Species group: Working Group dogs
Other name(s): Neo; Italian Mastiff; Mastino; Napoletano Mastino; Neapolitan Bulldog
The Neapolitan Mastiff is a huge breed that can weigh over 150 pounds-- a truly intimidating and historic animal said to have been developed by Alexander the Great as a war dog. This breed's ancestors appeared in the arenas of ancient Rome to fight lions and bears. As a result this mastiff became a huge, imposing, powerful watchdog that can deter an intruder with a glance. However, if you can properly socialize a large dog, you may be surprised at how calm and confident this animal can be. They are known for being extremely loyal. Expect this dog to enjoy following you like a shadow everywhere you go.
Despites its ancient history in Europe, it almost disappeared after World War II, and it has taken some time to recover its popularity. The American Kennel Club didn't recognize the breed until 2004, but as of 2016, they are ranked as the 110th most popular breed in the United States. If you're looking for large and loyal, this could be the one for you.
Appearance / health:
Neapolitan Mastiffs are very large, heavily boned, and well-muscled dogs. They have a large head with loose wrinkled skin and a huge dewlap. The eyes are set deep and hidden beneath drooping upper eyelids. The ears are medium sized, triangular in shape, and are held tight to the cheeks. The tail is carried straight up or curved slightly over the back.
Neapolitan Mastiffs are moderate shedders and their coarse hair can be found sticking to clothes, upholstery, and everywhere in the house. Weekly brushing is sufficient to keep them tidy. The skin may be cleaned with a wet towel.
A walk twice a day is enough to keep them lean and healthy.
Neapolitan Mastiffs are prone to hip dysplasia (malformation of hip joint), cataract (opacity of lens or capsule of eye causing impairment of vision or blindness), and bloating (swelling of abdominal area).
Behavior / temperament:
Neapolitan Mastiffs have been bred to be fighting dogs. They have strong protective instincts and may be suspicious of people if not socialized at an early age. They snore, sniff and also drool and slobber a lot. They have a strong territorial instinct, and are not likely to tolerate any intruder in their territory.
Neapolitan Mastiffs are extremely fast learners and are easy to train. They need to be socialized to overcome its protective instinct. Early obedience training is essential as this enormous dog can be difficult to control later.
Neapolitan Mastiffs are average barkers and do not bark without reason.
excellent companions, awesome dog, unconditional love, family member, big babies
daily fold cleaning, health challenges, hip problems, Premature Graying
elitist fashion accessory, indomitable spirit, reputable breeder, silver overcoat
My friend Athena.
Ok, Ooof even the smelly, there sure were smelly moments!
But you know when you love someone that doesn´t matter and I loved my Athena.
I bought Athena when she was 3 months old and in hindsight, it was very difficult to train her.
She was very susceptible to stomach infections and she didn´t understand that you shouldn´t walk through your own poop.
And because they are so big and have enormous paws even as puppies, the mess was also big.
So I would be doing something and from one moment to the next everything would be dirty including her.
She needed a lot of training and patience from my side, but you know, don´t get discouraged if you are thinking of getting a Napolitan mastiff.
She was a wonderful dog and after the first year she had grown into a fantastic friend and guard dog.
I had various dogs on my farm and she got along with all of them, but her best friend was my long haired Chihuahua, whom I had brought from Holland to Colombia with me.
They were a good team and guarded the farm together. She had the strength and the size and Brutus the Chihuahua, had the alertness and the light sleep.
Nobody could touch Brutus without the approval of Athena.
And she did the same with me.
She was always there in the background observing and there was never a problem until someone would come running up to me, she would put herself in between us.
There were moments that the lights would go and we would be in total obscurity, and I would have to leave to see how the other animals were.
She would not move from my side. I would feel here close to my left leg as we walked together with the flashlight.
She was a good companion for 7 years.
She died 5 years ago, but I will never forget her.
I would definitely consider getting another Mastiff, if I had the enough room.
This is a dog that needs a lot of space!.
From bvelthuijzen1 Mar 22 2014 9:04PM
A whole lotta Dog
When I started showing Neapolitan Mastiffs they were a rare breed, not even fully recognized by the AKC. They're an interesting looking dog, considered by some people to be somewhat of an elitist fashion accessory (albeit a messy one.)
My personal dogs had excellent temperaments. I got them as puppies and socialized them properly. They were trained to show and accepted strangers as well as children while on leash away from the home. I'm a professional, I had years of experience with dogs before ever owning a Neo. The work I did with the national rescue organization for the breed taught me that most people should not take on owning a Neapolitan Mastiff just yet.
I will start off by saying that all breeds get softer in the United States. Neos have been here for less than 40 years in meaningful numbers. They are a guard dog and most still behave as such. This breed absolutely LOVES it's family members, or rather, at least one of it's family members unconditionally. This was the biggest problem I saw in the breed temperament wise. They tend to attach themselves to one family member and challenge everyone else in the home. A growl here, a snap there can turn ugly during adolescence whether or not the dog has been altered (a spay or neuter is not a lobotomy.) Every household member must know how to dominate this breed and must know how to immediately react to any challenging behavior or dominance. This is just in the home - imagine how complicated outside of the home is.
They can do well with children and in fact they will typically adore "their" children. However, if for example your teenager has friends over and while playing your child acts uncomfortable in any way because of a friend there could be an issue with the dog and that child.
I'm a firm believer that animals will get along with animals they are raised with. Raise a Neapolitan puppy with a chihuahua and four cats, set rules and expectations and you won't have any problems. Let a strange chihuahua and 4 strange cats wander into your yard and you'll have a massacre. Larger, dominate dogs can pose more of a problem, scuffles are likely to be a daily occurrence especially with dogs of the same sex. Set your expectations and don't back down from them. Remember, males are more likely to scuffle, females are more likely to take things very seriously when they do. At my house things always sounded more serious than they ever were - like I was surrounded by vicious monsters. Again, I'm very experienced with dogs and don't tolerate shenanigans beyond a certain point.
Neos stink. They have a tendency to build up oil on their skin which has kind of a yeasty odor. My dogs were bathed in oatmeal shampoo at least every 2 weeks (more in the summer.) Luckily their short fur made it possible to do at home (train your puppy to like baths!) Yeast can actually build up in their folds so it's important to keep them clean. Keep baby wipes on hand for daily fold cleaning. Their chins tend to get acne, Desitin works well on this. Their dewlap holds in an enormous amount of moisture and the Desitin helps keep it dry. That dewlap is also the reason for the tremendous amount of drool these dogs can produce. You'll definitely need to invest in a dog bib for outings.
Health problems are a huge thing, in the early days you would see more "head on a stick" dogs than anything else, but this is getting better due to breeders who really want to see healthy dogs. They have the typical predisposition to hip and elbow problems like other giant breeds, as well as the possibility for bloat.
Most puppies of decent breed type will develop cherry eye. These should be removed and not tacked down. I'm aware that doing it that way could potentially cause dry eye, but it is better than constantly repeating the tacking procedure on your dog.
Heart problems are huge in this breed. One of my first dogs died of a heart attack at 9 weeks - that's pretty serious.
Ununited Anconeal Process is a condition where the growth plates do not close properly. I only mention this condition because if you get this diagnosis with a very young dog do not jump straight into surgery. I've had a personal experience with this condition and would be more than happy to go into depth about it for anyone with questions (message me.)
Heat and cold in extremes are not good for these guys. I know they can be messy but a Neapolitan Mastiff needs to be a house dog during extreme weather (and should be for all weather!) They're also not a super active breed (although can be hyper as puppies.) I don't recommend them as jogging partners, you may get them part of the way but you'll carry them home!.
Let's get down to the good stuff shall we? These dogs are just cool. They look amazing, they're huge, incredibly impressive to anyone who sees them. They have the ability to be the sweetest dogs on the planet - they will follow you everywhere and MUST touch you. You will be protected, a Neapolitan Mastiff is the last thing a stranger wants to see.
If you must have one of these dogs please go to a reputable breeder who knows the breed. Make sure they're keeping a puppy from the litter because if it's not good enough for them it's not good enough for you. Alternatively, look into rescue. Volunteers sacrifice so much to save these dogs and will do their very best to place the right dog in your home (and they'll be honest and let you know if the breed just won't fit your lifestyle.).
From hthompson23 Aug 17 2012 11:28PM
Stubborn but beautiful
Maxine was a very stubborn girl. She whined a lot, too. I don't know if it was breed specific. I got the feeling that she was dumped at a rescue after being an "apartment" dog. I think she was probably left for many hours and not given potty breaks or attention. She was very passive. I took her for a walk every day in the morning. I created routine for her so that she became less anxious about me leaving the house. She was super sweet. When asked to move though, like, get up, let's go. She would roll over on her back like, "I don't want to.." and, trust me, she didn't want to nor would she. LOL. She barked if someone knocked at the door but other than that, she slept a lot. She had a UTI and a leaky bladder. She had an eye infection too. She died of a massive heart attack. I had her in the yard and she was very happy just walking around the grass and then she gasped and dropped. It was hugely upsetting as I had gotten her after my DDB, Henry, died just a year and a half earlier. I never was as close to her as I was Henry but they had a lot of similarities. I find the mastiff breed to be very loving, very loyal to their person. They may love other people in the home but they seem to love one person, especially. I got to be that person and I loved it. They truly are gentle giants. They should not be spoiled but loved, guided, walked(!) daily, fed intelligently (no overfeeding) and they are expensive to vet. Because of their size, their simplest vet visits are hundreds of dollars. Keep that in mind..
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