This mighty Italian Molosser exists in decent numbers and has a loyal following in its homeland, but is disregarded by the official canine authorities in Italy and other countries as simply a variety of the Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog. It should be noted that some breeders of the Maremanno-Abruzzese Sheepdog regularly make claims that their dogs are the same thing as the Abruzzese Mastiff, especially in the West, but this is not only wrong, but also amazing to hear, seing how even the smallest and lightest examples of Abruzzo dogs are much larger than both the original Maremma and the modern Maremmano-Abruzzese breeds. Some of this confusion is created out of ignorance, but much of it is calculated propaganda. The Abruzzese Mastiff has a few regional varieties, separated mainly by coat type, height and temperament, but very much firmly rooted in the same pure breed, as is the case with many other Molossers. In this respect, the breed is very similar to the great Sarplaninac. Some of the types the ENCI and the Maremmano-Abruzzese crowd would seemingly like to see disappear are the Abruzzese Marsicano, A. Peligno, A. Aquilano, A. Pezzato, A. Baffuto, Abruzzese de Pascocostanzo, Abruzzo della Maiella and others. We can only hope that this wonderful Molosser, the one and only Abruzzese Mastiff survives and makes a comeback, for it is truly a great ancient dog. It is interesting to note that some people even consider the Mezzocorso to be a subtype of the Abruzzese Mastiff, which is a breed that even though related, is still a very different dog.
The Abruzzo is a giant breed, used for guarding property and protecting livestock from wolves and bears. Thanks to its legendary courage and power, it was even used as a large game hunter in the past. This rustic Molosser isn't suited for the role of an urban pet, due to its unfriendly attitude towards other dogs and distrust of strangers, but its intelligence and loyalty make it a good companion to experienced owners. It is very territorial and protective of its master's family, making a good guard dog. The head is large and wide, with a strong muzzle and jaws. The body is broad-shouldered and muscular, with a deep-chest and sturdy legs. The coat comes in a few lengths and textures, from richly longhaired examples to medium length and short-coated dogs. There is also a bearded variety, as well as a rare curly-coated Abruzzo type. The only colouring accepted is pure white, coming in pearl or ivory shades. In the past, the height was reportedly 35 inches, but in modern times, the majority of working specimens are averaging around 30 inches at the withers, although on occasion taller, as well as smaller examples can be encountered.