The Maremma Sheepdog, its History and Breed Traits
Dogs similar in appearance to the Maremma Sheepdog are mentioned in Roman records going back some 2000 years. They are believed to have originated in the Apennine mountains of Abruzzo and about that time and are depicted in fifteenth century paintings.
The dog has been employed for many centuries by Italian sheep farmers to move and guard their sheep flocks from predators such as wolves.
Although four or five of these dogs can drive away and even kill a wolf, that is a rare occurrence as their first course of action is to discourage the predator.
In order to train these dogs, the shepherds would introduce puppies to the sheep flock from a very young age, sometimes only four weeks old, so that they bonded with the flock and learned that it was the sheep they were supposed to protect.
They have often been used to guard goats, by the same principle of early introduction, but in more recent years it has been discovered that they can also bond with cattle. Ranchers in the United States often use them to herd and guard their cattle, and the breed is widespread in America as well as still being used to guard sheep in Italy.
In fact, this breed is particularly adaptable and has been used by farmers to guard their chickens from foxes. In Warrnambool, Australia, they have recently been used to guard a near extinct race of penguins.
Though the guarding of endangered species is rare, the project won the 2010 Australian Government Coastcare Award.
The Maremma is a popular dog with conservationist organisations in their efforts to protect endangered species, since their ability to chase away a predator without killing it is a trait of the breed, along with other livestock guardians.
Maremma Sheepdog History to Maremma Sheepdog
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