Maremma Sheepdog VS Great Pyrenees

The Maremma Sheepdog and the Great Pyrenees are so much alike in many ways. No wonder it is easy to confuse them as twins! But there are many things about these pups that set them apart from one another, making them distinct and even more special.

Both dog breeds are natural droolers, but the Maremma Sheepdog tends to drool a lot more because of a longer muzzle. Regarding aggression, the Great Pyrenees is the gentler breed of the two because of its history as a working dog class. Price-wise, you’ll find the Maremma Sheepdog puppies slightly cheaper to buy.

From their physical appearance to their origins, the Maremma Sheepdog and the Great Pyrenees have a lot of differences you may not have known. Check them all out below!

24. Child Friendliness

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When you have young kids in the house, you want to make sure that you bring home a pooch that is child-friendly. Although both breeds are massive creatures, one is slightly more kid-friendly than the other.

The Great Pyrenees has a lot of energy, which makes it a little overwhelming for very young children. While the Maremma is also a large canine, it is gentler and calmer. You won’t have much issue when you have this pup play with your kids.

23. Weather Tolerance

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Whether you live in a humid or very cold place – or somewhere in between, it is important to consider a dog’s weather tolerance to ensure its comfort and ability to adapt well. Since these dogs have dense and fluffy coats, they should not have any problem living in a frigid climate.

However, the Pyr has a bit more advantage than the Maremma in terms of dealing with the chilly climate. Their fur is much thicker and can tolerate heavy snowfall.

22. Weight

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These are both humongous canines, so there is no doubt they pack some weight, too. However, one breed tips the scale heavier than the other.

When standing side by side, you can easily tell that the Great Pyrenees is significantly larger than the Maremma. Male Pyrs weigh about 100 lbs or so, while the females are at least 85 lbs. As for the Maremma males, they are usually under 100 lbs, and the females are between 66 and 88 lbs.

21. Height

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There is not a whole lot of discrepancy among these giant pups’ heights. This is why they are most certainly not made for apartment living. They need a lot more space to keep them comfortable.

Male Pyrs grow up to 32 inches tall at the shoulder, while females are slightly shorter at 30 inches. On the other hand, Maremma males are around 29 inches tall, and females can grow about 27 inches.

20. Ears

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If you want to tell these dogs apart, one easy thing to look at would be their ears. Great Pyrs have low-set ears that may raise a little when alert or excited. The tips of their triangular-shaped ears are also rounded.

As for the Maremma Sheepdog, they have high-set ears right above the zygomatic arches’ level. These dogs also have triangular ears, but the tips are pointed.

19. Origin

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These dogs both hail from Europe, yet they originate from different parts of the continent. The Maremma was originally from Italy and dated back as early as 2,000 years ago. They have been around for a while, yet not as long as the Great Pyrenees!

The mighty Pyrs are natives of the Pyrenees Mountains, bordering Spain and France. So technically, they came from either country. As for their ancestry, these gentle giants have been around for about 11,000 years.

17. Purpose

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Originally, both canines were bred as guard dogs. Their main role was to protect livestock from natural predators and thieves. However, their purpose has shifted a little over the years and depending on where they live.

The Great Pyrenees is a flock guardian, yet it also doubles as a working dog. As for the Maremma, these pups are solely guard dogs right from the start, which is why they are overprotective.

16. Shedding

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These dogs both have thick, white coats. However, if you look closely, their coats are not at all similar. They have double coats and shed seasonally. But the Pyr has a much longer coat with a higher risk of tangles and mats.

Maremma Sheepdogs have shorter hair, which makes it easier to manage. This is why between the two, you can expect to encounter more shedding concerns with a Pyr than a Maremma.

15. Temperament

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Affectionate and loyal to their family members, both of these breeds are easy to love. They are intelligent and gentle, which makes them amazing family pets. Not to mention their protective nature, so you can feel safe having these doggos around.

But the Pyr is slightly more stubborn than the Maremma. They can test your patience, which is why early socialization and training are essential with these pooches.

14. Trainability

Considering the high intelligence levels of both the Maremma and the Pyr, this makes training sessions slightly easier. However, just being intelligent alone does not make up for excellent results during training. 

For instance, the Maremma has a natural desire to please its owner. These canines listen well to the trainer’s commands. This is why they learn faster than the Great Pyrenees. Pyrs are strong-willed and independent, so it takes a few more tries and loads of patience to have them follow commands.

13. Life Expectancy

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When taken care of very well, the Great Pyrenees and the Maremma Sheepdog should be able to enjoy a long life. However, due to genetics and hereditary ailments, the Great Pyrenees does not live as long as the Maremma.

On average, you can expect the Maremma to live a decade or so, up to 14 years. On the other hand, the Great Pyrenees has an average lifespan of about 10 to 12 years. But there are exceptions to the rule, depending on lifestyle factors and health conditions of the parents.

12. Health

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As expected from large dog breeds, the hips can become quite prone to injury. This is why both the Maremma and the Pyr are susceptible to hip dysplasia. But generally, Maremma Sheepdogs are healthier than the Great Pyrenees.

Cancer is quite prevalent among Pyrs. They also have other hereditary diseases, including eye problems and hormone disorders. This is why better care is important for this breed, especially a good diet to prevent cancer.

11. Energy Level

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These are not your highly active and energetic dogs. They do need exercise, but they can go without having too much physical activity.

The Great Pyrenees, for example, can use about an hour of exercise daily. But because of its thick fur, this breed should avoid mid-afternoon heat. Maremmas have a similar level of energy as the Pyr. But they usually are fine with less exercise time.

10. Noise Level

The Maremma Sheepdog and the Great Pyrenees are fairly vocal breeds. As they were originally bred to guard, you can expect these pups to be natural barkers.

These are highly intelligent and very sensitive dogs that interact with their surroundings a lot. They do this by barking, yet the Pyr tends to be more vocal than the Maremma overall.

9. Appearance

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Both dogs have muscular builds and dense white double coats, resembling the coats of polar bears. These dogs have extra thick coats around the neck, which helps with the cold weather.

But as for their tails, the Maremma Sheepdog has a bushy tail and a more rugged look than the Pyr. Moreover, Great Pyrenees dogs may have wavy or straight, fluffy coats.

8. Coat

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White is the most common coat color of these two dog breeds. Yet, one of them may have different patches of color in their bodies.

Maremma sheepdogs have plain white coats. Yet, they may also have a bit of ivory, lemon, or pale orange hues. But the Pyr, although usually solid white, may also have a cream color or white coat with some reddish brown, badger, gray, or light tan markings.

7. Physical And Mental Stimulation

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Maremma Sheepdogs thrive in a living condition that gives them plenty of opportunities for mental stimulation. They were, after all, trained to think independently because of their history as guard dogs. Thus, certain activities, such as puzzles, a game of fetch, and hiking, should keep them happy and healthy.

As with the Maremma, the Great Pyrenees can be okay with less exercise. But because of their tendency to wander, they can get bored and anxious when left alone with nothing to do. Carting, jogging, and interactive toys are beneficial to ward off undesirable behaviors.

6. Intelligence

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They are both intelligent dogs. Maremma Sheepdogs excel in problem-solving and situations that require them to think for themselves. If you like to teach your Maremma new tricks, they can quickly learn these.

As for the Great Pyrenees, they do possess an average level of intelligence, but they have a greater tendency to get bored easily. This is why they lose interest easily and have a more difficult time learning tricks.

5. Guarding Skills

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Since their inception, both the Maremma Sheepdog and the Great Pyrenees have been trained to guard cattle. Their natural instinct is to protect their families and their properties.

However, the Pyr is not just your average guard dog. This breed does the job not only because it is told to do so but because it possesses a natural guardian trait. These dogs do not only protect the flock but also nurture and care for them.

4. Official Club Recognition

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The Maremma Sheepdog is recognized by various official clubs all over the world, except the American Kennel Club or AKC. It is, however, recognized by the United Kennel Club or UKC.

On the other hand, the Great Pyrenees is recognized by the AKC. In fact, it has been categorized under the working group of dogs since 1933.

3. Price

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The Great Pyrenees and the Maremma Sheepdog are not very common breeds. In fact, they are not so easy to find in some countries, which also impacts their price point.

The average price of a Maremma puppy is about $600 to as much as $800. These dogs are more common in Italy, which is their origin country. Thus, you can buy them cheaper there. As for the Great Pyrenees, its price starts at $1,000 and can go up to $2,500 for Pyrs with premium bloodlines.

2. Aggression

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Generally, the Maremma has a more aggressive nature because of its training as a guard dog. These canines will display aggression by growling or barking whenever they feel threatened. They can be quite territorial.

Great Pyrenees dogs are calmer and less aggressive. They do bark occasionally when carrying on a conversation with their favorite humans, but otherwise, they are generally more even-tempered.

1. Drooling Level

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If you are not quite fond of drool on your furniture, then these two dog breeds may not be the best fit for you. They tend to drool a lot, yet one is known to be sloppier.

The Great Pyrenees does not drool as much as the Maremma because of the shorter muzzle. But since the Maremma loves to let its tongue hang more often and because of a longer muzzle, drool drips down more often.

Is Maremma Bigger Than Great Pyrenees? No, Great Pyrenees are indeed larger than Maremma Sheepdogs. On average, Great Pyrenees weigh between 100 to 160 lbs and grow up to 32 to 36 inches at the shoulder, while Maremma Sheepdogs weigh between 55 to 100 lbs and grow up to 26 to 30 inches at the shoulder.

Are Pyrenees And Maremma Related? No, Great Pyrenees and Maremma Sheepdogs are actually two distinct breeds of dogs. Great Pyrenees are large, powerful working dogs that were originally bred to guard flocks of sheep and other livestock in the Pyrenees Mountains of France. Also known as the Maremmano-Abruzzese, Maremma Sheepdogs are a breed of livestock guardian dog developed in Italy to protect sheep and other livestock from predators. While both breeds are used for livestock protection and share a few similar traits, they are distinct breeds, each with its own unique history, characteristics, and temperaments.

Are Pyrenees And Maremma Related? Great Pyrenees can be a good choice for first-time dog owners only with the right resources and experience. However, they require consistent and firm training, socialization, and daily exercise, as they are large, independent, and strong-willed dogs with high energy levels. Prospective owners should always research and consider the breed’s characteristics and requirements to determine if they are a good fit for them.

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Pete Decker