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A Neapolitan Mastiff is majestic, massive
and powerful. He is a natural guard dog
that is muscular, heavy boned and rectangular
in shape. The breed is most notably known
for his enormous size and for his loose
skin covering the body with an abundance
of wrinkles and folds on the face and under
the throat forming a large dewlap. Although
the Neapolitan Mastiff is beastly and vicious
in appearance, he is actually very calm,
steady, affectionate and with proper training
and socialization, a good family pet.
There are different theories regarding the
specific ancestry of the Neapolitan Mastiff,
however, it is almost certain he is a direct
descendant of the Roman Molossus which was
created by Alexander the Great (356-323
BC). In Italy where the Neapolitan Mastiff
breed was developed, these dogs were used
to protect both people and property. They
were also used for dog fighting and by the
Roman Army for which they were known to
be giant war dogs.
While the Neapolitan Mastiff's lineage is
certainly ancient, the breed was not officially
recognized until 1949 by the Fédération
Cynologique Internationale (FCI). Neapolitan
Mastini were bred to guard people and property
- tasks they are still performing today.
The height for a Neapolitan Mastiff dogs
26-31 inches (66 -78.7 cm) and for females:
24-29 inches (61 -73.7 cm).
According to AKC Standard, the average weight
for a mature Neapolitan Mastiff male is
150 pounds and for females, 110 pounds,
however, greater weight is acceptable ("usual
and preferred") "as long as the
proportion and function are maintained."
The Neapolitan Mastiff's coat is dense,
hard, smooth and short. The length is the
same all over the body - about one inch.
Extra care should be given to keep the folds
and wrinkles dry since moisture can become
trapped, otherwise, grooming of the coat
is minimal. The Neapolitan Mastiff is an
color of the Neapolitan Mastiff can be solid
coats of gray (blue), black, tawny and mahogany.
The coat can also be lighter and darker
shades of these colors. Any brindling must
be tan. Solid white markings can be found
on these parts of the body: chest, underside,
backs of the pasterns, toes, penis sheath,
throat area from chin to chest and white
hairs may be found on the back of the wrists
The Neapolitan Mastiff is a loyal and natural
guardian breed that will protect his family
and property. Although he is usually calm,
he is also wary and does not like to be
disturbed by strangers. This breed is generally
good with children, however, there are issues
which need to be seriously considered. This
dog is massive and could unintentionally
knock down and injure a small child. In
addition, they are very protective and may
become jealous of other children visiting.
Neapolitan Mastini are very intelligent
and independent thinkers. They must be socialized
starting at a very young age and it should
be continued throughout their lifetime.
Obedience training done in a very positive
manner is also a must. An owner needs to
always be seen as the 'pack leader' and
if children are around this breed, they
too must be able to show leadership. Neapolitan
Mastini are not active dogs, however, they
still need daily exercise exercise such
as a couple of daily long walks. This breed
is not for everyone, however, an owner who
knows how to handle and care for this type
of dog will enjoy an affectionate, loyal
The Neapolitan Mastiff breed is more prone
to some medical issues than other breeds
which include: bloat, bone cancer, cardiac
disorders, eye problems, and various orthopedic
• The plural for Neapolitan Mastiff
is Neapolitan Mastini or Mastino.
• This breed is also known by these
others names: Mastino Napoletano, Italian
Mastiff, Italian Bulldog, Mastino and Neo
Mastiff. Nicknamed Neo.
• The official American Kennel Club
(AKC) recognized parent club for the Neapolitan
Mastiff Club is the United States Neapolitan
Mastiff Club (USNMC).
• Cropped ears and tails were banned
in Europe as of January 1, 2007.
• Although Neapolitan Mastini are
not active dogs, they can quickly burst
• Neapolitan Mastini are quite rare
in the United States.
AKC: Working Group
ANKC: Group 6 - Utility
FCI: Group 2 - Section 2 Molossoid breeds
KC: Working Group