5 Essential Facts About Maremma Sheepdogs

maremma sheepdog adult and puppy

The Maremma Sheepdog is a large working dog breed that originates from Italy. They are known for their fluffy white or cream-colored coats and are often used to guard livestock. Here are a few more facts about Maremma Sheepdogs:

1. They Have Origins in the Roman Empire

The Maremma Sheepdog is considered indigenous to central Italy as well as Abruzzo, the Maremma region of Lazio and Tuscany, and other northern parts of Southern Italy. But, their origins can be traced back to the Roman Empire.

In addition to ancient Roman literature that describes white sheepdogs, there are also numerous depictions in Roman sculptures, paintings, statues, and other sources. These white sheepdogs are considered to be the ancestors of the Maremma Sheepdog.

2. Maremma Sheepdogs Have Guarded Sheep for Centuries

Maremma Sheepdogs were most often found on farms and working with shepherds throughout the Italian countryside. Their most important and most common job was to protect flocks of sheep from wolves. This is a job that they have been doing for centuries and can still be found doing today, especially in the Abruzzo region.

3. They Can Also Protect Penguins

Middle Island is home to a colony of Little Penguins that became plagued by fox attacks. In 2006, Maremma Sheepdogs were brought in the protect the penguin population from the foxes.

Thanks to their canine protectors, the penguin population on the island grew from fewer than 10 penguins to an estimated 180 Little Penguins that return to the island for every breeding season.

Although a rare occurrence, the Middle Island Maremma Project showed that Maremma Sheepdogs could protect endangered species from predators.

4. Maremma Sheepdogs Need to Work

Maremma Sheepdogs are a true working breed that needs a job to be happy and healthy. If you don’t give them one, they’ll often try to find one on their own and it will usually be protecting or guarding you and your property.

This dog breed does best in a situation where they are a working dog. They can become a family companion full-time, but require temperament testing, obedience training, and intensive socialization. And, you will still need to find some sort of job for them to do within the family.

5. They Are an Instinctual Guardian

These dogs protect and guard on instinct. For centuries, they spent day and night with their flock of sheep to guard them and protect them. They are used to being the boss in charge of their job and making decisions independently on how to do it best, evaluate threats, react, etc.

Although they do bond with their families and show them affection, they are also used to working on their own and spending time with their families when they are “off the clock”.

This can make it difficult for a Maremma to transition from a working guardian to only a family companion. Also, their protective instinct does not go away and tends to increase as they age, which can become an issue if not addressed appropriately by an experienced owner.

These are just a few facts about Maremma Sheepdogs. If this dog breed seems like the right fit for your farm, learn more about them, and then check out the available Maremma Sheepdog puppies. You could end up finding the perfect addition to your farm and family!