The Maremma and Abruzzese shepherd dog is a large dog, strongly
built of a rustic (hardy) appearance, at the same time majestic and really
typical. On the whole, his shape, of average proportions, is that of a
heavy dog, whose body is longer than the height at the withers; it is
harmonious as to form (heterometric) and relatively harmonious in outline.
Proportions: the length of the head is four tenths of the height at the
withers; the body length is greater than the height at the withers by
one eighteenth. Depth of the body is slightly less than half the height
at the withers. (For instance a dog of 68 cm, the depth is about 32 cm)
is a majestic, distinguished and sturdy dog with a very intelligent expression.
Lack of substance is regarded very seriously in Italy; they should be
large and majestic. It is considered to be much more important to preserve
and maintain 'type', that is, be typical of the breed, than it is for
the dog to be 'spectacular'.
between dog and bitch should be very evident, and not only physically.
The dogs are larger, tougher and have a large collar, like a lion's mane.
They are more extrovert, stronger in temperament and become aggressive,
particularly with dogs who invade their territory. The bitches, on the
other hand, may be a few inches smaller, are more elegant and can be feline
in their movements; they are much gentler and more diffident.
For his stature,
this dog has only a moderate appetite. The maremma is an irregular feeder,
is not a glutton and will never over-eat. His irregularity in feeding
needs getting used to, and it is necessary to be sure that water is always
available to him.
It is a shepherd dog used mainly for the protection of flocks and
is essentially an outdoors animal. He is a calm dog, only barking if he
sees something unusual, otherwise he will be lying in the shade of the
house or in some cool place, sleeping or pretending to do so. Thus, even
his calorific requirements are smaller than those of other breeds of the
His principal function as a guard and defence dog of flocks and
property in general, shows itself in the manner in which he accomplishes
these tasks, with perception, courage and decision. Although proud and
not inclined to submission, he is also devoted to his master and his entourage.
in this breed is as important as its appearance, as dogs who have the
wrong temperament can develop an unwanted aggressiveness, which, besides
being a problem to the owner, can do much harm to the breed.
On the whole the head is large and flat, of conical shape, reminiscent
of that of a polar bear.
Correct maremma heads
is of great width with the sides of the skull slightly rounded; in profile
it is also convex. The upper longitudinal axes of the skull and muzzle
are slightly divergent from each other, which makes the profile of the
head slightly convex. The eyebrows are moderately arched. The medial furrow
is slight. The occipital crest is not accentuated.
Left: too much angle and ears too long
Right:narrow skull, ears high set
Group of maremmas displaying typical heads whilst also displaying a range of angle differences
should not be pronounced. The depression is only slight and the angle
is always very open
rather large, in line with the muzzle, with large, well-opened, moist
and cool nostrils, and coloured black. In profile must not protrude beyond
the front margin of the lips.
its length is one tenth less than that of the skull. Its depth, measured
at the level of the corners of the lips, must equal half its length. Its
width decreases progressively with the convergence of the sides of the
muzzle towards the front. It is slightlly chiselled beneath the eyes.
This first dog has a very narrow muzzle
These 2 dogs have not enough stop
Seen from the front, the upper lips are shaped like a semi-circle of very
small radius at the lower edge of their junction point. The lips, being
only silghtly developed, barely cover the teeth, and therefore the corner
of the lips is only lightly accentuated. Consequently, the lower side
profile is defined by the lips only at the front part; in its rear part
it is defined by the lower jaw and the corner of the lips. The rims of
the lips are black.
look strong and are normally developed.
The head of
the maremma should be immediately recognisable from the heads of similar
breeds, such as the Kuvasz or the Pyrenean Mountain Dog, by its typical
shape and expression.
Its size should
be in proportion to the body, its shape large and conical; shaped like
a blunt wedge and reminiscent of the head of the Polar bear, particularly
about the muzzle. The conical shape means that even the sides of the muzzle
must not be parallel, but taper towards the nose.
Not large in relation to the size of the dog; the iris is of an
ochre colour, or chestnut brown. The eye, in lateral position, is
neither deep set nor protruding. Lively and attentive expression.
Eyelid opening is almond shaped, with black eyelid rims.
is never enough importance given to the eye in this breed. The eyes
should be almond shaped, neither too large nor too small and not
too deeply set. The dog should have the "liquid" and "smiling"
expression which gives great joy to all who love the breed.
The image below cannot be said to produce a liquid, smiling expression
Set very high over the zygomatic arches, they hang down but are
very mobile. Triangular shape (in a V), their extremities form a
narrow point, never rounded; they are small in relation to the size
of the dog. For a medium size dog their length must not go beyond
12 cm. The ear leather is of medium width. Cropped ears are tolerated
only in dogs really used as herd dogs (NOT legal in Australia)
Teeth are white, strong, complete and with a scissor bite. Anything
other than a scissor bite is a fault, and any deviation from the
correct bite is regarded seriously.
ears too long
correct ear size
Strong, of medium length, devoid of dewlap, with thick hair that forms
a collar or mane.
Straight limbs when viewed from the front and side; forequarters
well balanced in relation to the body, and the various parts of the forequarters
are well proportioned to each other
long, sloping, with powerful muscles. Must be really free in movement.
In length measures about one quarter of the height at the withers. Its
angulation below the horizontal is from 50 - 60 degrees.
normally close to the chest, they are covered with a soft, loose skin.
Their position must be parallel to the median plane of the body; the point
of the elbow must be on an imaginary vertical plane from the shoulder
blade. The angle formed by the junction of the humerous and the radius
varies between 145 and 150 degrees.
straight and vertical, heavily boned. Its length is slightly more than
the length of the upperarm, whilst being a little less than a third of
the height at the withers. The front leg from the ground to elbow measures
53% of the height at the withers.
these shoulders are too straight, and will not allow correct free
movement - note the difference in the angles shown in red
correct legs, with the angles shown in red. Compare this photo to
the angles drawing
joint (wrist or carpus)
extends the vertical line of the forearm.
Strong, clean, smooth and of good thickness; the pistiform bone at its
back edge is clearly visible.
its length must never be less than one sixth of the
foreleg measured from ground to elbow. It is lean with a minimum of sub-cutaneous
tissue. Seen from the side, slopes slightly towards the front.
Solidly constructed, its length (measured from point of shoulder
to buttock) is one eighteenth greater than the height at the withers.
straight from behind the withers to the rump where it becomes somewhat
slightly above the topline; wide because of the distance separating the
straight in profile, length is about 32% of the height at the withers.
The loin which merges perfectly with the topline has a slightly curved
profile with well developed muscles. The length of the loin is one fifth
of the height at the withers, and its width is nearly equal to its length.
Wide, strong and well muscled. Its slope from the hip to the tail set
is 20 degrees, increasing to 30 degrees and more if we refer to the ileum-ischium
line; that is why the rump of the Maremma and Abruzzese shepherd dog must
be qualified as sloping.
Ample, descending to the level of the elbows, deep and well rounded at
mid-height. Its circumference must be one quarter greater than the height
at the withers; its maximum width at mid-height must be at least 32% of
the height at the withers, then decreases progressively downwards, whilst
retaining a good width in the sternal region.
Its lower line, from the sternum forward, rises very slightly toward the
flanks, in such a way that the belly is slightly drawn up.
as a whole: Limbs are straight when seen from behind. The general aspect
is in proportion with the body, and the various parts of the hindquarters
are in harmony with each other.
Long, wide with prominent muscles and the rear edge slightly
convex. Its width, measured from edge to edge, is three quarters of its
length. It is slightly angulated from top to bottom and rear to front;
the angle of the femur with the hip-bone is about 100 degrees.
Its length which is a little shorter than the upper thigh,
is 32.5% of the height at the withers. Its angulation below the horizontal
is about 60 degrees. Strong bone, muscles lean and the groove in the leg
Set perfectly in the vertical line of the hind leg, turns neither in nor
out. The angle of the femur and tibia is rather open and varies between
135 and 140 degrees.
Quite thick, with broad lateral faces. The angle varies between
140 and 150 degrees.
Strong, lean and broad. Its length is 31% of
the height at the withers. Dewclaws must be removed.
Large of roundish shape, well closed toes, covered with short, thick hair;
nails preferably black; chestnut colour is tolerated.
Like the front feet but more oval.
Low set due to the sloping rump, in normal stance reaching below the
level of the hock. Hanging down when the dog is stationary; carried level
with back line with a rather strongly hooked tip when the dog is moving.
Well furnished with dense hair without fringes.
tail is set low, and when excited, carried straight out with onlly a slight
curve at the end. Very cheerful dogs carry their tails in a slight upwards
curl. A very bad fault is the so-called "spitz tail", which
is generally caused by an incorrect croup.
first third of the tail, starting from its insertion in the rump, should
never be carried above the level of the back, even if the last part may
be waving gayly during movement.
various types of incorrect tails
examples of correct tails
and extended trot.
is very free, but not like the German Shepherd as it si less angulated
behind. maremmas are fast and as agile as any cat. They are strong dogs
but they must maintain agility to be typical of the breed. This fact must
be strongly emphasised as if the dogs become too heavy and too large they
will lose their agility. On the other hand they must maintain their excellent
bone, strength and size, also without losing their agility.
Correct maremma gait
Tight on all parts of the body; rather thick. Black pigmentation of the
mucous membranes, eyelids and the central and toe pads.
Very well furnished. Hair long, rather harsh to the touch,
closer to straight horse hair; flat to the body; slight wave is tolerated.
The coat forms a rich collar around the neck and feathering of limited
length on the edge of the hindquarters. It is short on the muzzle, skull,
ears and front edge of the limbs. On the body it reaches 8 cm (3 ins).
The undercoat is only abundant in winter.
Solid white. Shades of ivory, pale orange or lemon are tolerated but
only if not excessive.
dogs spend a lot of time cleaning their coats, like cats, and, although
the coat is white, it does not need any special care. It sheds its coat
twice a year after losing all the dead hair, which becomes yellowish,
just like wool. When it rains and the dogs are wet, the coat becomes the
colour of the earth, but as soon as it dries it becomse whiter than it
- 29 inches
- 26.5 inches
drawing illustrates how to measure the lengths described
in the standards, and how to measure the angles. Body length
is measured from the point of the shoulder to the point of the hip.
Height is measured at the foreleg to the top of the shoulder. Angulation
of the legs is demonstrated here well, as are the needed proportions.
this drawing now with the various photos shown throughout the standards
to see how many of the dogs photographed vary from the ideal.
You can download a printable version of this drawing then measure
your dog and do the math! You will find once you have actually measured a number of dogs you will develop an 'eye' for this and won't always need to do exact measuring. It is probably easiest to start with to measure your dog directly but you can use a good photo to measure on also.
VIDEO explaining the dog's anatomical structure
This video will walk you through the diagram above explaining the dog's anatomy.
incorrect leg angles, & toplineCorrect
angles giving a straight shoulder
Any departure from the foregoing constitutes a fault which when judging
must be penalised according to its seriousness and its extent. The same
conditions apply to dogs which pace very often and dogs whose dewclaws
have not been removed.
The axes of the skull and foreface are convergent
Serious and disfiguring prognathism (undershot if it harms the general
appearance of the muzzle; overshot if the result of bad direction of the
Rolled over the back.
Above or below the limits fixed by the Standard.
Definitely convex or concave.
Moderate or bilateral depigmentation of the eyelids. Wall-eyed. Cross-eyed.
Overshot (when caused by lack of length of the underjaw).
Tailless or short tail, whether congenital or docked.
Curly. Colour: Isabella coat; well defined patches of Isabella or ivory
colour. Black shadings.
animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into
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