Keeping livestock safe
Maremma Sheepdogs are supreme guardians which have excelled at this position for hundreds of years. As well as being protective of their stock, the breed can also make wonderful companions for humans provided they are given the wide open spaces they need.
The Maremma breed are indigenous to Italy where they are known as Marammano’s. All over the world they can be found watching over sheep, goats, cattle, chickens and they’ve even been known to mind eastern barred bandicoots.
They have an innate capacity for putting the herd first and this makes them ideal protectors. They can be rather imposing with males growing up to 45Kg and 80cm tall. Maremma’s will chase predators but not the animals in the group they are guarding. They have great noses for detecting danger and are fearless in driving it away.
During the day they may appear to be lounging around in a field but that’s not the case. They’re still on guard but are probably resting after being up all night, checking on their flock, patrolling fence boundaries and alerting to any predators.
These beautiful dogs are strong willed and are not easy to prepare (training usually takes around 2 years). Introducing them at young age helps begin bonding with the animals they will eventually protect. One remarkable aspect is that they can bond with more than one type of livestock at a time. The stock they will protect also needs time to feel comfortable with their presence. Once the Maremma’s have a group to look after they prefer to hang around their work than wander away.
You may be familiar with the movie ‘Oddball’ about a Maremma in Warnambool. For a wonderful glimpse into this beautiful breed protecting penguins on Middle Island check out the link below…
Leah & Angela OMeara
Hound Dog Day Care (Specialists in Dog Minding & Dog Boarding, Pet Sitting Brisbane & Doggy Day Care Brisbane)