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Maremma Sheepdog vs Great Pyrenees – A Comparison

When looking for a family dog, some people want breeds that are cute, lovable, playful, and kind to their owners and children.

Others seek menacing protectors that will strike fear in any impostor and keep the family and property safe.

With some breeds, you can get both.

Maremma Sheepdog and Great Pyrenees are fearless breeds, whose mere presence is often enough to deter anyone threatening your homestead.

Each of these historic breeds has been guarding livestock for centuries.

Their duties even required them to sometimes face dangerous wild animals, such as wolves and bears.

However, these dogs can also be described as gentle giants, as they are extremely loyal, kind, and careful with their owners and their families.

While they share a lot of traits, I’ll compare Maremma Sheepdog vs Great Pyrenees to see what are the differences between them and which one may be more suitable for certain owners.

AttributesMaremma SheepdogGreat Pyrenees
Good For First Time OwnersNoNo
Good Guard DogYesYes
Apartment FriendlyNoNo
Good Family DogYesYes
SheddingModerate To HighModerate
Barking And HowlingModerate To High Moderate To High
SizeLargeLarge
Average Life Expectancy11-14 Years10-12 Years

Maremma Sheepdog – Dog Breed Information

Maremma Sheepdog is an ancient Italian breed whose origins go as far back as 2,000 years.

Also called the Cane de Pastore Maremmano-Abruzzese, these dogs were originally developed in the central Italian regions to protect the livestock for wolves, bears, and wild dogs.

Even though they are sometimes described as wolf killers, Maremma sheepdogs can be very kind and lovable in addition to their strong protective instinct.

Appearance

Maremma Sheepdogs are a large breed, with a characteristic rugged appearance similar to polar bears.

They have a muscular build and are slightly longer than tall.

One of the most recognizable features is their long and wavy double coat, providing all-weather protection.

The hair is harsh and very dense, especially around the neck, but shorter on the ears and around the face.

Pure white is the dominant color, although flashes of cream or pale yellow sometimes appear.

The head is massive with a strong jaw and large teeth. The nose is always black while the eyes are commonly brown.

Maremma has floppy, triangular, medium-length ears. The tail is low set and very bushy.

Adult males’ height is between 25 and 29 inches (65-73 cm), and weight ranges from 77 to 100 pounds (35-45 kg).

Females can grow up to 25-29 inches (65-73 cm) and weigh 77 – 100 pounds (35-45 kg).

Temperament

With centuries of history as reliable guard dogs, Maremma Sheepdogs are brave, self-reliant, loyal, and extremely protective.

Even though they excel in protective duties, they’re not very aggressive.

They rather use their intimidating presence, barking, and aggressive stance to fend off predators.

Due to their strong pack instinct, they enjoy being part of a group and are very caring and careful around kids and other animals.

They take their guardian role seriously and are extremely loyal and patient.

Still, they have an independent streak and require early and proper socialization and training.

The dog needs to see the owner as a strong and decisive leader in order to be obedient.

Like most sheepdogs, they’re very active and need a lot of exercise, so they may not be the best dogs for city living.

Maremmas enjoy large spaces and are best suited for farm life.

Great Pyrenees – Dog Breed Information

Originally from the Pyrenees Mountains, this breed has been helping people take care of the livestock for centuries.

They’re giant in stature, bold, and have been known to engage in combat with larger wild animals threatening their flock.

They are instinctively prepared to put their lives on the line for those they protect.

Appearance

The first thing that catches the eye when you see the Great Pyrenees is their enormous size.

Still, despite their giant stature, they’re very muscular and surprisingly agile. The body of the Great Pyrenees is covered with a thick white double coat.

The coat is particularly thick around the neck, providing some extra protection against predators.

The long and coarse hair can be straight or wavy, depending on the individual dog.

Besides solid white, the coat color can be cream or white with tan or gray patches. The muzzle is long, broad, and lightly pointed with a black nose.

The eyes are brown with soulful and intelligent expressions, while the ears are medium-sized and floppy.

Males’ height is in the 27-32 inches (69-81 cm) and they weigh around 105-120 pounds (48-54 kg).

Fully grown females can reach 25-29 inches (63-74 cm) in height and 97-120 (44-54 kg) in weight.

Temperament

The Great Pyrenees is a very smart, and strong-willed dog.

They were bred to tend to the livestock alone, so they have a very expressed independence streak.

Their stubbornness can sometimes be an issue when trying to train them, so it’s important to start the training and socialization at an early age.

Despite their protective instincts, their general demeanor is very calm and gentle.

Properly developed Great Pyrenees is never aggressive or nervous, especially around his family.

Due to their well-mannered and calm disposition, they’re often used as therapy dogs.

They’re not extremely active like some other shepherd breed and are often happy to spend a day on the couch.

Still, they enjoy large spaces and are not very suitable for the apartments, even though they don’t require a lot of exercise.

Maremma Sheepdog vs Great Pyrenees – What are the Differences?

Maremma SheepdogGreat Pyrenees

Even though both belong to the larger breeds, the Great Pyrenees is the bigger of the two.

Still, due to their size, neither is a perfect choice for people living in small apartments.

In addition, both feature long white coats and have heavy shedding periods.

Maremma’s grooming requirements are a bit higher and they will require brushing at least twice a week.

Both breeds are fairly laid back and don’t need excessive exercise, but the Maremma Sheepdog is more active and will get bored more quickly.

On the other hand, they have less of a wandering tendency and are less likely to roam if left unattended as the Great Pyrenees.

The main character trait for both breeds is their protectiveness.

While the Pyr is more likely to engage with the impostors, both dogs prefer to deal with threats solely by making their presence known, barking and assuming a threatening stance.

Conclusion

Despite being different breeds, Maremma Sheepdog and Great Pyrenees are often confused with each other.

They do have a lot of similarities, including the large size, long white coat, and similar guardian background.

While being fearless protectors, both breeds can adapt to family life and connect to the family members.

They can live inside, but prefer to have more space available.

These gentle giants can sometimes be stubborn and have relatively high grooming needs, but if you take them in your home, they’ll become loved and invaluable family members in no time.

Furthermore, with Maremma Sheepdog or Great Pyrenees, the safety of your family is always guaranteed.

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