When Bruce Gibbs first owned Maremma sheepdogs at his home in Tharwa, the neighbours complained so much he had to rehome them.
Their incessant barking, particularly at night, was the reason.
"They were lovely dogs, but I didn't know they were going to bark and bark," Mr Gibbs recalled.
Undeterred by the negative experience, he now has eight of the breed in a much larger paddock, where they watch over his flock of free-range chickens.
Their natural protective instincts, the exact reason he had to give up his first two dogs, have proved overwhelmingly helpful in preventing fox attacks and keeping his flock of about 5000 hens safe.
Mr Gibbs started his Maremma tribe again in 2004 with dogs Esky and Mo, but Canberrans became more widely aware of the breed with the story of Franklin, Gungahlin's roaming guard dog. To the rest of the world, the 2015 movie telling the story of Oddball protecting penguins off the coast of Warrnambool brought the breed to greater prominence.
According to Maremma Sheepdogs in Rescue coordinator Andrea Corradini, one of the main reasons people give up the breed for rehoming is their barking.
Ms Corradini has rescued and rehomed Maremmas across Australia for the past 17 years. She rehomed Gungahlin's collective pet Franklin, after the government deemed it unsafe for the dog to remain wandering the streets.
Other reasons people gave up their dogs for rehoming were that they lost too much hair, grew too big, or chased stock they were supposed to be looking after, she said.
"Not all Maremmas are suited to acreage and some do make great companion dogs for the right 'doggie aware' family living in suburbia," Ms Corradini said.
She said how the dog was raised and the nature of its parents played a huge role in determining what it might be useful for. Ms Corradini warned Maremmas were not good dogs for people who expected a high level of obedience.
According to Mr Gibbs, his eight dogs cope better in the paddock, mostly alone, than they did in the backyard with company.
"We feed them every day and check they have water, but the less you handle them, the better they are at doing their job," Mr Gibbs said.
Despite saying the animals were more working dogs than pets, Mr Gibbs admitted he loves his dogs and looks after them well.
He said they were great protectors of his chickens because they're dedicated working dogs.
"I was having such problems with foxes, but now I don't have problems. They are amazing working dogs," he said.
According to statistics from the ACT government, about 100 Maremma dogs were registered in the past 12 years.