Is the Neapolitan Mastiff the Right Dog Breed for You?

by PetCloud / Breed Search / 26 Jul 2020

Grey coat Neapolitan Mastiff in grassy field, big dog, large dog

Developed in Southern Italy to provide guard dog duties, this bulky canine beast is actually a gentle giant. Seldom aggressive, this breed has found it doesn't have to get overly ruffled as its size and appearance usually ward off intruders. Learn all you need to know about this ancient dog breed here. 

Breed Snapshot: 

  • Size: Large. Weight: 50-70kg. Height: 24-30cm
  • Coat: Average shedding coat in colors such as black, grey, tan brindle, and mahogany
  • Energy: Medium energy. They require about 30 minutes of exercise per day
  • Lifespan: 7-9 years
  • Country of Origin: Italy
  • Breed Type: Mastiff
  • Other Names: Mastino, Neo
  • Great Breed for: Experienced dog owners with a large fenced yard; not suitable for apartment living or homes with very small children (the dog is gentle but could inadvertently knock toddlers down) 

What Is a Neapolitan Mastiff Dog?

The Neapolitan mastiff is an ancient dog breed that even accompanied Roman soldiers to war. Rather built like canine gladiators themselves, these dogs are surprisingly gentle in spite of their intimidating appearance. They are strong, however, and require a steady grip on the leash when walking.  For centuries the Neapolitan mastiff has been a popular guard dog, but its even temperament and gentle, affectionate nature make it a popular family pet. Sometimes it forgets its large size and wants to be a lapdog. It loves companionship and does quite well in homes with children--provided they're older. While the Neapolitan mastiff is gentle with children (who enjoy using it as a backrest or pillow), its large size make it unsafe around toddlers who could be accidentally knocked down and trodden upon.  

What Do Neapolitan Mastiffs Look Like?

Neapolitan mastiffs are immense dogs that feature broad wrinkly faces, sunken eyes, and muscular bodies. They are moderate shedders and sport a smooth, short-haired coat that can appear in colors such as grey, black, brindle tan, and mahogany. They have floppy ears and a tendency to drool. Their jowls stretch down for days. The droopy folds of their face are part of their irresistible charm. 

What Makes the Neapolitan Mastiff Special?

The Neapolitan mastiff is a reliable guard dog. Even when it appears to be relaxing, it tends to be on patrol, protecting its companions and property. Although these dogs are affectionate and loving, they can also be strong-willed, so it's important to employ positive reinforcement training early to ensure they understand that you're in control.  

These dogs are quite large, so they are not candidates for apartment living. They do best in homes with large, fenced yards. Owing to their size, they also require plenty of food and exercise to support their health.  

How Often Do I Need to Groom Neapolitan Mastiff Dog?

Neapolitan mastiffs should be brushed weekly to keep their coat shiny and to remove shed hairs. Bathe them as needed--and prepare for a big job. Many owners are apt to get pretty wet in the process.  

How Often Should I Walk My Neapolitan Mastiff Dog?

Neapolitan mastiffs have moderate exercise needs. They enjoy short to moderate-length walks. They are not ideal jogging companions and are typically content to lounge around with their human companions. A fenced yard will provide them with opportunities for activity and to relax on fine weather days. 

How Do I Train My Neapolitan Mastiff?

Neapolitan mastiffs can be stubborn, so it's important to begin training early to ensure they will mind their owners. Focus on positive reinforcement training and socialization skills to make sure your dog knows how to behave around children and other pets. Pet Cloud features dog training classes in blocks of six-week, one-hour sessions with registered trainers. An experienced trainer will visit your house or apartment and use positive reinforcement techniques as recommended by the RSPCA to teach your Neapolitan Mastiff puppy.  

Quickfire Neapolitan Mastiff Questions: 

Can I leave my Neapolitan mastiff during the day?

Neapolitan mastiffs tend to be big babies who do not tolerate being left alone well. They prefer to be at home with one of their human companions present.  

Are Neapolitan mastiff dogs barkers?

Neapolitan mastiffs tend to drool rather than bark. They are not very vocal at all. If your Neo does bark, you'll definitely want to find out why. 

Are Neapolitan mastiff dogs prone to health risks I should know about?

Like many large dogs, the Neapolitan Mastiff is not a long liver. Their lifespan ranges between seven and nine years. They are prone to various health conditions, including: hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, cherry eye, fold dermatitis, and cardiomyopathy. 

Where can I get a Neapolitan mastiff?

If you want to rescue or adopt a Neapolitan Mastiff, check with your local rescue agencies. You may be able to find a dog who simply needs the right companion and living situation. Sometimes these large purebred dogs are turned in to rescue organizations when the owners cannot meet their needs. With the right setting and owners, this breed is likely to do well. Check out the RSPCA's adoption guide to see if this is the ideal solution for you. If you want to purchase your Neapolitan mastiff from a reputable breeder, use this helpful guide for identifying the right breeder from the RSPCA.  

Where should I board my Mastiff when I go on holiday?

We recommend keeping Mastiff dog's in their own secure familiar home and booking a House Sitter experienced and comfortable with large dog breeds to come and stay in a spare guest bedroom.

 


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