Last Updated on August 7, 2023 by Pets Feed
The Maremmano Abruzzese Sheepdog is an Italian breed of large white dogs, bred specifically for the protection and herding of sheep. All individuals are distinguished by an innate distrust of strangers, as well as the ability to independently analyze the situation and make decisions.
Maremmano Abruzzese Sheepdog photos
The Maremmano Abruzzese Sheepdog is a large, strong, and muscular dog with a coarse white top coat and thick protective undercoat. The distance between the ears is quite wide, the muzzle narrows downwards. The ears are small and set high. The height of adult males is 65-73 cm, weight – 35-45 kg, females – 60-68 cm and 30-40 kg, respectively.
- Head: The skull is large, shaped like that of a polar bear. The head is large, cone-shaped, but without pronounced relief. The stop is not very clear. The length of the muzzle is shorter than the length of the skull.
- Teeth: The jaws are impressive with large white teeth. The bite is correct in scissors.
- Ears: Small ears with pointed tips, drooping, triangular, very mobile, set high.
- Eyes: The eyes are relatively small, almond shaped, not prominent nor particularly deep set. The color of the iris is ocher or dark brown. The gaze is intelligent, attentive and insightful.
- Body: The body is slightly elongated, strong. The neck is thick and short, muscular with an arch in the upper part. The suspension is missing. The back is straight, broad with a slight slope to the sloping croup and a shortened loin. The chest is rounded, spacious, tapering downward, reaching the elbow joints. The belly is well formed.
- Limbs: Legs proportionate to the body, straight, powerful and strong. The legs are large, rounded with elastic pads and closed toes and black or brown nails.
- Coat: The coat is hard, thick, up to 8 cm long, straight or slightly wavy. Slightly shorter on the head, muzzle, ears and legs. The undercoat is dense, but disappears in summer. The color is white, pale red, light beige and lemon yellowish.
Character and behavior
The Maremmano Abruzzese Sheepdog is independent, proud and reluctant to live in symbiosis with his family. For this reason, he does not need constant attention to be peaceful, and prefers to devote himself to the protection of the house (or animals) and the outdoor life. However, precisely because of his autonomy of character, he can become disobedient in the face of an owner who is not very solid or who imposes his will on him without respecting it. If given the utmost respect, he in turn will be abundantly respected, especially if he is consistent and sensible.
These shepherds who have selected this dog over the millennia had no interest in the guardian of their herds being playful and affectionate, preferring other characteristics: protective instinct, autonomy, intelligence, judgment, lack of instinct of predator. This breed has an independent disposition and although they bond deeply with their family, they are not very gentle and loving.
This breed has a very strong protective instinct, which is why it earned the nickname “White Guardian”. As a result, he is very intolerant of strangers, who indeed tend to greet them by barking and growling. It’s an instinct developed through human selection, to protect livestock from bears, wolves and bandits, making it perfect today for protecting your home.
With the children
With other animals
This shepherd dog has a solid and long-lasting health, so it practically does not get sick, but it has a predisposition to genetic problems:
- Diaphyseal aplasia.
- Dislocation of the patella.
- Dysplasia of the hip joint and elbow joint.
- Hypersensitivity to anesthetics.
The care of the Maremmano and Abruzzo shepherd is not painful:
- The coat is combed 4 to 5 times a week.
- The ears are cleaned 1-2 times a week.
- Grooming is done twice a year.
- Clean eyes daily.
- The claws are trimmed once or twice a month.
- Teeth are brushed weekly.
- Bathe your only when it is very dirty (The Maremmano and Abruzzese Shepherd’s coat is considered self-cleaning).
History of the breed
The Maremmano Abruzzese Sheepdog Dog takes its name from two historical regions of Italy – Maremma and Abruzzo. For a long time, the regions fought among themselves for the right to be considered the cradle of dogs. But as the conflict dragged on and there was no preponderance on either side, the cynologists had to compromise and enter both areas into the breed’s name. As for the first mention of the white-haired shepherd giants, they are easily found in the writings of the ancient Roman authors Rutilius Palladius and Lucius Columella. Describing the peculiarities of agriculture in the territories of the Eternal City, the two researchers noted white dogs, skillfully managing the herd and leading the sheep.
Sculptures and frescoes depicting the first Maremmano Abruzzese Sheepdogs also survive. You can appreciate the appearance of the ancestors of today’s sheepdogs at the Archaeological Museum of Capua, the British Museum (look for a figure with the name Jennings Dog / Duncombe Dog), the Church of Santa Maria de Novella in Florence and at the temple of San Francesco in Amatrice. If you happen to visit an exhibition of paintings in the Vatican Pinacoteca, be sure to look for the “Nativity” painting by medieval painter Mariotto di Nardo – the Maremmo-Abruzzo shepherd is depicted there very realistically.
Registration of the breed in herd books began in 1898 – at the time of the procedure, documents were issued only to 4 people. In 1924, animals received their first appearance standard, compiled by Giuseppe Solaro and Luigi Groppi, but later, until 1940, sheepdogs were no longer involved in registration. It should be noted that until the middle of the 20th century, Maremmano dogs and Abruzzo dogs were positioned as two independent breeds. This was explained by the fact that historically individuals from these regions contacted each other very rarely, developing in isolation. The mixing of phenotypes only occurred while cattle were driven across the country – sheepdogs would accompany sheep, relate to dogs from other regions, and produce mixed-breed puppies along the way. The unification of the breed clans into a single family called Maremmano Abruzzese Sheepdog took place only in 1958, at the insistence of the same Giuseppe Solaro.