Neapolitan Mastiffs: Neapolitan Mastiffs are serious, powerful dogs. The bodies of these massive, almost rectangular looking dogs have abundant, hanging wrinkles and folds on their heads and very large dewlaps. Their wide, flat heads are large in comparison to the rest of their bodies. Their muzzles are about 1/3 the length of their heads and are as broad as they are long. Their large noses have well open nostrils and a color that coordinates with their coats. Their teeth meet in a scissors, pincer or slight undershot bite. Their deep set eyes are almost covered by their dropping upper lids and come in amber to brown depending on their coat color. Puppies are born with blue eyes, which later darken. Their ears may be cropped or left natural. Many owners opt out of docking and cropping, preferring the natural look, as it is painful for the dog. Their tails are carried straight up and curved over their backs. Their round feet are large with well arched toes. Their straight, dense, short coats come in gray, blue, black, chocolate, mahogany and tawny, sometimes with brindle and white markings. Chocolate Neapolitan Mastiffs are rare.
Neapolitan Mastiffs look a bit intimidating, but they are actually affectionate, calm, peaceful and loving. They enjoy family and friends. They are very keen to their owners commands. Intelligent, very protective, courageous, serious and mild-mannered, Neapolitan Mastiffs are generally quiet, and they usually only bark when necessary. They can be reserved with strangers, so socialize them well with people, places, sounds and animals. These dogs are usually very loving with children. Neapolitan Mastiffs can get along well with non-canine pets if raised with them from puppy hood and/or properly introduced and socialized. Neapolitan Mastiffs are natural guard dogs and protection training is not necessary. If they sense there is a threat to their home, they will react unless the owner is there and tells them everything is okay. A calm handler with natural leadership will achieve the best results, and Neapolitan Mastiffs can be wonderful family pets.
All European Mastiffs are descended from the Tibetan Mastiff, the most ancient member of the canine species. The first Asian Mastiffs were probably brought to Greece from India by Alexander the Great around 300 BC. The Greeks introduced the dogs to the Romans, who adopted them enthusiastically and used them in circus combats. The word "Mastiff" derives from the Latin word: masssivus, meaning massive. English experts, however, have another theory. They contend that Mastiffs were brought to Britain by the Phoenicians in about 500 B.C. and spread from there to the rest of Europe. In any case, Neapolitan Mastiffs are direct descendants of the Roman Molossus. While the breed became extinct throughout the rest of Europe, it continued to survive in Campania despite the perils of weather and war. In actuality, Neapolitan Mastiffs have existed in Campania for two thousand years, even though they ware not officially recognized until 1946. Neapolitan Mastiffs were bred for use in war and in bloody Roman arena spectacles. Today, Neapolitan Mastiffs have a well-deserved reputation as formidable guard dogs. Neos have been used by the Italian police and army and by that country's farmers, business establishment, and estate owners to protect people and property. Though Neapolitan Mastiffs were first shown in Italy in 1946, the breed is still quite rare in the United States. Neapolitan Mastiffs were recognized by the AKC in 2004.
The Neapolitan Mastiff Size:
Height: 26-30 inches
Weight: 100-170 lbs - The largest male Neapolitans may be nearly 200 pounds.