Breed Category: Utility
Country of Origin: Italy
Average Size: 65-75 cm (at the withers)
Average Weight: 55-65 kg
Average Life Span: 8-10 years
Grooming Requirements: Low
Exercise Requirements: Medium
The Neapolitan Mastiff is an ancient Molossus breed with European roots that suggest it descended from Asian and Roman Molossus dogs used in battle. It was developed in Italy as many as 2,000 years ago and its initial purpose was that of a guard dog, as its extremely large size and intimidating appearance were often enough to discourage intruders. It has strong protective instincts and is happy with its role as the guard of the home and family.
Despite its deep Italian roots and its long history, the population of the Neapolitan Mastiff was in great jeopardy following World War II. It regained popularity towards the latter half of the 20th century and now has a small presence throughout the world.
The most noteworthy characteristic of this breed is its loose skin, which folds into wrinkles on the facial region and on the legs and body. The short, smooth coat sheds an average amount and requires minimal care. The coat comes is a variety of colours, though blue and gray are the most common. Other potential colours include black, brown and tawny. The dog may have a small white patch of fur on its chest.
The loose skin and lips of the Neapolitan Mastiff contribute to this breed’s extensive drooling. Its eyes are typically a shade of brown, its tail is long and thick and its thin ears hang on either side of its legs. The ears and tail may be docked in parts of the world where this practice is permitted.
It stands an average of 65-75 cm in height and weighs approximately 55-65 kg.
The Neapolitan Mastiff has a very protective nature, particularly towards its family. Since this breed will likely be exposed to other people and animals, it is important to socialise it in order for it to learn that it need not be wary of everyone. This will also help discourage traits such as aggression and distrust. Though it is sometimes stubborn, this is a very intelligent and well-meaning dog.
This breed is best suited for experienced owners, as well as homes without small children, though proper training and exposure will enable it to live with kids and other animals. It is naturally affectionate and loyal towards its family, so its protective disposition can be easily triggered by unwanted company, though with proper training it will defer to its owner when greeting company.
It is important to keep this massive breed in good physical health so as to extend its longevity, though strenuous activity puts a strain on its joints and organs. A short, brisk daily walk will suffice.
Cherry eye is a genetic glandular condition that can affect the Neapolitan Mastiff’s vision. It is also prone to other health conditions such as hip or elbow dysplasia, gastric torsion and skin allergies or infections. It is sensitive to heat and should not be overexerted. Heart conditions may also plague this breed.
Due to its extremely massive size, the Neapolitan Mastiff does not have a long lifespan in comparison to other dogs. This breed lives an average of 8-10 years.
Neapolitan Mastiff Organisations in Australia
Neapolitan Mastiff Club of NSW
Neapolitan Mastiff Organisations in the UK
American Kennel Club – Neapolitan Mastiff
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