Neapolitan Mastiff

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Neapolitan Mastiff

As descendants of ancient dogs, the Neapolitan Mastiff became war dogs of the Roman Empire with huge and powerful built. With astounding appearance, this breed will do what it takes to keep intruders out of their territory and away from their people. The supersized breed is loving and devoted to their families, although they are intimidating and somewhat domineering.

Other Names Italian Mastiff, Mastino Napoletano, Mastino Neapoletano
Color Black, Blue, Mahogany, Tawny
Height Males: 25-31 inches. Females: 23-29 inches.
Weight Males: 132-154 pounds. Females: 110-132 pounds.
Life Span 7-9 years
Personality Loyal, Dignified, Watchful
Exercise Regular Exercise
Popularity #100
Groom Needs Weekly Brushing
Kids Friendly Yes with supervision
Dog Friendly Yes with supervision
Watch Dog Yes
Family Dog
Litter Size 8 puppies

Neapolitan Mastiff Pictures

Neapolitan Mastiff Video


The thoroughly wrinkled skin on their head might deceive one into assuming they were inhospitable dogs, but on the contrary, the Neapolitan Mastiffs are as good-natured and gentle with the family as their intimidating appearance suggests a scamper for the road to strangers. They are huge and majestic, clothe in short, loose coats which drop in wrinkles especially around the head. They come in gray, black, or lead gray coats. 

As giant dogs, full-grown Neapolitan Mastiffs stands nothing less than 24 inches at the shoulder, regardless the gender. Males run quite bigger, approaching 32 inches, while the females run in the range of 25-29 inches. On average, a male Neapolitan Mastiff weighs around 150 pounds, where a similar female weighs about 115 pounds. These giants lead a dignified life until about 6-9 years of age before they die.

Living with Neapolitan Mastiff

With short coat and thick, abundant body skin, the Neo sheds about as much as the average dog. Bathe them as needed, and prepare to get wet when you do.

Weekly brushing with a bristle brush or hound glove will keep their coat clean and free of loose or dead hair. Introduce your Neo to being brushed and examined when they’re a puppy, make grooming a positive experience filled with praise and rewards, and you’ll lay the groundwork for easy veterinary exams and other handling when they’re an adult.

The Neo’s face is made up of heavy, velvety wrinkles and folds that extend from the outside margin of the eyelids to the dewlap and from under the lower lids to the outer edges of the lips. So the breeder should clean and keep the wrinkles dry.

Trim their nails once or twice a month, as needed, and Short nails keep the feet in good condition and won’t scratch your legs when your Neo jumps up to greet you.

Handle their paws frequently–dogs are touchy about their feet. And the eyes and ears should be checked and gently cleaned whenever necessary with a damp cloth or paper towel 

Brush your Neo’s teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and the accompanying bacteria. Of course daily brushing will be better.

To keep your Neo fit and healthy, make exercising, playing, and walking for an hour or more part of his daily routine.

The Neo puppy may want to play beyond when he should, so it is up to the owner to stop before the puppy gets too tired. The breed doesn’t make great jogging companions and are usually happiest when curled up on the couch.

Avoid roughhousing or wrestling. You never want your adult Neo to think it’s okay to play rough with you. It might have been cute when they were a puppy, but it can be dangerous once they’re full-grown.

An adult Neo will benefit from a couple of short to moderate daily walks, however. They’re sensitive to heat and humidity, so schedule walks for cool mornings and evenings. Be sure they always have a cool place to rest and plenty of fresh water.

Don’t emphasize the running and quick turning, as their joints can be easily damaged. So be careful about letting him go up and down stairs, which can cause many an exuberant puppy’s knee being injured by a leap off a porch or a jump down those last few stairs. 

Exercise should not be too vigorous until a dog is around 2 years old which is when they have usually stopped growing.

An ideal Neapolitan Mastiff diet should be suitable for a large breed with medium energy levels. The amount of your adult dog eats will vary with their size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. And dry food is the best because wet food can cause tooth decay, gum infection and bath breath in dogs.

Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don’t all need the same amount of food. And the quality of dog food you feed also makes a difference— the better the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing your dog.

The Neapolitan Mastiff is easy to gain weight. So watch your dog’s calories consumption and body weight to keep your Neo in good shape by measuring their food and feeding them twice a day rather than leaving food out all the time. 

Experienced Neapolitan Mastiff breeders recommend food that is slightly higher in fat and lower in protein, especially when the dog is young, as they grow so fast. Do not supplement with calcium.

Clean, fresh water should be available at all times. 

Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet.

Neapolitan Mastiffs are generally healthy, but sometimes they are easy to suffer from health issues such as elbow and hip dysplasia, but these problems can be decreased by not allowing the puppy to overexert himself or to jump on the furniture. 

Falls on slick surfaces can also exacerbate these problems. 

Despite the breed’s impressive wrinkles and loose skin, most do not have skin problems.

Other common issues are the cherry eye (where tissue in the corner of the eye becomes red and inflamed), cleft palate, cardiomyopathy, fold dermatitis, gastric torsion and demodectic mange. Neos are especially sensitive to halothane gas anesthesia. 

Bloat is a sudden, life-threatening condition that can affect all deep-chested dogs. Its causes are not fully understood, but owners should learn the signs that bloat is occurring and know what action to take.

The breeders should discuss this with their veterinarian and do some health tests regularly, such as hip evaluation, elbow evaluation, ophthalmologist exam and cardiac exam.

Total Annual Cost: $3889.6

Cost is estimated for the first year and may vary depending on many factors, such as dog food, health care, leash, collar, licensing, possible fencing, crates, training and obedience classes, dog-walking, grooming, treats, toys, flea, tick, and heart-worm meds, microchips, etc.

Smart, but a bit lazy and stubborn, training may be a challenge for Neos. They require training with consistent and firm approach, which can help incorporate an abundance of positive reinforcement and dog treats. 

This breed is a bit obstinate but will obey once it understands what is expected of it and recognizes its owner’s authority.

Neapolitan Mastiffs are not natural prospects for field training. It is important to train the Mastino when he is young, so that when dealing with the strong, stubborn teenage personality stage, the appropriate hierarchy is already in place.

Neo puppies are as active, curious, cute, and cuddly as the most winsome toy puppy, while most adults of the breed are calm animals who sleep a lot. By the age of 3 or 4, most Neapolitans demonstrate desirable laidback adult-type behavior.

Advanced obedience training and dog sports training are necessary. Continuing education and activity will ensure they don’t forget their manners and indulge their slugabed side.

Neapolitans do not respond well to harsh training, and need an encouraging and rewarding atmosphere. You should be patient and consistent.


The Neapolitan Mastiff is a descendant of a group of large-sized guard dogs, prominent in ancient Central Italy. It belongs to the Molossian breed. Similar dogs were depicted in antiquity by famous art and paintings in Italy. Historians believe that the ancestors of the Neapolitan Mastiff can be traced back to 700 BCE during the era of the ancient Roman Empire, where they served as war dogs, guard dogs, and gladiators.

By the 20th century, these large war dogs were already off the popularity list, even in their homeland of Italy. In 1914, Mario Monti exhibited a dog of the kind at a dog show, which left the judge amazed. When the show was over, the judge, named Fabio Caielli, decided to go in search of other dogs of the same type in order to develop a breed worthy of recognition.

However, further development and establishment of the breed is credited to Piero Scanziani, a writer and dog enthusiast, who was acclaimed to have seen one of such dogs at a dog exhibition in Naples, in 1946. Scanziani decided that the dog was of the extinct Molossus breed and was fascinated to develop a breed for it. A year later, he set out to find dogs of the same type, and soon he started breeding them. He called them the Molosso Italiano. In the breed standard he wrote for it, Scanziani recognized strains such as the Cane Corso, cane da presa, and the mastino. Present-day Neapolitan Mastiffs are believed to be of the mastino type.

Piero Scanziani pushed for the establishment of this breed until 1949 when it was recognized by the Ente Nazionale della Cinofilia Italiana. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale followed suit in 1956, with the American Kennel Club accepting the Neapolitan Mastiff in 2004.

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