Mastino Napoletano

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85-145 lbs
24-29"
Italy
Neapolitan Mastiff

The Mastino Napoletano is a large dog, with the average male weighing 150 pounds and reaching a height of 26 to 31 inches. It is thought that the breed originated from the large, heavy dogs that have existed since ancient times, to include the war dogs of Middle East and Asia. These dogs were used to control livestock, guard homes and battle with men and large animals. The Mastino Napoletano has a heavily wrinkled face and loose skin and produces a significant amount of drool; upon shaking his large head, his slobber will go flying. Even as a puppy the breed has a low activity level, requiring a short walk for exercise that won’t cause stress to his body. As a territorial breed, the Mastino Napoletano can be aggressive toward other dogs and must learn his boundaries; early training, play and socialization are important. Ideally a Mastino Napoletano will have access to a good sized yard with a high fence, plenty of shade and cool water, while being able to live indoors with his family.

Purpose
Companion, Guarding
Date of Origin
ancient times
Ancestry
Roman Molossian

Mastino Napoletano Health

Average Size
Height: 26-31 inches Weight: 110-150 lbs
Height: 24-29 inches Weight: 85-145 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Hip Dysplasia
Minor Concerns
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Demodicosis
  • Cherry Eye
Occasional Tests
  • Eye
  • Hip
  • Elbow
  • Heart
  • X-Rays
  • Physical Examination

Mastino Napoletano Breed History

It is said that around 330 B.C. Alexander the Great had dispersed a few giant war dogs that were native to Macedonia around the lands that were conquered. It is believed that breeding occurred with some of these dogs with short-haired dogs from India, resulting in the Molossus breed. It is this breed that is considered to be from which many large breeds originate. The belief of experts is that the Romans brought their dogs with them when they took over Greece. In 55 B.C., upon invading Britain, the Romans acquired a few British Mastiff dogs. These were then crossed with the Molossus dogs to create a breed of “giant gladiators” and war dogs. Research showed that the dogs were called “mastini” which is Italian for Mastiffs. The dogs became further scattered as time passed. In the Neapolitan area of southern Italy, the breed was perfected over the course of several hundred years for guarding homes and estates. Only in 1946 did the breed gain recognition in other countries. At a Naples dog show, Pierre Scanziani became interested in the breed and began efforts to show it to the world. Along with a group of fanciers, he drew up a standard and petitioned the Italian Kennel Club and FCI to recognize the Mastino Napoletano. The breed was first documented in the United States as the Neapolitan Mastiff in the 1970’s with a breed club forming around 1973. The AKC adopted a first standard in 1996 and the breed became part of the AKC working group in 2004.

Mastino Napoletano Breed Appearance

The Mastino Napoletano is a strikingly large dog. The head of the breed is rather large in comparison to the body, with many wrinkles and folds. Deep-set eyes are usually brown or amber in color and the breed’s ears can be cropped or left natural. The Mastino Napoletano has a large nose with well-opened nostrils along with a broad muzzle, heavy lips and teeth that meet in a scissors bite. A muscular neck is slightly arched and blends into a wide muscular back. The breed has thick, straight and muscular front legs and the hindquarters display power and muscle. Large round feet have strong toes that are arched, and include heavy nails. The tail of the Mastino Napoletano is wide at its root, tapering at its tip. Typically, the tail is docked by a third and will be seen raised when the dog is moving. The Mastino Napoletano has a short, dense coat and may be black, blue, gray, mahogany or tawny, and may or may not have white patches on the chest and throat.

Mastino Napoletano Breed Maintenance

Minimal grooming is required for the Mastino Napoletano. With a short coat, regular brushing and a bath on occasion will be sufficient. The nails of the breed grow quickly and should be trimmed regularly with a nail clipper or grinder. This will help to avoid overgrowth, splitting and cracking. Regular checks of the dog’s ears are important so that build-up of wax and debris (and a resulting infection) can be avoided. Regular teeth brushing will be helpful so that dental health can be maintained. As the breed is large, it is important for there to be sufficient room for stretching out and roaming. 

Mastino Napoletano Temperament

The Mastino Napoletano has been bred to provide security for one’s home and family. Dogs of the breed are very devoted and loyal. Typically wary of strangers, dogs of the breed will tolerate those with whom they have been acquainted. The breed loves children, though due to its size it is not an ideal choice for a home with small children. Socialization and training should take place from an early age, though even with those efforts the Mastino Napoletano may have a hard time getting along with other dogs, particularly those who tend to try and dominate. The Mastino Napoletano displays a slow and lumbering gait and as an adult enjoys lounging around the home or yard. Dogs of the breed are typically quiet and rarely bark. 

Mastino Napoletano Owner Experiences