By Macy Gen Veterinary AssistantMacy Gen Last updated: 18th October 2022

Neapolitan Mastiff


Macy Gen Veterinary Assistant Macy Gen
Last updated: 18th October 2022

Also referred to as Mastino, the Neapolitan Mastiff is a large-sized breed of ancient origin, with a massive appearance and a fierce look. Its marked features include a large head, deep-set, brown or amber eyes, triangle-shaped ears placed above its cheekbones, broad chest, lowly set tail hanging straight or assuming an S shape when at rest and a loose, wrinkled skin hanging over its body. Its bestial, mastiff-like appearance and strong protective instincts raise it to the stature of an efficient guard dog.

Neapolitan Mastiff Pictures

Quick Information

Other namesMastino, Italian Molosso, Mastino Napoletano, Can’e presa, Italian Mastiff, Neo
CoatShort, smooth, dense, loose and hanging giving it a wrinkled appearance
ColorBlack, tawny, mahogany, blue
Breed typePurebred
GroupMolossers, Working
Average lifespan 7 to 9 years
Size (How big do they get)Large
Height Male: 26 to 31 inches; Female: 24 to 29 inches
WeightMale:150 pounds; Female: 110 pounds
Litter size6 to 12 puppies
Behavioral characteristicsFearless, protective, intelligent, watchful, dignified, loyal
Good with childrenOkay, preferably older ones
Climate CompatibilityCannot withstand hot climates
Braking tendencyModerately low (barks only when needed)
Shedding (Does it shed)Average
Competitive Registration Qualification/ InformationAKC, FCI, CKC, ANKC, NZKC, UKC, KC (UK), ACA, KCGB, NAPR,

Video of Neapolitan Mastiff Puppies Playing Excitedly

History and Origin

Being of an ancient origin, they may have existed 700 B.C. as age old artifacts depict images of dogs bearing a close resemblance to the Mastino. When the Romans ruled, they played the role of war dogs and protectors whose striking look was enough to put the opposition into a difficult position. Though it had attained popularity all over Europe, its numbers declined drastically post the Second World War, putting it almost at the brink of extinction. After the war ended, Piero Scanziani, an Italian painter, took the initiative of reviving this breed and the English Mastiff was also used in this regard. The FCI and Italian Kennel Club recognized it in 1949. Though rare outside its place of origin, it was registered by the AKC in its Working Group in the year 2004. The United States Neapolitan Mastiff Club formed in the mid-90s was the first club to register this breed.

Temperament and Personality

Their robust and appealing personality is sufficient enough to evoke feelings of fear in the minds of the onlookers. However, behind the strong, fierce protector, lay a humble, affectionate and kind family dog with a golden heart, who would bond deeply with their loved ones, following them wherever they go just like their shadow.

Needless to say, because of their protective instincts, they are wary and reserved about strangers, thus excelling to the position of efficient guard and watchdogs, even willing to give up their lives while defending their family. Though they are quiet by nature, they could let out an assertive and deep bark the moment they sense any danger. In spite of their alert and brave disposition, they are highly clumsy dogs who are unable to climb more than a few stairs since the time they are puppies. They are good playmates for children but for the older ones, since owing to their huge size, there are chances of this dog to knock down the smaller kids even if it is in pursuit of play.  The Neo would get along well with dogs and cats of the family, especially if raised with them, though they do not share a comfortable rapport with unknown canines and felines.



These are lazy and laidback dogs, thus requiring a moderate amount of exercise daily pertaining to a brisk walk and indoor or outdoor games. They do well in apartments, mostly preferring to lay down lazily when indoors. Because of its big and heavy built, it can be overheated easily, hence make sure to keep it indoors when it is very war outside. It is also prone to suffer from knee problems so make sure your Neo is not over exercised or does not go up and down the stairs too often. Certain breed experts also recommend against engaging them in games like tug of war, or wrestling, as this would give him the feeling that he is more powerful than his master, thus making him strong-willed and independent.


Its short, dense coat would be in perfect condition when brushed on a weekly basis using a hound glove or brush with firm bristles. Since it has a musky odor bathing it at least twice a month would certainly help. You must also take care in wiping its wrinkles using a moist cloth regularly and also dry them well to keep the folds of its skin clean and rule out chances of infections. Cleaning its eyes and ears, trimming its nails and brushing its teeth on a routine basis are the other grooming needs that are needed to be followed.

Health Problems

Though a hardy breed some of the common issues that may plague them include hip and elbow dysplasia, cherry eye, progressive retinal atrophy, hypothyroidism, cardiomyopathy, skin infections, and bloating.


They are obviously not a good choice for novice or first-time owners and need an experienced hand to deal with them firmly.

  • Socializing the Neapolitan puppies is of utmost importance so that by the time they grow up they get to understand that every stranger would not pose harm and also learn to eliminate the good from the bad.
  • Some of the offensive habits that your Neo is likely to develop like grunting, slobbering and flatulence can be to a greater extent corrected by obedience training.


Good quality dry dog food would keep your Mastino in the best of health. While feeding them a natural diet, you can include tuna, turkey, lean meat, liver, eggs, oily fish, chicken as well as green vegetables that are boiled. However, limit the amount as overfeeding could cause your Neo to bloat.

One response to “Neapolitan Mastiff”

  1. Shannon Tench says:

    I have a ferret would this breed be able to coexist with the ferret we plan on getting a dog because I will be home alone some days and I feel safer with a dog would I be able to handle one of these if I train her right I am not use to big dogs also are they going to definitely be over 100 pounds and are they all drolly or just certain ones

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