(aka: Mastino Napoletano, Mastino, Neo Mastiff, Italian Mastiff, Mastini)
The Neapolitan Mastiff is a giant of a dog, and has a very muscular and rugged build. His huge face has drooping jowls, and this gives him a grumpy expression, which coupled with his size would put off the bravest of intruders. The coat of the Neapolitan Mastiff is close fitting, short, and sleek, and the coloring includes gray, blue, mahogany, tawny, or black, sometimes with brindling. The weight of the Neapolitan Mastiff is around 110-134 pounds for females, and 133-160 pounds for males. The height is around 23-28 inches for females, and 25-30 inches for males.
Neapolitan Mastiff Temperment
The Neapolitan Mastiff is a very loyal, devoted, and protective dog, making him the ideal choice for watchdog and guard dog duties. These dogs will defend their loved ones to the end, and have plenty of courage and determination, along with the size and brawn to back it up. The Neapolitan Mastiff will shower love and affection on his family, and may bond more closely with one particular person. This is not the dog for those that cannot commit to a pet, as he needs attention and affection from his owner. The Neapolitan Mastiff should be socialized early on in order to promote stability, and to reduce the risk of timidity or aggression. Training can be difficult, as the Neapolitan Mastiff makes up his own mind and is very independent. These dogs need a confident and assertive owner, and therefore are best suited to those with experience of dog ownership and training.
The fiercely protective nature of the Neapolitan Mastiff means that he will be naturally wary around strangers. These dogs get on well with children when brought up with them, and can get on well with other family pets with early socialization. However, they can be dog aggressive with same sex dogs. These huge dogs do not like strenuous exercise, but regular moderate exercise is important for his health and fitness. Plenty of space is needed, so this is not the right dog for apartment life. A spacious, safe, and secured area should be provided for the dog to enjoy fresh air and exercise. These dogs are droolers and snorers, so if you are a house-proud person or you enjoy total peace and quiet, you may want to think carefully before opting for the Neapolitan Mastiff. The Neapolitan Mastiff is very intelligent and learns very quickly.
The Neapolitan Mastiff is a low maintenance dog when it comes to grooming, although cleaning up the drool could be a different matter. His coat needs to brushed occasionally in order to keep it looking sleek and in good condition. These dogs are also low shedders, and therefore may be suited to allergy sufferers.
The Neapolitan Mastiff is a breed that was reconstructed in the 1940s by Piero Scanziani and other lovers of the Mastini. Scanziani came across the breed in Vesuvius, Italy when it was on the brink of extinction. He would learn that the breed was steeped in 4000 years of historical presence that seemingly originated with the breeding of large, massive dogs by the Sumerians and the Mesopotamians.
Throughout history, the Neapolitan Mastiff was used by the Romans in wartime, later as a hunter of deer and wild boar, and fighters of wild animals in the circus and in arenas as gladiators, but always remaining true to its heritage with an inherent talent as a guard dog especially in the Roman villas of Campania. Many of the early Mastini were depicted in many artifacts, statues, and carvings in which the artist depicts the massive head, skin folds especially an exaggerated dewlap, and cropped ears. Even after the fall of the Romans, the Neapolitan Mastiff remained in the region making the slopes of Vesuvius its home and offering companionship and protection to its people.
The Neapolitan Mastiff made its way to America by the way of Italian immigrants and the late Mr. Michael Sotille, Sr. In 1991, further promoting of the breed by US Neapolitan Mastiff Club (USNMC) led the Neapolitan Mastiff to be accepted into the AKC as the 152nd breed.
Training this dog should be started at an early age to avoid dominance issues. The handler should always remain firm and consistent but not overly corrective or negative. Basic obedience is a must at about 4 months because this puppy will already weigh about 40 to 60 lbs.; therefore, imagine at 6-10 months you will be dealing with 100+ lb dog if you wait to start training basic commands.
This breed is highly intelligent and will quickly learn all of the commands; however, the biggest issue is the time in which it will take for the Neo to complete the task if it so desires. Their willfulness does not diminish their love and protective nature of their owner however. The Neapolitan Mastiff should not participate in protection training or bite work because it possesses a natural protective temperament that does not need to be expounded upon or brought even further to the surface.
There are a number of health problems associated with the Neapolitan Mastiff, and this includes OCD, thyroid problems, bloat, entropion, heart disorders, HD and elbow dysplasia, heatstroke, and sensitivity to chemicals and drugs. The parents of the Neapolitan Mastiff puppy should have OFA certificates.