Maremma Sheepdog – (aka Abruzzenhund) -The Complete Breed Guide

Jimmy's Maremma4

Welcome to our guide to the Maremma Sheepdog.

The website aims to ask questions to breeders, vets and experienced owners to get the answers to your most frequently asked questions about the Maremma Sheepdog breed of dog.

You can also help too!

If you can answer any of the questions below, then please add your comments to the box at the bottom of the page or you can email us at

We would love to feature your dog and publish any photos or pictures of your Maremma Sheepdog you would like to email us.

Are you looking to buy a Maremma Sheepdog – then see our list of Maremma Sheepdog breeders.

Jimmy's Maremma4

Bella with her pups from March 2016 – Photo by Jim of A Goode View Alpaca Farm

Why Choose a Maremma Sheepdog?

Breeder Jim Beck of A Goode View Alpaca Farm says, “My wife and I started an alpaca farm close to 5 years ago and the day we purchased our alpacas we purchased our first Maremma. In short words “we could not run the farm without them!”. As you see it is them now…lol. We started with our masculine Enzo but couldn’t stop there. A few months later purchased 2 girls ….our beautiful Bella and gorgeous Bianca. This year we started breeding the girls ….and of course we couldn’t stop at 3… we have our 4th Maremma….who we named Mia!…

Some of the best things about the Maremma.

*They are extremely loyal not just to the handler but to the animals that they are guarding. They are one of the most gentlest dogs as they can be guarding chickens, penguins, alpacas or just about any animal that you bond them with. With over 2000 years of experience this is simply amazing.

*They are not constant barkers but will bark to let any possible threat know that they are there to defend. They will bark long before there is a possible threat….as this is there first line of defense but don’t let that fool you. Our farm has woods front and back…..and our prime predators are coyotes and possible bears. In the years that we have had the dogs we have not had one incident and this can only be attributed to the Maremma’s.

*The Maremma’s tend to have such a strong bond that don’t look for ways to escape their pastures. As they want to do their job and are not looking to walk off.

*The Maremma’s are truly a working dog who will also be loyal to his family. Those of us that do acquire a Maremma should first understand the breed as they need a job! The Maremma’s enjoyment is being out with the animals and guarding them. They should never be bond inside a home.”

Maremma Sheepdog

“Enzo” – Photo by Jim of A Goode View Alpaca Farm

What type of owners buy a Maremma Sheepdog?

What in your opinion are the best things about the Maremma Sheepdog breed?

Why do you think the Maremma Sheepdog is special?

What are your favourite things about the Maremma Sheepdog?

Are you glad you choose to buy a Maremma Sheepdog and not another breed?

How would you describe the Maremma Sheepdog temperament?

What advice might you give to people thinking about whether they should buy a Maremma Sheepdog over other breeds?

History & Origins

What are the history and origins of the Maremma Sheepdog?

About The Breed

Cindy Benson of Benson Ranch shares with us what she values about the Maremma Sheepdog.

“Their kindness. Maremmas are sensitive, soulful dogs. They are gentle and nurturing with the animals under their care and with their owners when well socialized. They are very tolerant of people; mine adore visiting children.

Their work ethic. Maremmas love and understand their job. When allowed to work in pairs, as they were bred to do, they have a very high quality of life. They are dedicated to the animals they guard and are attentive.

Their thrust worthy, tractable temperament. Maremmas are independent dogs, as all livestock guardian breeds are. They do not see themselves as “owned”. When allowed to work as respected partners with their owners they try hard to please. I have found them to be highly trainable dogs.”

Maremma Sheepdog

Photo by Cindy Benson of Benson Ranch

What colors of Maremma Sheepdog are most popular?

What does the Maremma Sheepdog look like?

What are the pros/cons of the Maremma Sheepdog breed?

What can a new owner expect in terms of differences between the Maremma Sheepdog and other breeds?

Do they attract a lot of interest and curiosity from the public?

What type of typical personality does the Maremma Sheepdog have?

Is it possible to describe a fairly typical Maremma Sheepdog?

What is the breed standard/description for the Maremma Sheepdog?

Were there particular colors people preferred and that maybe you focused on?

Are there any downsides to owning a Maremma Sheepdog that prospective owners should be aware of?

Is the Maremma Sheepdog breed of dog suitable for first-time dog owners?

Some breeds can be described as greedy and prone to weight issues, would this apply to the Maremma Sheepdog?

What are the key differences when compared to other breeds?

Is the Maremma Sheepdog a breed suitable for a person or family that are out at work all day?

Some owners seek a breed suitable for barking and offering a guard dog role – how does the Maremma Sheepdog match up to that role?

Are there myths about the Maremma Sheepdog – in other words do new potential owners come to you with misconceptions about this breed?

We asked a number of breeders in the UK and America what essential advice they would give to new owners of Maremma Sheepdog puppies and this is what they said:

What types of questions do you get once owners get their Maremma Sheepdog home?

Can you tell us something most owners would not know – tips, secrets etc from your years of experience?

What is the typical temperament of a Maremma Sheepdog, so people know what to expect from their new pet?

When fully grown how much on average does a Maremma Sheepdog weigh?

When the Maremma Sheepdog is full grown in size what is the maximum height and length expected to be?

Is the Maremma Sheepdog ever crossed or mixed with other breeds of dog?

Does the Maremma Sheepdog smell or drool a lot?

Do you have a Maremma Sheepdog growth chart?

What breed group does the Maremma Sheepdog come under?

What type of coat do they have?

Can they swim?

What does the movement of the tail show, does it mean they are trying to ‘talk to us’ or give us some message?

Maremma Sheepdog

Photo by Wendy of Northeast Kingdom Sheep and Goat Farm


Are there some types of people that you can suggest the Maremma Sheepdog is not suitable for, perhaps families?

How is the Maremma Sheepdog with children?

Do you think the Maremma Sheepdog is suitable for families with young children?

How does the Maremma Sheepdog get along with other (existing) pets and do you have any tips or advice for new Maremma Sheepdog owners in terms of successful integration?

Is it better to buy one Maremma Sheepdog or two?

Should prospective new owners be aware of any differences between males and females?

Would the Maremma Sheepdog be suitable as a guard dog?

Wendy LaBrie of Northeast Kingdom Sheep and Goat Farm says, “We love our Maremmas LGD’s (livestock guardian dogs) and have been very pleased with them! We were drawn to their character traits as well as their beautiful appearance over the many other LGD breeds. We have had them as long as we have had our sheep and goats on our homestead and have had no predator losses. They have proven themselves to be well worth the investment, both for protection and as companions. We have been very satisfied with their work ethic and personalities. They are loving on the lambs and kids and always confronting anything new that comes near or into their area of protection. They continually amaze us with their inherent qualities that manifest themselves in new ways on a regular basis.”

Can I leave my Maremma Sheepdog during the day while I go to work?


What is the expected average lifespan of the Maremma Sheepdog?

In terms of life expectancy, how long on average would the Maremma Sheepdog breed live to?

Food & Diet

Do you have any special feeding routines or diet?

Do you have any feeding advice or brands that you prefer?

How to handle the Maremma Sheepdog puppy to start off – how much food, what type, how often?

What feeding routines and types of food/supplements do you recommend?

What to buy in terms of equipment? Bowls etc

Do owners need to consider supplements for their Maremma Sheepdog?

How about for older dogs?

Maremma Sheepdog

Photo by Cindy Benson of Benson Ranch

Buying – How Much Do They Cost?

How much did your Maremma Sheepdog cost to buy?

Can you offer advice to people looking to buy a Maremma Sheepdog and how much should they spend?

What advice would you offer new Maremma Sheepdog owners?

What types of people are buying the Maremma Sheepdog and why?

Where can I buy Maremma Sheepdog rescue dogs or find a Maremma Sheepdog for adoption? Please note that buying or searching for a ‘cheap’ Maremma Sheepdog can be false economy as they may have health issues that cost you far more in the long-term – always buy from a good and responsible breeder!

How much do Maremma Sheepdog puppies for sale cost on average?

Do I need public liability insurance or a license?


How would you describe the Maremma Sheepdog puppy to potential new owners?

What types of owners are best suited to owning a Maremma Sheepdog?

What colors and sizes are most popular?

Are there things new owners do that perhaps frustrate you?

What can people expect when they become a new owner?

What inspired you to become a breeder and did you start with the Maremma Sheepdog?

As a Maremma Sheepdog breed expert, are there any ‘essential’ tips you would like to share with new owners?

Are there specific times of the year that you breed?

Choosing a puppy from a litter, what advice could you offer potential new owners in terms of selecting ‘the one’?

How long does it take to housetrain/potty train a Maremma Sheepdog?

When can you take them out in public and how do you handle them around other dogs?

Will they run off – when is it safe to let them off the lead?

We invite you to email us your Maremma Sheepdog’s pictures, in particular we are looking for photos showing Maremma Sheepdog puppies at 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 weeks old as well as early pictures such as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 months old to a year old.

Do they have any nicknames or does the Maremma Sheepdog have popular names?

If my Maremma Sheepdog is pregnant what might the litter size be?

Could the Maremma Sheepdog be dangerous around young children?

Maremma Sheepdog

Photo by Wendy of Northeast Kingdom Sheep and Goat Farm

Problem Behaviors

How do you deal with a problem barker – any tips and advice to new owners?

How do you prevent a Maremma Sheepdog biting?

How do you prevent a Maremma Sheepdog chewing?

How do you stop a Maremma Sheepdog jumping up?

Does the Maremma Sheepdog have an issue with excessive digging?

Why does my Maremma Sheepdog keep growling and barking?

Is there a reason my Maremma Sheepdog dog is often scratching excessively?

Do they suffer from separation anxiety and how can I prevent this?


In comparison perhaps to other breeds what can you say about the Maremma Sheepdog and their exercise needs and do you have any tips or advice for new Maremma Sheepdog owners?

As a breeder of the Maremma Sheepdog, do you prefer a collar or harness?

As an expert of the Maremma Sheepdog breed do you prefer a standard leash or retractable?

Can you offer any dog walking tips for Maremma Sheepdog owners?

Playtime & Tricks

What games and toys can you recommend for the Maremma Sheepdog?

Are there toys you suggest avoiding?

How intelligent is the Maremma Sheepdog compared to other dog breeds?

How much can they understand?


Do you have any special grooming routines or tips and advice for new Maremma Sheepdog owners?

How much time is involved?

What accessories are required to be purchased for grooming a Maremma Sheepdog?

Any advice/tips you can give concerning maintenance of nails?

How much do Maremma Sheepdog shed and how do I maintain their hair and how often?

How can I prevent or cure ear infections?

Do you have any tips for eye care?

Is the Maremma Sheepdog a hypoallergenic breed?


Any advice/tips you can give concerning cleaning and bathing your Maremma Sheepdog?

Can you offer new Maremma Sheepdog owners advice concerning fleas and maybe products you use in treatment and prevention?


What advice and tips could you offer to owners who might wish to follow your path in showing the Maremma Sheepdog?

What started your interest in showing the Maremma Sheepdog?

If a new owner perhaps wanted to meet other owners or find out more – perhaps they have an interest in joining a local club or maybe they wonder how they can start showing their Maremma Sheepdog – where would they begin?

Can you offer any advice to others who may be wondering if they can also start showing?

How would an owner know they have a show-quality Maremma Sheepdog and how would they start off?

Can you give away any of your secrets?!

Is showing very expensive and why do you think people like to do it?

What do judges look for in a winner?



Maremma Sheepdog

Photo by Deb Powers of Bella Vita Ranch


What inspired you to become a breeder and did you start with Maremma Sheepdogs?

What official organisations are there for the new Maremma Sheepdog owner and what benefits or services do they provide?

In buying a Maremma Sheepdog, can you offer advice and tips to new owners?

How did you go from being an owner to getting into breeding?

Deb Powers of Bella Vita Ranch says, “We started breeding the Maremma sheep dog because we have an alpaca ranch and needed protection for our livestock. There was also a demand for these dogs for working farms and ranches, and the availability of reputable purebreed breeders producing registrable dogs with good bloodlines. The demand for these dogs was larger than the availability, and is still true today. The Maremma is the #1 rated livestock guardian dog (Hampshire College study), and I am half Italian, so have a personal interest in this breed from Italy. I love their temperaments, their independent working attitudes and the way they interact with our livestock. They are a majestic, noble breed and very loyal to their human partners.”

Maremma Sheepdog

Photo by Deb Powers of Bella Vita Ranch

Do you think the breed’s popularity has increased, decreased or remains the same?

How did you progress to becoming a breeder and why focus on breeding the Maremma Sheepdog out of all the breeds you could have chosen?

What do you think makes the Maremma Sheepdog special to you?

Are there things that you see owners doing that frustrate you?

As a breed expert, are there any ‘essential’ tips you would like to share with new owners?


In comparison perhaps to other breeds what is it like to train a Maremma Sheepdog and do you have any tips or advice for new Maremma Sheepdog owners?

How should new owners approach bringing a new Maremma Sheepdog home, any advice and tips you can give?

Should I allow my Maremma Sheepdog to sleep in my bed or elsewhere in the house?

Do you recommend crate training and how long does this take?

Should my Maremma Sheepdog sleep in a kennel or crate?


Health is always a major concern when buying a dog, do you have any advice for new Maremma Sheepdog owners to be aware of in particular?

Are there any health-related tips you can give to owners?

What sort of health issues should owners be on the lookout for?

What is the recommended schedule for vaccinations for your Maremma Sheepdog?

Can you offer any advice on how to treat and prevent worms?

What type of health issues can a Maremma Sheepdog have and how do you deal with preventing these?

Why does my Maremma Sheepdog have diarrhea?

Do they suffer from itchy and sensitive skin and if so why?

Why is my Maremma Sheepdog vomiting and do I go to the vets?

When should I take my Maremma Sheepdog for vaccinations and which ones do they need and how often?

How often will my Maremma Sheepdog be in heat?

Should I consider getting my Maremma Sheepdog spayed or neutered and when and how much does this cost and what are the benefits?

My Maremma Sheepdog is limping, what should I do and should I go to a veterinarian surgeon?

Do they suffer from allergies?

Why is my Maremma Sheepdog not eating?

How much does it cost to insure my Maremma Sheepdog?

What healthcare issues or diseases might be excluded from companies that provide Maremma Sheepdog dog health insurance?

Old Age

What age would you class as an ‘older or senior’ Maremma Sheepdog?

Do you notice any changes in their behaviour?

What changes in food and diet would you suggest making for an older Maremma Sheepdog?

Do you feed any supplements to an older Maremma Sheepdog – or anything else which helps them as they age?

Are there any health issues particular to a senior Maremma Sheepdog dog?

Do you have any advice for owners of an older/senior Maremma Sheepdog or tips you can pass on?

Here is an interesting video on the Maremma Sheepdog.


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