The Neapolitan Mastiff
Mastino Napoletano

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Dog breed info
Neapolitan Mastiff
Weight: Male Up to — 150 lbs
Weight. Female Up to— 110 lbs
Height:Male 26” — 31”
Height Female 24” — 29”
AKC Rank 2008 #110
Lifespan: 8—10 yrs
Group Working

Dog Breed Info - Neapolitan Mastiff

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Breed Overview

Origin: Italy, Ancient times. Original function: Guarding. Today: Guarding, Companion dog.


Very trainable and eager to follow his masters commands. Has trained and performed police and military and search and rescue work. The Neo needs to be given a job to perform to keep him busy such as playing with or guarding the children. You can use clicker training for great results and positive reinforcement is good too. He can learn whatever you teach with a clicker.

Crate Training

Want to crate train your Neapolitan Mastiff puppy? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

Neapolitan Mastiff puppies are easy to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.


The original purpose of the Neapolitan Mastiff and what he was bred for was to guard things, and. mainly families. A mean, nasty looking animal was desired with a loving, caring and loyal character was the goal and that was realized with this dog. The “Neo” as it is often called is alert, watchful and not trusting of strangers. He must be trained and managed with a dominate owner, the alpha dog type and always kept in a subordinate place in the home. This is one big, heavy, tough guard dog that can not be allowed to dominate the family!

This is not a dog to roam and chase. It’s a stay-at-home dog that would rather stretch out in the living room or mooch a treat in the kitchen than bark at a rabbit. He is not known to bark much. The Neapolitan Mastiff is good, gentle and loving with children but can be a danger around small kids due to his size and weight. He can easily tip over a lamp or put 150 pounds of weight on a child's arm and not know it.

The Neapolitan Mastiff needs to be socialized, trained and dominated at a very early age starting at 4 or 5 weeks and continued on through his life due to it’s size and guarding heritage. If done right, this can be a loving, peaceful, gentle companion and a wonderful friend to the whole family.

Like any mastiff, this dog drools, slobbers and leaves a trail of water and food leading from his water and food dishes. Expect to tidy up after he eats and drinks.

If you happen to get a dog or puppy with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."

Neapolitan Mastiff head
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Friendly Toward Other Dogs

No. Wary of other dogs, especially domineering dogs. Generally not friendly with other dogs.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

No. If raised with the other pets, okay. He can get along with cats and house dogs if he’s raised with them.

Friendly Toward Strangers

No, not trusting of strangers. This is a guard dog and strangers can pose a threat to his family.


NO, sorry, the Neo is just not the playful type. Roll in the grass and romp around with the kids but not much more.


A great big MUSH. Very affectionate in his own big way. Yes, this guy is affectionate and loving with his family but not outsiders. He’s very loyal to family and will show it.

Good with children?

Yes. As long as the kids are supervised and not too young, the Neapolitan Mastiff is a gentle giant around children. He’s not very playful, but he is good with the kids and will roll in the grass with them.

Good with Seniors over 65?

No. Too big and heavy for a senior.

Living environment

House with a small fenced yard, farm or ranch is fine. This is a stay-at-home type dog that just needs to stretch out and snooze, sniff and investigate a little. The Neo likes the outdoors but can NOT deal with warm weather. Bring him inside to the air conditioning.

An apartment might be a bit crowded but he could survive there is needed.

Energy level

Low. A laid-back mush-dog.

Exercise needs, daily

Low, very low exercise needs. A slow, quiet walk around the block once a day is fine. (Or even just DOWN the block and back is enough.)


Excellent. It’s what this breed does best.

Guard dog

Excellent. It’s what the Neapolitan Mastiff does best. The Neo won’t start a fight, but if provoked, he’ll put on quite a show. This dog will protect his family to the end.




Clean and day the facial wrinkles with a cotton swab. Keep them clean to prevent moisture and dirt from accumulating which causes infections.

Brush every other day, or daily if you want to remove any dead hair and keep the coat fresh. The dog will appreciate the extra attention. Go easy around the wrinkles.


Suggested Reading For The Neapolitan Mastiff

3rd book from the left is "50 Games You Can Play With Your Dog" which gives a good selection of simple, easy to teach things for the Mastiff to exercise his brain with. He'll have some fun and it's good for bonding too.

The book on the right is by the American National Red Cross and deals with dog emergencies, illnesses and injuries. It's a valuable reference manual for all dog owners and should be kept handy for those unexpected situations. You get Vol 2 which includes a DVD.


Neapolitan Mastiff Breeders

In the event you decide to go looking for Neapolitan Mastiff puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been well socialized and started in obedience training.
Neapolitan Mastiff Breeders with puppies for sale.

Neapolitan Mastiff Rescue

In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of an older dog and are looking for a Neapolitan Mastiff Rescue group or groups in your state, here are several links that might help.
Petfinder - Neapolitan Mastiff Rescue At the time of this writing, Petfinder is listing only 59 Neo's available for adoption in the USA. That number is subject to change. In the event you find one to adopt, try to locate dog health records and save for possible future reference.
Adopt A Pet This is an interesting site but you will probably have to search online for Neapolitan Mastiff Rescue groups, kennels or dogs for sale to find a better selection.

Dog Health Issues For The Neapolitan Mastiff
Below are the dog illness / illnesses or medical problems listed for the Neapolitan Mastiff by various vets.

This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are dog illness and medical problems this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

  • Hip dysplasia - Hind end limping, back leg acts lame. Wear and time causes the femur to fit poorly into the pelvic socket with improper rotation causing great pain, lameness, arthritis and difficulty walking for the Neapolitan Mastiff. You may notice the dog “hopping”” like a rabbit when running plus hesitating to climb stairs, all due to pain in the hind quarters. The problem actually starts as a very young puppy with an abnormal formation of the hip joint and grows progressively. A vet can locate this with a diagnostics test.

  • Cardiomyopathy—Disease of the heart muscle causing the heart to enlarge and not function properly. Cause is unknown. Older, bigger dogs like the Neapolitan Mastiff, 4 to 8 years are usually affected. The prognosis is generally about 6 months to 2 years for a dog with this form of heart failure and only a matter of weeks for some severe cases.

  • Skin fold dermatitis—Infection normally affects the folds on the face where moisture and dirt are trapped in the skin folds causing inflammation. The vet will give you a cleansing shampoo to fight the infection and an antibiotic cream of some kind. In severe cases where the problem won’t subside, surgery might be the last resort to remove a few folds. Commonly found in bulldogs, mastiff’s, Pekingese and Pugs.

  • Gastric Torsion—Sometimes called Bloat or “Twisted stomach.” Mainly in larger, deep-cheated dogs. Here's a brief description of the problem.
    Symptoms include excessive drooling, nervous pacing, agitation, weakness, attempt to vomit, bulging stomach area, heavy breathing, retching and gagging, shock or total collapse.

  • Ruptured Cranial Cruciate Ligament - The tearing of the Cruciate ligament in the knee and NO weight can be applied to the affected leg with the torn ligament. Even sitting can be a painful problem for a Neapolitan Mastiff This will cause lameness that may be severe. Knee surgery with total restriction of activity is the only answer.

  • Demodicosis—Demodectic mange—In the form of a parasite. A skin disease known as “Red Mange.” Loss of hair, itching, reddening of skin and areas can become crusty. Sometimes cured with topical creams. May spread. Treatment is in the form of medications and sometimes special bathing with anti-fungal liquids.

  • Entropion—Eye irritation caused by the eyelids and lashes rolling inward. The problem is usually inherited and found in young, adult dogs. It can come from an eyelid spasm. Affected eyes will be held partially shut and tear excessively. Both eyes will usually be affected the same. Treatment for the condition requires eye surgery.

  • Ectropion—A hereditary medical problem. The lower eyelid grows outward leaving a gap between the eye and the eyelid. Excessive tearing and conjunctivitis are common signs of the disease but some dogs will have no symptoms. Blunt trauma and/or nerve damage can also cause the problem for the Neo. If the cornea becomes damaged or if the conjunctivitis becomes chronic, surgery will be necessary.

  • Cherry eye—One of a dog’s tear glands is in the third eyelid. The gland contributes a significant amount of fluid to lubricate the eye so it can not be removed. A congenital defect, breed related, allows the gland to bulge out because it is not held strongly in place in the Neapolitan Mastiff. Thus, the gland prolapses out to a visible position as a reddish mass. Out of position, the gland does not move blood properly and so may swell. Since the gland is needed for lubrication in the eye, vets now do a “tuck and stitch” procedure that pouts the gland back in place and preserves the original function of tear production.

  • Cataracts - Eye problem - Hazy or cloudy vision and if not treated will eventually lead to total blindness in the Neo.

  • Elbow Dysplasia—Dislocated elbow joint. This, as with hip dysplasia, is something the dog is born with. Wear and time in the front legs (elbow joints) cause lameness by the time the Neo is roughly a year old. If you have a dog prone to this disease, have an early x-ray to see if surgery to the joints will stave off further damage to the joints. Typically, there has been no cure, but recently doctors have come up with some ideas. 1) Keep the weight of your dog down. 2) Use anti-inflammatory medication. 3) Look into injections of stem-cells to help regenerate bone-covering cartilage to cause the bones to line up properly again. (This is new research and some vets may not know about it so ask around.)

Other health problems could occur with your Neapolitan Mastiff. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


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