What is the standard of a breed? The word comes from the ancient French word "estendard" from which the English word "Standard" comes, that was an army banner, identifier of that group, that was exposed so the soldiers could gather around it during the most important moments.
A breed standard is the set of specifications, which represent the most common and recurring characters of a breed, so that the dogs can be recognized as of the same breed, becoming the model for breeders, judges and anyone else.
The Maremma and the Abruzzes Sheepdog standard is officially approved by the Italian Kennel Club (ENCI) and the International Organization for dogs worldwide (FCI) and consequently recognized by anyone who works in this specific sector.
Nowadays the standards of all recognized dog breeds, are available on the websites of FCI. Here is a link to the standard of the Maremma Sheepdog: http://www.fci.be/Nomenclature/Standards/201g01-en.pdf
As described in the breed standard, anyone with a serious interest in a breed, as judges, breeders, scholars and enthusiasts, must refer to the offical standard.
I cani di razza sono solo quelli che possiedono le caratteristiche descritte nello standard di razza e ai quali viene rilasciato il pedigree ufficiale. I cani che non possiedono il pedigree dovranno ricevere lo stesso affetto, attenzioni e cure di questi, ma non potranno essere considerati di razza.
The standard in synthesis
The Maremma Sheepdog belongs to the stock of the large White Dogs of central Europe, an ancient stock of sheep dogs, with a mistrusting and bellicose character. The Maremma Sheepdog is a working breed originating in Central Italy. There, in the High Appenines and plains of the Abruzzi region, the Maremma has been breed for some two thousand years.
His sole function during this time was to guard the flocks and property of the shepherd; first from wolves and bears. This explains why the shepherds like its white coat: because it enables them to distinguish it from the wolves when they attack at twilight and thus avoid killing a friend instead of an enemy.
Shepherds frequently leave their Maremmas in sole charge of their flocks while they attended to business elsewhere. Consequently, over the centuries, the dog developed a strong guarding instinct and a responsibility for taking decisions. While still maintaining a strong sense of loyalty to the shepherd, the Maremma's primary allegiance was to the flocks - and he would never desert whatever had been entrusted to his care.
The Maremma is a loyal and devoted guard who sees his main function in life as being the protector of his master and all his master's property. He is constantly aware of this responsibility and will see a threat in any strange object or being.
It is unusual for the Maremma to wander, for he prefers to stand or lie at the property boundary where he will warn strangers away with his bark. He will not attack without provocation, but trespassing is not taken lightly and he is very wary of strangers.
The Maremma Sheepdog is a large dog of imposing presence and majestic bearing. He is strong, active and, for his size, very light. His coat is long, rather harsh to the touch, straight or lightly waved with a rich winter undercoat. He is all white, although some limited markings of lemon, fawn or biscuit are tolerated. The eye rims, lips, nose and pads should be black.
Size and Weight
Height at withers - Males 65 to 73 cm. - Females : 60 to 68 cm.
Weight - Males 35 to 45 kg. - Females - 30 to 40 kg.