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Neapolitan Mastiff Dog Breed… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

To be fair, he may not the best-looking dog in the world. Some folks might even be inclined to call one of these magnificent creatures ugly! But in our opinion, that’s just because they’ve never actually had the pleasure of meeting a Neapolitan Mastiff, or they simply have no taste if you ask us!

That said…

We should point out to everyone that we here at IndulgeYourPet are big fans of the strange, ugly, and unusual! And when you combine all three into a giant package and make it loyal, friendly, and loving, well…  what more can we say but…

“This is our kind of dog!”

But just because we love these guys doesn’t mean you will too! You see, the Neapolitan Mastiff isn’t a “goofball” kind of dog that will want to run and play with you all day like, say, a…


Your Neapolitan Mastiff would rather watch for any potential trouble and keep strangers at bay. And by “Keeping” them at bay, we mean presenting themselves as quite an imposing figure and possibly becoming aggressive if need be! So, in other words, while these guys may be very affectionate to their owners, calling them a “gentle giant” like you might different kinds of Mastiffs would be inappropriate.

Which is fine…

If that is the kind of dog that you’re looking for. This is why we wanted to take a moment and discuss what it might be like to own one of these incredible creatures so that if you ever get a chance to make one your own, you’ll know for sure if that’s going to be a good idea.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!

Neapolitan Mastiff Fast Facts

Country of Origin: Italy

Original Purpose:  Guardian

Height: 24 to 31 inches at the shoulder

Weight: 110 to 200 pounds

Dog Breed Classification:  Working group

Life Span: 8 to 10 years

Origin of the Neapolitan Mastiff Dog Breed

Neapolitan Mastiffs are from Italy and have been around for over 2,000 years. Initially, they were used as “war dogs” by the Roman Army, and before them, the Greek Armies found them quite helpful as well. So, needless to say, these were and are pretty powerful dogs. Immensely powerful and fearless in battle. And if the sight of one growling at you doesn’t make you want to surrender right then, rest assured, these guys could seriously ruin one’s day if set on the attack.

Over the years…

However, their role as “war dogs” slowly morphed into guard dogs for wealthy landowners throughout Italy and central Europe. Here, this breed was gradually perfected and differentiated from other similar Mastiff breeds also used by the Roman legion. However, with the industrialization of Italy and the subsequent World Wars I and II, the Neapolitan Mastiff, like many other domesticated dog breeds living in central Europe during this time, was nearly lost due to extinction. You see, during this time, few folks were interested in this breed because their primary roles were lost, and let’s face it…. They eat like a horse!


The Neapolitan Mastiff breed was rescued by breeders such as Piero Scanziani, who created the new Neapolitan Mastiff breed standard in 1948. This “new” breed was quickly recognized by the Federation Cynologique Internationale in 1949, which sparked the revival of the once dying breed. Ultimately the breed was brought to the United States in the 1970s and caused a great deal of curiosity among dog owners (because, let’s face it, they are a very unique-looking animal). The Neapolitan Mastiff Club was formed shortly after. The American Kennel Club (AKC) took its time to recognize the breed – registering it only in 2004.

Physical Characteristics

The Neapolitan Mastiff is a massive breed. He has a deeply wrinkled face and a body covered by a lot of loose skin. He has a short, smooth, and dense coat, which is of the color black, gray, tawny, or mahogany. You’ll also notice that these guys have an almost permanent scowl on their face and walks with a lazy, lumbering gait. He walks in the same manner as a lion and can be as ferocious as one if he has to.

We should also…

Please point out the obvious, which is that he is one of the giant breeds, much like the Great Dane. He rises to a height of 31 inches and can weigh up to 200 pounds. He is undoubtedly a large, powerful dog.

Temperament and Personality

The Mastino Napoletano does look scary, with his massive size, the scowling expression on his wrinkled face, loose skin, heavy bones, muscular physique, and deep-set eyes that look right through you. But don’t go by that because the truth is, he is a very affectionate, loving dog, especially to the members of his family. He is even great with the kids, except that he is too lazy to make for a playmate. But he is always there for you, and you feel protected whenever he is around.

That said, however…

He is probably not the right dog for a first-time dog owner. You need to have some experience with dogs to manage him. You have to be assertive with him and be the leader – he respects authority – without being abusive. This is a dog that respects those who treat him with respect. He is known to form an unbreakable bond with his owners. Treat him well; he will defend you and your family against any danger or attack.

Early socialization…

This breed is a must and should start right from when he is only a puppy. But even then, if you choose to adopt a Neapolitan Mastiff puppy or rescue dog, you should understand right away that this is not going to be the kind of dog that will want to make new friends at the dog park. This is the “kind” of dog you get for yourself and your family so that you can have a loving companion who will be there for you when you need him.   He isn’t going to go out of their way to entertain you and play with you, but if you need him to love and de.

But remember…

The Neapolitan is deeply suspicious of strangers. He doesn’t get along too well with other dogs. He is not an active dog; he is not one of those cheerful or peppy and would much instead be left alone. The Neapolitan is a territorial breed; he does not yield his ground to anyone. He is ideally suited to large estates with plenty of room to move around. He likes stalking through a large yard, guarding your property against intruders.

Potential Health Concerns

The Neapolitan Mastiff, like other large breeds, has a short life expectancy. He has a life span of 8 to 10 years. He may suffer from different health issues such as…

Since Neo is such a large dog, the cost of medical treatment can be very high. It can be anything from $3,000 to $10,000 or more. That may be so, but you must get the best medical treatment for your Neapolitan if you suspect anything wrong with him. This is why we here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now will a pet insurance policy be suitable for everyone?

No, probably not. But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

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