The Neapolitan Mastiff is a southern Italian dog breed that was created for guarding duties. They are commonly called by their nickname Neo or Mastino. This impressive dog breed is rather large and is probably better suited for houses with back yards than for apartments. They can be a handful so they are not the best choice for new and inexperienced owners.
The Neapolitan Mastiff is usually a peaceful dog that likes nothing more than to hang around with their family and pack. Contrary to popular belief, they are not aggressive and will attack someone only if their family is threatened or in danger. They are more likely to try and sit on your lap and their massive size will make it hard for you to lift them off there.
They are an old dog breed whose ancestors are being dated back more than 3000 years. They are composed, steady, and as all great watchdogs, distrustful towards strangers. They can be a bit stubborn so training and socialization are required from a young age.
23,5-29,5 in (60-75 cm)
110-154 lb (50-70 kg)
This dog breed was developed in southern Italy and the breeders that were developing this dog focus on creating massive size and loose skin on the dog that would serve as protection from various attacks. Besides that, they wanted a loyal family dog. Journalist Piere Scanziana was very interested in this dog breed and was main in writing a standard for Neapolitan mastiff dogs.
Dog Breed Characteristics
Since this is a very old dog breed it is no wonder it is accepted by most of the major cynology associations in the world. The one we will be focusing on is the Federation Cynologique Internationale or the FCI. The FCI has a standard in place for this breed and it placed the famous Mastino in Group 2 (Pinscher and Schnauzer, Molossoid breeds, and Swiss Mountain- and Cattle Dogs), Section 2.1 (Molossoid breeds, Mastiff type). These dogs are not required to have a working trial.
The standard describes a required size for this breed and it is 25,5 - 29,5 in (65-75 cm) for the male dogs, and 23,5 - 26,5 in (60- 68 cm) for the female. Their weight should always be proportioned to their height and it should be 132 - 154 lbs (60 - 70 kg) for male Mastinos and 110 - 132 lbs (50 - 60 kg) for the females.
This breed was registered by the FCI on the 8th of March 1956.
The American Kennel Club also has a standard for this breed and it describes these dogs as being astounding and imposing with a bestial appearance. These dogs have a specific movement that is not showy but rather rolling or lumbering. The required size for these dogs according to this standard is 26 - 31 in (66 - 78 cm) for males and 24 - 29 in (61 - 74 cm) for the female dogs. We can see that Americans prefer larger Mastinos.
These dogs have been registered by the AKC in 2004.
Neapolitan mastiff has a short and dense coat that is the same length all over the body. Their skin is thick and abundant. Like most of the dogs, even Neapolitan Mastiffs shed and weekly brushing are required to keep the amount of hair under control.
Neapolitan Mastiff coat colors:
Lighter and darker shades of these colors are allowed by the breed standard.
Because of their loose skin, there are a lot of facial wrinkles that need to be taken care of. Those wrinkles are a perfect place for bacteria that can develop infections. Wherever your dog gets wet you need to clean and wipe those wrinkles to prevent any infections.
They will also need other basic care; brush their teeth at least three times a week. Check their ears for signs of infection and redness, bathe them regularly, and trim their nails if they don’t wear them down naturally.
Neapolitan Mastiffs are big dogs that don’t require a lot of daily activities to be happy. With this dog, you must be very careful not to over-exercise them because he is prone to overheating. Also, you must be very careful when exercising your puppy because their joints are still developing and by over-exercising them you could hurt their joints.
Like any other dog breed, the Neapolitan Mastiff should start the socialization process as soon as possible. Dogs that are not well socialized are prone to behavioral problems and might react badly to situations they are not familiar with. There are many ways you can socialize your Neapolitan Mastiff, and the most important thing to do is to get your dog familiar with different situations they can find themselves in. Take your dog to dog parks where they can meet other dogs and people. They can learn to react accordingly and understand that they don’t need to be scared of strangers and other dogs. It is also possible to socialize and teach your dog how to handle other pets.
Socialization can even be done at home. Dress differently; wear glasses, hats, and baggy clothes so your puppy can’t recognize you right away. Teach your puppy to stay alone for a while and not make a fuss about it. It is the best way to make sure your puppy will grow up to be a stable, confident, and well-behaved dog.
Neapolitan Mastiff and kids
Neapolitan Mastiffs are good family dogs and can get along with kids in the family. However, they are best suited for older kids who will know how to properly play with such a big dog. These dogs are clumsy and they could easily knock smaller children unintentionally.
You should always supervise their playing time so any unwanted behavior wouldn’t emerge.
Neapolitan Mastiff and other animals
Neapolitan mastiffs are not fond of other dogs although they can learn to live with one if they are raised together from an early age. With other smaller animals, these dogs can get along.
However, every dog, no matter what breed they are, should be socialized and properly introduced to other pets. Take your time and even if your dog doesn’t react well on your first try doesn’t mean they won’t get along.
The Neapolitan Mastiff is generally considered a healthy breed, but they are prone to some health issues and concerns like any other dog breed. These dogs have an average lifespan of 7-9 years.
When getting any breed, the breeder must show you health tests that they have done for their breeding dogs. Dogs must be adequately tested because taking a chance and hoping that the puppy’s parents are healthy is a risk no one should ever take. Only healthy dogs should be bred because that is the only way to assure that bloodlines will remain healthy and without any problems. Health problems associated with this breed are;
- Cherry eye
- Hip dysplasia - Genetic problem affecting hips resulting from an improperly formed hip joint.
- Elbow Dysplasia - Usually, it affects large breeds and is caused by uneven growth of three bones making a dog’s elbow.
To be sure that your dog will be healthy always buy him from a responsible dog breeder who regularly tests their breeding dogs to secure that their puppies will be healthy as well.
Before you buy a puppy from a Neapolitan Mastiff breeder, make sure you have researched everything you can about this breed and made sure that this is a breed for you. They are quite large and can be a handful to raise and properly socialize.
If you decide to go for this breed, make sure that you buy your puppy from a registered and reputable breeder that is taking good care of their dogs. Ask the breeder as many questions as possible and a good breeder can tell you a lot about this breed and help you make an informed decision.
Buying a dog from a responsible breeder will cost you more money, but you can be sure that you will get a healthy puppy. If you are unable to buy a dog, we advise you to search for local animal shelters because there is a chance you can find a Neapolitan Mastiff dog in it.
If you are unsure whether this is the breed for you, check out this FREE GUIDE that will help you decide which dog breed is right for you.
World Dog Finder team