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Temperament, a subject one could spend days and days discussing

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.

maremma sheepdog displaying attentive behaviour with his herd of goats, showing how a white dog can blend in with his livestock

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

 

 

male maremma playing with his pups displaying the loving nature of these livestock guardian dogs

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