The Maremma Sheepdog was bred to be livestock guardians. They are very independent, intelligent, and protective large dogs. They are used in many different continents from the Americas to Australia. They are considered one of the best livestock guardian dogs, but not ideal for a family pet. This is because this dog really does need to be involved in its role of guardian or it will become highly possessive of any small territory or family members it thinks it is responsible for guarding. In a herding activity, the dog is smart enough to be left alone for days with the sheep and it will continue to guard and protect them against predators. Some of the newer pups being bred have been bred for a smaller size and to be more suitable as companion dogs. However, it most prefers to live out its life in some sort of country ranch setting where it can have a large area to roam and some livestock to guard.
This dog is a good outdoor dog, especially in colder climates. It has a very thick coat that protects it in almost all weather, except for very hot weather. The coat even protects it against any brambles. It can still be left outside in hot weather if it has some shade and plenty of water to drink. The dog loves to be exercised regularly, as the breed was used to spending a great deal of time herding sheep over mountainous ranges.
Like any other guard dog, the Maremma Sheepdog requires a dominant owner. You will need to get the dog some obedience training to help you keep it as a family pet. It does bond to the family unit and is highly protective of the children within the family unit, but it is also quite assured in its role as guardian. If you want to discipline your children, you had better put the dog away first as it might object! The dog does need to be socialized, but is not as aggressive with strangers as other breeds of guard dogs.
The dog doesn't take well to being abused or mistreated. It has a very long memory that will remember a kindness as well as an insult. It will become obstinate in obeying if it doesn' think you are showing it respect. It prefers to be treated as an equal instead of a submissive partner. It will not ever be a slave dog. The best type of owner is one that is confident, firm, and who can bond with the Maremma in a warm fashion. These dogs are very affectionate, even though they take their guarding role very seriously.