Maremma Sheepdogs

Home » Maremma Sheepdogs

Juno: Protectress of the Homestead

We originally moved to Arda Acres without a plan to have a dog soon. We changed our mind when we were told of the predator load in our area and how chickens had already gone missing before we moved in. So we researched different livestock guardian dog (LGD) breeds and determined which one would best fit our needs.

We decided on a Maremma Sheepdog – Juno.

The full breed name is Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog and they are indigenous to the Abruzzo and Maremma regions of Southern Italy. They’ve been partners with shepherds for thousands of years defending their herds from predators like wolves. They greatly resemble Great Pyrenees but are different in multiple ways.

We chose a Maremma Sheepdog for the following reasons:

  • Typically roam less than other LGD breeds
  • Typically bark less than other LGD breeds
  • Smaller than your typical LGD ending at around 88lb on average tops for females and 120lb for males
  • Tend to be more defensive in nature (circles back to less roaming) – so more barking and standing their ground than going after a predator. However, this doesn’t mean they won’t fight if need be.
  • Like other breeds, their coat is self-cleaning

Juno came from a working farm on the east coast and grew up around goats and chickens with her working parents. We received her at 12 weeks old and she is still a bundle of energy.

She is named for the Roman goddess Juno (Greek, Hera) who is the Queen of the gods and protector of Rome.

Growing up with only companion pets made it difficult to leave a cute little puppy outside, but that was the first part of her training. She’s not a pet for us but a partner. Now it will take her roughly 2 years to mature and be trustworthy on her own, but we work with her daily and she’s around her charges daily as she learns.

LGDs are not your typical dog. They’re more independent as it’s ingrained in their DNA to think for themselves and make decisions on their own when protecting their charges. We stick to basic obedience training for her safety, but she won’t be playing chase or tug-of-war or rolling over for us.

Sit, stay, come, drop it, off, and gentle are the only commands we’re working on currently and sometimes she makes it known that she’s not in the mood to learn. But she is still just a puppy so it’s all a work in progress.

Even with her rambunctiousness and occasional chasing of the chickens, she’s absolutely adorable, sweet, and very smart. She learned to sit on command on her very first day with us. When she “backtalks” it’s hard to stay serious with her because it’s hilarious.

One trait that is the same across all LGDs is that they’re built for ridiculous winter weather. Juno’s coat has become so thick that you can’t see her skin and it’s hot if you stick your hand in it. Even now she will rest in the shade if it’s sunny out and in the 30s. It’s been wild seeing her chasing snowflakes in negative temps and walking around with me in -50 degree windchill like she’s ready to play. I wish I had her coat.

So if you see a dog outside with a herd in the winter, don’t assume they’re freezing. Juno prefers to be outside and becomes super frisky and playful when the temperatures drop.

Eventually Juno will move with animals on our land, but for now she’s still in training. We hope to add a teammate for her once she’s matured. For now we get to enjoy and train a near 80lb puppy who loves to please but also sometimes loves to chase chickens.


welcome to Arda Acres!

We’re first generation homesteaders working in lockstep with Mother Nature and our land to provide safety and security for our family and community.

Our purpose is to bridge the great divide that exists between the everyday person and their connection to self-sufficiency and sovereignty.

Join us on this journey to greater sovereignty!