Maremma Sheepdog

Canis lupus

Last updated: November 2, 2022
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© Anastasiia Cherniavskaia/Shutterstock.com

Maremma Sheepdog Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Mammalia
Order
Carnivora
Family
Canidae
Genus
Canis
Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Maremma Sheepdog Conservation Status

Maremma Sheepdog Locations

Maremma Sheepdog Locations

Maremma Sheepdog Facts

Diet
Omnivore

Maremma Sheepdog Physical Characteristics


Maremma Sheepdog as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Shedability
Trainability
Intelligence
Tendency to Chew
Size
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Moderate
Separation Anxiety
Low
Preferred Temperature
Average climate
Exercise Needs
Moderate
Friendly With Other Dogs
Moderate
Pure bred cost to own
$800
Dog group
Herding
Male weight
70-100 lbs
Female weight
60-85 lbs

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It’s a breed with many names: the Maremmano, the Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog, the Cane da Pastore Abruzzese, and as we’ll call it here, the Maremma Sheepdog. This fluffy herding dog is native to its namesake Abruzzo region and the Maremma marshlands of Italy, where it guarded sheep against predator wolves.

Maremma Sheepdogs are still abundant, though they’re used less often in sheep farming. They share a common ancestor with the Great Pyrenees, featuring a fluffy white coat and a sharp intelligence bred to work independently and with their owners. This intelligence may make them trickier to train, but with the right tactics, you can earn this dog’s respect and enjoy its partnership for many years.

Read on to learn more about the Maremma Sheepdog and everything you need to know before considering adoption. 

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The Maremma Sheepdog is indigenous to the Abruzzo and Maremma regions of Italy, used for centuries to protect sheep from predators.

The Best Dog Food For Maremma Sheepdog

Maremmas require a nutrient-dense, balanced diet to keep them in good physical condition and healthy and energetic order. Regular mealtimes – usually twice a day – with consistent food measurements are a must to prevent obesity. You should adjust this measurement in tandem with your pup’s exercise and lifestyle. It’s also easy to overfeed them during their growing years, which can contribute to hip dysplasia and other musculature or joint-related issues, so consult your vet to determine the best serving sizes for your pup.

A balanced dry food with plenty of Calcium, Phosphorus, and at least 22% protein content will help provide your Maremma Sheepdog the diet he needs to thrive. Plenty of fats will keep coats shiny and healthy and help bones, teeth, and hair stay strong. As such, the A-Z Animals team recommends Hill Science Diet Dried Dog Food for Adult Large Dogs. This formula features:

  • Multiple protein sources from fish, meat, and eggs
  • Adequate calcium and mineral levels
  • Up to 16% fat content
  • Free from artificial or filler ingredients.

3 pros and cons of owning a Maremma Sheepdog

Pros!Cons!
Highly intelligent and easy to train
As independent thinkers, these dogs love to – and quickly learn – new tricks.
Protective of family
Without socialization, these dogs can become overprotective around strangers.
Exceedingly loyal
Earn your Maremma’s trust and have a constant companion for life.
Independent with herding instincts 
If you don’t establish yourself as the pack leader, Maremmas can take matters into their own hands.
Healthy with low medical maintenance
These dogs are generally healthy with no breed-specific concerns.
High maintenance grooming needs
Their fluffy undercoats shed twice yearly and require regular brushing.

Maremma Sheepdog Size and Weight

The Maremma Sheepdog female’s average height ranges between 25 and 28 inches, with males capable of growing about three inches taller. Males can weigh up to 100 pounds when fully grown, and females weigh about 85 pounds.

Height (Male)31’ Tall
Height (Female)28’ Tall
Weight (male)100lbs, fully grown
Weight (female)85lbs, fully grown

Maremma Sheepdog Common Health Issues

On average, Maremma Sheepdogs are generally healthy and have no common or genetic health issues. Preventative vaccines and vet-recommend boosters protect them from influenza and infections such as heart- or tapeworms. These larger, mobile dogs can sometimes develop hip dysplasia later in life. It’s important to only purchase a Maremma Sheepdog from a breeder who can provide a certification that your dog’s parents are free from hip dysplasia. Feeding them a consistent, moderate diet will also help prevent bloat and symptoms from weight-related health issues.

Maremma Sheepdog Temperament

Maremmas were bred as sheep and personal protection animals and, as such, turn to their owners for directions. They thrive when provided responsibility and can become anxious or aggressive without a purpose. They are independent, brilliant pups and, without proper guidance or training, can make up their own minds about whether a mail carrier is a friend or thief, for example.

Proper socialization early in life, combined with disciplined and positive training, will help assert you as the leader of the pack and put your Maremma’s mind at ease.

How To Take Care of Maremma Sheepdog 

Maremmas sport dense, fluffy undercoats that shed seasonally in the spring and autumn.

©iStock.com/Ken Griffiths

Maremma Sheepdogs are fluffy, beautiful dogs requiring moderate grooming levels and attentive, positive-reinforcement training. While not recommended for first-time dog owners, a dedicated trainer can earn a Maremma’s trust and enjoy the benefits of an intelligent, loyal companion for years to come.

Maintenance And Grooming

Maremmas sport dense, fluffy undercoats that shed seasonally in the spring and autumn. They can go a long time without grooming or a bath if constantly exposed to wind and weather. However, dogs that live mostly indoors may require more baths and regular brushing to keep them in good shape. Be sure to check your dog’s ears for dirt or debris regularly, file nails to prevent breakage, and brush teeth routinely.

Training

House- and obedience training your Maremma will go quickly with regular, short sessions and lots of positive reinforcement. Puppies can learn tricks as early as four or five months, and training treats and plenty of encouragement will help them associate obedience with affection and praise. Maremma Sheepdogs can also be trained to compete in agility and obedience competitions, given their intelligence and eagerness to please. 

Exercise

Maremma’s are sheep guarders rather than sheep herders, so they don’t require quite as much exercise as their shepherd companions. However, they should be walked at least twice daily for 45-60 minutes to keep them from becoming overweight or developing bloat. Maremmas also loves long walks or hikes and generally keeping their owners company on longer outdoor adventures.

Puppies

Maremma Sheepdog puppies require heavy and consistent socialization from a very early age, as soon as their vaccinations allow. Allow your pup to constantly meet other dogs and get used to being handled by friendly strangers. This continual stimulation will help prevent your dog from becoming anxious or over-protective of its family. Even then, Maremmas insist on being correctly introduced to newcomers to the house. Crate training will provide your pup a safe space to call their own and help get them used to confinement if the situation requires it.

Maremma Sheepdog And Children

The Maremma Sheepdog is a big fan of children and babies and enjoys playing with well-behaved kids. They will follow their charges around the house and happily lean into or hug children during play or rest. However, Maremmas can sometimes overprotect their families and may object to strangers’ kids being overtly physical with their charges. Take care to supervise play between your Maremma and children and to properly teach kids to treat a dog with respect before introducing them to your pup. 

Dogs similar to Maremma Sheepdog

The fluffy Maremma Sheepdog is closely related to the Great Pyrenees, the Komondor, and the Anatolian.

  • Great Pyrenees: These gentle giants are slightly larger than the Maremma Sheepdog but share a thick, fluffy coat.
  • Komondor: The long, corded fur of the Komondor is unmistakable, but these dogs are also responsible for guarding flocks of sheep.
  • Anatolian: The Anatolian originated in Turkey, rather than Italy, but was also used to protect sheep from wolves and other predators.

Popular names for Maremma Sheepdog dogs include:

  • Gio
  • Alessandro
  • Lucca
  • Norah
  • Sofia
  • Aurora

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About the Author

Shanti Ryle is a content marketer with nearly a decade's experience writing about science, real estate, business, and culture. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Global Finance and Banking, Weedmaps News/Marijuana.com, and other publications. Her favorite animal (by far) is the Pembroke Welsh Corgi!

Maremma Sheepdog FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Is a Maremma a good family dog?

The Maremma Sheepdog possess a natural, protective instinct that makes them highly loyal and friendly to their families but cautious of strangers. They love their own children but require supervision when meeting strangers’ kids.

Are Great Pyrenees and Maremmas the same?

The two breeds share a fluffy coat and herd-protective instincts, but the Great Pyrenees sheds slightly more than a Maremma Sheepdog. The former also is slightly larger and weighs more than its Maremma counterpart.

How much does a Maremma Sheepdog cost?

The Maremma Sheepdog can cost between $600-800 for a purebred puppy. They’re less expensive than some purebreds, but finding a breeder with available pups can be challenging.

Can Maremmas be aggressive?

Maremmas are generally loyal and affectionate dogs to their families, but they can sometimes be reserved with strangers. Their protective instincts make them excellent watchdogs, and though they use their bark as a deterrent, they typically aren’t aggressive.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources
  1. The Kennel Club, Available here: https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/search/breeds-a-to-z/breeds/pastoral/maremma-sheepdog/
  2. United Kennel Club, Available here: https://www.ukcdogs.com/maremma-sheepdog
  3. Maremma Club, Available here: http://www.maremmaclub.com/maremma-faq.html

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