The history of the Italian Shepherd (Pastore Italiano) begins in 1975, when Piero Accettella (Kennel: Little Ranch Cepagatti - Pescara) noticed that in the regions of Abruzzo, Marche, Northern Lazio, Tuscany and Umbria, existed mid-sized dogs with wolf-like features used as livestock herders and known locally as Cane Toccatore. Accettella acquired some of these dogs and crossbred them with molossers (Abruzzese Mastiff) to increase their size. The result of the cross was a dog of great intelligence, wary of strangers and a tenacious guardian of property and livestock. The dogs have demonstrated to be ideally suited to the roles of guard dog and protection dog and are easily trained for these tasks.
The dog is medium to large in size. Despite its large size it is very agile and powerful. It has a very strong constitution, matures when 4 year old and can live up to 17 years. Males are 62 to 70 cm (24 to 28 in) tall, females 56 to 65 cm (22 to 26 in). Weight is 35 to 45 kg (75 to 100 lb) in males and 25 to 35 kg (55 to 75 lb) in females.