Maremma and the Abruzzes Sheepdog

The Maremma and Abruzzese Shepherd Dog is a breed of Italian origin, bred for the protection of flocks. Its large size and white coat are two of the breed's distinguishing characteristics, in addition to its protective nature, loyalty and courage.

General details

The breed has a large size and strong structure. Males can weigh between 35 and 45 kg, while females range between 30 and 40 kg. The height in males is between 65 and 73 cm and in females between 60 and 67 cm. Their life expectancy is 10 to 14 years and they belong to Group 1 of the FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale), which includes shepherd and cattle dogs (except Swiss Cattle Dogs).

Breed history in brief

The Maremma and Abruzzese Shepherd Dog is an ancient breed of herd guardian dogs that originated in Abruzzo and the Tuscan Maremma and Lazio region. These dogs are descended from the shepherd dogs that were used to protect sheep in these areas. From 1860 onwards, the transhumance of the flocks promoted the natural mixing of these two primitive breeds, giving rise to a new generation of dogs with unique characteristics. This breed has been noted for its courage, intelligence and loyalty in protecting flocks, and is still widely used today for this purpose in rural areas.

Breed characteristics

The Maremma and Abruzzese Shepherd Dog is characterized by its solid constitution, presenting a straight topline and a slightly sloping, broad and well muscled croup. Its head is of considerable size and has a conical shape, with ochre or chestnut-brown eyes that reflect an alert and lively expression. The ears are triangular, high set, pendant and mobile. At rest, the tail is carried hanging, but during action it rises to the level of the topline, curving at the end. The coat is long, dense and quite harsh to the touch. The hair forms a ruff around the neck, while on the muzzle, skull, ears and front of the limbs the hair is short. The undercoat is abundant only in winter and the coat color is solid white, although ivory, pale orange or lemon shading is tolerated. The temperament of the Maremma and Abruzzese Shepherd Dog is noted for its protective and loyal nature. These dogs are truly committed to their work and demonstrate exceptional courage and alertness. Their intelligence allows them to adapt quickly to diverse situations, while their affection and devotion to their family make them loyal companions. In addition, they establish a strong emotional connection with their master, which reinforces their loyalty and commitment.

Common health problems

The Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) of OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) recommends an eye examination and various radiological tests to assess the following diseases: hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia and patellar luxation.

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