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Maremma Sheepdog Dog Breed Profile

Maremma Sheepdog

Other Names
Cane da Pastore 
Dog Group Kennel Club
Breed Classification
Maremma Sheepdogs belong to the pastoral group and are used as guard dogs for herds, as companions and seen in the show-ring. 
Cost of Ownership
Average Food Cost
£10-15 per week
Feeding Requirements
Whilst this is quite a large dog, on reaching maturity it is not a big eater and therefore can be kept on a low maintenance diet. It matures slowly, not reaching full maturity till two years so it is advised that it be fed a special diet for giant breed puppies. It is important not to overfeed the puppies but be aware that there are growth spurts. Poor nutrition in its youth will lead to skeletal problems in older dogs. 
Other Expenses
Although fairly common in Italy, this is a rare breed in England and will cost more as the availability is low. 
9 - 15 years
The lifespan of this dog is 11 to 13 years. 
Average Litter Size
The litter sizes of this breed vary greatly. Litters of 2 or 3 puppies and of 10 or 12 puppies are both common. 
General Physical Description
This is a large, sturdy dog with a coarse white outercoat and dense protective undercoat. The dog should be a solid white colour and feature heavy bones and well developed musculature. The head is wide between the ears and narrows to the muzzle. The ears are small and high set.
Height Min Max
Bitch 60cm (24") 68cm (27")
Dog 63cm (25") 73cm (29")
Weight Min Max
Bitch 30kg (66lbs) 40kg (88lbs)
Dog 35kg (77lbs) 45kg (99lbs)
Size Category
Weight Height Range
This is a very large breed which can stand between 59 and 73cms and weigh between 30 and 45kgs. 
This is a hardy breed but can be subject to some ailments common to the lines of large breeds. Hip dysplasia affects the Maremma as does achondroplasia and slipped patellas. The veterinary surgeon should be careful when anaesthetising this breed as it is sensitive to anaesthetics. 
Common Ailments
Susceptibility To Illness
Ancient Italian writers have mentioned the Maremma Sheepdog, and a 13th century picture in the church of Santa Maria in Florence depicts a Maremma. The original stock came from migrating Eastern shepherd dogs which developed into the individual breeds particular to a region, for example, the French Pyrennean Sheepdog and the Hungarian Kuvasz. In Italy, the shorter coated Maremmano and the longer backed Abruzzese merged into one breed sometime in the 1860s, due to seasonal movement of flocks. Today's Maremma is still the most popular and common sheepdog in Italy. It is said that the courageous Maremma can ward off wolves, bears and human predators. The Maremma was first exported to England in 1931 with the dog "Drago of Castlenuova." A mate was later sent for him and a breeding programme was started by Helen Home-Robertson and Mrs. J.M. Pryor. Maremmas now have their own class at Crufts. In this country they are generally used for estate guard dogs or as pets. 
This breed can be very difficult to train as it is very strong willed. It will be loyal to one master but training may still take considerable effort. Early socialisation is essential as this is a big, strong dog and accidents could happen if the dog were not trained to get along with smaller pets and children.< 
Show Characteristics
The head is conical in shape, wide between the ears and narrowing to the foreface. Snipiness should, however, be avoided in the muzzle. The nostrils should be large and black while the eyes are dark brown and almond shaped. The ears are set high on the head and are small and triangular in shape. Of medium length, the neck should show strength as it leads to the long, sloping shoulders and straight, well-boned forelegs. The feet are oval and well arched. The dog is slightly longer than tall and deep chested, with a moderately tucked abdomen. The back should be strong and straight and the tail is set low, reaching past the hocks. The hindquarters are broad and muscular with well let down hocks and moderately bent stifles. The outercoat is white, ivory or pale fawn with no waviness and some harshness to it. The undercoat is thick and dense and together should waterproof the dog. The puppy coat will come in soft and woolly, getting harsher between 6 and 12 months. Puppies will always be white. 
Country Of Origin
Famous Examples
Drago of Castlenuova 
Records Held
Overall Exercise
40 - 60 minutes per day.
Whilst this breed can take a huge amount of exercise, it is not a necessity. The breed is used for guarding the herd and has the stamina to work all day. Having said that, they are more endurance dogs than high energy ones.  
Distress if Left Alone
Personal Protection
Guard Dog Suitability
Risk of Sheep Worrying
Tendency to Bark
Level of Aggression
Compatibility With Other Animals
Suitable For Children


General Character And Temperament
The Maremma's guarding instinct is highly developed and the dog is happiest when at work tending its flocks. They will be loyal to their master and devoted to their flock but intolerant of intruders. For this reason, the breed is also a good guard dog and has been used as such on many a successful occasion. Intelligent and strong willed, this can be a difficult dog to train and it does not take kindly to children or other dogs unless well socialised with them at an early age. On the whole they are good with other animals which they have been brought up with and are reasonably tolerant of others unless they feel their their charges are being threatened. Although not aggressive, this dog is courageous in protection of its flock and home. 
Coat Length
Grooming Requirement
> Once a week 
Requires Professional Groomer
This heavy, dense coat takes a lot of upkeep and the dog needs a thorough brushing and combing nearly every day or the coat will become matted and the dog will develop eczema and hot spots. The pads should be examined and trimmed between them, if necessary.  
The Maremma is usually solid white in colour although orange or yellow tints around the ears occur. Ivory and pale fawn can also be seen in their coat colours. 
Suffers From Allergies
Tendency to Cause Allergies