1) What are the qualities of character of the Maremma Abruzzese and what defects?
The first thing to keep in mind and in any case, therefore, is that it is a shepherd dog in the fullest sense of the term: unable to adapt to a life that does not meet its natural aptitudes.
A proud, autonomous, independent, strong-willed nature, not without intelligence, the Maremmano Abruzzese puppy has developed its innate spirit of initiative in an extremely rational behavioral complex, such that every action is always subordinate, consequential, responsible. .
Obedience, functional beauty, vigor, physical endurance, courage, intelligence, but above all extreme fidelity, are just some of the characteristics that in an incredible balance constitute the essence of this magnificent breed.
In the flock he continues to do the work for which he distinguished himself, and he has earned a well-deserved reputation as the jealous custodian of the animals entrusted to him, up to the extreme sacrifice of life, capable of protecting them from the numerous pitfalls of predators : wolves, other dogs, especially stray and stray dogs, bears, men. Historical enemy of the wolf, but also of the cattle thief, in the territories where the abigeate exists and attentive to property, in his work he is tireless, resistant, capable of facing any effort and deprivation, an inseparable friend of the shepherd with whom he establishes an apparently equal relationship, but in reality of dependence and submission. He establishes a surprising relationship with the sheep, especially if, as usual, he was born and raised among them; he gets confused with them, never uses force, but is patient and obstinate even if sometimes their proverbial stubbornness tends to discourage his initiatives. He knows their frailties and does not take advantage of them, also because he knows that the shepherd would not allow him. He is loving with lambs, whose birth he is assisting, because he likes to lick them with the liquid they are just born with and the blood, with which they are sometimes smeared. Stay close to the parturient, assist you for a long time. It is extraordinary to see how this attitude of care and protection manages to direct it towards every other animal and / or human and this, I believe, is one of the main character gifts and guarantees that differentiates it from other breeds. I would like to remind the Maremmano Abruzzese that in Australia is placed in the custody of endangered penguins.
Also placed to guard a company or property, the Maremmano-Abruzzese dog has an important role as guardian. He does not like the first come, he soon learns about the boundaries within which the property is included. He is jealous of both the buildings and the tools and all the other farm animals; it does not allow any intruder to get too close. It takes a position near the gate or lies sideways along the access road, possibly in the shade of a tree or a bush, and, attentively, observes and controls who transits, to allow, or not, the passage.
2) Why is it called Maremmano Abruzzese?
The denomination derives, as for all breeds of zootechnical interest, from the name of the geographical territorial environment from which the phylogenetic development originated.
In 1958 this criterion was adopted by ENCI obviously considering the Maremme (from the Latin “maritimae ie overlooking the sea) and Abruzzo the territories in which the breed had appeared, formed, evolved.
In these local territories the Maremma Abruzzese begins to live and spend the most significant moments of its phylogenetic development, increasingly taking on the morphological, functional characteristics and the features very close to the current ones and all the exceptional resistance to pathogens naturally present in the territory.
The two sides: the Adriatic and the Tyrrhenian therefore offered vital space to our shepherd dog in the terrible months of winter, through a slow migration of flocks and herds, creating the links of that endless chain which was called "transhumance ", Which the Etruscans first and then the Romans, developed, using it, after having recognized them with the privilege of transit and grazing through the codifications of Theodosius (400) and Justinian (480) calling them" calles publicae ".
In 1958 the National Agency of Italian Cinofilia officially attributed the name of "Abruzzese Maremma Sheepdog" to this dog when, apparently resolved any controversy, it found that everyone agreed that the Maremme, intended as "maritimae" that is lands facing the sea, and Abruzzo were the two environments in which the dog had had its splendid development, they were the two territories in which the canine population in question was, at that time, more represented, present and active in the numerous pastoral initiatives which in the above areas constituted the main basis of the economy, and in these two environments our dog had always been present in this last millennium. However, it was not taken into due consideration that Abruzzo and the Maremme represented the cornerstones of a secular system, that is, of the transhumance, which bound them, and that the dog was not only present in Abruzzo and in the Maremme, but in the whole ridge Apennine, on which pastoral activity was not to be forgotten. The Apennines, all of them, had given birth and life to the shepherds and their livestock: mainly sheep, which, during the long winter periods, due to the abundant snow falling to cover the pastures, forced them to go down to the plain, for absolute need for survival.
3) What health do you have?
It is not afraid of bad weather, cold and cold temperatures. He is used to living in the open air and thick hair, with a rich undercoat, help to protect the dog even if sheltered and sheltered shelter is always recommended. The maintenance of a nice thick and compact coat is guaranteed by a simple brushing that must be carried out especially in the period of the "moulting", that is at that time (about twice a year in autumn and spring) in which it loses the woolly undercoat and it gives way to the growing one.
In consideration of its natural resistance, it does not require particular care apart from the periodic pesticide and vaccination checks to be performed annually; it is precisely thanks to this tenacity that it is not uncommon to find dogs over 10 years of age.
4) What power supply do you need?
The current feed compounds, distinct for each growth band, are complete with all the nutrients needed and have supplanted the original diet of the dog in its habitat based on whey soup (irreplaceable source of food consisting of that liquid that remains in the boiler after the cheese and ricotta have been made) and wheat bran, meat, some vegetables, a piece of stale bread. I also recommend food supplements such as cod liver oil especially in the winter season, 2 eggs a week, apple wedges. Its growth is slow. It reaches its maximum body development and maturation towards three years.
5) How is the relationship with your fellow men and the relationship with children?
Anyone who owns a Maremma Abruzzese must recognize an autonomous psychic entity and not consider it as an instrument or an extension of their personality. This breed reveals its intelligence not so much in passively following the master's orders, but in perfectly understanding a situation and acting according to perfect common sense. In this it is truly surprising: if, for example, a person were to teach an exercise, he will immediately understand what is expected of him, but his pride will not push him to indulge the master in the slavish execution, but will make him repeat the exercise in the most logical and rational way, having the dog understood the "ratio" of what he has to do. And it is also for this reason that the Abruzzese Maremmans have an absolute loyalty to the master capable to the ultimate sacrifice, and the relationship between man and dog is typically embodied in this stainless bond, which corresponds to our fundamental instinct for our breed.
Maremmani puppies from the first months of life, adopted in a family, have respect and respect for other pets, towards the cat sleeping on the sofa, towards the birds that move in the aviary and towards the fish of the 'aquarium. He understands that his master reserves a privileged condition for them and protects them, so he ends up becoming protective of them, because this is innate and natural in him. He soon becomes jealous and affectionate playmate of the children of his family, as if they were his flock in nature, as long as they are serious and loyal to him and do not make him the target of foolish spite, which he does not accept. He is the keeper of their toys and their things, even intimate, that he learns to know by sniffing them, and who likes to be close.
6) Do you have any anecdote to tell in your experience as a breeder from Maremmani Abruzzesi?
Umbrian Apennines with my father and son, as usual looking for beautiful subjects. I walked with them on a path between two valleys directed towards the pasture of a shepherd who, it had been said, possessed a wonderful specimen. We waited for the warmth of our female of great genealogy, which I thought appropriate to pair with a wild male. We found the shepherd and knowing his innate distrust, my father, began any speech showing interest in his sheep and his dogs. In the meantime we looked around but saw no dog that deserved the choice. So disappointed with the waste of time, we ended up clearly saying the purpose of my visit, also expressing our regret. The shepherd remained impassive and without half words ended our conversation by saying that he really had a beautiful white dog, which everyone envied him for his extraordinary beauty. He could not have deterred him from his work for any reason, much less for reasons which he considered very futile. He roughly invited us to use my binoculars to look into the distance .... on the slopes of the mountain, sheltered by a green ridge, I distinguished a wonderful white dog of extraordinary size, and, a few steps away, a sheep in decubitus far from the group. The dog had stayed close to her to assist her and prevent anyone from approaching her. " This is the Abruzzese Maremma Shepherd dog, this is his pastoral world from where he originated. Never, approaching this wonderful Italian breed with character, should this methodical approach be neglected!
7) Do you see him well in an apartment or is an outdoor space more congenial for him?
Certainly on the terrace of an apartment in the city, the Maremmano Abruzzese shepherd dog does not find its habitat and its living conditions will not be the best, nor will it certainly give its best. Until a few months of age it will also satisfy the one who made this choice, because it is pleasant to look at and, like a toy, it will be pleasant to play with it and spend time with it, but the mistake of keeping a dog of such temperament forced in an environment so different from the natural one, it will soon lead to bitter disappointments resulting from a character response not corresponding to what has been outlined above. The Maremma Abruzzese Shepherd needs space, a large garden, or a beautiful courtyard, in order to feel free but at the same time tied to its territory. In these conditions he will be able to express the best of his character and be an excellent inimitable life partner, as well as a perfect defender of property and family.
8) What advice would you give to those wishing to choose this breed?
This dog does not live at ease with an unjust, unreasonable, inconsiderate or hysterical owner. Either it ends up becoming similar or it leaves it. It does not accept foolishly the senseless impositions, it is not subject to the violence or torture it rebels against, as well as the unworthy beatings. He has a remarkable memory that makes him remember the abuse for years, of which sooner or later he will take revenge. His intervention is never rash; if he attacks he does it for the right reason, and if he bites he does it right, without ever losing his head, insisting or raging .
9) What kind of guard does he play?
He prefers to prevent the fact, discouraging the attacker, the robber, and to the limit, the one who wanted to carry out a kidnapping. In any case, it is well known that the bad guys in making their plans and projects take into account the presence of the guard dogs; always avoid, if possible, their incursions where they fear to meet the Maremmano-Abruzzese shepherd dogs. He is also a staunch defender of the person, always for the innate protective sense that animates him; it performs this function instinctively and without anyone having to teach it. For this quality, the Maremmano-Abruzzese shepherd dog has been preferred to other dogs, also precisely from defense, and has been chosen as an inseparable guardian of people who reside or work in so-called risky environments for kidnappings, extortions, robberies, perfect defender of property and family.
Just following his fundamental instinct, he is also a staunch defender of the person, always for the innate protective sense that animates him; it performs this function without anyone having to teach it. For this innate quality, the Maremmano-Abruzzese shepherd dog was preferred to other dogs (Coppinger Studies New England Farm Center of Hampshire College in Massachusetts 1982 who analyzed it and rated the best for three different types of behavior: "trustworthy" absence of aggression, "vigilance" constancy in work, "protection" ability to prevent an attack), also precisely from defense, and has been chosen as an inseparable custodian of people who reside or work in so-called environments at risk for kidnappings, extortion, robberies, perfect defender of property, family and, as mentioned, children.
10) What Champions have you had in your long history?
I would like to remind our reigning European Champion "Goddess of Jacopone da Todi" and crowned Champion of Europe at the "Messe Exhibition Center" in Wels, an Austrian citizen who hosted the European Dog Show 2019 last summer, i.e. the European Canine Championship of the International Cynological Federation, which was attended by 20,056 subjects from all over the world. Last success of a long series of 10 Italian champions, 3 international champions, 2 world champions.