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Maremma Sheepdog

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Proud and strong, the Maremma are the perfect bodyguards for a range of livestock, though most well known as sheep guardians. Definitely not a dog for the city, a Maremma will thrive on a large property with a vulnerable flock animal to protect.

Choose a Maremma if you want a dog to look after your valuable stock and property.

Where I'm From

The Maremma sheepdog originates from the mountainous areas of Italy’s Abruzzo and Maremma regions. Bred for hundreds if not thousands of years to help shepherds protect livestock, principally sheep, from marauding wolves. White sheepdogs resembling the Maremma are represented in various iconographies stemming from the Roman period until today.

The breed was first recognised officially in Italy in the early 20th century. Maremmas remain popular sheep protectors around the world, though are not so common in Australia.

However, a special Maremma was trained to protect a threaten penguin population in Australia. Now the subject of feature film Oddball.

What I Look Like

Maremmas are large, solid and sturdy white dogs with a rough, thick double coat that protects them from the elements. Males can weigh up to 45 kilograms, females up to 40 kilogram. Their dark eyes and black nose sit in stark contrast to their light coats. With a large head, floppy ears and a long curled tail, they make impressive yet imposing looking dogs.

How I Act

The Maremma are independent thinkers that can be aloof to strangers. Though they will bond with and protect their human family and the livestock they are defending. It is important to develop a consistent relationship with the dog from a young age to ensure they have a strong bond with their masters.

Training is crucial for a dog of the Maremma’s size. Training and socialisation must begin early to ensure your Maremma understands commands and won’t feel threatened by newcomers. If you want your Maremma to become a sheep guardian, the dog should be introduced to livestock from puppy age so they develop an in-built protective relationship with the animals.

They are used to spending time with slow moving, travelling stock and need wide-open spaces to roam around in. If not protecting livestock, Maremma still need substantial exercise of 30-60 minutes per day and may be suited for obedience trials.

Looking After Me

Maremmas should be fed high quality smaller meals 2-3 times per day to reduce the incidence of bloat, a potentially fatal digestive condition.

The Maremmas are fairly low-maintenance dogs but still need a brush a couple times a week and a bath every so often to remain in good shape. Their dense undercoat sheds heavily in spring and autumn, and requires more attention during these times.

Maremmas are a hardy, healthy breed of dog though can suffer from some health ailments including hip dysplasia or bloat. They can also suffer from sensitivity to anaesthesia.

It is advisable to check the temperament and medical history of a puppy’s parents and view veterinarian clearance certificates to ensure you get a healthy dog though not every ailment can be predicted. Be very wary of uncertified backyard breeders.

Maremma have a lifespan of 10-14 years.

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