Maremma and Abruzzes Sheepdog
Source of breeddescription: CPMA Italian Maremma Club
|Country of origin:
||Sheperd dog used mainly for the protection of flocks and guarding of properties.
||Group I: Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs
||Section I: Sheepdogs
Brief historical summary
This dog belongs to the stock of the large White Dogs of central Europe, an ancient stock
of sheep dogs, with a mistrusting and bellicose character. It arrived here from
the Middle East. In central Italy it evolved as a breed in and of itself, described
by Columella (1st century AD) as the defender of the flock from wolves. This explains
why the shepherds like its white coat: because it enables them to distinguish it
from the wolves when they attack at twilight and thus avoid killing a friend instead
of an enemy. Maremma as well as Abruzzo have been the home of these dogs since time
immemorial. Therefore, in 1958 the ENCI decided to give it its current name.
These animals are selected to work even in situations where man is not present, so they
are endowed with a marked sense of responsibility toward the animals or things they
are entrusted with. They are proud, watchful, intuitive and have a strong sense
of territory; with strangers they are unsociable and reserved, they love their master
but are not submissive and maintain a certain independence. Rustic, robust, indifferent
to harsh weather, accustomed to getting along by themselves, the Maremmano-Abruzzese
Shepherds are destructive to intruders. The male is the larger and more majestic,
assertive, courageous and aggressive. The female is more long-limbed and elegant,
more shy and mistrusling. In either case, their general appearance is quite impressive:
harmonious, though large; their head resembles that of the white bear.
This ancient breed of dogs who guard flocks comes from shepherd dogs actually still
used in the Abruzzes where the breeding of sheep is still thriving even in these
days, and sheepdogs which existed yesteryear in the region of the Tuscan Maremma
and in that of Latium. Most especially since 1860, the seasonal moving of livestock
from one region to another has favoured the developing of a natural crossing of
those two primitive breeds.
The Maremma and Abruzzes shepherd dog is a big dog, strongly built of a rustic 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; is balanced as much in size (heterometry = normal proportions between the
size and different parts of the body) as to the profiles (alloidism = concordance
between the profiles of the head and the body).
The length of the
head reaches the 4/10 of the height at the withers; the length of the muzzle is
1/10th less than that of the skull: the body length is more by 1/18th than the height
at the withers. Depth of thorax is slightly less than half the height at the withers,
(For instance; for a dog of 68 cm the depth is about 32 cm).
BEHAVIOUR AND TEMPERAMENT
His principal function as a guard and defense dog of flocks and property in general,
asserts itself in the manner he accomplishes these tasks, with perception, courage
and decision. Although proud and not inclined to submission, he can also show a
devoted attachment to his master and all his entourage.
On the whole, the head is large and flat, of conical shape, reminiscing of that of a polar bear. Skull - Is of great width with lateral sides slightly bulging.
In profile, is also convex. The upper longitudinal axes of the skull and muzzle
are slightly divergent, which makes the profile of the head slightly convex. The
superciliary arches are moderately marked. The medio-frontal furrow line is slightly
marked. The occipital crest is only just visible. Stop - The frontal-nasal depression
only just accentuated and the frontal-nasal angle is always very open. Nose - Rather
big, in line of the muzzle, with large well-opened nostrils, moist and cool, coloured
black. In profile must not protrude beyond the front marginal of the lips. Muzzle
- Its length is by 1/10th less than that of the skull. Its depth, measured at the
level of the corner of the lips, must reach half its length. Its width decreases
progressively according to the convergence of the lateral sides of the muzzle towards
the front, but nevertheless keeping a flat fore surface. The suborbital region is
slightly chiselled. Lips - Seen from the front, the upper lips, at their junction
point, determine by their lower edge a semicircle of very short radius. Slightly
developed, they barely cover the teeth of the jaw, and, therefore, the corner of
the lips is only lightly accentuated. Consequently the lower lateral profile is
only defined by the lips in its fore 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. Jaws - Look
strong, normally developed, with incisors set straight, well aligned of good size
and complete in number. Cheeks - moderately visible. Teeth - White, strong-scissor
bite. Eyes - Not large in relation to the size of the dog; the iris is of an ocre
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. Ears - Set very high over the zygomatic arches, they are hanging but very mobile. Triangular shape (in V), their extremities forming 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 attachment is of medium width.
Cropped ears tolerated only in dogs really used as herd dogs.
Upper profile moderately arched. Its length does not go beyond the 8/10 of the length
of the head, which means that the neck is always shorter than the head. It is thick,
very strong, muscular and always without dewlap; covered with long and dense hair
forming a collar particularly obvious in males.
its length is more by 1/18 than the height at the withers. Top Line - Straight from
withers to rump where it becomes somewhat sloping. Withers - Slightly above from
the topline; wide because of the distance separating the shoulder blades. Back -
Straight in profile, length reaches 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 in width. The loin reaches in length 1/5 of the height at
the withers and its width is nearly equal. Rump - Wide, strong and well muscled.
Its inclination from the hip to the tail set is of 20ƒ increasing to 30ƒ and more
if we refer to the ileum-ischium line; that is why the rump of the Maremma and Abruzzes
shepherd dog must be qualified as sloping. Chest - Ample, descending to level of
elbows, deep and well-rounded at mid-height. Its circumference must be more than
1/4 of the height at the withers; its maximum width at mid-height must reach at
least the 32% of the height at the withers, then decreases progressively downwards
while retaining a good width in the sternal region. Its depth must reach half the
height at the withers. The ribs are well sprung and oblique with inter-costal spaces
of good width; the last false ribs are long, oblique and well opened. Under line
- The sternum - ventral profile is characterized by a long sternal line in the shape
of an arc of a circle of very big radius rising slightly towards the belly. Tail
- Low set due to the sloping rump, in normal stand reaching below the level of the
hock. Hanging when dog is stationary; carried level with back line with a rather
strongly hooked extremity when the dog is in action. Well furnished with dense hairs
Straight limbs from the front and in profile; forequarters well balanced in relation
to the body, and the various parts of the forequarters are well proportioned between
them. Shoulder - Long, oblique with powerful muscles. Must be really free in movement.
In length measures about 1/4 of the height at the withers. Its obliqueness below
the horizontal is of 50ƒ to 60ƒ. Upperarm - Set close to the body in its upper two
thirds, with powerful muscles. Its obliqueness below the horizontal varies between
55ƒ and 60ƒ; its length measures about the 30% of the height at the withers. Its
position is more or less parallel with the median plane of the body. The scapula-humeral
angle varies between 105ƒ and 120ƒ. Elbows - 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 line starting
at the rear angle of the shoulder blade. The opening of the humeral-radial angle
varies between 145ƒ and 150ƒ. Forearm - Straight, and vertical, heavily boned. Its
length is slightly more than the length of the upperarm, while
being a little less
of a third of the height at the withers. The front leg from ground to elbow measures
52,8% of the height at the withers. Pastern joint (Carpus) - In extension of the
vertical of the forearm. Strong, clean, smooth and of good thickness; the pisiform
bone is clearly protruding. Pastern (Metacarpus) - Its length must never be less
to 1/6 of the foreleg measured from ground to elbow. It is lean with a minimum of
sub-coutaneous tissue. Seen in profile is slightly oblique towards the front. Feet
- Large, of roundish shape, well closed toes, covered with short thick hair, nails
preferably black. Chestnut colour is tolerated.
Seen as a whole: limbs straight when seen from the behind and in profile. The general
aspect is in proportion with the body, and the various parts of the hindquarters
are harmonious. Thigh - Long, wide with protruding muscles and a rear edge slightly
convex. Its width, measured from edge to edge, reaches 3/4 of its length. Is a little
oblique from top to bottom and rear to front; the coxal-femoral (hip bone) angle
is about 100ƒ. Second thigh - Its length, a little shorter than the thigh, corresponds
to 32,5% of the height at the withers. Its obliqueness below the horizontal is about
60ƒ. Strong bone, muscles lean and the groove in the leg well marked. Knee - Perfectly
in the vertical of the limb, without internal or external rotation. The femoral-tibial
angle rather well opened, varies between 135ƒ and 140ƒ. Hock joint - Quite thick,
with broad lateral faces. The angle opening varies between 140ƒ and 150ƒ. Metatersal
- Strong, lean and broad. Its length reaches 30,9% of the height at the withers.
Eventual dewclaws must be eliminated. Feet - Like the front but more oval.
GAIT AND MOVEMENT
Walk and extended trot.
||SKIN - Tight to all
parts of the body; rather thick. Black pigmentation of the mucous membranes, third
eyelids as well as the central and toe pads.
||COAT - Nature of coat - Very well furnished. Hair long, rather harsh to the touch, closer to straight horse hair, flat to the body; slight wave is tolerated. The hairs
form an important collar around the neck and fringes of limited length on the edge
of the hindquarters. But the hair is short on the muzzle, on the skull, the ears
and front edge of the limbs. On the body the length of the hair reaches 8 cm. The
undercoat is only in winter abundant. Colour of coat - Solid white. Shades of ivory,
pale orange or lemon are tolerated but only in certain limits.
SIZE AND WEIGHT
||65 to 73 cm
||35 to 45 kg
||60 to 68 cm
||30 to 40 kg
Any departure from the foregoing constitutes a fault which when judging must be
penalized according to its seriousness and its extension. The same conditions apply
to dogs which pace very often and dogs whose dewclaws have not been cut.
- Head - Cranial-facial axes convergent, accentuated and disfiguring prognathism.
- Tails - Rolled over the back. Size - Over or below the limits fixed by the standard.
- Gait - Dog which paces continuously.
- Nose - Completely depigmented.
- Muzzle - deflnitely convex or concave.
- Eyes - moderate or bilateral depigmentation of the eyelids. Wall eye. Bilaterally cross-eyed.
- Jaws - Undershot mouth.
- Tail - tailless or short tail, whether congenital or docked.
- Coat - Curly.
- Colour - Isabella coat; well defined patches of Isabella or ivory colour. Black shadings.
N.B.: Males should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum