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ITALIAN Breed Standard

Cani di pastore maremmano abruzzese

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS

The Maremma is classified scientifically as belonging to the lupoid group (according to Pierre Megnin) As a working dog he is classed as a sheep dog. Full name Cane Da Pastore Maremmano-Abruzzese. He is a large, strongly built dog. In spite of his rustic appearance, he is at the same time majestic and distinguished, robust and courageous, with a very intelligent expression. His character is docile, but he becomes fierce when he is at work as a guardian of the flock and of his master's property. His hair is abundant, long and white. The general conformation is that of a heavy mesomorph, with the body longer than the height at the withers, harmonious as to form (heterometric), and relatively harmonious in outline (halloidism).

  excellent example of an italian maremma that meets all the criteria in the breed standards excellent example of an italian mature age maremma that meets all the criteria in the breed standards showing excellent depth of chest and short body  



WEIGHT AND HEIGHT

 

Weight

MALES:

77 - 99lbs,

35 - 45kg's

FEMALES:

66 - 88lbs,

30 - 40kg's

 

Height

MALES:

65 - 73 cm

25.5 - 29 inches

FEMALES :

60 - 68 cm

23.5 - 26.5 inches


HEAD

Dolichocephalic: The total length of the head is about equal to 4/10 of the height at the withers, the length of the muzzle is less than 1/10 of the length of the cranium. The width of the skull, measured from one cheekbone to the other is rather more than half of the total length of the head, but the cephalic index should not be more than 52.5 The direction of the upper longitudinal axes of the skull and of the muzzle is slightly divergent. Overall, the head is large, shaped like a blunt wedge, and is reminiscent of the head of the polar bear.

This is a very correct head. It is conical, broad with a blunt wedge shape.

this maremma shows good placement of the eyes in a broad skull with excellent pigmentation

Another correct head

this maremma has a beautiful flat and very broad skull, the eye placement gives the melting expression so neccessary to distinguish this breed, and the small ears are set correctly in the skull

This head shows beautiful size and breadth

CORRECT HEAD

SKULL:

the length of the skull is 1/10 more than the length of the muzzle, and its width from cheek to cheek is more than half of the total length of the head; the lateral walls of the skull are therefore somewhat rounded. Seen in profile, the skull is also somewhat rounded and rather wide between the eyes; it narrows toward the facial region. Its upper longitudinal axis diverges slightly from the axis of the nasal bridge. The sinuses are not pronounced. The occipital protuberance is not accentuated.

this maremma displays a narrow, domed skull, which totally changes the way the ears are attached and set, and brings the eyes together too closely giving a 'sad' expression, not at all typical of this breed

Incorrect skull. The head should be more flat

this photo taken from above the head clearly shows the breadth of this dogs skull and the tiny triangular ears that are well set. from this angle it is easy to see why the head should be described as a wedge shape.

Good breadth of skull, blunt wedge shape

the broad skull is crucial to giving any maremma the foundation for correct expression and to create the polar bear like appearance. proportionately this dog is perfect for breadth of head to length of muzzle, the only real fault in this head is that the ears are a little long and rounded

Broad skull, good proportions

this head again has excellent proportions of breadth of skull to muzzle length, but with smaller ears and perfect set of the eyes, the expression becomes melting compared to the other 2 correct head photos in this set

Breadth of skull and muzzle in proportion


MUZZLE:

the sides of the muzzle tend to converge, but the forward part of the muzzle has a rather flat surface. The muzzle should be, in height or depth 5/10 of its length (measured at the level of commissure). The suborbital region should be rather chiselled.

the muzzle on this dog is of good proportion and combined with the excellent set of the eyes gives the correct appearance distinguishing the maremma from other breeds they are sometimes confused with

Broad muzzle, chiseled correct eyes

the proportions of this head are able to be measured for length of muzzle compared to breadth of head - the muzzle is clean and chiseled with excellent pigmentation

Well proportioined head

there are many faults in the structure of this dogs head - the skull is narrow, however the muzzle is long and eyes are set too close together and are large. This destroys all the expression that a maremma should have and is totally atypical of the breed

Eyes too big, muzzle narrow and too long

this maremma also has a very fine, narrow muzzle which gives the impression of being snipey and causes the eyes to be set too far in front of the head with little distance between them, rather than set far apart to make the melting expression Fine, snipey muzzle, too long, too much stop

 

NOSE:

wet and cool, it is positioned on the line of the nasal bridge, with a large border, and nostrils which are large; seen in profile, the nose should not extend beyond the front vertical line of the lips, its forward face is on the same vertical plane as the forward face of the muzzle. Pigmentation: Black


BRIDGE:

straight (for its length and direction in relation to the cranial axis, (see Head) Its width, measured at the midpoint should be 22% of the total length of the head, and about 55% of the length of the nasal bridge itself.


STOP:

should not be pronounced


LIPS:

the upper lips, seen from the front are shaped like a semi-circle with a very narrow chord. The lips are not high, and thus they barely cover the lower teeth; the commissure, because of the slight development of the lips, is not pronounced. Consequently, the lower lateral profile of the muzzle is described by the lips only in their lower-lateral-forward part, while farther back, toward the commissure, it is delineated by the mandible and by the commissure itself the pigment of the lip edges must be black.

this maremma displays and excellent mouth, muzzle and lips. she is only a young dog showing clearly the pigmentation that should surround the lips and eyes to protect her from the sun

Correct mouth and pigmentation

the lips let this maremma down - notice how they create a sagging look to the entire mouth, reminding one more of the mastiff type breeds. you may also notice that her ears are too long, coming down to the mouth line

Lips not fitting mouth line well enough

whilst the lips on this maremma are fine, they are too fine and there is a very narrow underjaw which is giving the appearance of the top lips being too large, however the fault here is truly in the lower jaw

Fine mouth, accentuated by little underjaw


JAWS:

robust, with normal development and meeting in perfect scissor bite; the back part of the upper incisors should fit snugly over the front side of the lower incisors. The upper line of the lower jaw is nearly straight; teeth should be white, regularly aligned, and compete in development and number.

the spacing between the top teeth on this dog are unever and the teeth do not all sit straight. this is preventing a true scissor bite that is desirable for a long life of eating well

The teeth pictured left are unevenly spaced.

The teeth pictured right display a good scissor bite.

the teeth in this image show a correct scissor bite, the way the teeth fit into each other when the mouth is closed, good spacing and healthy gums

 


EYES:

the eyes are not large, considering the overall size of the dog. They should neither be deep-set nor protruding. They are ochre or dark brown in colour. The eyelids must fit fairly close to the eyes. The eye slit is almond-shaped. Pigmentation of the eyelids must be black. The direction of the axes of lids (that is, the straight line which passes between the two corners of the eye opening) determines a 30 degree angle with the median plane of the head.

All these eyes are NOT correct.

the eyes on this dog are set too straight which gives an appearance of squinting rather than melting as the eyes are a good almond shape

Eyes set on wrong angle and too close together

the eyes on this maremma are too close together and set too straight, because they are more rounded they do not give such a squinting appearance

Eyes set too straight on the face

this unfortunate head displays many faults - the skull is narrown, the muzzle long, the ears long and rounded and the eyes are set too close together, angled wrongly and are very round

This whole head is incorrect. Eyes are round and set wrong.

Shape and angle is crucial for expression! this maremma has very round eyes set on the wrong angle in a very angulated head with lips too large producing the effect of the appearance of squinting again

Eyes set on wrong angle

this maremma has better general head shape however the eyes are still too round and set too straight to give the correct melting expression desired in the breed standard. this dog also has ears that are too long

Round eyes set straight

whilst these eyes are a good almond shape the main fault displayed in this dog is that the eyes are very close together - also notice that even though the head is broad the ears are attache too high and towards the front causing the wrong expression

Eyes set straight on face

Study these eyes against the following again this dog has eyes that are too round and set very close together and similar to the previous dog the head is broad but the ear attachment too high and close to allow for correct expression

Round eyes set straight

yes this dog is a maremma however you would be forgiven for confusing him with a labrador as the set of ears, eye shape and placement definitely give the feel of another breed

Large, round, straight set

finally the head on this young dog is too straight in general and the round eyes again are set too close together and lacking the angle that would give correct expression

Large round eyes set straight on the face

 

beautiful almond shaped eye with excellent black pigmentation of lids and a lovely dark ochre colour will all create beautiful expression Close up of the maremma eye. This eye is almond shaped, but a little too round. The colour of the eye is beautiful.

 

These eyes ARE correct.

looking at this maremma you should immediately now understand what is meant by a 'melting expression' - the correct shape and placement of the maremma eye lend a softness to the face and expression that is highly sought by breeders

Here is the melting maremma expression we aim for.

the angle of the eye on this dog again demonstrates the softness and melting expression that the standard describes by means of angles and shapes

Notice the angle of these dogs' eyes

correct angle is the critical factor in obtaining the correct expression in the maremma this dog has pretty much everything - broad capacious skull, low set small ears, tight fitting lips, black pigmentation, correct muzzle lenght and then lovely almond shaped eyes on the correct angle - the softening effect is obvious if you scroll up and look at some of the incorrect heads again

Almond shaped


EARS:

considering the size of the dog, the ears are rather small, they are V shaped, set on considerably above the zygomatic arch, and are covered with hair. The tip should be sharply pointed and never be rounded. Ear length in an average sized dog should not be more than 4 1/2 inches when the dog is completely in repose, the ears hang down at the sides of the head, but whenever the dog is alerted the ears are very mobile and should rise to a semierect position: This is indicative of the Maremma's talents as a guard dog and is a specific trait of the breed. The ears may be clipped to a certain extent, if the dog is to be used as custodian of a flock.

These ears are NOT correct.

these high set ears are also set totally incorrectly so that they flop forward over the face instead of beside the head

Ears set high on the head and forward over the face.

not only are these ears set far too high on a narrow skull, but they are skewed - they leave the head on different angles and are too large - notice also the round eyes here

Not only incorrect ears, but very round eyes also.

These large ears will only become larger as this is a pup of less than 6 months of age

Ears set high on the head and too large.

the large ears here are made more pronounced by the way they are set high on the head and have very long hair with some discolouration and are only partially offset by the large, straight, round eyes

Ears too large and set high on the head.

now this maremma has ears that are both set too low and are far to long with rounded ends (they should be V shaped) - this is a pity as the rest of her head and expression is beautiful

Very large ears set too low on the head.

again these ears set too low on the skull and are too large which causes a 'flapping ears' both in impression and in actuality. notice the lovely almond eyes on this dog however

Ears must be correct size, shape, and position to maintain expression

this maremma has a lovely broad head and very small ears that are sadly ruined by the roundness of the tip - this is U shaped rather than V shaped

Small ears but rounded tip.

there is nothing to say except that these ears are just way too large and rounded - the insertion of the ear is good, and many aspects of this head are excellent until the ear is taken into account

Very large ears, rounded tip, set at correct height.

ears here are set too low and again are too long giving a feeling of this could be a retriever - whilst ears do not stop a dog from guarding livestock brilliantly, breeders should aim to breed dogs that conform to the standard - do read the articles in this site on temperament and its relationship to body shape

Ears large and long, set low.

 

These ears ARE correct.

it is easy to see in this photo what is meant by a V shaped ear - this dog has small ears, attached at the correct height, at the correct place on the skull and correct angle

Small V shaped ear set correctly.

it is said that the ear of the maremma was deliberately bred to be so small, covered in short thick fur and set at the side of the head in order to make them very difficult for a wolf to get hold of in the case of a fight over the livestock - in fact many italian shepherds simply cut the main ear flap off their pups, though today this practice is believed to be cruel and is not common

Well proportioned head with small ears


NECK:

Strong, with long thick hair which forms a collar, there should be no dewlap. The length of the neck measured from the nape to the edge of the withers should not be more than 8/10 of the length of the head, and is almost 3.2/10 the height of the withers.

the length of the neck is described as a proportion of the head rather than an ideal length, but when you measure a range of dogs you begin to realise that the description is never one of a dog that you would look at and think of having a graceful neck, but rather a strong neck This neck is too long this dog has a similar head length to the previous dog and yet has a far shorter neck which meets the proportions described in the standard This neck is the correct length


FOREQUARTERS:

The shoulders should be long, sloping, strongly muscled, and very free in movement. The length is about 1/4 of the height at the withers, while the slope varies from 50 - 60 degrees from the horizontal. the points of the scapulae are relatively vertical in respect to the medial plane of the body and therefore fairly well apart.

angulation of the shoulder is critical for free movement and is particularly important in a working dog that may need to cover a lot of farm area, at speed when a threat is imminent for many years of their lives. This dog shows straight shoulders that do not provide free movement

Both these shoulders are too straight, and will not allow correct free movement - note the difference in the angles shown in red

again you can see incorrect angles on this shoulder preventing correct free movement

Now correct legs, with the angles shown in red. Compare this photo to the angles drawing

even without the angle planes marked on this image you can see the difference in the set of the shoulder and therefore the placement of the leg well under the shoulder to allow free movement for the dog

 


Upper Arm:

well joined to the body in the upper two-thirds, with strong muscles, sloped at 55 - 60 degrees from the horizontal. Its length at the withers and its direction are nearly parallel to the medial plane of the body.


Forearm:

well boned, vertical. Its length is slightly more than the length of the humerus, and measures slightly less than 1/3 of the height at the withers. The height at the elbow is 52.87% of the height at the withers. The elbows, which are normally close to the body and covered with soft, loose skin, should lie on a plane which is parallel to the medial plane of the body. The point of the elbow should lie on a perpendicular from the scapular.


Wrist:

the wrist lies on the vertical of the forearm; lean, smooth, with no visible bone relief, except at its back edge, where the pisiform bone protrudes.


Pastern:

seen from in front, the pastern follows the vertical line of the forearm, it is lean with a minimal amount of subcutaneous cellular tissue. Its length should not be less than 1/6 of the height of the entire member at the elbow. Seen in profile it should be slightly extended.


Foot:

large, rounded, with toes well closed, and covered with short dense hair. The pads are lean and hard; the nails are strong and arched. The pads are strongly pigmented, as are the nails, the pigment should be black (brown in the nail is acceptable).

this dog displays large rounded feet with closed toes which are critical for supporting a large heavy dog in rugged conditions

Large round feet

dark pigment of the toenails always means hard nails - white toenails will be soft and often lighter brown toenails are brittle

Black nails

this young maremma displays turned out feet which can cause many skeletal problems as the dog matures - they are easily injured, and fail to support a large body well

Small turned out feet

these feet are small and fine, and are not well suited to a large dog that may have to walk and run over large distances on a daily basis, or navigate difficult ground like hills, rocks and hard surfaces

Also lacking in chest


BODY:

The length of the body, measured from the point of the shoulder (Outer scapular-humeral angle) or from the manubrium of the sternum to the point of the buttock (posterior point of the ischium), is 1/18 greater than the height at the withers.


Chest:

broad and well open, with well developed pectoral muscles, the width between the lateral limits (the upper and forward edges of the arms) should be 25% of the height at the withers. The sternum should be level with the point of the shoulders.

whilst this maremma has ample width of shoulders, the thorax has no capacity. the result of this has 2 major concerns - movement is affected as the legs are so close together under the body and lung capacity will not be as great as it should be Notice there is no width of chest at all between the front legs the angulation you can see here from the top of the shoulder to the insertion of the legs shows a good lung capacity, lovely leg placement and as this is a young dog under 12 months it can only be expected to grow into an impressive chest

This is a young bitch showing promising chest development

there is such a thing of too much of any good thing, and this dog is displaying such a width between her front legs that it is now affecting the angulation and insertion of the legs and movement in the shoulder to her detriment

Very wide chest floor on a mature bitch but is affecting the shoulder angles


Rib Cage:

broad, descending to the level of the elbow, well rounded at the midpoint of the height. The cross diameter which is greatest at half of the height, diminishes slightly toward the bottom, so that the stern region is still broad. The ribs are well sprung, oblique, with well extended interrib spaces; the last false ribs are long, oblique and well open. The sternum is long: in profile its outline is that of a semicircle with a very broad chord, which ascends toward the abdomen. The circumference of the rib cage should be about 1/4 greater than the height at the withers, and its diameter should be at least 32% of the height at the withers, while the depth of the rib cage should be 50%. In a dog 27 inches high the rib cage should have the following dimensions: circumference (behind the elbows) 32.6 inches; circumference on the rib arches 28.7 inches; depth 13.4 inches; height 12.8 inches. The thoracic index, therefore, should not exceed it (and should be preferably less).


Back:

the withers are slightly raised above the backline, with the points of the scapulae set well apart. The upper outline of the back is straight. The length is about 32% of the height at the withers.

the dip in the back of this dog is caused by the hips being too high probably from incorrect proportions in length of the hind legs

Back is not straight - rump too high

the straight topline on this dog is ruined by the steep fall on the dogs rump - again this all affects the dogs movement

Back is very straight but rump falls too steeply

this dog has a longer body, but still the hips are too high for the back, probably again due to incorrect length of hind legs

Back rising to the rump

the very long body, incorrect leg angles and high rump give this unfortunate maremma a sausage dog apprearance and movement that are not at all typcial of livestock guardians and never a desirable body shape to breed from

Very long body with angled topline

there are so many points to notice on this dog - begin with the hind feet and travel up - the feet are splayed, the legs are straight instead of angulated and this causes many hip problems (this dog has canine hip dysplasia) and is causing the back to have an arched appearance - this dog not only has poor movement but also pain Topline poor, tail set high, feet - east/west angulation of the hindlegs is critical to providing a straight and strong topline that will last a large dog a lifetime without pain, injury or reduction of movement

Notice the definite dip in this dogs topline

this dog displays a straight back - look first at the angulation of the hind legs compared to the dogs with poor backs and you can see how much hind leg angulation will affect the hips and topline

This back is straight, with very correct slope of rump

the angulation on the hind legs of this dog combined with the excellent tail insertion gives an excellent guide to comparing toplines of maremmas Correct straight topline, correct rump and tail this dog displays a beautiful strong back - her hind leg angulation does not look as good as it could as she is standing on a slight incline and the long grass hides part o the view - notice the lovely depth of thorax visible here also

Correct topline, rump and set of tail

Loins:

well incorporated into the backline, slightly convex as viewed in profile. The muscles are well developed in their breadth. The length is 1/5 of the height at the withers. The width is almost equal to the length


Belly:

its lower line, from the stern forward, rises very slightly toward the flanks, in such a way that the belly is slightly drawn up. The flanks should be of a length which is almost equal to the lumbar region; the hollowing of the flank should be minimal.


Croup:

broad, robust, muscular; the cross diameter between the haunches should be 1/7 of the height at the withers. Its length is 1/3 of the height at the withers. Its slope, from the haunch to the set on of the tail, is 20 degrees from the horizontal, and thus the dog's croup is hollowed.


Sexual Organs

the male should have perfect and complete development of the testicles.


Tail:

set on low, because of the followed croup, when the dog is standing in normal position, the tail passes the hock. In repose it is carried hanging down, while when the dog is excited it is carried at the backline, with the tip slightly curved. It is well feathered with dense hair, but there should be no fringe.

the tail insertion on this dog is too high, the leg angulation almost completely missing and the tail curls over the rump - the effect on movement is deterimental

These are spitz tails and are a serious breed fault

whilst a maremma with a correct tail may at times of agitation or high excitement raise the tail high, this dog cannot lower the tail into the correct position and the curl remains there at all times

Notice tails are curled and held high over the dogs back

not quite a true spitz tail, this tail however is carried too high and still hangs over the back

Incorrect tail carraige is directly related to hip angles

this tail is inserted too high on the rump causing a strange impression of there being a real separation between tail and body

This is a very highly attached tail. It will likely develop into a spitz tail as she matures

a correctly inserted tail can be raised over the back when a maremma is excited or agitated, but it looks very different to tails that are incorrectly place and inserted if you compare this tail to the spitz tails the difference is obvious

Correct carraige of tail when dog is excited

this dog displays correct insertion and carriage of the tail - even though she is playing on a beach, the tail remains low and you can see the difference in how it is inserted into the pelivs Correct set, insertion and carraige of tail this yound dog has poor pelvic development affecting the carriage of his tail Not strictly a spitz tail - it lacks a full curl, but is carried too high whilst the insertion of this tail is not too bad, it is very short, even shorter than it appears because of the long hair covering it

Tail is too short, only just reaching the hock

 


HINDQUARTERS
Thigh:

long, broad, covered with powerful muscles, with the back edge slightly convex. Its length is 1/3 of the height at the withers. Its outer face, from one edge to the other, should be 3/4 of its length. Its direction is slightly sloping form above to below and from the back forward, and, in respect to the vertical, it should be parallel to the medial plane of the body.

this maremma is over 2 years old and is severely underdeveloped and one would suspect under nourished causing poor muscle development depleting the strength and energy of the dog

Poor bone and muscle development for an adult bitch

this maremma depicts the descriptino of a dog that is powerful - the hindquarter development of this dog even underneath the hair growth suggests great strength

Powerful musculature with good bone, but not very parellel

these hind legs are not parellel however the cow hock effect is not too bad but would affect the strenght of the hind legs

the dog does not have as good a balance when the hocks turn inwards and will affect their movement and ease of movement particularly on eneven ground

Not parellel the severe cow hocking this poor young dog is displaying, along with poor muscular development is a likely candidate for hip dysplasia and a life of limited movement capabilities

Severe cow hocks

seen from behind the dog the legs appear completely straight - this of course is not angulation of the legs but variation from what you see in this photo are not idea and will affect the dogs movement Correct set of hind legs


Leg:

well boned, and well equipped with lean muscles. The length is slightly less than the length of the thigh, and is 32.5% of the height at the withers. Its slope is about 60 degrees from the horizontal.

lack of angulation to the leg as well as incorrect proportions to sections of the leg will affect the dogs ability to move well, easily and without pain as well as bear the weight of a large dog. these legs lack angulation completely

Both dogs here have legs are too straight and feet are turned out

lack of angulation in the hind legs is also causing the feet to splay which is going to affect the balance, agility and speed at which this dog can move

The hindquarter is crucial to correct movement

this maremma displays strong legs with good angulation and lovely set and insertion of the tail giving a strong rump to allow free movement and powerful drive Both these have very correct legs with good angles and correct set of tail

this dog displays lovely hind quarters for strength, balance and powerful movement - this is so important for a livestock guardian who may have to range wide territories daily to mark perimeters or deal with large predators

 


Hock:

its height is 30.9% of the height at the withers; this means that in a dog 26 3/4 inches high, the height of the hock should be about 7 1/4 inches. The sides of the hock are very broad, its forward angulation is quite closed, seen from behind, the backline which goes from the hock to the ground should be on the vertical and on the prolongation of the buttock line.


Metatarses:

robust and lean; its length depends on the height of the hock. Seen from behind as well as in profile, it should always be vertical. There should be no dewclaws.


Foot:

like the forefoot, but slight more oval in shape

COAT
Hair:

very abundant, long, rather harsh to the touch, close to the body. A slight wave is permitted; around the neck, the coat forms a rich collar. It is short on the muzzle, on the skull, on the ears, on the forward edge of all four limbs, on the back edge of which it forms a slight fringe. The undercoat is abundant and only a winter coat. The texture of the hair is semivitreous. The length of the hair on the body may be as much as 3 inches


Colour:

solid white, Ivory, pale orange, pale lemon shadings are acceptable if not excessive.


Skin:

close-fitting and rather thick all over, the neck has no dewlap. Lips, nose and eyelids should be black, as should the pads of the feet and the nails. (Brown nails are acceptable)


GAIT

The pace is long, as is the trot.

not only is the poor movement and odd hip angles with straight legs obvious in this dog but it a typical vision of advanced hip dysplasia

This dog has great difficulty moving due to hip angles and poor topline

notice the straight topline, angulated legs, good insertion and holding of tail in this dog, her movement is excellent for this breed and is what you look for in a strong livestock guardian who can navigate any ground surface

Notice the difference in the hips and legs as this dog moves compared to the first photo

lovely depcition of a maremma in full running mode displaying good movement, he shows beautiful angulation and great strength in all parts of his body, particularly for a young dog

Maremma in full flight! Notice the way both hind legs are now coming forward together. The run is different to the walk and trot

the same dog as the previous photo showing the extension stage of the run this dog displays, the strong hind legs are propelling the body well forward and the strong fore legs will take his weight ready for the hind legs to bunch up for the next lunge

Same maremma in full flight but now in the extension stage of the movement - this dog is chasing a sighthound!

 

this drawing of the outline of a maremma with the direction for measuring and working out angle will greatly help you develop an 'eye' for correctness when looking at maremmas

This drawing illustrates how to measure the lengths described in the standards, and how to measure the angles. Body length is measured from the point of the shoulder to the point of the hip. Height is measured at the foreleg to the top of the shoulder. Angulation of the legs is demonstrated here well, as are the needed proportions.

Compare this drawing now with the various photos shown throughout the standards to see how many of the dogs photographed vary from the ideal.

You can download a printable version of this drawing then measure your dog and do the math! You will find once you have actually measured a number of dogs you will develop an 'eye' for this and won't always need to do exact measuring. It is probably easiest to start with to measure your dog directly but you can use a good photo to measure on also.

VIDEO explaining the dog's anatomical structure

This video will walk you through the diagram above explaining the dog's anatomy.

notice when you look at the measuring lengths and angles image how the angles on this dog differ from the ideal in both the hip and shoulder areaVery incorrect leg angles, & toplinenow compare the angles in this photo to the measuring length and angles image and you get a good picture of what this really looks like on a real dogCorrect leg angles

the incorrect angulation in the shoulders of this dog is causing the shoulder to be too straight and therefore not bearing the load wellIncorrect angles giving a straight shoulder
now it is easy to see the difference in the stance of this dog who displays excellent shoulder angulation - this dogs legs are well under the centre of his chest allowing for correct support of a large heavy bodyCorrect shoulder angles


FAULTS

General Characteristics: undistinguished overall appearance, light bone, lack of symmetry.
Height: deficient or excessive.
Head: convergent cranial facial axis (a very serious fault). Nose lower than the line of the bridge; protruding on the vertical of the forepart of the nose; small; nostrils not well open; deficient pigmentation. Total de-pigmentation a disqualification.
Bridge: short, narrow, with the sidelines exaggeratedly convergent; convex (arched); a pronounced arch or hollow constitutes a disqualification.
Lips: over or under-developed. Conjunction of the upper lips decidedly in the shape of an inverted V
Muzzle: short, exaggerated convergence forward of its sides, that is, a decidedly pointed muzzle.
Jaws: thin; overshot condition if it harms the general appearance of the muzzle, undershot condition if due to lack of length in the mandible is a disqualification; if it is the result of bad direction of teeth it is a fault. Curved lower jaw; Irregular teeth; teeth lacking; horizontal erosion of the teeth.
Skull: small, short, flat on top, or exaggeratedly rounded; broad at the zygomatic arches; masseters overly developed; underdeveloped sinuses; or (a serious fault) overly developed, to the point where the stop is pronounced. Convergence of the cranial facial longitudinal axis.
Eyes: too small, or prominent; light eyes; walleyes (disqualification). Eyes set too high, round, entropion; suspicious expression; cross eyes. Partial depigmentation of the eyelids, or (disqualification) total depigmentation. total bilateral depigmentation of the eyelids (disqualification).
Ears: too long or too short; semierect or rose ears. Set on low, rounded tips, covered with excessively long hair, not mobile.
Neck: thin, too short; presence of dewlap.
Pastern: short, thin, spongy; too long, too extended or straight; out of vertical.
Foot: (Forefoot) fat; splayed, broad, too big, crushed; deficiency of arching in the toes; foot carried in or out, that is, not vertically. toe pads fleshy, thin sloes; deficiency of colouring in nails and pads. Bad positioning of pads.
Body: too long; longitudinal diameter equal to height at the withers.
Chest: narrow, insufficiently let down; poor muscular development; manubrium of sternum positioned too low.
Rib Cage: too low, too shallow and of insufficient circumference; narrow; carenated. Xiphoid appendage curved inward; short stern; rib arches not sufficiently open. Ribs not sufficiently sprung; inter rib spaces not broad; false ribs short and closed;
Back: short, interruption of the backline at the eleventh vertebrae. Saddle back (Lordosis); carp back (Hyphosis).
Loins: long, flat, narrow.
Belly: drawn up; long and hollowed flank.
Croup: narrow; deficient in length ; horizontal.
Sexual Organs: Monorchidism (disqualification), cryptorchidsm (disqualification). Incomplete development of one or both testes. (disqualification)
Tail: too long or too short; lack of brachyurism, either congenital or artificial (disqualification); tail set on high. Tail curled over the back (disqualification), or with decided fringes.
Thighs: short, or with badly developed muscles, that is, flat, deviated from the stifle; too straight or too sloped.
Leg: light bone; short, insufficiently sloped.
Hock: high; not broad; open or closed angulation; out of vertical.
Metatarses: long, thin; out of vertical; dewclaws (a very serious fault).

dewclaw on an adult maremma - these side claws are extra and are prone to injuries that are very painful for the dog, they are best removed within the first few days of life when the procedure is simple and causes very little bleeding dewsclaws can be close fitting with a bony attachment or loose fitting - both are prone to injury although the loose fitting ones are easily ripped right off if the dog is not careful another issues that commonly occurs with dewclaws such as this left on an adult dog is that if the nail is not kept short it can grow in a circular fashion and become embedded in the side of the leg causing great pain and may require surgery to correct - do remove dewclaws from your pups if you are a breeder and if you obtain a puppy with dewclaws have them removed as young as possible Dewclaws. Notice how they protude from the leg. These are very easily damaged, and this is very painful for a dog. They should be removed at a few days of age.


Hair: strongly waved, curly (disqualification); short; lack of winter undercoat; hair too harsh or too soft.
Colour: other than solid white; Isabella coat (disqualification); Isabel or ivory markings, even if very small, with sharp edges (disqualification). Ivory or pale orange tints in abundance.
Skin: thin or too thick, over abundance; dewlap; traces of depigmentation on the nose and on the edges of the eyelids; lack of colouring, even if season; total depigmentation of the nose (disqualification).
Gait: short, jumpy, ambling.


DISQUALIFICATIONS

Height: more than 30 inches at the withers and more than 3/4 inch less than the minimum height standard.
Head: decidedly convergent cranial facial axis.
Bridge: concave or exaggeratedly arched.

In judging, if any characteristic vital to the type of the breed is graded, the dog cannot be considered, but will be disqualified even if the other characteristics are all graded excellent.

Please use the submit an article link below if you have an electronic copy of the maremma breed standard for your country so that it can be included on this site as we would love to include the standards for every country.

Australian Breed Standard

male maremma playing with his pups displaying the loving nature of these livestock guardian dogs

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