These dogs are surely
different from any other dogs, particularly different from all the
sheepdogs that have been created by man, created to be a robot
and receives instruction and training. The way in which these 'white sheepdogs'
were and are used have taught him to look after himself, to use his own
initiative and his own brain without waiting for the help of man. Having
said all this about the common temperament of these breeds, we will now
stop and talk about our own Maremmano-Abruzzes
First of all, why Maremrnano-Abruzzes! There has been and still is a lot of controversy on the paternity of the
breed. What is certain is that nowadays in the Abruzzes (which is in Italy),
the breeding of sheep is still very prosperous and I would say expanding,
consequently, the same is true of the dogs. Whereas in the Maremmano the
agricultural reforms in the early I950's has completely killed off the
breeding of any animals, and the dogs have disappeared too, although there
are some in good numbers, and I would say good quality, in the Roman part
of the Maremmano, which is the Southern part. It was at the time of the
agricultural reforms that the family of the Prince Corsinni collected
all the dogs that were left in the Maremmano region. They continued the
breeding of these dogs, which to them had always been tradition. They
had always owned a lot of land, and had large herds, so they had always
used these dogs to guard the sheep. All the dogs that they had collected
were often mated with the dogs coming in from the Abruzzes, consequently,
these dogs, without doubt are the foundation of 90% of the Maremmano-Abruzzes
that are found in Italy at the present time, and the foundation of the
dogs that were sent to many countries throughout the world.
Over the years the breed has undergone
a big improvement in numbers, and in particular, number of high quality.
This is obvious and can be appreciated when visiting general and club
shows, organised by societies. Here the average level of quality of the
dogs entered is eye-catching. It is also very nice to see that a lot of
the dogs exhibited, belong to private owners who have shown wisdom in
buying good specimens from reliable breeders. The owners have also shown
wisdom with regard to the rearing of these dogs, taking them to the shows
and socialising them, and also allowing the public to see such good dogs.
It is thanks to these owners that the numbers of exhibits at the shows
is always so high and improving all the time. Credit must also go to the
breeders for giving such good specimens into private ownership, and then
following this up with help and advice on how to improve these dogs. During
the last few years some of the shepherds pushed by dog lovers in the Abruzzes
have started to exhibit at our shows with some good results. This has
also been useful in exchanging information and matings within the two
branches of the breed. As far as the breed in other countries is concerned
it is very well represented i.e. in Holland, Gt. Britain, Scandinavia,
France, Switzerland are now beginning to show interest too.
Although the breed is
not for everyone, it has something which, when you know and in particular
understand it, it traps you and you cannot leave it for another breed.
This is why it is not like any other breed of dog. The hard life, the
harsh and solitary life to which these dogs have been accustomed to for
centuries has given them a temperament which is very special to THEM.
They have a love for their master, but never a submission, or dependence
and never subservience. They will always be diffident to strangers and
will maintain a spirit of initiative, that lets his master impose his
will. Maremmas have too much dignity and pride, together with an inborn
sense of responsibility for what they have to do, which is the guarding
and defence of their property, be this a herd, territory or a home, virtually
anything that needs protection.
This article has been broken down into sections for your convenience