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Neapolitan Mastiff

It is said that the Neapolitan Mastiff led legions of the Roman army into war, with his ears cropped and often wearing a broad spiked collar. His appearance would strike fear into the enemy. The forebears of the Neapolitan Mastiff stretch back to ancient civilisation and were used as fighting dogs and as the dogs of war. The Italian painter Piero Scanziani is credited as the patron of the modern Neapolitan Mastiff, keeping a large kennel and devising a careful breeding plan to stabilise and improve the breed. It was not until 1946 that the Neapolitan Mastiff reached the show ring in Naples, the home of the breed. Modern-day breeders strive in their breeding programme to maintain breed type whilst reducing the exaggeration of loose skin.

No longer bred as a fighting dog, the Neapolitan Mastiff is gentle and kind to those they know but weary of strangers and will ruthlessly guard their house and family. The breed is strong and loyal, but not aggressive nor prone to bite without cause. Despite their intimidating exterior, these dogs are actually extremely loving and can ultimately be considered a gentle giant. They have very strong protective qualities and would do anything for their family. With an even temper and gentle disposition, it isn’t hard to see why this dog is popular for many a household. However, while they may seem like an excellent family dog, it is important to remember that the ‘Neo’ can be wilful, stubborn, and even aggressive towards other people and dogs without proper socialisation. This breed tends to need a very strong willed individual who will be able to curb their protective tendencies in the right direction; this is not a breed for the beginner dog owner. But, if you provide early training and socialisation for your Neo, they can turn into a well-rounded, calm dog that will love you unconditionally.

Read about the history of this breed – HERE


Most of these stats are from the UK Kennel Club. You can view stats from kennel clubs around the world at the links below, which may have different standards and classifications.

Group – UKWorking
Bred ForGuarding
Rare BreedNo
Country of OriginItaly
TemperamentDevoted, Vigilant, Loyal
Exercise NeededUp to 1 hour a day
Size of Home NeededLarge
Height at Withers – Females60 – 68 cm / 23 – 26½ in
Height at Withers – Males65 – 75 cm / 25½ – 29½ in
GroomingOnce a week
Life Span7 – 10 years
  • Neapolitan Mastiffs drool, a lot and they slobber when they eat and drink.
  • The folds and wrinkles around their faces and on other parts of their body need to be regularly checked and cleaned when necessary. It’s also essential to dry the folds after washing them because if left moist, it provides the perfect environment for bacteria to flourish which could lead to an infection setting in.
  • Neapolitan Mastiffs also have quite a few pet names or alternate names like Neos, Mastino Napoletano, Italian Molosso, Can’E Presa, and Mastino.
  • Neapolitan Mastiffs were also trained to bait bulls, bears and jaguars.
  • Due to their enormous size and their habit of sitting on their close ones’ laps, these pooches are nicknamed as World’s Biggest Lapdogs.


Breed standard varies throughout the world, these links will inform you of those standards and give further information about Neapolitan Mastiffs.


Click on any picture below to view it larger and in a slideshow, it’s worth it! 😃


Enjoy this video about Neapolitan Mastiff, you can view the entire playlist of videos about this breed on our YouTube Channel by clicking the button below:


Here’s some websites specifically dedicated to the Neapolitan Mastiff breed. I am not affiliated with any of these sites, they’re just here for further information. Please note I will not advertise breeders on this site and as many websites dedicated to a specific breed are run by breeders, sometimes there’s not many websites listed here.

Thanks for reading!

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