Neopolitan Mastiff Dog Breed
- General Appearance:
- The Neapolitan Mastiff, known for his massive wrinkles, has a very short and dense coat. The coat should be of the same length all over the body. Hair should remain straight, and should not have any fringe. A truly impressive dog! These large-boned, massive dogs certainly make their presence known! It is not unknown for them to weigh in at 16 stone! The breed’s large head, intelligent expression and abundant loose skin give them a very distinctive profile. All gaits are bear-like and done slowly, but they do cover the ground well in a trot.
- Other Names:Mastino Neapolitano, Italian Mastiff, Mastino, Neo
- Country Of Origin:Italy
- Dog Group Kennel Club:Working
- Grey (also referred to as Blue), Lead, Black, Tawny, Tawny Stag, and Mahogany - All colors may have brindle. Brown, Pale, and Cream are accepted as well, but not preferred.
- This is an extremely affectionate and loyal breed and one which craves human companionship. They are generally very good with children and other household pets provided they have been socialised with them early on in life. They can become dominant with other dogs so early socialisation is important. However, he has a strong protective drive making him regularly used as a guard or watchdog. They are good mothers to their children, and they reflect this trait when around other children. Originally raised as a dog of war, a guard, police and draft dog, the Neapolitan is a tough breed that is capable of great power.
- All gaits are bear-like and done slowly, but they do cover the ground well in a trot. Rarely will you see them in a gallop.
- Care and training:
- The Neapolitan Mastiff is very easy to care for grooming wise. Brushing with a rubber brush occasionally will remove dead or loose hair. This is an average shedding breed. Mastinos are sloppy eaters and excessive droolers and owners must wipe their mouths after every meal. The breeds loose skin also needs looked after carefully to prevent irritations. Their ears also need inspected regularly and kept clean and dry.
Because of the very size of the Mastino, training must be started from a very early age and should be done in a consistent and well-balanced way. The Mastino is a very intelligent breed of dog and learns his commands very quickly. Training this dog should be started at an early age to avoid dominance issues. The handler should always remain firm and consistent. This breed can become over-protective so he should always be trained with a firm hand.
- Overall Exercise:
- 40 - 60 minutes per day.
As young puppies, exercise must be supervised as damage can be very easily inflicted on these loose joints. Curtail free running and do not allow any high impact activities. Do not allow access to stairs either.
- Feeding Requirements:
- The feeding will cost around £15 per week and, to ensure the well-being of the dog, the diet should include around 24% protein.
- Personal Protection:High
- Suitability As Guard Dog:High
- Level of Aggression:Low
- Compatibility With Other Animals:Medium
- Suitability for Children:High
- Often Docked?No
- Average Litter Size:6-12
- Life Expectancy (yrs):9-11
- Health issues:
- Cherry eye is common in the breed, and must be removed and not tacked down. Other health concerns include heart problems, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, immune system disorders, and sensitivity to heat.
- Tracing its roots to the Molossus dogs that existed in Rome before Christ, the Neapolitan Mastiff has a rich and intriguing history. They were thought to have been brought to Rome by Alexander the Great when he traveled from Greece. Alexander the Great apparently prized the ancient Molossus dogs for fighting and defending, and that is what they were bred for. Alexander was given a pair of these dogs from Asia, supposedly after he defeated King Porus in Northern India in 326 B.C. So the breed is over 2000 years old, and may have had its roots in Asia. After they were brought to Rome they were used in animal fights in the arenas, pitted against leopards, bears, lions and even gladiators. They were also excellent guard dogs for their armies. They made their way to the Middle East as well, serving their duties there. Known for at least 2000 years ago in Southern Italy, the breed didn't actually appear publicly until 1946 in the Naples dog show. It is thought that during this show, a painter named Piero Scanziani was so impressed that he bought his own Neos and began a kennel. He developed the breed into what it is today, and is thought of as the modern father of the breed. He created a standard for the breed and it was accepted by the Italian Kennel Club. Appearing to be a mix of a Lion, Gargoyle and Mollosser, this breed is truly a work of fine Italian art.