Ancient Italian writers have mentioned the Maremma Sheepdog breed, and a 13th century picture in the church of Santa Maria in Florence depicts a Maremma. The original stock came from migrating Eastern shepherd dogs which developed into the individual breeds particular to a region – for example, the French Pyrenean Sheepdog and the Hungarian Kuvasz. In Italy, the shorter coated Maremmano and the longer backed Abruzzese merged into one breed in the 1860s, due to seasonal movement of flocks. Today's Maremma Sheepdog is still the most popular and common sheepdog in Italy. It is said that the courageous Maremma Sheepdog can ward off wolves, bears and human predators.