maremma sheepdog breed information
common health issues
For centuries, the Maremma Sheepdog (also known as the Cane da Pastore Maremmano-Abruzzese, or Maremmano for short) has been the four-legged helper of shepherds of the Abruzzo and Maremma regions of Italy, guarding sheep from wolves. At one time, there were two separate breeds, the Pastore Abruzzese and the Pastore Maremmano, but a single breed was officially established in the 1950s. It is believed that her ancestors are the same dogs that produced other flock-guarding breeds, such as the Hungarian Kuvasz, the Komondor and the Great Pyrenees.
Though she has become more widely known around the world, she is still most commonly seen in her native Italy, doing the job she was bred to do. Many ranchers in the U.S., Canada and Australia also keep Maremmanos, a practice encouraged by national park authorities because it allows livestock to coexist with endangered predator species.
The Maremma Sheepdog is a large, muscular dog, weighing between 65 and 100 lbs., with a dense, all-white coat that is long in the tail and thick around the neck. Her thick undercoat sheds out twice yearly, once in the spring and once in the fall, so plenty of brushing will be required. Puppies tend to have more energy than adult dogs, who do fine with moderate amounts of exercise. All Maremmanos need adequate open space, so keeping them in urban environments is not recommended.
Though she evolved to be slightly smaller than her other guarding dog cousins, she maintains the same strong will, loyalty and intelligence that distinguish those breeds. She is affectionate and friendly with her family members, and can be especially attentive with children, but she maintains an independent streak and can be distrustful of strangers or those she perceives to be a threat to “her” property. She does best with an experienced owner who can provide calm, firm, consistent obedience training.
Despite her solid build, Maremma Sheepdogs are prone to hereditary and congenital conditions that can adversely affect their health — not to mention your family’s vacation fund. Some of the conditions and illnesses the Maremmano is prone to include eye problems such as retinal dysplasia; skeletal problems such as panosteitis; stomach problems such as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV or bloat); and joint conditions such as hip dysplasia.
Thankfully, Petplan pet insurance covers all hereditary and chronic conditions as standard. Which means if your Maremma Sheepdog inherits anything more than her mom’s bad hips or her dad’s bad eyes, you’re covered.