Neapolitan Mastiff Photo

Neapolitan Mastiff Dog Breed Info & Pictures

With its massive size and alarming appearance, the Neapolitan Mastiff has been making intruders think twice for ages. The most imposing and recognizable aspect of the Neapolitan Mastiff is its massive head. Broad and wrinkled, with pendulum lips and abundant dewlap, this is a face that is unique in dogdom. The Neos expression is said to go from contemplative and melancholy at rest to intimidating and penetrating when agitated or on guard. Ears are often cropped to form equilateral triangles, and are set above the cheekbones. The stop is notably defined, the muzzle is square and the nose is large and matches the coat in color. The dogs body is stocky and thick with loose skin covered by a short coat. The neck is short and muscled fitting well with the broad back. Well muscled legs with heavy bones are a must to support the mass of this animal. The tail is typically docked one third off. The coat is uniformly short and smooth, and coloring is solid blue, black, gray, mahogany or tawny; tan brindling and white marks on the chest, underbelly, throat and toes are also seen.

Neapolitan Mastiff Fast Facts

9 - 10 years
150 - 170 lb
110 - 130 lb
26 - 31"
24 - 29"
Neapoliten Mastiff, Neapolitan Mastif, Neaplotin Mastiff
Mastino Napoletano


The Neapolitan Mastiff was bred to guard estates, and it is exceptionally good at its job....

Oft claimed to be able to sense a strangers bad intentions with its piercing stare, the Neapolitan Mastiff is likely to make house guests uneasy. Proper and thorough socialization from a young age is absolutely necessary with this breed; otherwise, overly aggressive behavior may develop. The Neapolitan Mastiff is extremely loyal to his master and will guard him with his life; the Neo is as affectionate and loving with its family as it is distrusting and menacing with outsiders. Neapolitans love children, but their lack of playfulness and scary appearance often make them unpopular with kids.

Caring For a Neapolitan Mastiff

The Neapolitan Mastiffs exercise needs are minimal, and can be met with an occasional long walk....

More important for the Neapolitan Mastiff is firm and consistent obedience training starting at a young age, and a big backyard to patrol and stretch out in. The coat does not require much in the way of grooming, but face and neck wrinkles should be inspected often and kept clean. Neapolitan Mastiffs should not be left in confined spaces, as they are inclined to knock things over. Drool is a prevalent issue with this breed, as is messiness when eating. Serious health problems in the breed include canine hip dysplasia, demodicosis and cardiomyopathy; other things to watch out for include cherry eye and elbow dysplasia. Generally speaking, the larger your Neo, the shorter its life will be. Neapolitan Mastiffs are not recommended for first time pet owners.

Neapolitan Mastiff History

Breed History

The Neapolitan Mastiff is a direct descendent of the great Molossus war dog of antiquity, and evidence of its forebears can be seen in paintings, frescoes and statues dating to 3000 BC....

Alexander the Great created the Molossus in 330 BC when he crossed giant war dogs from his native Macedonia with shorthaired dogs from India. With its short, broad muzzle and abundant dewlap, Alexanders Molossus already looked much like the Neapolitan Mastiff we see today, and was used to fight men as well as all manners of big game (including lions, tigers and elephants) in battle. The Romans would eventually conquer Greece and adopt the Molossus. During the 55 BC invasion of Britain, the Romans were so enamored of the even larger and more powerful British mastiffs that they bred them to the Molossus, and in the process created the prototype for the Neapolitan Mastiff, an unsurpassed warrior canine.Over the centuries, breeders of the Mastino (Italian for Mastiff) in and around Naples would develop the breed into a highly specialized guardian of homes and estates. The dogs massive size and alarming appearance alone were thought to be enough to deter a potential intruder, and its warrior instincts and heritage only added more assurance to home owners. In 1946, Italians began to promote the Mastino and raise awareness of the breed abroad. The Neapolitan Mastiff had arrived in America by at least the 1970s, and was recognized as a member of the Working Group by the American Kennel Club in 2004.