As winter settles into the land here in NEK Vermont and the breeding season is in full swing our Maremma LGDs (livestock guardian dogs) are happy to be hanging out with the livestock where ever they go. It doesn’t matter if it’s below zero or 30 above, they make themselves at home with our livestock, finding warmth at the base of a hay pile or snuggled-up in the barn amidst the flock. Whether at rest or on patrol, they are always on-duty, keeping a watchful eye of the goings-on of the farm. That allows us as the shepherd to rest assured that the dogs will alert us to any potential threat to our livestock while we stay warm and cozy inside by the fire.
We do not have a planned date for our next litter. We are in the process of acquiring a new Maremma to continue our breeding program, so please stay in touch with us and check the website for updates on our plans.
When available, each of our pups comes with an individual Micro ID chip, a vet check, their first set of shots and first de-wormings, as well as registration papers with MSCA (Maremma Sheepdog Club of America). Pups start at $850, plus 6% Vermont sales tax, for ether males or females, up to 10 weeks of age. After 10 weeks the cost of the puppy goes up with appropriate shots due and added time spent here on our farm for extra training and run-time with our mature Maremmas.
Ever since we've had our flock and herd we've had our registered Maremma Sheepdogs, or livestock guardian dogs (LGD). They live 24 hrs/day guarding our Dorset sheep and Boer goats and overall homestead. We live about 2 miles from any neighbors and in the midst of the woods. The LDGs are used to keep predators at bay, including but not limited to coyotes, birds of prey, strangers, and anything else that might try to venture into the animal yards that is not welcome. We have not had any predator attacks on our lambs and kids since we’ve had our Maremmas. They have also added a level of protection to our poultry that has keep the fox and weasels at bay.
Maremmas will build a special bond with whatever livestock they are exposed to as they grow, be it sheep, goats, poultry, or even cows and horses (although our dogs are not worked with cows or horses and added care is needed introducing LGDs to these types of livestock). By the time our pups leave our farm they will have had a good start to a foundation for a life as a LGD and will continue to learn and grow on their own as well. Many of our pup owners have been amazed at how quickly their new pup takes to the livestock and to doing their job, even at a young age.
We took some time and research to decide on which LGD breed to go with and have been greatly satisfied with the performance, function, and temperament of the Maremma. Our dogs came from real guardian lines, on working farms, and have been great protectors for us. Their natural instincts to bond with the livestock they grow up with is impressive and they continue to surprise us with their intelligence and work ethics.
NEK's Stud Levi: Peavine’s Francesco del Montelarco and Florentina (Amalfi & Chianti)
Breeding Female Alexis: Peavine’s Benedetto (Alfredo & Jersey Girl) & Margo (Hank & Hailey)
For centuries Maremmas have been used and bred in Europe and Asia to be livestock guardians so, their guardian instincts are a part of who they are. Little hands on work is necessary in teaching them how to guard the livestock as it’s part of their natural breed characteristics. We do work with them on their manners, teaching them fencing boundaries, and to respect the livestock.
Our pups are born out in the barn with our livestock and spend their first 8-12 weeks here on our farm with them and our other adult LGDs. They eat, sleep, and live right in amongst the livestock, observing everything that mom and dad do. Their first couple of months they will keenly observe their parents, our other Maremmas, and the social network of the litter of pups they are with. As they grow and mature they will continue to fine-tune their guardian skills through the goings-on of their new homes, the charges they are given, and their surroundings. Through deduction of what is normal to the area they are given to protect they will build a data base in which to make their own protective decisions on how to best care for their flock or herd. They are very intelligent, thinking dogs.
If you are looking for more information on the Maremma breed or have questions about whether or not a LGD is suitable to your situation, please check out the following link at the official Maremma Sheepdog Club of America website (www.maremmaclub.com). They have all kinds of helpful information. Or, feel free to contact us and we'll try to help you in any way we can.
Our Maremmas have been a real joy to own and work with!