Maremmas are commonly refered to as 'sheepdogs' however this is not totally correct.They are 'protective dogs'. Maremmas dont work sheep. A kelpie is a sheep dog, they work sheep. The Australian National Kennel Council classes the Maremma as 'group 5' working dog.It is a 'shepherd', shepherd meaning protective'.
The concept comes from the early days when Maremmas ( or Maremano as the correct Italian pronunciation) were used to 'protect' stock on the Pyranean Mountains of Italy. These were predominantly sheep but not limited to sheep. The first Maremmas came to Australia in 1982 and at the time had to be imported Via England. This lead to a very limited to Gene pool which was considered by some to create a lot of imbreeding. It was also considered that Maremmas contained a lot of Pyrenean Mountain Dog blood and whilst the Pyrenean Mountain Dog is a magnificent dog in it's own right, the cross breeding of the Maremma and Mountain Dog was a poor substitute for a pure Maremma, it bought out bad traits in the progeny. A good Maremma should be of slender build with a slender head, shallow shoulders and not much meet under all that coat. A Maremma with a big solid 'boxy' head and thick shoulders is sure to contain Mountain Dog blood. These are the Maremmas that people consider to be aggressive. A good Maremma should not be aggressive until it has established a threat.There are a number of Maremmas in our locality which are 'watch dogs' at workshops. While the gates are open during the day customers can enter at their leisure, but when the gates are locked at 5.30pm, the dogs sign on to work!. The dogs can determine what is a threat and anyone coming in while the gates are open are not a threat. These are quality bloodlines.
The Parents of our first female 'Bundy' were imported from Italy by Blue Hills Poultry Stud to ensure pure Maremma genetics in their bloodlines. Bundy arrived with us when she was 7 weeks old and this wonderful dog was the start to us breeding Maremmas. As pups they are without a doubt the most sensible breed of all. Maremmas dont develop intelligence, they are born with it. We bought her because my son bred show quality Ducks and had a fox into them one night. He wanted a Maremma, I was reluctant, I didnt want to have to go through all that 'puppy stuff' but I gave in, afterall, he had lost quite a few hundred dollars worth of ducks this night.
We had Bundy (named after the Bundy Bear) 3 weeks and I was sold. I could not believe how intelligent this little puppy was, and there was no puppy garbage.Now,at 4 years of age this girl is so good we have never lost a duck since getting her. Infact she has even killed foxes and bought them home to show us. That takes a pretty smart dog to kill a fox.It did not take us long and we sourced out a male"Euca". Euca came to us as a grown dog and although not from Blue Hills Poultry Stud we had researched enough to be certain he was a quality pure Maremma. He was from registered stock but we did not get him as a registered dog. Although our Maremmas are not registered we consider them every bit as good if not better than ones with a bit of paper.
Our third Maremma 'Pup' came to us as a breeder from owners whose circumstances had changed and could no longer keep her. She too is a much loved addition to our Maremmas.
As the qualities of the Maremma are becoming more well known they are even becoming popular as family pets. They adapt to almost any environment and the protective quaitities are established by the Maremma being able to determine what is 'normal' and anything outside of the norm is viewed as the threat. For optimum results it is best to get your maremma as a pup and adapt it to your own environment. It is important to decide your on your Maremmas specific purpose and allow it to bond with that purpose first and foremost. If you want it to protect your poultry or stock then this should take priority therefore dont allow the children to teach it to fetch!. As your Maremma learns what it's purpose is for , that purpose will be their priority. Our Maremmas are much loved pets but they learnt their purpose first. They love their 15 minutes of attention each day but their priority is to supervise the paddocks and if they are doing their rounds nothing will interupt them. You can scream and shout and jump up and down, but they will not come until they have finished their job. They are the most loyal employee one could ever find!!!!. They are always on time, they dont strike, they dont take annual leave or public holidays and they have to be dying before they take sick leave!!!. Its a simple enterprise agreement, feed me and I will be a loyal worker.
The most frequently asked question I get about Maremmas is "do they bark alot". Maremmas dont bark just for the sake of barking but if you have anything in your paddock that is a threat to your stock then yes they will bark'. If they didnt they would not be doing their job, and you would not be impressed if you go out the next morning and you have had foxes into your poultry or stock. When we got our first Maremma we noticed she barked alot, now we dont hear it at all, it is one those things you get used to because it is for the greater good. Another question is ' do they get on with other dogs'. As you can see from the pictures I have posted on this site we have numerous breeds of dogs. The Maremmas are the best at getting on with everything. There are times when the cattle dogs might decide to have a fight, especially if we have been working cattle and the dogs are excited, or sometimes the Jack Russels will decide it's time ro re-assess the pecking order, and when this happens it is natural for other dogs to join in. Not the Maremmas, they are too smart for that. They are the alpha dogs, they will not lower themselves to fight with the 'underdogs'and the 'underdogs' accept that.
When people ring me and ask about Maremmas I tell them they are talking to the wrong person because I think so highly of these dogs it sounds like I am doing a sales pitch. Many of my pups go to people who have either had a maremma and it has died, or it is getting old and they want a yonger one so the older one can train the pup before their other dog gets too old. . Last year I sold a pup out a litter which died from snake bite when it was 8 months old. The very day this dog died the owners rang me to book one from my next available litter, thats how impressed they were with their dog.
A typical maremma puppy
These pictures have been sent to us by happy Maremma owners
Xena, Raph, Dexter and Hachi have been to homed to residences rather than properties and have turned out to be wonderful family pets.
Xena is the daughter of Bundy and Euca
Raph is the son of Bundy and Euca from a younger litter than Xena.
This is Dexter being the closest he can be to protective dog. "I love the fox in the mouth"
Raph and Dexter are brothers from the same litter. They met up one day, this is both of them having fun in Dexters yard
In Italy Maremmas are becoming popular as protective dogs for children because of the amount of kidnappings for ransom. This is Brees maremma " Hachi". Hachi is wherever Bree's daughter is, and it looks like it in these pictures.
Brees daughter and Hachi having a break from the raking, it's been a hard day!
Please note: We do not support the breeding of Maramadoors or other breeds crossed with Maremmas. Maremmas are a purpose dog and crossing a Maremma defeats the purpose of the breed. They are a breed which does not exhibit hybrid vigor, (ie the crossing of 2 breeds to bring about the qualities of both breeds).
For further enquiries please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (02) 68431505