Maremma Sheepdog
The breeding standards

The standard is a description of all the morphological parts of a dog, according to the dictates of each breed. All these parts together "make up" the dog, and the aim of every breeder should be to produce subjects that reflect this model as closely as possible.

Since, however, the ideal model is created to meet the function for which the breed was selected, never should the employment and thus also the psychological model, that is, the character, be forgotten.

1. General appearance of the dog

The Abruzzese Maremma shepherd is a large, strongly built dog, rustic in appearance and at the same time majestic and distinguished. The general conformation is that of a heavy mesomorph, whose trunk is longer than the height at the withers; harmonious in size (heterometry) and relatively in profiles (alloidism).

2. Important proportions

 The length of the head reaches 4/10 of the height at withers; the length of the muzzle is one-tenth less than the length of the skull; the length of the trunk exceeds the height at withers by 1/18 of that height. The height of the ribcage is slightly less than 50% of the height at withers. (E.g. in a dog of 68 cm. at, withers, the height of the ribcage is about 32 cm.).


3. Behavior and character

 His primary function as a guard dog and defence of the flock and property in general is evident in the performance of this task, which he always fulfils with insight, courage, and decision. His character though proud and alien to submission, he also knows how to express himself in devoted attachment to his master and his surroundings.

4. Head

 As a whole, the head is large and flat with a conical shape and resembles the head of the white bear.

Cranial region

The skull,is somewhat broad in its horizontal diameter, its lateral walls are somewhat convex, and even observed in profile the skull is convex. The behaviour of the upper longitudinal axes denounces a slight divergence of the upper longitudinal axis of the skull from the upper longitudinal axis of the snout. The upper profile is, as mentioned above, somewhat convex. The supraciliary arches are moderately hinted. The mid-frontal sulcus is poorly marked-to. The occipital crest is very inconspicuous.


The naso-frontal depression should be unremarkable. The naso-frontal angle is always very open.

Facial region

Truffle and nose

Fairly coarse, on the same line as the nasal passage, with well opened and large nostrils, moist and fresh, pigmented black. Seen in profile it should not protrude on the front vertical line of the lips; its anterior face is on the same vertical plane as the anterior face of the muzzle.


Its length is less than 1/10 of the length of the head. Its depth or height, measured at the level of the commissure must reach 5/10 of its length. Its width is determined by the course of its lateral faces, which tend toward convergence, although the anterior face of the muzzle still retains a flat surface. The suborbital region is somewhat chiselled.


The upper lips seen from the front determine at their lower margin, that is, at their junction, a very narrow chordal semicircle. They are poorly developed in height, barely covering the teeth of the mandible and therefore the labial commissure is not very pronounced. As a result, the lower lateral profile of the snout is given by the lips only anteriorly while posteriorly it is given by the mandible and the labial commissure. The labial margins are pigmented black.


Robust in appearance, with normal development and normal implantation of the incisors, regularly aligned and complete in development and number.


Moderately prominent.


White, strong, scissor-closed teeth.


Not large in relation to the dog's size, ochre or dark brown iris. Lateral position with bulb neither sunken nor protruding. Intelligent and alert expression. Palpebral rima is almond-shaped with black pigmented palpebral margins.


They are set well above the zygomatic arch, drooping but very mobile. The shape is triangular (V-shaped) with narrowly pointed apexes and never broadly rounded: the ears are small in relation to the dog's size; ear length in a dog of average stature should not exceed 12 cm. The base of insertion is moderately wide. Trimmed ears are tolerated limited to dogs used for herd work.

5. Neck

 The upper profile is moderately convex linear. Its length does not exceed 8/10 of the length of the head, so it is always shorter than that length. It is large, very strong and muscular, always free of dewlap, and covered with long, thick hair forming collar, especially conspicuous in the male.

6. Trunk

 Strongly built, its length exceeds 1/18 h at withers.

Top line

Straight from the withers toward the croup, which is instead somewhat steep.


Slightly elevated on the line of the back: it is wide because of the distance between them of the tips of the shoulder blades.


The profile of the back is straight. Its length is about 32% of h. at withers. The loins are well fused with the line of the back: they show only a slight convexity when viewed in profile; the loins have well-developed muscles in width. The length of the loins is 1/5 of h. at withers, while their width almost equals their length.


Broad, strong, muscular. Its inclination (when considered from the hip to the insertion of the tail) is 20° on the horizontal; even more inclined (30° and more) when considered on the ilium-ischium line. Therefore, the rump of the Abruzzese Maremma p. should be defined as avallate.


Wide, descending to the level of the elbow, deep, well convex, at half its height. The circumference of the ribs must be about 1/4 greater than the height at the withers and its transverse diameter (which is maximum at half its height) must reach at least 32% of the h. at the withers and go slightly downward so as to still allow the sternal region to be wide. Its depth should reach 50% of h. at withers. The ribs are well circled and oblique; the intercostal spaces are well extended and the last false ribs, long, oblique, and well open.

Lower profile

The sternum-ventral profile shows a long sternal region that develops into a very wide chord semicircle, gently rising back toward the abdomen.


Its insertion, given the forelocked croup, is situated low and passes beyond the dog's hock in normal station; held pendant in repose, it is instead carried on the line of the back in excitement, with the tip quite curved. It is well garnished with thick hair without fringing.

7. Limbs


Correct loins both in front and to the side. Limb development is in good proportion to somatic development, and individual regions related to said limbs are in good proportion to each other as well.


The shoulder should be long, sloping, provided with strong muscles and well free in movement. Its length is about 1/4 of h. at withers. Its inclination is 50° to 60° to the horizontal.


Well welded to the trunk in its upper two-thirds, it is provided with strong muscles. Its obliquity ranges from 55° to 60° on the horizontal. Its length is about 30% of h. at withers. Its direction is almost parallel to the median plane of the body. The scapulohumeral angle varies between 105° and 120°.


The elbows are normally, adherent to the ribs, covered with, soft and relaxed skin. They should be in a plane parallel to the midplane of the body. The tip of the elbow should be on the perpendicular dropped from the caudal angle of the scapula. The humeral-radial angle ranges between 145° and 150°.


Follows a straight vertical line; has strong bone. Its length is slightly longer than the length of the humerus and slightly less than 1/3 of the h. at withers. The h. of the entire forelimb at the elbow is 52.8% of the h. at withers.


It lies on the vertical line of the forearm. It is strong, dry, smooth, of good thickness, with well-protruding pisiform bone.


Its length is never less than 1/6 of the h. of the whole limb at the elbow. It is well dry, with minimal subcutaneous cellular tissue. Seen in profile it is slightly outstretched.


Large, roundish in shape. Has toes tightly clasped together, covered with short, dense hair. Nails preferably pigmented black: brown pigment tolerated.

Hind limbs.

Appiomas both in front and in profile should be correct at all times. The development of the hind limbs is well proportioned to the body, and the different regions pertaining to the limbs are also well proportioned to each other.


Long, broad, covered with salient muscles, with slightly convex hind margin. Its width (measured between its outer faces, from one margin to the other) reaches 3/4 of its length. Its direction is somewhat oblique from top to bottom and back to front. The coxo-femoral angle is about 100°.


Its length is slightly less than that of the thigh i.e. to say 32.5% of h. at withers. Its inclination is about 60° to the horizontal. The bone structure is strong, and the musculature is dry, with marked leg groove.


Should be perfectly aligned with the limb: it should not be deviated either inward or outward. The femoral-tibial angle is rather open, and its opening is between 135° and 140°.


The height is 30.9% of the height at withers. Very wide at the sides. Of good thickness. Tibio-metatarsal angle is between 140° and 150°.


Strong, thin, and wide. Its length is given by the height of the hock. If present, the spurs should be amputated.


Like the front, but more oval.

8. Gaits

Long stride, stretched trot.

9. Skin

Well-fitting to the body and in every region. Rather thick. The pigment of the mucous membranes and scleroses should be black: likewise for the soles of the digital and plantar pads.

10. Coat


Very abundant, long, rather rough to the touch, well adhered to the body: slight waviness tolerated. Forms a rich collar around the neck and limited fringing on the posterior margin of the limbs. In contrast, it is short on the muzzle, skull, ears, and front margin of all limbs. The texture of the fur is semivitreous. The length of the fur on the trunk reaches 8 cm. The undercoat is abundant only in the winter season.


Unicoloured white. Tolerate ivory or pale orange or lemon shades, provided they are limited in number.


11. Size and weight

Height at the shoulder

In males from cm. 65 to cm. 73 at withers, in females from cm. 60 to cm., 68 at withers.


For males 35-45 kg. Females from 30-40 kg. Males should have two testicles of normal appearance and well descended in the scrotum.

12. Flaws

Any deviation from the characteristics indicated in the description of the various regions constitutes a defect that must be penalized in the judgment in relation to its severity and spread, as well as continued amble or the presence of spurs.


Eliminating flaws

Head: converging craniofacial axes, pronounced disfiguring prognathism. Tail: carried coiled on the back. Stature: above or below indicated limits. Gait: continuous amble.

Disqualifying flaws

Truffle: total depigmentation. Nasal canal: distinctly mounded or concave. Eyes: moderate or bilateral depigmentation of eyelids, Gazuole, Bilateral Strabismus. Jaws: enognathism. Sex organs: cryptorchidism monorchidism, obvious developmental deficiency of one or both testes. Tail: aneurism, brachiurism, either congenital or artificial. Coat: curly. Colour: Isabella coat. Isabella or ivory spots with sharp edges. Shades of black colour.