The Maremma: An Ancient Racing Breed

BronteRunning Not really. Maremmas are a centuries-old livestock guardian breed, of whom you’d expect general laziness and un-inventiveness. Really only confidence, territoriality and brawn is needed in such a dog. But Bronte is something else. Just passing her yearling birthday, she is still very silly, and creative in her daily play.

bronteRunning3When I visit the field, sometimes she gets herself so excited she starts sprinting all around me in those huge, hysterical circles dogs do when they are really feeling heady. She can run pretty fast and corner hard for such a large beast! I think she can run almost as fast as the Border Collies, though she has the advantage of about a three-to-one stride length!

She loves it if I pretend to chase her a bit, though I don’t like to do this too much and remind her that’s she’s faster than me. After one of these games, I try to call her to me and give her some nice petting, so that we always end on a recall note, not a runaway note!

RatShe finds and excavates things in the soil. Rodents, most obviously. But she’s also unearthed old wood, a large truck rear view mirror housing, and a section of silt fencing. And stole all the lids off the drain field port holes. She’s destroyed her second Jolly Ball, so I have to find something more indestructible for her toy inventory.

I feel really thankful that so far she hasn’t been an escape artist. She is so big, it would be trivial for her to vault fences or dig under things. And I know a lot of other LGD owners have found the containment part to be a challenge. But I think Bronte’s insecure nature has so far led her to stay inside the comfort zone of her familiar fields-she’s not as brave-hearted as you’d expect an LGD to be. And hopefully there is enough entertaining her out there that she isn’t feeling the desire to wander.

She’s been barking a lot at night lately. As near as I can tell, it’s the migrating birds that are bothering her. The trumpeter swans are especially noisy at night (they really do sound like trumpets), and hundreds of waterfowl of many different species land in the big made-for-them preserve/hunting grounds at the farm across the street. I’m hoping she’ll get accustomed to this noise with time, and quit alerting to it. I’m losing a lot of sleep getting up to check on her!

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