MAREMMAS - OUR HERD GUARDIANS
Not one loss of livestock to predators since their arrival.
There is much on the web about maremmas but we hope to simplify it for you with our own experiences. They are a large majestic dog with a very strong protective instinct, bred specifically as a livestock guardian dog (LGD).
The maremma originated in Italy with a history that can be traced back over 2000 years. Some claim at one time there were two separate breeds: the Abruzzese and the Maremmano. The Abruzzese was more of a mountaineer and had a longer body, while the Maremmano had a slightly shorter coat. However in the 1950s the two were officially established as a single breed with a hyphenated name, Maremmano-Abruzzese. This is a classic European flock-guarding dog, probably a close descendant of the great, white Eastern sheepdogs that slowly spread across Europe over 2,000 years ago.
The pups are large and active, with an incredibly fast growth rate. It is hard to believe that a maremma of just eight months of age can be as large as a full grown Labrador.
Although Maremma pups need no training for guarding, it is recommended that pups are introduced to their future charges as young as possible. Young pups should always be supervised around their future charges to ensure they are not playing with the stock as their sheer size could innocently cause damage.
With wild dogs, night-roaming pets and the ever increasing number of foxes continuing to threaten the safety of livestock in Australia, humane steps are needed to ensure that our animals are safe. Not only are the goats easy prey to all of the above, but our beautiful wedge-tail eagles find the newborn babies are especially easy to lift.
Maremmas are strong-willed and not easy to obedience train, but make a superb guardian. Maremmas are courageous and intelligent, that generally will make their own decision on who or what is an intruder. Their first defence is barking to warn intruders that they are certainly not welcome. They do tend to bark a lot and are often unsociable and reserved with strangers.
They object to strange children being physical or rough with their children. This, and many other reasons, makes maremmas unsuitable for a suburban block.
While our maremmas will happily protect the cows, chooks, sheep and humans, they primarily live with the goats, only leaving the paddocks for their food and socialising with their human herd. Within a short time, they are anxiously waiting at the gate to return to their herd that they will vigorously defend at all costs.
The maremmas will take on the role of herd-boss, while still being submissive to the herd. They are constantly ensuring they know where everyone is, all the while making certain that no intruders have the opportunity to get near their charges.
We introduced our first maremma to the herd in 2006. Since then, not one animal has fallen to predation. That on it's own makes them worth their weight in gold.
We do not recommend having a Maremma as a house pet.