When it comes to livestock guardian dogs, two breeds often come up for comparison: the Maremma Sheepdog and the Great Pyrenees. While both are remarkable in their abilities to protect and care for flocks, they possess unique traits that set them apart. Here are eight key differences between the two breeds.
The Maremma Sheepdog originates from Italy, specifically from the regions of Tuscany and Abruzzo. The breed was developed to protect livestock from predators.
In contrast, the Great Pyrenees, also known as the Pyrenean Mountain Dog, hails from the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain. This breed also served as livestock guardians.
Maremma Sheepdogs are large dogs but tend to be slightly smaller than the Great Pyrenees. Males stand 25.5 to 28.5 inches tall at the shoulder, while females are 25 to 27 inches.
Great Pyrenees are more substantial, with males standing 27 to 32 inches and females 25 to 29 inches at the shoulder.
A typical Maremma Sheepdog weighs between 70 and 100 pounds, with males being heavier than females.
On the other hand, Great Pyrenees can weigh from 85 to 100 pounds for females and 100 to 160 pounds for males, making them generally heavier than Maremmas.
4. Coat Color
The Maremma Sheepdog has a solid white coat, a feature that helped shepherds distinguish the dogs from wolves at night.
The Great Pyrenees is predominantly white but can have markings in shades of gray, reddish-brown, or tan on their ears, head, tail, or body.
Maremma Sheepdogs are known to be loyal, brave, and friendly dogs. They are independent and may be reserved with strangers but are generally gentle with their family and livestock.
Great Pyrenees dogs are also known for their bravery and loyalty. They are gentle, affectionate, and quite patient, especially with children. Similar to Maremmas, they can be wary of strangers.
6. Exercise Requirements
Maremma Sheepdogs are active dogs requiring regular exercise. However, they are less energetic than many other breeds and may be content with moderate activity.
Great Pyrenees dogs, in contrast, are more laid-back. They enjoy exercise but also appreciate lounging around, especially in cooler weather.
The average lifespan of a Maremma Sheepdog is around 11 to 13 years.
For the Great Pyrenees, the average lifespan tends to be a bit shorter, typically around 10 to 12 years.
8. Grooming Needs
Both breeds have double coats that require regular grooming. However, the Maremma Sheepdog’s coat is more densely furred and may need more frequent brushing to prevent matting.
The Great Pyrenees has a thick, weather-resistant double coat that requires regular brushing, especially during the shedding season.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which breed is better for families?
Both breeds can be excellent family dogs when properly socialized and trained. They are loyal, protective, and generally gentle with children. The best fit would depend on the family’s lifestyle and preferences.
Which breed is better for first-time dog owners?
Both breeds can be challenging for first-time dog owners due to their size and independent nature. They require consistent training and socialization. Potential owners should research and consider their ability to meet these breeds’ needs.
Which breed barks more?
Both breeds can be vocal, especially when guarding. The Great Pyrenees, in particular, is known for barking at night, which is a common trait among livestock guardian breeds.
Do these breeds get along with other pets?
Both breeds can get along well with other pets, especially if they are socialized from a young age. However, care should be taken when introducing them to smaller animals due to their guarding instincts.
Are these breeds good for apartments?
Due to their size and exercise requirements, both breeds are better suited to homes with ample space. They would do best in a house with a large, securely fenced yard.