It is impossible to track down certain origin of the Maremma Sheepdog, because there were livestock protectors in Italy since the ancient Roman Times. But it is believed that this is a native breed to Maremma and Abruzzo regions of Tuscany and Lazio and that they share similar ancestry with other European Sheepdogs, like Polish Tatra Sheepdog, Great Pyrenees or Cuvac. It is very likely that the common ancestor of all those breeds is the Turkish Akbash dog.
Traditionally, the Maremma Sheepdog was used as a livestock guardian. They were especially needed to guard the flock against wolves. The Maremma Sheepdogs work in group of approximatelly three dogs, which is enough to repel the wolf. They are only rarely agressive, most often they just stay between the flock and the predator and start their deep bark to discourage the predator. The physical attacks are very rare.
Most commonly the Maremma Sheepdog is guarding sheeps, but they can guard almost anything, starting, for example cows or goats. The most interesting animal they ever guarded is definitely a group of penguins off the coast of Western Australia. They helped to protect the penguin population against foxes.
4) Independent dog
Maremmas are often left to guard flocks by themselves without the need of a shepherd being present. That is why they just have to be self-reliant, intelligent and independent. BTW, even though they are very intelligent, because of their independent and strong willed temperament, they are not pushovers to train and they do need firm and patient trainer.
5) Family companions
The Maremma Sheepdog is not only a great worker, but also loving, sweet, totally devoted and affectionate family companion. They are not the typical apartment dog and they definitely prefer to live in rural areas where they can exhaust their energy. Overall, they are better suited for active families. Great fact is, that this breed does not have almost any prey drive, which is why they can live easily with other pets in the household.
The Maremma Sheepdog can only be in solid white color. Shades of ivory, pale orange or lemon is tolerated. There is a reason why they are white. It is because all white dog are easily recognizable from larger distances, which helped the shepherds to recognize their dogs apart from other animals, for example wolves. The coat is very thick, long and rough to touch.
This is a giant dog breed and according to the official FCI breed standard, their height should be between 60-73 cm, which is 23-29 inch and weight between 30-45 kg, which is 66-100 pounds. The females are naturally little bit smaller than males.
The full Italian name of the Maremma Sheepdog is Cane da pastore Maremmano-Abruzzese and the literal translation is The dog of the shepherds of the Maremma and Abruzzese region. Sometimes they are reffered to the Abruzzese Sheepdog or just simply as the Maremmano.
9) Energy level
This breed was walking with the sheeps all day long, so you should not be surprised that they do have quite a lot of energy and higher exercise needs. They definitely need daily longer walks, hikes or long playtime is needed to keep your dog healthy and happy. If you will not meet your dogs exercise needs, they might develop unwanted behaviour, like destruction.
This is a hardy and healthy dog breed with average lifespan between 11-13 years, which is very good for dog of this size. Of course, just like all dogs, they can suffer from some health issues, like hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia or bloating.