The Neopolitan Mastiff or Neapolitan Mastiff is sometimes called the Mastino or Neo and is one of the gentle giant dog breeds. The large and very muscular Neo makes a formidable looking guard dog with a massive head and powerful body.
Male Mastinos stand 26 to 30 inches tall and females 24 to 28 inches tall at shoulder height. Male dogs weigh from 140 to 170 pounds and females from 110 to 140 pounds. Neos have a short and shiny coat that is usually blue-grey in color.
Other Mastino colors include grey, black, brown, fawn or brindle. See additional information on choosing a Neo Mastiff.
Neapolitan Mastiff are members of the American Kennel Club (AKC) Working Dog Group.
History of The Neapolitan Mastiff
This Mastiff is said to be a descendant from the ancient Roman Molossian dogs who fought in wars and in the Roman Coliseum. The Mastino was later developed to be a guard dog on Italian estates.
The Neapolitan breed appears to have been near extinction in the early 20th century. It was rediscovered in several Italian villages during the Second World War and underwent a major breeding program and popularity resurgence.
It was first exhibited in Naples in 1946. The Neo was ranked 116th out of 154 dog breeds in 2005 AKC registrations.
Temperament of The Neapolitan Mastiff
Despite its fearsome appearance, the Mastino is a quiet, loyal and gentle companion. The Neo is affectionate and patient with the children of its family. This Mastiff can be overprotective if he thinks his children are being threatened by their friends even if they are just playing.
The Mastino is too large and strong not to be thoroughly socialized and obedience trained. The Neo’s family must be in control of this breed at all times and this will require on-going obedience training. Although the Mastinos can be stubborn, they will respond to early training that includes food rewards.
Mastinos do not like to be kept outside alone. This breed craves companionship and wants to be indoors with its family. However the Neo is an untidy eater and drools and slobbers a lot – so try feeding him outside even though he resides indoors.
Mastinos can be lazy when fully grown and should be taken for daily walks otherwise they will get obese. These Mastiffs are reserved with strangers and make good guard dogs and even watchdogs. The Neo needs firm handling and must have an experienced dog owner.
The Mastino needs moderate exercise and should be taken for an hours walk every day. This is not the right dog to take biking or jogging because he moves at a very deliberate pace. This Mastiff likes to pull a cart or wagon and some pulling exercise should be worked into his routine. Neos can be lazy but you must keep exercising them to avoid obesity. The Mastino is very heavy and needs a soft and comfortable place to sleep.
This Mastiff has very minimal grooming requirements and only needs a weekly brushing with a bristle brush and hound glove. Use a rubber brush to remove dead and loose hairs when the Neo is shedding. The folds and wrinkles must be kept clean and dry so that eczema or sores do not occur.
This giant breed has a life expectancy of 8 to 10 years. Common health problems include hip dysplasia, fold dermatitis, low thyroid, bloat, cancer and eyelid disorders (entropion, ectropion and prolapsed gland of third eyelid).
Mastinos don’t like hot and humid conditions and can die from heat-stroke. Neapolitan Mastiff buyers should ask to see the parent’s OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) hip dysplasia screening results as well as the recent CERF (Canine Eye Registry) results for eye diseases.