Although the Maremma Sheepdog is classed as a rare breed outside its native Italy, its heritage goes back 2000 years. The Maremma originates from two areas of central Italy; the Abruzzi, where the dog is called Pastore Abruzzese and the Maremma where the dog is called Pastore Maremmano. The two breeds are almost identical to the dog we know as the Maremma Sheepdog. The main function of the dog was to guard the flocks against wolves and bears, and more recently from thieves and wild dogs. The dog was left to use his own initiative in making decisions and that sense of independence is still strong in the dogs of today. In Australia, where the Maremma Sheepdog has been used as a stock guardian, farmers have reported a 35 percent reduction in losses from foxes, wild dogs and birds of prey.