I would like to introduce Minx and Bruno our awesum family guardians :) As you can see they are Maremma Sheepdogs and are not well known as family pets. This breed is usually kept as livestock guardians to protect flocks of animals from predators.
But thus far they have proven themselves as beautiful family dogs, I've not had a problem with them being aggressive to our other animals nor have I had a problem with them being aggressive with people. I did a lot of research before choosing this breed. Our beloved Nelson passed away a couple of years ago. He was a chocolate Kelpie and he was with up for 14 years. He was almost human and was so clever!!! I'll have to try to find a photo of him from the other hard drive. We wanted to get another Kelpie, but we knew we would always compare the new one to Nelson so we decided not to get another one.
The following info I have copied from www.burkesbackyard.com.au/factsheets/Dogs/Maremma-Sheepdog/1923
Temperament: Friendly with family, wary of strangers
Lifespan: 10-14 years
Recommended for: Flock protection
These large white dogs are bred to protect flocks, they are friendly to their family but aloof and wary of strangers.
Appearance: This is a large, strongly-built white dog weighing up to 45kg (100lb) and standing to 73cm (28"). It has a heavy double coat, thick neck ruff and a thickly-plumed tail held curled over its back.
Temperament: The Maremma is said to be aloof, independent and protective of its family and territory. The breed was developed to protect herds of sheep and most will bond quickly with the designated flock be it angoras, chickens or sheep and defend it against all-comers. Breeders report a high proportion of animals are sold for flock protection. They say potential owners buying the dogs as pets for city living should be aware of the dogs tendency to bark which might disturb neighbours.
Health: Large breed apparently without hereditary bone diseases; Temperament in early strains is "touchy". It is important to meet the parents before selecting a pup and to socialise the pup.
Uses: Maremmas are shepherd dogs which bond with their flock and protect it. Breeders say they are not herding dogs as the flock would need to be scared of the dog to achieve this function, which is not the case. They can be bonded to almost any vulnerable flock animal, sheep, angoras, chickens, and more recently, alpacas. One breeder reported foxes took up to 30% of new lambs before he introduced Maremmas to his flock. He has not lost a lamb to predators since.
Training: This is not a breed known for its submissive attitude to humans. Breeders say it is an independent thinker and will be aloof to most people. Basic leash training is recommended because the Maremma will need to be controlled or separated when the flock is mustered. Most breeders find their dog will bond easily with their human family. The dog's working career begins when the pup is penned with its flock until it is three months old, then it is allowed into the paddock with the flock.
Ideal owner: Generally this is a working dog used by farmers. Individual Maremmas sold as pets in highly urbanised situation have not always succeeded. As pets they need about 30 minutes exercise a day. Owners also report once off the leash Maremmas don't always return promptly. However, most working Maremmas are good family dogs.
Grooming: Even working Maremmas should be groomed occasionally to remove burrs and grass seeds which can irritate the skin if neglected. Bath when necessary.
Popularity: In the past decade Maremmas have jumped from just 10 registered with the Australian National Kennel Council in 1986 to 288 in 1996.
History: The Maremma is essentially an Italian sheepdog, and is named after the region where it was developed.