Neapolitan Mastiff Breed History
It was around 330 B.C. that Alexander the Great is said to have scattered a few native giant Macedonian war dogs throughout the conquered lands, and some of those dogs were bred with short-haired dogs that hailed from India. The result was the Molossus breed, which is thought to be the progenitor of many large breeds known today. Experts believe that the Romans brought their dogs when they took over Greece. In 55 B.C., when the Romans invaded Britain, they gained several British mastiff dogs. The British mastiffs were crossed with the Molossus dogs and created a breed of "giant gladiators" and war dogs. According to research, these dogs were called "mastini" (Italian for "mastiffs"), over the years the dogs were further scattered. In southern Italy, specifically the Neapolitan area, the breed was perfected over a span of several centuries and used to guard homes and estates. But it wasn't until approximately 1946 that the breed became recognized by the rest of the world. It was at a Naples dog show that Piere Scanziani admired the dog and began his quest to bring the breed out of obscurity. He and a group of fanciers are credited with drawing up a standard and petitioning the Italian Kennel Club and the FCI to recognize the Neapolitan mastiff under the name Mastino Napoletano. The first documentation of this breed in the United States was in the 1970s, and the breed club was formed in approximately 1973. The AKC adopted an initial standard in 1996, and the Neapolitan mastiff became part of the AKC Working Group in 2004.
Neapolitan Mastiff Breed Appearance
The sheer size of this breed makes an awesome impression. In comparison to the body, the head is quite large and features extensive wrinkles and folds. The eyes are deep-set and are usually found in shades of brown or amber. The expression is described both as wistful (when resting) and intimidating (when alert). The ears can be cropped or left natural, and the large nose has well-opened nostrils. The broad muzzle features heavy lips, and the teeth should meet in a scissors or pincher bite. The muscular neck is slightly arched, blending into a wide, strong back. The forequarters are well-built and heavy with sloping, powerful shoulders and thick straight front legs made of heavy bone and good muscle. The hindquarters are powerful, strong and muscular, also featuring heavy bone and good muscle. The large, round feet have strong, arched toes with heavy nails. The tail is wide at the root, but tapers gently at the tip. It is usually docked by one-third and is raised when the dog in on the move. The gait of the Neapolitan mastiff is described as lumbering and slow. The coat of this breed is short and dense and comes in a variety of solid colors including: black, blue, gray, mahogany, and tawny. White patches can often be found on the chest and throat.
Neapolitan Mastiff Breed Maintenance
The short coat of this breed needs very little grooming. It is not an ideal choice for those who are obsessive about a clean house, as the Neapolitan mastiff tends to drool and leave trails of water and food from it bowls. Due to its massive size, this dog needs to have plenty of room to stretch out and to roam. Small spaces are not recommended. Overall, this breed doesn't need to be provided with a lot of exercise. It will enjoy being outdoors, but will not do well in warmer climates. Keep in mind that the expenses involved with giant breeds are high - from food to veterinary bills.
Neapolitan Mastiff Breed Activity Requirements
Bred specifically to provide security for home and family, the Neapolitan Mastiff is a very devoted and loyal breed. It is generally quite suspicious of strangers, but will tolerate people with which it has been acquainted. It loves children, but due to its massive size, it is probably not a good choice for households with very small children. Socialization from an early age is important, and even then, this breed may not get along well with other canines, especially those with domineering tendencies.