Good friends of the CanEVA family are Poppy and Indy, Maremmano-Abruzzese livestock guarding dogs working the farm in Ontario. Maremmanos were bred in Italy for centuries to guard large flocks of sheep on the plains and in the mountains. Other Old World breeds with similar temperament are the Great Pyrenees in France, the Komondor and the Kuvasz in Hungary, the Tatra in Poland, the Shar Planinetz in Yugoslovia, the Anatolian and Akbash in Turkey, and the Tibetan Mastiff in Nepal and Tibet.
Indy and Poppy take responsibility for keeping their flock safe from 4-legged predators, primarily the wolf or coyote. These two play double duty and guard the free range chickens from similar threats.
The Maremma actually never considers itself a ‘pet’. It is a working dog, with 2000 years of genetic background of livestock guardianship behind it, and it needs a job to keep it occupied. A 10 month old puppy may weigh 100 pounds! Maremmas, and other livestock guarding breeds, have been selected to take responsibility and to make their own decisions in the absence of a master. This means that they want to make up their own minds, and decide for themselves, how best to deal with a potentially dangerous situation. Unlike other guard dogs, like the german shepherd or Doberman livestock guardian dogs act without the instruction from the handler. They know what their mission is, and have been known to fight to the death with predators threatening their herds.