Maremma Abruzzo Sheepdog
The Maremma-Abruzzo Sheepdog is a guard dog. Listed under Group 1, Section 1, FCI No. 201, this breed is considered an extremely highly specialized guard dog. Its task is to herd and protect the herds, which it manages independently. It shows character traits that are very different from other many dog breeds. He needs a lot of exercise and a meaningful occupation. The animal is in no case suitable as a city dog.
Shepherds always prefer white dogs. In the event of an attack by wolves, the animal can not be accidentally shot. The breed standard is still the color white. There are also slightly lighter shades in the tolerance range. The hair of the Maremma-Abruzzo Sheepdog is wavy and long. The head, reminiscent of a bear with a mane on the neck, has attached, pendulous ears.
The small eyes are deep. Different colors of the nose are allowed. The lips must have full pigmentation. Males have a shoulder height of 65 to 73 centimeters in the standard. Bitches are between 60 and 68 centimeters high. The strong dogs weigh up to 45 kilograms.
Shepherds for centuries have bred a character capable of guarding a farm without much instruction. These dogs protect the herds resolutely and courageously. They have no regard for their own lives. This dog is self-confident, independent and conscientious.
He is able to decide for himself. These character traits cannot be trained away from the guard dogs. The working dogs are not devoted helpers, they are anarchists. They obey commands of their owner only if they seem logical to him. They are jokingly compared with cats, which show a certain obstinacy.
You should be patient, consistent and strong as the owner of such a dog. You can only enforce the education quietly and without violence. Violence has the opposite effect on this dog. Note that the dog has a distrust of strangers. He does not like to be touched. He also needs a great individual distance from humans. This guard dog is especially alert at dusk. You should therefore get him used to things during the day that he does not yet know.
The Maremma-Abruzzo Sheepdog does not mature as quickly as other dogs. It exceeds the eighteen months given as a value for other dogs. It may happen that by the thirtieth month the dog redefines its own rank in the pack. The pack may be the owner or the family. Then he may show some potential for aggression.
The dogs were kept by the Italians as guard dogs and farmyard dogs. One allowed him a family connection which is closer. Thus, typical features of his nature weakened. These have also diminished in breeding.
A character trait was formed, which additionally made him a family dog. The dogs are not cuddly. They also do not flatter, but they are very attached to their owners. Therefore, you can keep them as a friend and to protect children in the family. However, they need early and good socialization and consistent education.
The right food
Because this breed of dog needs a lot of exercise, it requires a species-appropriate diet. The dog also develops a larger appetite than other dogs because of its body size. He therefore needs completely different proportions of nutrients than a smaller dog.
In particular, this concerns all vitamins and minerals. In the process, he may be prone to stomach problems or flatulence. Gastric torsion is also a danger. However, you can prevent these complaints. Give the animal several small meals, distributed over the day. It does not matter whether you give dry food or wet food.
Maremma Abruzzo Sheepdog Care
Your dog's long, heavy and thick coat should be brushed every day. Matted coats can cause eczema. Matted fur can also cause heat buildup. Your dog would suffer from this. Regularly inspect his pads on his paws. The fur sometimes grows out between the pads and needs to be trimmed.
As a rule, the Maremma Abruzzo Sheepdog is healthy. However, hereditary diseases of the eyes may occur. Problems with the hips, such as hip dysplasia are often diagnosed. This can limit the mobility. If you want to breed, you should ask the vet. An examination and evaluation of your dog's eyes and hip are essential.
A normal, wide dog collar is enough. For sleeping, the animal should have a dog pillow or a large dog basket. For a visit to the vet in the city, a strong leather leash is recommended. As a care product you should have a mild dog shampoo at home. Bathe the dog only in exceptional cases. As long as it is not full of mud, brushing is sufficient. A special brush for the long coat and tongs for the dog's claws are useful.
Toys this breed hardly needs. Maremma-Abruzzo Sheepdogs are also not suitable for dog sports. Neither for agility nor for the dog park. Because for obeying on the word or with hand signals this dog is not to be had at all. He needs a purposeful task, which corresponds to his nature. Thereby he feels well. In a city apartment he would waste away. You should have at least more than two hours a day for your dog. A lot of exercise is very important for the adult and healthy dog and also not too much.
Origin & History
This particular sheepdog got its name from two Italian regions. The name comes from the Maremma region. It was a malaria-infested swampy region about a hundred years ago. The second name is derived from Abruzzo, whose Apennine mountains are up to 3000 meters high. Shepherds used to retreat with their flocks to the barren coast of southern Tuscany in winter. Often they could not find food in the Apennine mountains. For this reason, the white guard dogs were also genetically related to each other.
The ancient origin of these dogs goes back almost to prehistoric times. It is said that their forefathers came from the plateau of Tibet. In 2000 BC, the nomadic peoples migrated inexorably in the western direction. They searched for soil that was fertile and brought with them their herds and dogs. These dogs protected the livestock herds. They are considered the ancestors of all guard dogs in the world.
In the following centuries the nomads reached the Azov Sea of Ukraine. There two groups were formed. They took different routes. One group followed the route to the present-day western Europe. The second group moved towards the eastern Mediterranean. Over time, not only the human populations changed, but also the dogs. They took on the traits needed for working and protecting herds.
The three most important breeds of dogs from ancient times originated from the Tibetan Molosser. Among them was the Canis Pastoralis, which accompanied shepherds and protected their flocks. It is not clear how the forefathers of guard dogs came to Italy. Probably all nomadic peoples had a white Canis Pastoralis with them. He could survive only in certain conditions of the environment - where there were wolves or bears. Both breeds, which were kept separately, were merged into one breed in 1950.