Maremma Sheepdog

Last updated October 2009

A breed standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance including the correct colour of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed.

From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Breed Watch information related to this breed for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure. However, if a dog possesses a feature, characteristic or colour described as highly undesirable, it must not be rewarded in the show ring.

General appearance

Majestic, large size, lithe, strongly built, of ‘outdoor’ appearance. Expression of aloof awareness.


Intelligent, distinguished, sturdy, courageous but not aggressive.


Lively, any tendency to nervousness or aggression highly undesirable.

Head and skull

Head conical in shape and appearing large in proportion to size of body. Skull rather wide between ears, narrowing towards foreface. Occipital ridge little emphasised with medium stop. Area under eyes slightly chiselled. Length of muzzle very slightly less than skull. Muzzle converges without snipiness. Jaws powerful and with plenty of substance in foreface. Lips close fitting, not pendulous. Pigmentation of lips and nose black.


Neither large nor small, aperture almond-shaped, dark eye preferred. Rims black.


Small in relation to size of head, V-shaped, set high on head, covered with short hair. Hanging flat to side of head in repose, moving forward when alert. The extremity of the ear forming a narrow point, never a rounded end.


Teeth white, strong, regularly spaced and set in a level jaw. Scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.


Strong, of medium length, devoid of dewlap.


Shoulders long, sloping, well muscled. Forelegs well boned and muscular without heaviness, straight when viewed from front; elbows close to ribcage, not turning in or out. Viewed from side, pasterns slope very slightly forward.


Strong, muscles well developed, withers slightly above level of back; back broad and straight, rising to slight arch over loins, and falling to broad, strong rump. Length of body, measured from point of shoulder to point of buttocks, slightly longer than height at shoulder. Ribcage full, let down to level of elbow; well-sprung ribs, not barrel chested. Sternum long, gradually curving up to the abdomen, which shows a waist without tucking up.


Wide and powerful; thighs strongly muscled, legs straight when viewed from behind, hocks well down, strong, moderate bend of stifle.


Large and almost round. Hindfeet slightly more oval. Pads black.


Set on low, reaching below joint of hock, hangs down when dog is quiet, but carried level with back when dog is alert, with tip gently curved. Well covered with thick hair but without forming fringes.


Movement free and active, giving impression of nimble dog, able to move easily over rough ground and turn quickly.


Fits outline of dog and is long, plentiful and rather harsh. Slight waviness, not curliness, permitted. Forms thick collar on neck. Hair short on muzzle, skull, ears, feet and front of limbs, forming slight feathering on rear limbs. Thick, close undercoat, especially in winter. Tail well covered with thick hair.


All white. A little shading of ivory or pale fawn is permissible.


Ideal height: dogs: 65-73 cms (25½-28½ ins); bitches: 60-68 cms (23½-26½ ins). Ideal weight: dogs: 35-45 kgs (77-99 lbs); bitches: 30-40 kgs (66-88 lbs).


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.


Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

*Note for prospective puppy buyers

Size – The Kennel Club breed standard is a guide and description of the ideal for the breed; the size as described does not imply that a dog will match the measurements given (height or weight). A dog might be larger or smaller than the size measurements stated in the breed standard.