The Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog: All You Need to Know

The Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog, also known as the Maremma Sheepdog, is an Italian livestock guardian with an impressive physical appearance. 

In this article, we will talk about the history, traits, personality, and health of the Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog so you can see if it is right for you. 

History and Origin of the Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog

The Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog is known by many names, including the Cane da pastore Maremmano-Abruzzese, the Maremma Sheepdog, the Abruzzese Sheepdog, and the Pastore Abruzzese. 

Also, the Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog is often confused with the Pyrenean Mountain Dog, Anatolian Shepherd Dog, and the Kuvasz, which are all similar in appearance and function.

Ancient Roots of the Breed

The Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog is an old breed that has been around for centuries, with some experts believing that their origins can be traced back to ancient Roman and Greek times.

The breed is mentioned by old Italian writers and there is also a depiction of a Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog in a 13th-century picture portrayed at the church of Santa Maria in Florence. 

Development in Italy

The Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog was developed in the mountains of central Italy, specifically the Maremma and Abruzzo regions. Due to the terrain and challenging weather, the dog was bred to be tough and fearless.

One of the most important traits of the Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog is its ability to work independently. The breed has a strong protective instinct and will defend its flock against predators without hesitation.

The Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog is also known for its ability to adapt to different situations and environments, making it a versatile breed that can be used in a variety of roles and environments. 

The Breed in Modern Times

The Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog is still primarily used as a working dog, especially in rural Italy where there is plenty of livestock and wolves remain a dangerous but protected predator.  

However, the Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog is also gaining popularity as a companion pet. The breed is highly intelligent, loyal, and protective, hence an excellent choice for families with kids. 

Physical Characteristics of the Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog

Size and Weight

The Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog is a large dog, with males typically weighing between 77 and 99 pounds and standing 26 to 29 inches tall at the shoulder, while females weigh around 66 to 88 pounds and stand 24 to 27 inches tall. 

Despite their large size, Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdogs are agile and quick on their feet, making them well-suited for their role as protectors of the flock.

Coat and Color

The Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog has a long and thick white coat that is designed to protect it from harsh weather conditions. The coat is also water-resistant. 

While the Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog is all-white, with no markings or patterns on its fur, it’s important to note that some dogs may have slight variations in color, such as a cream or ivory hue. 

Distinctive Features

One of the most distinctive features of the Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog is its large size, along with its thick coat and daunting appearance. The dog has a large head and powerful muscles.

Despite the overall intimidating size, the Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog is still approachable – it has small ears that stand close to the head and warm eyes with a welcoming expression. 

Temperament and Personality Traits

Natural Instincts

The Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog is a natural protector with a strong desire to keep their family and home safe. It is territorial and will react fiercely to any perceived threat to its property or loved ones. 

Loyalty and Bonding

Despite its protective instincts, the Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog is also very loyal and affectionate. It enjoys spending time with its owners and is known to be great with children of all ages. 

Interaction with Other Animals

While the Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog is generally well-behaved with other animals, it can be possessive when it comes to territory. Proper training and early socialization can help prevent aggression towards other animals.

Training Techniques

The breed is generally responsive to positive reinforcement training but can be stubborn. Consistency and patience are key when training a Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog, and punishment-based techniques must be avoided. 

Health and Average Lifespan 

Common Health Problems 

Some of the most common health conditions in the Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog are: 

  • Orthopedic Problems: Hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and patellar luxation are widespread orthopedic issues in the breed 
  • Eyelid Abnormalities: Breed members are prone to several eyelid problems such as entropion, ectropion, and distichiasis 
  • Gastric Dilatation & Volvulus: Also known as GDV or bloat, is a potentially fatal bloating and twisting of the dog’s stomach  

Average Lifespan 

The average lifespan of the Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog is around 11 to 12 years. Dogs from reputable breeders are healthier and can live longer than expected. 


The Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog has a rich history, stunning physical attributes, and unique personality characteristics, making it an interesting and worthwhile breed to learn about and consider.

The Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog is a wonderful choice for individuals or families looking for a loyal, protective, and gentle companion. Simply put, this breed can be a wonderful addition to any household.

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