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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Breeds > Neapolitan Mastiff

Neapolitan Mastiff

Origin: Ancient Rome

AKC Group: Working

Height: 24 inches (Male)

Weight: Males average 150 pounds (68 kg), females average 110 pounds (50 kg) (Male)

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Ancient Rome
Male height: 
24 inches
Male weight: 
Males average 150 pounds (68 kg), females average 110 pounds (50 kg)
Short, dense and smooth.
Gray (blue), black, mahogany and tawny.

The Neapolitan Mastiff ("Neo") is most likely descended from the Roman Molossus, an ancient mastiff that was introduced to the Romans by the Greeks. The Molossus was a renowned fighting dog who accompanied many armies into battle across Europe and was also used as an arena-fighting dog by the Romans. The Neo as he is known today was first recognized in 1946, which is also when he made his first appearance in the dog show ring. Upon seeing the mighty canine, the Italian painter Piero Scanziani began to collect specimens, started a kennel and is considered one of the fathers of the modern Neo. Thanks to Scanziani, the breed's standard was polished and finalized in 1949. The Neo continues to serve as a protection dog with Italian police forces and other organizations and businesses that need imposing guardian dogs. He is also a fine companion animal.

With his huge head and muscular body, the Neapolitan Mastiff can look quite frightening. Looks can be deceptive, however, and although the Neo is capable of fearless protection, he is also capable of bottomless affection and care. Behind his imposing exterior is a smart and sensitive dog who easily discerns a real threat and is calm and steady in the face of all but the most pressing need to defend himself or his charges. Regardless of how gentle Neos can be, they should be socialized extensively from puppyhood to get them used to all kinds of people and prevent them from becoming overprotective.
At home: 
Surprisingly, these giants are just as comfortable with apartment life as they are in a rural home. Neos are calm indoors, and although they don't bark much, they do drool and snore. They love the outdoors and can tolerate the cold, but they do not fare well in the heat. A secure fence that's at least 6 feet (2 m) tall will keep them safe and allow them to stretch their legs.
Care should be taken with Neo puppies so that they don't overexert themselves while they are growing. Activities that would take place in a normal day are fine for growing Neos so that their bones and muscles develop properly. As adults, Neos need several long walks a day to stay fit and mentally stable. They are relatively inactive indoors, which further necessitates getting them out for walks.
The giant Neapolitan Mastiff is a hearty eater whose weight should be monitored. He needs the energy that food gives him, but of course, he must be kept in shape. A high-quality, age-appropriate diet is best. Feeding twice a day as an adult is recommended.
The Neo is an intelligent and responsive breed who must be trained as young as possible and worked with throughout his life. Training ensures that he is doing what is asked of him and not imposing his size or will on those around him. He requires plenty of socializing, and taking him to obedience class is an excellent way to do this.
Neos are generally good with children, but due to their sheer size, they may not be best for families with small kids. They can get along well with other pets if raised together and properly socialized. Adult dogs of the same gender (especially if intact) may not get along.
The average life span of the Neapolitan Mastiff is up to 10 years. Health problems may include bloat; cherry eye; hip dysplasia; hypothyroidism; and panosteitis.
Fun fact: 

Neos were regular fixtures as guardians of castles and estates in Campania in southern Italy, where they have existed for more than 2,000 years.

Grooming blurb: 
His short coat is no problem to take care of - all he needs is an occasional brushing with a curry brush or grooming glove. The generous folds around his face, neck, and ears all require regular attention to keep them clean and dry because they are areas that can become infected if neglected.
Copyright by T.F.H. Publications, Inc. This document has been published with the intent to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter within. While every reasonable precaution has been taken in preparation of this document, the author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any errors, omissions, or adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein. The techniques and suggestions are used at the reader's discretion.