Massive in size, distinctive-looking and fiercely independent, the Abruzzenhund (known by other names such as the Maremma Sheepdog, Cane de Pastore, or the Abruzzese Sheepdog) is a classic flock-guarding dog that originated in Italy. It is believed to have descended from the great, white Eastern sheepdogs that slowly spread across Europe over 2,000 years ago.
Recognizable features of the great Maremma sheepdog would include its bear-like head; a black nose that becomes slightly pink-brown with age; long, dense coat of hair that has a slight wave and resistant to cold and brambles; and coat colours which usually have pronounced markings of ivory, light yellow, or pale orange on the ears.
Although best identified as a flock guardian and is a breed highly regarded by mountain shepherds especially during the cold months as it thrives on snow, its friendly and well-balanced temperament also makes it an ideal companion dog. They generally get along well with other dogs and pets but would be more reserved towards strangers. Like other dogs in general as well, the Maremma sheepdog would display great affection and loyalty towards its master – but make no mistake, it is bred and trained to be an independent work dog.
This is not a breed recommended for beginners as the sheepdog would need an authoritative hand and voice. Once it reaches its maturity, it is an excellent flock guard that controls its pack and displays a lifelong dedication and love for its work. Maremmas have a life expectancy of 11-13 years.