The Neapolitan Mastiff dog breed is a family and guard dog who was developed in southern Italy. Today this massive breed is known as a gentle giant.
Dog Breed Group:Working Dogs
Height:2 feet to 2 feet, 7 inches tall at the shoulder
Weight:120 to 200 pounds
Life Span:8 to 10 years
- Neapolitan Mastiffs do best in homes with a yard they can patrol. They are calm indoors however and can do fine in an apartment or condo big enough to accommodate their sprawl.
- Neos are generally clumsy dogs who have trouble navigating more than a few stairs, especially as puppies.
- The Neapolitan Mastiff is an average shedder and requires weekly brushing, plus close attention to cleaning his skin wrinkles and folds.
- He’s an excellent deterrent to intruders, but rarely aggressive without cause. Socialize him early and often so that he learns how to behave around other people and animals.
- Neapolitan Mastiffs can be lazy and will become obese if he doesn’t get much exercise. Make sure your dog maintains a healthy weight to avoid diseases that can significantly reduce his life span.
- The Neapolitan Mastiff is not recommended for a timid or first-time owner. This breed needs a confident trainer who is consistent and firm but also loving. The Neo is strong-willed and will test whether you really mean what you say.
- Neapolitan Mastiffs have a fearsome appearance and a deep bark, both of which are usually more than enough to deter even the most foolhardy criminals.
- Neapolitan Mastiffs have a number of what some consider offensive habits: slobbering, drooling, wheezing, grunting, snorting, and flatulence.
- This affectionate dog is not aware of his size and will happily cuddle up to you or on you. [Note: We know of a Neo whose family puts up the Christmas tree at Halloween and doesn’t take it down until February because he loves to lie around the tree, and they get the sofa to themselves for a few months.]
- Neapolitan Mastiffs love the outdoors, but they also love being with their family. They should live indoors with their people, not alone in the backyard.
- Young Neapolitan Mastiffs are rowdy, but it’s important for their orthopedic development to prevent a lot of jumping or stair climbing until they reach physical maturity.
- Neapolitan Mastiffs can be destructive if bored. Give them regular exercise, social interaction, and training to keep life interesting.
- Neapolitan Mastiffs are good with older children, but can be too large for a toddler. They can knock over or step on small children without meaning to hurt them.
- Never buy a Neapolitan Mastiff from a puppy mill, a pet store, or a breeder who doesn’t provide health clearances or guarantees. Look for a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to make sure they’re free of genetic diseases that they might pass onto the puppies and who breeds for sound temperaments.