be too impressed with. They're not the sort of dog that takes off running all the time, or chasing sticks, but they do like to have a nice, steady stream of activity at all times. Giving them a job of herding animals usually gives them the right amount and type of exercise.
Your new pup needs a job, and it's up to you to get him or her ready. The first two years of your Maremma's development are crucially important in bringing up a dog that will make an effective guard dog for livestock. They've been successfully used with Llamas, Alpaccas and goats as well as sheep.
They will eventually take well to herd training and loves keeping a careful eye on things. Ideally, one already has a well-trained dog that can teach the other one. Their intelligence and imperious temperament makes them generally unwilling to carry out your wishes. They like to decide things for themselves.
The trick with herding is often to get them to really enjoy bossing the flock around instead of you, making the first 18 months a critical time in your Maremma puppy's development. It takes about 24 months to become a full-fledged herder. During that time, the dog will become more and more possessive of the flock and the humans. Real training begins with short sessions at about 4 months.
Those who do want to keep a Maremma as a pet will be more interested in housebreaking and how they act in the yard. Housebreaking is surprisingly easy most often - they are clean dogs by nature and can be rapidly crate trained.
They are first and foremost guard dogs that will need to have their protectiveness channelled into something productive. Even when fully trained, you will need to avoid "dangerous" situations that most dogs would be just fine with. You must socialize your dog with as many people on his or her territory as possible.
Though it is recommended they at least have a large yard to run around in, even large yards are in danger of being escaped from, either through digging or jumping. These are very strong and determined dogs and require a great deal of fencing if they get a yen to wander. As such, unless you'll be breeding them, it is highly advised you have male dogs altered.
Either way, the housebound Maremma will herd the human members of the flock for lack of sheep. Generally the Maremma is not recommended as a pet because it is so difficult to train up, being so proud. The key is to remain firm and consistent with your training and have everyone in the house do so, too.