A giant-sized dog, the majestic Neapolitan Mastiff is strong and muscular. Slightly longer than he is tall, an adult male stands at 65-75cm and weighs 50-70kg, and females are slightly less. The short, dense coat comes in several colours and shades (black, blue, grey, brown) including brindle and the skin is quite loose over the body and head – though this should not be excessive.
The Neapolitan Mastiff dog breed comes from the ancient Molossus type of dog – a large, fierce guarding breed used by the Romans. They are thought to have been used in the arenas and also as ferocious dogs of war. The Neapolitan Mastiff has been used as a police dog as well as his main role as a guard. It's said that when working on the estates of Naples, he instinctively knew the boundaries he was entrusted to protect and was left free to roam the parameters.
Essentially a guarding breed, the Neapolitan Mastiff is vigilant at all times. Even-tempered, he is loyal to his loved ones and slightly aloof. Given his natural protection tendencies, early socialisation is essential and he needs experienced handlers. If raised with another dog, he will live happily with one, but it may best that they are of the opposite sex. The cost of caring for such a large dog should be seriously considered before purchase.
As with many breeds, the Neapolitan Mastiff can suffer from various hereditary eye disorders, and hip and elbow dysplasia (joint conditions that can be painful and lead to mobility problems). Eye testing and hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding is therefore important. They are also particularly prone to skin infections
For an adult, about an hour's exercise is needed, but while he is still growing, a puppy should not over-exert himself, in case he strains his joints.
Giant-breed dogs, as well as having giant appetites, benefit from a different balance of minerals and vitamins, supporting different joint and cartilage needs. The Neapolitan Mastiff is prone to bloating and stomach problems; try feeding smaller, more frequent meals to help minimise the risk.
The short coat is low-maintenance, requiring a once-weekly groom. But many times a day you will need to wipe your dog's mouth and any slobber drools left around the house and on furnishings, and his facial folds and mouth area will need cleaning once or twice a week, too.