The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will host a webinar Feb. 15, “The Maremma Breed.” Maremma dogs are used in livestock protection.
The Zoom webinar will begin at 3 p.m. There is no cost to attend but participants must preregister at https://tx.ag/Feb15Maremma.
The Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Service Center in San Angelo has a research program dedicated to livestock guardian dogs, LGDs, and utilizes them at the center’s ranches and in partnership with private ranch owners.
Maremma featured speaker
Sarah Letts, president of the Maremma Sheepdog Club of America, will be the featured speaker. Letts works with the organization’s board to improve breeding practices and provide mentorship for those new to LGDs in general and to Maremmas in particular.
“The characteristics of close and intentional guarding, the general friendliness with people, and the ease of training to poultry and other livestock are essential to me,” Letts said.
At Sky Island Farm LLC, her organic permaculture farm, Letts uses her Maremmas to guard everything from her sheep and chickens to bee colonies. She has a high predator load on her place in the Santa Ana Mountains of Southern California that range from mountain lions to coyotes, hawks and racoons.
“She has taught courses alongside her dogs on utilizing LGDs as predator protection at permaculture conferences as well as farm schools in her area,” said Bill Costanzo, AgriLife Extension livestock guardian dog specialist, San Angelo.
Maremma were specifically bred to “close guard” and bark and guard with intention, so they stay with the flock and bark when needed rather than all the time, he said.
Maremma webinar topics
“I appreciate the Maremma breed for their superb guardian instinct and excellent temperament, capability of handling guardian duties as well as just being an overall wonderful dog, and I look forward to sharing that information with others,” Letts said.
Letts will discuss the following during the webinar:
- History of the breed.
- Characteristics of the breed.
- Guarding style and strengths.
- Use for various types of predation.
- Maremma as a family dog.
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Author: Susan Himes