Maremma Sheepdog – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Is large and powerful Maremma Sheepdog for you? Should you welcome this breed into your home? Read on and discover.
Dog Breed Group:
Working Dogs
23.5 to 28.5 inches
65 to 100 pounds
Life Span:
11 to 13 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

The Maremma Sheepdog is one of the oldest European breeds.

Dog experts claim that this large dog breed has shared genes with Eastern European livestock guardian dogs, including the Kuvasz and the Pyrenean Mountain Dog.

Maremma Sheepdogs are an ancient breed, dating back to Roman times. They were originally bred in Italy.

In fact, they are still one of the most popular breeds within the Italian borders, where they are mostly busy guarding livestock.

This large dog is known by many different names, such as Abruzzese, Cane da Pastore, and Italian Sheepdog.

Some of these names were created to communicate two breed varieties of these dogs from different regions in Italy.

They were officially recognized in the 1950s. Maremma Sheepdogs were carefully bred to be independent thinkers who are devoted to their jobs.

Maremma Sheepdogs were bred to be hard workers while at the same time they are great watchdogs.

As large and active dogs, they need a lot of space to run free and explore the space. They do the best in rural areas with open space.

They will get along nicely with other dogs, and they will adore their human family, but they will avoid strangers and anyone who isn’t familiar. This is why they are suitable watchdogs.

Read on to learn more about this soft-hearted dog.

Quick Facts

Real name: Maremma Sheepdog
Other names: Cane da Pastore Maremmano-Abruzzese, Maremmano, Pastore Abruzzese, Pastore Maremmano, Abruzzese, Mastiff, Mastino Abruzzese, Abruzzo Sheepdog, Abruzzese Sheepdog
Origin: Italy
Breed type: Working Dogs
Weight: 9-11 kg (22 to 24 pounds)
Height: 65 to 100 pounds
Lifespan: 11 to 13 years
Litter Size: 6 – 9 puppies
Color: White
Coat: Long and thick coat

Maremma Sheepdog History

Maremma Sheepdogs are an ancient breed. As such, they date back to Roman times which was 2000 years ago.

Some claim that they existed even years before the Roman empire. As mentioned earlier, they are related to European livestock guarding dogs.

In fact, they are all descendants of the Tibetan Mastiff, a breed that dates back even more millennia.

Maremmas were bred in two separate regions in Italy for one purpose – to guard livestock.

This job duty was much different than being herding dogs. Their role was a challenging one because they had to guard livestock against various predators, such as wolves.

They were so efficient in their role, that they were given a non-official nickname ‘wolf-slayers.’

Maremmas had to deal with predators, on their own which is why they were able to fight off predators that were more powerful and bigger than they were.

Since they were bred to be protectors, it comes as no surprise why they love being outdoors even today.

They are true outdoor lovers, and nothing existed for them more than spending the entire day outside being active and exploring.

Maremmas won’t mind spending time indoors, but if you want them to thrive you need to provide a huge amount of activity, exercise, and outdoor well-being.

A really challenging period for this breed was World War II. These dogs were often shot, plus wartime wasn’t the best time for dog breeding meaning that this breed went for good.

However, thanks to dog lovers and passionate dog breeders, the breed survived and the world is lucky enough to meet this breed.

Maremma Sheepdog Physical Appearance

Maremma Sheepdogs are large dogs and there is no doubt about it. They are easy to spot, challenging to move around if you’re city-based, and they are massive softies in the heart.

Males are commonly larger than females, standing between 25.5 to 28.5 inches of height, while females are around 25.5 to 26.75 inches tall.

As for the weight, males are usually between 77 to 100 pounds, while females are slightly lighter, weighing between 66 to 88 pounds.

These large size dogs are strongly built, and well-balanced body-wise. Their skull is rather wide, while jaws are powerful, with close-fitting lips.

Eyes are neither large nor small, and always almond-shaped. The neck is strong and of medium length.

The whole body is well-developed, while the feet are wide and powerful. Tail is set on low, reaching below joint of hock, but carrier level with back when a dog is alert.

Movement should always be free and active, giving an impression of a dog that can move easily over ground and turn quickly.

The coat in this breed is surprisingly harsh and slightly waved. They are commonly white.

Maremma Sheepdog Personality

Maremma Sheepdogs are loyal and serious dogs who thrive when there is work to be done.

They are huge people lovers, and they love nothing more than spending time with their human family.

Maremma Sheepdogs do their best when there is a space for them to be free and independent. To get the most out of this breed early training and proper socialization are a must.

They are independent thinkers, but they are far from being destructive.

Yet, if you neglect his needs in terms of freedom and independence, and force the dog to stay alone for long periods, you may learn what a destructive behavior in dogs actually looks like.

This is something that you want to avoid seeing in your dog. They won’t react well to strangers. After all, they are watchdogs which means that they take their job seriously.

Maremma Sheepdogs will watch after you and do their best to protect you, or alarm you when danger is nearby.

Maremma Sheepdogs will do well with strangers and they will be highly protective of their space and humans. They will often be well with their other animals as well, including cats.

Still, it cannot harm to introduce them well while they are all young. Puppyhood is a great period to make an introduction like this one.

Maremma Sheepdog Training

Training should start as soon as you bring your Maremma home. Have enough toys on hand, puppy-proof your house, and invest in interactive toys that will keep your dog entertained for hours.

This breed isn’t for first time dog owners and this is something that should be taken seriously.

If you are a first time dog owner, and you prefer larger dog breeds, think about getting Golden Retriever, as they are more suitable for novice dog owners.

Should you hire a professional dog trainer? If you feel that the training process is too much for you, think about hiring a professional dog trainer.

Puppy classes can do wonders when it comes to connecting with your dog.

Training is, in general, easier with younger dogs, especially puppies who can learn basic commands when they are eight weeks of age.

Maremma Sheepdog Exercise

Bigger dogs usually need more intense exercise time to burn that extra energy.

Next to regular toilet breaks, you will have to provide additional exercise. To keep this dog fit and mentally stimulated you should provide a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise per day.

Maremma Sheepdog Grooming

Maremma Sheepdogs are always white. No other color is allowed, but some variation of shading white coat.

In dog shows a tinge of yellow, orange, and peach will be acceptable. The fur is always long and thick.

The undercoat is dense and will shed strongly twice a year, during the shedding season which is in spring and autumn.

Regular brushing should keep debris at a minimum, as long as you are using the right grooming tools.

If you are not a fan of regular brushing, doublethink if a dog is a pet for you, especially this breed.

Breeds with long hair tend to shed a lot and this is something to consider when getting a dog, especially this breed.

Their thick coat is created to keep them warm during the harsh winter nights. Their coat isn’t the best option when it comes to staying cool during the summer days and nights.

They still need shelter to protect them when outdoors from hot and color weather.

Maremma Sheepdog Health

Once you get your Maremma Sheepdog you are directly responsible for his weight.

Large dog breeds are prone to obesity, if you don’t know how much exactly they should eat, it can be easy to feed your dog with some extra bites.

After all, how can you know how much a large dog breed should eat if you don’t follow specific guidelines?

Learn how much you should feed your dog and how often. Make sure that you provide a suitable dog bowl because larger dog breeds are prone to bloat, a life-threatening condition.

Is The Maremma Sheepdog For You?

The Maremma Sheepdog is for you if you already have serious experience as a dog owner.

This large breed isn’t easy to handle if you don’t have the right knowledge of the breed, or if you don’t know how to handle large dog breeds.

The Maremma Sheepdog is for you if you are comfortable with having a large dog who needs a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise per day.

If your living area is too tight this may not be the breed for you, since they need a large space to keep them both mentally stimulated and physically fit.

Doublethink if the Maremma Sheepdog is for you if you don’t have enough time to invest in training this breed.

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