My blogging friend Colorado Bob has animated the picture of our dog Annie.
As you can see she is a beautiful dog. She is a Maremma, which is an old world sheepdog, a breed over 2000 years old. She has a lovely nature towards humans but is actually a wolf killer, or at least that what the breed is meant to do, and she certainly does not tolerate any other canine well. Coyotes, wolves and little Spot beware Annie is on guard. Maremma dogs live with the sheep, not herding as most sheepdogs do, but guarding them and killing any predators that come near.
The method they use is to identify with the sheep buy rolling in their droppings, thus smelling, and because they are white, looking like a sheep and an unsuspecting wolf has a nasty surprise if it wanders too close to the flock. Unfortunately Annie has this quality in abudant quantities in her genes, as she likes to roll in just about anything. Bear poop, dead salmon are the favourites. Usually there are several Maremma dogs working together with a large flock of sheep or goats. Lambs can often be seen curled up between a Maremma's paws sleeping. Some dogs are being used now to protect cattle also.
Right now as the snow is so high we can't keep her in the pen, which is at least 60ft x 120ft and we have been advised that this breed must not be tied up. So she is all over the place and this is becoming a problem and since she has had so much freedom we doubt she will tolerate staying in the yard come summer. She will find a way out. We are seriously considering find her a new home, we rescued her originally but we had not done our homework about the breed, we just saw a young dog needing a home. Her own had disintergrated and we stepped in.
Apparantly the Maremma does not see itself as a pet but is a working dog bred to make its own decisions, it will only obey when it feels it is justified. They are said to be extremely intelligent and she is and I read that they get more opinionated as they get older. What she needs is the open ranges and animals to look after and she thinks the whole of the village is hers to guard and any other dog has to ask her permission to stay.
I think this spring we will have to take her to a shelter and hope she finds a suitable home. My husband loves her but he is getting exasperated as she only comes when it suits her, she doesn't see us being threatened so she figures why should she come. She is not motivated by food at all, which is unlike most dogs. She often fasts for up to four days at a time and you can even offer a favourite food to coax her to do something but if she doesn't want to do it she just wags her tail and walks away. She is a character and she is her own dog.