Neapolitan Mastiff Dog Breed Information Guide


Known for having a face that only a mother could love, the Neapolitan Mastiff is perhaps one of the strangest looking dogs in the world. Fans and the breed, however, extol the virtues of this massive dog’s loyalty and abilities to guard the house.

Neapolitan Mastiff History

The Neapolitan Mastiff is believed to be descended from the Greek Molosser dogs, commonly used for the purpose of bear baiting and lion hunting. The Romans would later adopt these massive dogs and put them to use in their armies, where they were often fixed with large spikes and then taught to run underneath the opposing army’s war horses, disemboweling them. As the Romans continued to take over lands, it is believed that these colossal war dogs interbred with native dogs in various countries, creating such breeds as the Neapolitan Mastiff, the Dogue De Bordeaux, the Saint Bernard, and the Old English Bulldog, among others.

Like many other European breeds, the Neapolitan Mastiff was almost lost following World War II. It was the work of an Italian painter, named Piero Scanziani, that was able to preserve this unique and fascinating breed of dog. While he originally used the English mastiff to help solidify the breed, new breeders chose to cross the Neapolitan mastiff with the Cane Corso breed, hoping to make a lighter-bodied and healthier dog. This is led to some controversy between the breeders, arguing which is the better dog; old style, or W.H.A.M (Wrinkle, Head and Mass) breeders wish to keep the breed as is, claiming the Cane Corso crossed dogs are simply mutts.

Neapolitan Mastiff Appearance

A face only a mother could love!

The Neapolitan mastiff is a massive dog – thick of bone with a trunk-like a body, even beneath the heavy loose flaps of skin, it’s obvious that Mastini are powerfully built canines. They can be found in the solid colors blue (or gray), black, brindle, mahogany, and tawny. Limited white markings are acceptable.

Neapolitan Mastiff Temperament

The Neapolitan Mastiff, or Neo, commonly intimidates people with his appearance alone – the massive size and the strange-looking wrinkled head and body can be truly frightening. Oddly enough however, while the Neapolitan Mastiff is best known for his massive size and strange appearance, he’s also recognized for being a very loyal dog with a steady temperament. Neapolitan mastiffs have been known to make not only excellent guard dogs, but excellent family companions as well.

When properly socialized at a young age, Neos are generally very gentle and good with children as well as other pets. There are some incidents of same-sex dog aggression, so the Neapolitan Mastiff should always be supervised when with strange dogs.

Neapolitan Mastiff Exercise Info

Your Neapolitan Mastiff puppy will require a great deal of room to gambol and play. However, as your Neo grows into adulthood, most dogs become less energetic. Due to the heavy folds of skin that cover his body, and to his massive size, the Neapolitan mastiff is prone to heat exhaustion and, while he does require daily exercise, it should be limited with concern given that he does not over exert himself.

Neapolitan Mastiff Grooming Info

One might think that due to the Neapolitan Mastiff’s short coat, grooming would be minimal. One must take in to consideration, however, the heavy wrinkles and folds in this dog’s hide. Dirt and sweat can gather in these folds, causing sores and the irritation, so they must be wiped clean daily, particularly around the face and head area.

Neapolitan Mastiff Training Info

Training and Neopolitan Mastiff requires patience and routine. While they’re very intelligent dogs, Mastini have a very independent nature that can tend to make them difficult to train. Starting your Mastini in puppy obedience classes can help with early socialization and teach him to better understand what you expect of him. Once you’ve learned basic commands, it is then important to maintain a steady routine with your Neopolitan puppy.

Neapolitan Mastiff Health Info

Due to the massive size of the Neapolitan Mastiff, these beautiful dogs tend to have a shorter lifespan than many of the smaller breeds. Generally, you can expect a Neapolitan Mastiff to live to be somewhere between 8 and 10 years of age. Ensuring that you have a healthy dog, when you first go to purchase your puppy, can make all the difference.

Some health problems which can affect your Neopolitan Mastiff include:



Elbow and hip dysplasia


Thyroid problems

Chemical sensitivity

Heart disorders

Neapolitan Mastiff Right Breed Info

The Neapolitan Mastiff is not recommended for the inexperienced dog owner; due to their massive size, independent nature and high maintenance, they require a great deal of care and consideration in order to maintain their well being. Also important to note is that the Neo can not only make a mess of his own wrinkles, but that he is a compulsive drooler they can make a mess of a tidy apartment, new rugs, or furniture. Additionally, he tends to snore heavily and is not the dog for someone who cherishes their peace and quiet.

If you don’t mind a little drool and you don’t mind all the jokes about your best friend’s appearance, you may find that the Neapolitan Mastiff is the right breed for you!

More Information about the Neapolitan Mastiff Dog Breed

Neapolitan Mastiff on Wikipedia