Neapolitan Mastiff

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120-175 lbs
24-29"
Italy
Italian Mastiff, Italian Molosso

The large lumbering form of a Neapolitan Mastiff is nothing to shake a stick at; in fact, there’s no wonder the ancient people of Italy used these dogs as guardians. With their large stature and intimidating stance, the Neo was more than enough to stop any intruders in their tracks. Despite their intimidating exterior, these dogs are actually extremely loving and can ultimately be considered a gentle giant. The Neo is characterized by their large size (110-200 lbs.), loose skin, and heavily wrinkled face. He will have very strong protective qualities and would do anything for his family. With an even temper and gentle disposition, it isn’t hard to see why this dog is popular for any household. However, while he may seem like an excellent family dog, it is important to remember that the Neo can be willful, stubborn, and even aggressive towards other people and dogs without proper socialization. This breed tends to need a very strong willed individual who will be able to curb his protective tendencies in the right direction; this is not a breed for the beginner dog owner. But, if you provide early training and socialization for your Neo, he can turn into a well-rounded, calm dog that will love you unconditionally.

Purpose
guardian
Date of Origin
ancient times
Ancestry
british mastiff

Neapolitan Mastiff Health

Average Size
Height: 26-31 inches Weight: 150-200 lbs
Height: 24-29 inches Weight: 120-175 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Bloat
Minor Concerns
  • Entropion
  • Ectropion
  • Cherry Eye
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Cataracts
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Fold Dermatitis
Occasional Tests
  • Eye
  • Hip
  • Elbow
  • X-Rays
  • Eye Examination
  • Physical Examination

Neapolitan Mastiff Breed History

These great dogs dug their roots deep into the land of Italy, specifically within the vicinity of Naples, after their creation. They are descended from Roman war dogs paired with the large British Mastiff. There is no doubt, that while a little droopy looking, these majestic dogs are beautiful on the inside. The Neo was treasured for his protective personality, one that would guard the family farm or estate for many years. Because of this, they were known as the “big dogs for little men”. With such a name as that, it’s easy to see how these dogs had stolen the hearts of those they lived with. However, despite their gentle temperament and outstanding guard abilities, the Neo almost went completely extinct around the time of World War II; this end to a beautiful dog was almost brought on by wars and industrialization. Thankfully, Italy wasn’t ready to give up on the Neapolitan Mastiff. In 1946, at a show in Naples, these dogs were reintroduced to the public thanks to the well-known Italian journalist Piere Scanziana. He took a great interest in the breed and worked to help the Neo become more well known. By the early 1970’s, the Neo was all over Europe and even in the United States. While the Neapolitan Mastiff was excellent for guarding estates and farms back in the ancient days, they are now most commonly used in shows and as house pets. There is no doubt, however, that if you have one of these massive dogs in your home, it will most likely be well protected from any intruder that may try to present himself uninvited. Just keep in mind that these dogs will require a lot of socialization and patience in order to learn the proper way to treat your loved ones, strangers, and other dogs.

Neapolitan Mastiff Breed Appearance

The most striking feature of the Neo is, of course, his size. This breed has a large powerful body that is covered in loose skin and wrinkles. Folds of skin cover the definition of the breed’s head and a large dewlap completes the features. He will have a large nose that is color coordinated with the rest of his coat color and his eyes, while alert, seem almost sleepy underneath the folds of his face. The color of the eyes will vary between an amber and a brown, depending on the darkness of the Neo’s coat. Large drooping ears and a slow, lumbering gait complete the aesthetic of the Neapolitan Mastiff. The coat can come in a number of different colors ranging from a light tawny to black. While there should never be white on the face, the coat can take on brindle or white markings. A little bit of white may show up on the chest or on the toes.

Eye Color Possibilities
Brown
Amber
Nose Color Possibilities
Blue
Black
Brown
Isabella
Coat Color Possibilities
Brindle
Sable
Fawn
Red
Brown
Black
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Neapolitan Mastiff Breed Maintenance

 As can be imagined, a dog with as many folds and flaps as the Neapolitan Mastiff will tend to require a bit of maintenance, especially when it comes to bathing. While this breed doesn’t necessarily shed heavily, you will want to brush your Neo often in order to remove any dirt or loose hair that may be laying on the dog’s body. Wipe the wrinkles often with a damp cloth and be sure to dry the area thoroughly in order to prevent any fold infections. On top of these steps, because the Neo can have a musky scent due to oily skin, it is a good idea to bath your dog often to keep the scent to a minimum. Besides that, basic nail care and frequent ear cleanings to prevent any infections will be necessary. 

Brushes for Neapolitan Mastiff
Slicker Brush
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
Daily Weekly Monthly

Neapolitan Mastiff Temperament

Although the Neo is a very big and attention grabbing breed, his bark is much bigger than his bite. In fact, you might as well consider the Neapolitan to be a 200 lb. lap dog! While he is definitely a protector at heart, when trained properly and socialized early, the Neo is a gentle giant who loves his family and has a very even-tempered disposition. It is important to remember that while these dogs move slowly and can be very gentle when socialized properly, they were intended to be guard dogs. Therefore, your Neo may be suspicious towards strangers, and even aggressive towards other dogs that he is not familiar with. Begin training early with your Neo and even take him to puppy kindergarten classes when he is very young in order to get him very well socialized. If you do this, you will have the opportunity to own a very gentle, loving dog that would do anything for his family and will keep you feeling safe and loved.

Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
15 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes

Neapolitan Mastiff Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
6.5 cups
Daily Cost
$4 - $4.5
Monthly Cost
$120 - $135

Neapolitan Mastiff Height & Weight

6 Months
Height: 23 inches Weight: 115 lbs
Height: 21 inches Weight: 105 lbs
12 Months
Height: 25 inches Weight: 145 lbs
Height: 23 inches Weight: 115 lbs
18 Months
Height: 28 inches Weight: 175 lbs
Height: 26 inches Weight: 147 lbs

Top Neapolitan Mastiff Breeders

Check out who made our list for the most reputable Neapolitan Mastiff breeders of 2017.
Clayton Hill Neo's
Howell, Michigan
Corrado Mastini
Indianapolis, Indiana
Ozark Valley Mastiffs
Neosho, Missouri
Mastini Della Forte
Canyon, Texas

Neapolitan Mastiff Owner Experiences