The Maremma Sheepdog is native to the Italian Alps. This is a breed that has an extraordinary capability of working in the higher altitudes. For many hundreds of years, the life of the sheep, the shepherds and the Maremma dog that guarded the flock was structured on the seasons. From June to October the flocks would be moved to the high country in the mountains of Abruzzi and from October to June they would go down to the plains and rolling pastures of Maremma. The job of the Maremma historically has been that of a livestock protector and herding dog, being of great value to the Italian peasants as they moved their flocks of mountain goats and sheep through the high alpine pastures, not only herding but also protecting the flock from predators. The Maremma has the capability of working independently as a flock protector and is noted for its high intelligence. A few of the dogs stayed behind as farm protectors and gradually the Maremma also became known as the large white dog who frequented the fine homes of Tuscany as a companion and watchdog.
The Maremma is a large white dog with profuse and abundant coat. One might confuse the dog with the Pyrenees or the Kuvasz, excerpt that the head of the Maremma is much larger in proportion to the body and in fact is very like that of the Polar bear, conical in shape and massive. In general, of the large white dogs that are the herding dogs of central Europe and the Alps, the Maremma is probably the breed that exhibits the most independent thinking and is one of the dogs considered to be a very protective dog, working in the dual role as flock guard and herder. The Maremma is a large breed, standing 24 inches at the withers, with a heavy coat that is all white with perhaps a shade of ivory or biscuit on the ears. The coat needs to be regularly groomed. The correct coat should be weather resistant, providing protection from the sun and the cold, this is a dog that should not be shaved.
The Maremma has always been around people, though its existence has been solitary it is a breed that will not do well without a human to protect or work alongside. This is a dog that strives to work for its master but also can be a difficult dog for simple obedience commands, since it is a “thinker” and will become bored with repetition. They are extremely loyal, considered to be a one person dog, devoted and protective yet proud and dignified. This is a dog that requires a knowledgeable owner, since it is not inclined to be subservient but is more likely to be somewhat stubborn and strong willed.