Type: Guardian Dog
Height: Males: 25.5 - 30 inches. Females: 23.5 - 27 inches.
Weight: Males: 150 - 185 lbs. Females: 145. - 165 lbs.
Life Span: 9 - 11 years.
Litter Size: 6 - 12 puppies.
Country of Origin: Italy
Activity: Low. Low stamina and endurance, prefers light exercise.
Description: The Neapolitan Mastiff is an awe inspiring guard dog. Massive bone structure with an express full face, joined with extreme intelligence and extreme loyalty, this Mastiff is the top defender and friend. Neos, as they are often called, are gentle and calm around their owners, and even around children. Although children should learn to respect the Neapolitan, considering it is a very large and heavy animal. Neos are strong, protective, and independent-minded. They are good mothers to their children, and they reflect this trait when around other children. Originally raised as a dog of war, a guard, police and draft dog, the Neapolitan is a tough breed that is capable of great power. They should be socialized early on and trained as a puppy in order to let them know who's boss. They are one of the heaviest breeds, with huge distinctive dewlaps and wrinkles on their faces. Their heads and necks are large and pendulous, and their gait is like that of a bear. Neo Mastiffs are a great protective pet for the owner who has enough space and finances to support them.
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Other Names: Mastino, Neo, Mastino Napoletano, Italian Mastiff
Colors: Grey (also referred to as Blue), Lead, Black, Tawny, Tawny Stag, and Mahogany - All colors may have brindle. Brown, Pale, and Cream are accepted as well, but not preferred. White is acceptable on the tips of the toes and the chest.
Coat: Short, hard, glossy and shiny. It is dense and smooth.
Temperament: Neapolitan Mastiffs are loyal, protective and are not pugnacious. They will not go out of their way to attack, but will more likely wait on the command of their owner. They will likely not leave the home often, as they stick around to make sure their property is protected. They are gentle and calm with their family, and can even try to be dainty around their own pups. They only bark when they something unusual happens. They can be independent, and need firm training from the time they are puppies.
With Children: Yes, affectionate and protective with the their family's children.
With Pets: Adult intact Neapolitan Mastiff males tend to not tolerate other adult intact males, but males/females and females/females get along fine. Neos get along well with other pets as long as they are socialized and raised with them.
Care and Training: Neo Mastiffs do best when they have a job to do. They need exercise, but lightly, as they are very heavy. Care should be taken when in hot weather, as they are more likely than other breeds to overheat. The short coat should be groomed every once in a while, and brushed every week to keep shiny and clean. A solid base of obedience and socialization is mandatory for the Neapolitan Mastiff. They should begin training and socialization as a puppy, so that they do not become overly protective and so that they get along well with other animals when they get older. They should not be guard-dog trained, as they naturally have the instinct to guard.
Learning Rate: High. Neos are extremely fast learners. Obedience - High. Problem Solving - Medium to High.
Special Needs: Financial ability to meet giant-sized needs, protection from hot weather, socialization, supervision with children and training.
Living Environment: Prefers to be close to their family - whether that is outside or in the house. The best owner for this breed would be a dog-experienced owner with space, living in a suburban or rural environment.
Health Issues: Cherry eye is common in the breed, and must be removed and not tacked down. Other health concerns include heart problems, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, immune system disorders, and sensitivity to heat. A good diet is paramount for this fast growing, large breed.
History: Tracing its roots to the Molossus dogs that existed in Rome before Christ, the Neapolitan Mastiff has a rich and intriguing history. They were thought to have been brought to Rome by Alexander the Great when he traveled from Greece. Alexander the Great apparently prized the ancient Molossus dogs for fighting and defending, and that is what they were bred for. Alexander was given a pair of these dogs from Asia, supposedly after he defeated King Porus in Northern India in 326 B.C. So the breed is over 2000 years old, and may have had its roots in Asia. After they were brought to Rome they were used in animal fights in the arenas, pitted against leopards, bears, lions and even gladiators. They were also excellent guard dogs for their armies. They made their way to the Middle East as well, serving their duties there. Known for at least 2000 years ago in Southern Italy, the breed didn't actually appear publicly until 1946 in the Naples dog show. It is thought that during this show, a painter named Piero Scanziani was so impressed that he bought his own Neos and began a kennel. He developed the breed into what it is today, and is thought of as the modern father of the breed. He created a standard for the breed and it was accepted by the Italian Kennel Club. Appearing to be a mix of a Lion, Gargoyle and Mollosser, this breed is truly a work of fine Italian art. Brought back from near extinction after World War II by a dedicated group of breeders in Italy, this breed still continues to flourish in Italy and recently the United States. They were only brought to the U.S. and the other parts of Europe in the 1970s. Regardless, they continue to grow in number in North America, Germany, France, Spain, England, other European countries, and even Israel.
First Registered by the AKC: 2001
AKC Group: Miscellaneous
Registries: AKC (Working), NZKC (Utility), UKC (Guardian), FCI (Group 2), ANCK (Group 6), CKC (Miscellaneous), KC (UK) (Working)