Maremma Sheepdog vs Bulgarian Shepherd - Breed Comparison

Maremma Sheepdog vs Bulgarian ShepherdMaremma Sheepdog is originated from Italy but Bulgarian Shepherd is originated from Bulgaria. Both Maremma Sheepdog and Bulgarian Shepherd are having almost same height. Maremma Sheepdog may weigh 12 kg / 26 pounds lesser than Bulgarian Shepherd. Maremma Sheepdog may live 44 years less than Bulgarian Shepherd. Both Maremma Sheepdog and Bulgarian Shepherd has almost same litter size. Both Maremma Sheepdog and Bulgarian Shepherd requires Moderate maintenance.

Basic Information

Group:
Working dog
Working dog
Origin:
Italy
Bulgaria
Height Male:
65 - 73 cm
25 - 29 inches
65 - 75 cm
25 - 30 inches
Height Female:
65 - 73 cm
25 - 29 inches
63 - 72 cm
24 - 29 inches
Weight Male:
35 - 45 kg
77 - 100 pounds
45 - 57 kg
99 - 126 pounds
Weight Female:
35 - 45 kg
77 - 100 pounds
40 - 52 kg
88 - 115 pounds
Life Span:
10 - 13 Years
45 - 57 Years
Litter Size:
6 - 9
5 - 10
Size:
Large dog
Large dog
Other Names:
Maremmano, Abruzzese Sheepdog
Karakachan Shepherd Dog, Karakachan
Colors Available:
White
BlackWhiteTricolor
Coat:
Long and Thick
Single
Shedding:
Moderate, Seasonal
Moderate
Temperament:
Affectionate, Alert, Cheerful, Courageous, Curious, Energetic, Friendly, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Playful, Protective, Quiet, Responsive, Social, Stubborn, Territorial
Alert, Courageous, Independent, Intelligent, Loyal, Protective, Territorial
Grooming:
Moderate maintenance
Moderate maintenance
Trainability:
Easy
Moderate
Hypoallergenic:
No
No
Kids Friendly:
Yes
Yes
New Owners Friendly:
Yes
Yes

History

maremma sheepdogKnown also as the Cane de Pastore Maremmano-Abruzzese, the Maremma Sheepdog is often referred to as the Maremmano or the Abruzzese Sheepdog.

This is a working dog – a guardian of sheep and an indigenous dog to central Italy. The dog has been used for centuries already to guard sheep.

It was in 1924 that the first standard for the breed was published.

bulgarian shepherdThe Bulgarian Shepard Dog comes from the ancient line of Molossers of Central Asia and Tibet, and the shepherds of the Balkans, Turkey and Caucasus. Among the oldest and most valued of the working dogs of Europe, the Bulgarian Shepherd breed was created by mixing the Balkan breeds with the dogs from Central Asia by the proto-Bulgarians around the 7th century. The Karakachanskoto Kuche was introduced to Bulgaria and accepted by the sheep herders. Mixing this breed in with the Balkan and Central Asian mix developed the Bulgarian Shepherd we know today. In the long run the original Karakachanskoto Kuche became extinct, replaced entirely by the Bulgarian Shepherd even in places where the new breed is still called by the Kuche name. Although the breeds are not the same, most of the dog world does not know the difference.

In Bulgaria however the Karakachan is a national treasure and the history of the breed runs deep. One Kuche could run up to 1200 animals and hundreds were used by the herdsmen in the mountains of Bulgaria. There were many regional types of Bulgarian Shepherds with very little difference between those types. These dogs were so prized by the shepherds that the dogs ate first before the people. The dogs however ate a vegetarian diet of milk, wheat, water and oats. The Bulgarian Shepherd lives a long life of often over 20 years. The Bulgarian Army made good use of these dogs early in the 20th century.

Following World War II, the wolves were close to extinction and property in Bulgaria was nationalized. There was no longer a need for a large force of working dogs. The Communist government exterminated large numbers of sheep dogs including the Bulgarian Shepherd. Only those species on government owned farms and in remote regions survived. When the government farms were disbanded in the early 20th century, these dogs were exterminated as well. Only those in the mountains survived. Commercial breeding of the Bulgarian Shepherd in the end of the century has resulted in controversy as other breeds came into the breeding program.

Use of breeds such as Sarplaninacs, Caucasian Ovcharkas, St. Bernards, Central Asian Ovcharkas and Bosnian Tornjaks in these programs resulted in Bulgarian Shepherd or Karakachans that were a lot different from the original breed. There is therefore some concern about the future of the breed in Bulgaria, yet they received official Bulgarian national recognition in 2000. Today’s Bulgarian Shepherd is a guard dog for both property and livestock.

The official standard for the breed came about in 1991 and in 2005 it was recognized by the Bulgarian State Commission for Animal Breeds. Only those dogs that meet this standard are considered “true” Karakachans. The Bulgarian Shepherds are willing to fight bears and wolves in defense of its family and flock. The dog is brave and loyal, dignified and powerful. They are recognized by both the Dog Registry of America, Inc. (DRA) and the Bulgarian Republican Federation of Cynology (BRFC) a member of the FCI.

Description

maremma sheepdog puppyThe Maremma Sheepdog is a large dog with a muscular build. Some people who have owned these distinctive-looking dogs say he is like a big bear. He stands at 65 to 73 cm in height, both male and female, and he weighs 35 to 45 kg.

The coat is long, thick and white with a dense undercoat. If you look you’ll see flashes of pale orange or apricot amid the white. There is thicker, longer hair around the neck area.

The nose is black, the eyes brown and the ears medium length and floppy. The long tail is set low and is thickly feathered. You can expect 6 – 10 puppies from these dogs.

Temperament:

The Maremma has always been used to guarding sheep, and today even though he is looked upon as a wonderful, friendly companion dog, he also makes an excellent watch dog, being brave and courageous. He isn’t the kind of dog that you think of as getting wildly excited over something, as he has a dignified aura about him.

He is an independent dog, so training and sociaization will be absolutely imperative as he is strong-willed and likes to do things his way. Once trained and socialized, it is amazing to see such a large dog obeying all your commands such as ‘lie down, come, sit an stay'. He is very intelligent and shouldn’t have any trouble learning these basic commands.

He is calm and gets on well with children as well as other pets in the home. With his role as guardian of sheep, he has learned to be loyal and patient and will make a loyal ad loving family pet he takes his role as guardian very seriously.

He loves hard work, and shepherds have always appreciated the splendid work he does guarding their flocks. As a companion you will also appreciate the many excellent qualities he possesses.

The Maremma Sheepdog isn’t recommended for life in the city where there is a tiny garden. He has always been accustomed to large open spaces and requires a large garden. He won’t tolerate heat well with that thick coat of his and will require a shady spot in your garden to retreat to.

bulgarian shepherd puppyA massive, powerful and muscular Molosser, the Bulgarian Shepherd is strong, agile, powerful and fast. They are intelligent and reliable. They have a long, thick, harsh coat in white with patches of black. Their skull is massive and broad with a furrowed forehead. The muzzle is massive as well while the nose has wide nostrils and is fairly large. It has close fitting, thick lips with strong, scissor bite jaws. The Bulgarian Shepherd’s eyes are deep, oblique and small. They are either hazel or dark. They have an intelligent and confident, yet firm almost grim expression.

Their ears are low set, small and v-shaped. They sit close to the head which sits on a powerful but short neck. They have a broad back, well-muscled body with a deep chest and long, rough tail. Their gait is a trot with a spring in their step. There are two types of coats – longhaired and shorthaired with no undercoats.

Health Problems

maremma sheepdog dogThis ancient dog breed is robust and can reach 11 to 13 years of age when cared for properly. Like any other dogs, he can be prone to certain health problems.

One of these is hip dysplasia. Preventing your dog from becoming overweight can work towards preventing these kinds of musculoskeletal issues. Hip dysplasia occurs when your dog’s hip joints don’t develop properly so that the hips partially dislocate.

It is painful for your dog and it can be debilitating, leading to arthritis too and making it difficult for your pet to get around and to get up from lying down. There are a number of treatment options offered by your vet.

bulgarian shepherd dogThe breed itself is known to be healthy but they do face some of the usual health issues of the massive, giant breeds. This includes knee and elbow dislocation; hip dysplasia; bloat; entropion and osteosarcoma. All of these conditions require medical intervention, but bloat and osteosarcoma are the deadliest. Bloat needs immediate attention and osteosarcoma is a deadly bone cancer.

Caring The Pet

Exercise:

maremma sheepdog puppiesAs already suggested, this large dog will need space and he will need to be exercised. Apart from long walks in he countryside or in the park or your neighborhood, he will also need other activities that stimulate him mentally and physically.

Grooming:

The thick, all-weather coat of the Maremma will need a thorough bushing at least twice a week to get rid of all those loose hairs. When you are brushing him, look around for signs of ticks and fleas too and run your hands over him to feel for any unusual lumps.

Diet:

The Maremma is a large-breed dog, so before you get a big dog like this, decide whether you have the financial means to feed him and look after him properly. He is going to cost a lot to feed, so think it through first.

He will need to be fed a high-quality commercial dog food which has been specially formulated for a dog of his size. Keep the food of dogs simple. We’re all tempted to feed our dog treats like things such as chocolates, coffee, nuts, onions, grapes and raisins but these can cause havoc with your dog’s stomach.

Stick to simple, nutritious food. Boiled chicken, brown rice or pasta and vegetables such as potatoes, spinach and carrots can do wonders for your pet when you sometimes mix this into his kibble.

Try and mix some raw meat into his diet occasionally. Make sure he always has access to fresh, cool water.

Feeding

bulgarian shepherd puppiesThese are large dogs with large appetites, but you want to keep them lean and active. Feed them at least twice a day with a high quality large or giant dog dry food. Four to five cups of food per day is the maximum.

Health issues

Patellar Luxation – a floating kneecap or dislocated knee. Will cause lameness.

Bloat - distended or twisted stomach. Can cause death.

Osteosarcoma – bone cancer must be treated immediately as it is potentially fatal.

Entropion – eye issues when the eyelid turns inward and damages the eye.

Hip Dysplasia – May cause lameness and arthritis.

Exercise and games

The Bulgarian Shepherd needs a good amount of exercise every day. Remember this is a working breed and they need a job. Long walks every day are essential for his well-being.

Characteristics

maremma sheepdog dogsThis is a beautiful dog, but large, so don’t make the mistake of wanting a large dog like this for his looks. He will be expensive to feed.

If you have the means to provide a good home for him, he is friendly and good natured, even though he is strong-willed and independent.

Provide him with a good home and you’ll have a most splendid pet and companion.

bulgarian shepherd dogsThis is a working dog, intelligent and independent guard dog. Reserved around strangers but loyal and devoted with his family. Tolerant of children in their family if they were raised with them. Not only will she defend human family members, she will guard and defend household pets as well. He is quite capable of making her own independent decisions. These are very intense guard dogs that will respond aggressively if they think their people are being attacked.

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