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Neapolitan Mastiff breed Information

Neapolitan Mastiff: Ultimate Breed Guide (2020) All You Need To Know


Neapolitan Mastiff Dog Breed Ultimate Guide 2020


The development of the Neapolitan Mastiff dog breed was in southern Italy. The dog was made to be a guard and a family dog. This breed is called a gentle giant today.  People who love this breed name it Neo and some name it Mastino. They might be found in shelters and rescues, though the dogs are purebred. You shouldn’t shop if you want this breed. Adopt instead!

The most suitable dog for novice owners of dogs and people dwelling in apartments might not be the Neapolitan Mastiff dog breed. Their big size makes them require confident training and space to thrive. But, if their drooling and needs are not too much for you to handle, you just met a loyal, loving friend that loves your entire family.

The Characteristics of the Neapolitan Mastiff Dog Breed


The general score rating for adaptability for this dog breed is 2 stars out of 5. Also, this breed's adaptation to apartment living is low, having a score rating of 2 stars out of 5.

This dog thinks independently and is very sensitive and assertive. These features make managing the dog difficult for a novice owner. It has a score rating of 1 star out of 5.

Their level of sensitivity is high, having a score rating of 4 stars out of 5. Also, their level of tolerance when they are being left alone is very low as they have a score rating of 1 star out of 5.

This breed has a low tolerance for cold weather. A sweater or jacket should be worn for this dog during chilly walks; the score rating for this is 1 star out of 5. In addition, this dog breed has a low tolerance for hot weather too; it has a score rating of 2 stars out of 5 on this.

All-Round Friendliness

In general, they have a score rating of 3 stars out of 5. They are highly affectionate towards their family, here they have a score rating of 5 stars out of 5.

They are very friendly with kids. They score a rating of 4 stars out of 5.

They aren't dog-friendly, they have a score rating of 2 stars out of 5 for this. They aren't friendly with strangers also; As regards this, they have a score rating of 1 star out of 5.

Health and Grooming Needs

The rate at which this breed sheds hair varies, some shed seasonally while some shed throughout the year. They score a rating of 3 stars out of 5.

This dog rates very high on drooling, as it scores 5 stars out of 5. Neatniks might have issues with this dog.

This breed is relatively easy to groom. The score rating here is 3 stars out of 5.

As a result of breeding practices that are poor, this breed is prone to some health problems that are genetic. If you want to adopt, ask about genetic health issues associated with this breed. They score a rating of 2 stars out of 5.

Neapolitan Mastiff gains weight easily, becoming overweight can lead to the dog having health issues. They need sufficient exercise and their food servings should be measured out daily into regular servings. They score a rating of 5 stars out of 5.



Generally, with respect to trainability, this dog gets a score rating of 2 stars out of 5.

They aren't too difficult to train, they score a rating of 3 stars out of 5. The use of games and applying the method of rewarding is helpful in training this dog.

They score a rating of 3 stars out of 5 under intelligence. The use of sports for dogs, obedience training, and dog toys that are interactive are excellent methods of giving the dog a good brain workout.

They are not so mouthy during their puppy stage. This is the tendency to chew, play-bite, and nip at members of the family and chew toys. They score a rating of 2 stars out of 5 on this.

They score a rating of 1 star out of 5 as regards their prey drive. Overall, this breed should not be put on a leash and kept in an area that is fenced when outdoors.

They have a low tendency to bark or howl. They score a rating of 1 star out of 5.

Their potential for wanderlust is really low. Here, their score rating is 1 star out of 5.

Physical Needs

In terms of physical needs, they score a rating of 3 stars. The Neapolitan Mastiff belongs to the high-energy dogs’ category. They are ready for action at any time.

They naturally demand a lot of exercise as well as mental stimulation. They have a rating of 3 stars in their energy level. Originally, they are bred to be useful for a canine job of some sort, such as helping in recovering game during hunting. As a result, they are capable of putting in a full day’s work.

It is important to consider one’s level of activity and lifestyle, and think whether you will find a very active and energized dog brisk, demanding, and troubling. The Neapolitan mastiff breed scores a rating of 1 in their intensity level. They are not very vigorous.

This dog gets 4 out of 5 stars when it comes to the potential for playfulness. A playful dog can be quite endearing but equally demanding. Consider how much free time you have and if you will be able to reciprocate its energy.

This dog needs a considerable amount of exercise. It has a rating of 3/5 for exercise needs. It is originally bred for a high demanding job so it needs vigorous exercise. Without enough exercise, these breeds may put on weight and vent their pent-up energy in ways you don't like, such as barking, chewing, and digging.

Important Stats about Neapolitan Mastiff Dogs

Dog Breed Group: Working Dogs

Height: 60cm - 78cm tall at the shoulder

Weight: 55kg to 90kg

Life Span: 8 to 10 years

More information about the Neapolitan Mastiff Dog Breed


The Neapolitan Mastiff Descent is believed to date as far back as the Bronze Age, 3000 BCE, the time when the Upper and the Lower Egypt were unified and mastiff-like working and guard dogs emerged in Tibet. This dog embodies history and comes to life.

The manner and stride of this distinct breed might be termed lumbering, but there can’t be a mix up in identifying the power that is in each tread. The looseness on the skin, enormous size, and copious facial wrinkles that are apparent as he approaches command speechless admiration which naturally incites the question, "What kind of dog is that?" This quite impressionable gentle giant is the Neapolitan Mastiff, also known as the mastino.

Although they have an intimidating and rather deathly appearance, bear in mind that looks could be deceiving. The Neo, as they're usually nicknamed, is well known for being a friendly 200-pound lapdog. This is a constant guardian with an unnerving stare that they direct majorly at unfamiliar faces, but they're far from being a dog that engages in fighting. They are solid and loyal and their main goal is to be with their people. They are typically non-aggressive dogs and they do not attack without reason. They are however quite ferocious if needs be.

Puppy Neos are very active generally just like other puppies, however, when they develop into adulthood they have the tendency to rather sprawl around the home or stroll around the yard. Although they're pretty mellow while indoors, Neos is not necessarily built for life in an apartment or condo unless there is enough room for them to lounge. In the case where they don’t have sufficient space, they are prone to engage in acts like shoving furniture out of place or knocking any obstructing object out of the way to make room for a comfortable resting spot.

Neos may be quite clumsy and too huge for smaller children. Teenagers and adolescents may usually find the dog a relaxing backrest while watching television or doing homework.

The Neapolitan Mastiffs are not worthy examples of clean dogs. When nervous and sometimes after just eating or after drinking, they drool. A Neo is not well suited to a neat freak. They also pass gas a lot. It is important to possess a hand towel for cleaning the droplets and a can of air-freshener will be needed to exterminate the smell of the gas. Neos however are a quiet breed of dogs who don’t bark a lot.

If a family has a home with a yard, this dog will thrive. They love to patrol and are quite reserved indoors. Any family that can fulfill the needs of this big and resilient dog has a wonderful, loyal, and distinct friend who will guard, love, and be a companion to all the members of the family. They need love too and firm guidance.  Neapolitan Mastiffs protect with all the strength and love they have.

What Is the History/Origin of Neapolitan Mastiff Dogs?


The first Mastiffs are believed to have been bred in Tibet, 5000 years back. Dogs that are Mastiff-type have existed for millennia. The fearsome and huge dogs were used for tasks with which were well suited to their physicality. They were used as guards and battle dogs.

The dog which is known today as the Neapolitan Mastiff was first developed in southern Italy in the locality of Naples, from which you can suggest they get their name from. During the breeding, the Neapolitan breeders had two major objectives. The first goal was aimed at creating a hefty dog with heavy, free skin that would serve as a guard in the instance of an attack. Secondly, they desired a friendly, loyal, and loving companion for members of their family.

The Mastino was in oblivion in Italy and it might have remained that way but for the attendance of journalist Piere Scanziana, at a Naples dog show in 1946. Piere saw the Neapolitan Mastiff beyond an ordinary dog and recognized the breed for what it really was: a living relic of the Roman Empire, a descendant feasibly of the mastiffs of Epirus who were a convoy for Roman consul Paolo Emilio on his glorious entry into the city after defeating Perseo of Macedonia.

Scanziani became quite interested in the breed and he put in a lot of work to make it a very well-known dog breed. Piere played an important role in writing the breed standard and he was also pivotal in ensuring that Italy’s national dog registry recognized the Neo. The dogs at first were named Mastino Napoletano. One of Scanziani's dogs, Guaglione, was the first member of the breed to become an Italian champion.

By 1949, the breed had received recognition from the international dog registry and the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI). The Neo gradually started gaining fame in Europe and by the 1970s, it was very popular. The first Neo known in the United States was imported by Jane Pampalone in 1973, although it is possible Italian immigrants brought some of the dogs with them as early as the 1880s.

In 1973, the Neapolitan Mastiff Club of America (NMCA) was formed. It kept a registry of pedigrees, lineage, and ownership for the majority of American Neapolitan Mastiffs. The club's other function was to educate people about its well-loved breed. The American Neapolitan Mastiff Association and the United States Neapolitan Mastiff Club were formed in the 1990s and by 2004, the American Kennel Club recognized the breed.

Neapolitan mastiffs first arrived in Australia in the late 1980s, with the first litter born on Australian shores on 26 November 1992, under the Galesha prefix.

What Is the Average Size of a Neapolitan Mastiff?

The average male Neapolitan Mastiff stands 26 to 31 inches at the shoulder and weighs 150 to 200 pounds. The females are 24 to 29 inches tall and weigh 120 to 175 pounds. However, this is not an airtight measurement as some dogs can be smaller or larger than average.

What is the Personality of Neapolitan Mastiffs?


The Neo is a very solid dog with the steadiness of an oak tree and it is more of a guardian rather than an attack prone dog. Mastiffs are always alert, perceptive, and sentient, even when it doesn’t appear that way.

They are the perfect guards for your property when you are not at home. And really, who's going to argue with a fearsome-looking dog? They love to patrol and they are quite perceptive.

They're an excellent deterrent to intruders but are rarely aggressive without cause. Socialize them early and often so that they learn how to behave around other people and animals. When you welcome someone, though, your Neo will accept that person as well, although they'll probably remain uninterested.

The Neo is warm toward family members, but they possess a strong will and have enough power to always try to have their own way. It is important to start training them at an early age. Positive reinforcement techniques such as food rewards and praise go a long way in training a mastiff. Try not to resort to harsh punishments, it can make it more unresponsive.

Mastiffs are best compatible with a home that has a yard that is fenced. They are naturally a stay at home animals and not the type to go about wandering, a fence will assist them to be aware of the limits of the property, a vital bit of information for a guard dog.

Neapolitan mastiffs are capable of showing aggression towards other dogs as well as people. To avoid this it is important to begin its training as soon as it is brought home before it gets so big and difficult to handle. Enrollment in a puppy socialization class also helps to develop its friendliness to others. If you don’t teach them manners they could pose a problem.

As with every dog, Neapolitan Mastiffs need early socialization or exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences. Socialization helps ensure that your Neo puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog.

What Are the Major Health Concerns Of the Neapolitan Mastiff Dog Breed?

In general Neapolitan Mastiff dogs are healthy, but they also can be liable to specific health conditions the way other breeds are. It isn't every Neapolitan Mastiff breed that will get all the diseases mentioned below or any of them, but you should know about them if your interest is in getting this breed.


Every dog gets a small passenger known as Demodex mite from their mother for a few days after birth. Only the pups can receive this from their mother, other dogs and humans can't. These mites inhabit follicles of hair and don't usually cause problems at all. But a Neo with a compromised or weakened immune system can cause the development of the demodectic mange which is also known as Demodicosis.

This disease has both the generalized form and the localized form. The symptoms of this disease include patches of scaly, red skin, including loss of hair on the neck, forelegs, and head. It is usually said to be a puppy stage disease and it clears up by itself often.

The dog should still be examined by the vet because the disease can develop into a generalized form that covers the whole body. Skin infection, patchy skin, and bald spots are found on the entire body of the dog. This form affects dogs that are young adults and older puppies.

Hip Dysplasia (CHD).

This is when the thigh bone is not in perfect fitting with the joint at the hip. The condition is inherited, but environmental conditions like quick growth from a diet that is high in calories and injuries that happen as a result of falling or jumping on floors that are slippery can worsen it.

The symptoms of Hip Dysplasia in Neapolitan Mastiff include lameness and pain on both or one of the rear legs. This can later lead to the development of arthritis, the older the dog gets.

Elbow Dysplasia

This condition is hereditary, the cause is said to be the different rates of growth of the three bones that consist of the elbow experience, leading to joint laxity. The symptoms are pain and lameness in the elbow region. You should visit your vet when you notice this.

Fold Dermatitis

This is an infection on the skin which occurs due to moisture trapped inside the skin folds.  You should make sure your Neo's wrinkles are dry and clean always to avoid the occurrence of this disease.

Fold dermatitis signs and symptoms include sores, redness, and odor. The symptoms show on the face, vulval folds, lips, tail, or other areas that are wrinkled. Antibiotics or topical ointments are used to treat mild cases. Cases that are severe may demand surgery for removing the folds or amputating the tail if the tail is the affected area.

Cherry Eye

This condition is hereditary, it occurs when the gland found at the third eyelid of the dog bulges out. It appears like a mass, red in color located in the inner eye's corner. A surgical operation can be used to repair a cherry eye.

Cleft Palate

The size of a cleft palate ranges from a little hole to a big slit giving the mouth a strange and unusual opening. This can be an inherited disease or it could happen because of an injury. The treatment for this condition is closing the hole through surgery. Though not every dog that has this disease undergoes surgery, it is advisable for you to visit your veterinarian and get from him a treatment recommendation and diagnosis. 


The symptoms of cardiomyopathy disease in the Neapolitan Mastiff breed include the presence of an abnormal heartbeat and heart failure signs such as low appetite, depression, difficult breathing, collapse, weight loss, a bloated abdomen, and a gentle cough.

This condition happens when the heart muscle can't contract normally because it has become thin. The heart works harder and this makes the heart become enlarged. The cure is yet to be found but medication, diet, and rest are helpful for a period of time.

How to Take Care of Neapolitan Mastiffs

Understand the physical limitations of your Neapolitan Mastiff puppy; they should do controlled exercises so that their joints and bones won't go through much stress in their early stages of growth.


This implies that playing, walking on a leash and free running should be done for short periods of time. Stairs are hazardous to Neo Puppy. They can fall easily, hurting themselves because of their clumsiness. When walking on the stairs, carry them, and do not allow them to run on the stairs.

Don't wrestle or rough-house with them. Playing rough with them as a puppy is harmless and cute, but as adults, it's dangerous. But when they perceive it to be normal as puppies they will play rough with you when they are adults too.

Neapolitan Mastiffs are not great companions for jogging. They get great happiness from curling up on a couch. Though, a Neo adult will gain a lot from some daily walks that are either moderate or short. 

Because of their sensitive nature to humidity and heat, schedule their walks for cool evenings and mornings to make sure they have somewhere cool to rest and freshwater in surplus.

If you own a spa or pool, only allow your Neo to be there under your supervision. This dog is really heavy, swims poorly, and finds it difficult to maintain their head higher than the water level.

Other care needs are care for nails and dental hygiene. Brush their teeth more than two times in a week so as to take away the tartar accumulated and the bacteria that comes with it. Daily is more advisable.

At least once a month cut their nails, as required. The nails become too long when you start hearing them clicking against the floor. Short nails maintain a suitable condition for the feet and would not irritate your legs whenever your Neo comes and greet you.

Inspect their wrinkles or skin folds to know if they need cleaning. Clean out using a moisturized cloth, then thoroughly dry clean the skin in the folds.

What is the Ideal Diet for a Neapolitan Mastiff Dogs?


An ideal diet for a Neapolitan Mastiff dog breed should be developed for a breed that is large and has moderate energy levels. The Best Dog Food for Neapolitan Mastiff Dog Breed must contain adequate animal meat to supply the dog with the needed amino acids from protein.

The size of food your Neapolitan Mastiff adult eats is determined by their activity level, build, size, age, and metabolism. Dogs are as individual as people are and not all of them require the same size of food. It’s like saying a dog given too much activity will require more food than one who just loves to sit on the couch.

The level of quality of your purchased dog food matters a lot. The more the quality of your dog food the more your dog is nourished and you wouldn't have to shake so much of the food as you pour it inside your dog's eating bowl.

This dog breed gains weight easily. Maintain a good shape for them by measuring how much food they take and give them food just two times daily, instead of making food available all through the day. In case you are confused about their weight, give them a hands-on or eye test.  

First, examine your dog by looking at him. You are supposed to sight a waist. Put your hands upon their backs, move your thumbs through the spine having your fingers downwardly spread. Having done this, you should feel their ribs without pressing hard. In case you can't, he requires more exercise and less food.

You must discuss with your vet your own dog's diet needs. The recommended general daily amount a Neapolitan Mastiff should take is between 4 and 6 cups and more if possible of premium quality food for dogs on a daily basis served twice.

Best Dog Food for Neapolitan Mastiff

The best dog foods for Neapolitan Mastiffs include:

Nutro Ultra Adult Dry Dog Food

Gentle Giants Chicken Dog Food

Fromm Family 727050 Dry Dog Food

CANIDAE Multi-Protein Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Coat Color and Grooming Needs for Neapolitan Mastiffs


The Neo's coat appears in black, mahogany, solid gray and tawny or brindles of tan where the dog looks dark, having tan stripes.

The Neapolitan Mastiff dog breed sheds as an average dog would. Brushing every week using a hound glove or bristle brush will maintain a clean coat free of dead or loose hair for them. Bathe them when required and don't be surprised when you get wet during the bathing exercise.

The skin of the body is abundant and thick. The dense, short coat has equal smoothness and length throughout the body also having straight hairs as long as one inch.

This dog's face has velvety, heavy folds and wrinkles that stretch over significant paths of their face. Very essential to the grooming of this breed is cleaning the wrinkles and keeping them dry.

As from their puppy stage, introduce them to being examined and brushed. Hold their paws often. Dogs find their feet ticklish. Also, check inside their ears and mouth.

You can make your grooming experience a positive one filled with rewards and praise. This enables you to lay the basic work for convenient veterinary exams also for subsequent handling as adults. These are important for handling a dog with this size

As a result of their short coat, they aren't adapted for weather conditions that are extreme. Regardless of their strength and size, your dog would likely have to wear a coat during winter. Also, you may have to make use of sensitive areas such as the nose, ear, and other areas that have lower fur coverage during summer periods.

How Does Neapolitan Mastiff Relate With Children and Other Pets?


The Neapolitan Mastiff breed is good for families that have older children; it’s not advisable for them to spend plenty of time where toddlers are because of their size and clumsiness. The toddler can be easily stepped on or knocked over by this dog, though it was never their intention to hurt them.

Don't allow your children to scream and run in the presence of a Neo. The activity and noise can give them excitement, they are just too large to be permitted to roughly play with children or chase them.

They may feel like they need to shield the children of the family from other children, especially if it seems like they are fighting or wrestling. Supervise play at all times, so your dog would see you are in control.

Teach your children every time how to touch and approach dogs. Constantly supervise all interactions between young children and dogs, in order to prevent tail or ear pulling or any biting either of them might want to do.

You should teach your children never to approach a dog when they are sleeping, eating, or attempt to take a dog's food. However good-natured any dog seems, dogs should never be around a child unsupervised.

The Neapolitan Mastiff breed is not friendly towards unfamiliar dogs. But if these dogs are raised with them, they could learn to associate well with them.  They can associate well with cats too if raised together with them.



Australian based Breed Organizations for Neapolitan Mastiffs

In Australia, there are organizations that breed Neapolitan Mastiff Dogs. Here is where you can visit to know more about this dog breed and other breeds. Amongst the popular breeding organizations are;


Nancy Kente

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Mrs. Cantarella

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Belinda Wilson

Richmond NSW


Jody Reeves

Brisbane QLD



Rob Oliver and Liz

Nambeelup WA


Rescue Groups for Neapolitan Mastiff in Australia

There are many Neapolitan Mastiff dogs that are out there lost and needing adoption.  Listed below are rescue groups present in Australia.

Neapolitan Mastiff Breeders Rescue, Australia.


Second Chance Animal Rescue, Australia.


Savour Life Rescue Group.


All Breeds Canine Rescue Inc. Jimboomba, QLD.


Concluding lines on the Neapolitan Mastiff dog breed.

This article contains information detailing all you should know about the Neapolitan Mastiff dog breed before you choose to purchase it. Do well to ask more questions about this dog before you make your final payment. In case you are getting a puppy, make sure you examine at least a parent of his, so you would know if the lifestyle and qualities they have works for you. 

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