The Neapolitan Mastiff is a heavy-boned, massive, awe inspiring dog bred for use as a guard and defender of owner and property. He is characterized by loose skin, over his entire body, abundant, hanging wrinkles and folds on the head and a voluminous dewlap. The essence of the Neapolitan is his bestial appearance, astounding head and imposing size and attitude. Due to his massive structure, his characteristic movement is rolling and lumbering, not elegant or showy.
With its massive size made even more imposing by its abundant loose skin and dewlap, the Neapolitan Mastiff may have the most alarming appearance of any dog, and some say this look was purposefully bred in order to scare away intruders without the dog having to act. However, when forced to act, the Neo can spring into action with surprising speed. Its massive muscular body can knock down almost any intruder. Its huge head with short, powerful jaws and large teeth can crush or hold an opponent. The skin is tough and hanging, adding to the imposing impression of size as well as formidable expression.
The Neapolitan Mastiff was bred for centuries to guard its family. As such, it is incredibly loyal and devoted to its family, watchful and suspicious of strangers, and tolerant of acquaintances. It is a stay-at-home-type dog. Although it is loving toward children, its sheer size can make accidents possible. It may not get along well with other dogs, especially domineering-type dogs. Because of its size, it should be carefully socialized at an early age.
- Neapolitan Mastiffs do best in homes with a yard they can patrol. They are calm indoors however and can do fine in an apartment or condo big enough to accommodate their sprawl.
- Neos are generally clumsy dogs who have trouble navigating more than a few stairs, especially as puppies.
- The Neapolitan Mastiff is an average shedder and requires weekly brushing, plus close attention to cleaning his skin wrinkles and folds.
- He’s an excellent deterrent to intruders, but rarely aggressive without cause. Socialize him early and often so that he learns how to behave around other people and animals.
- Neapolitan Mastiffs can be lazy and will become obese if he doesn’t get much exercise. Make sure your dog maintains a healthy weight to avoid diseases that can significantly reduce his life span.
- The Neapolitan Mastiff is not recommended for a timid or first-time owner. This breed needs a confident trainer who is consistent and firm but also loving. The Neo is strong-willed and will test whether you really mean what you say.
- Neapolitan Mastiffs have a fearsome appearance and a deep bark, both of which are usually more than enough to deter even the most foolhardy criminals.
- Neapolitan Mastiffs have a number of what some consider offensive habits: slobbering, drooling, wheezing, grunting, snorting, and flatulence.
- This affectionate dog is not aware of his size and will happily cuddle up to you or on you.
- Neapolitan Mastiffs love the outdoors, but they also love being with their family. They should live indoors with their people, not alone in the backyard.
- Young Neapolitan Mastiffs are rowdy, but it’s important for their orthopedic development to prevent a lot of jumping or stair climbing until they reach physical maturity.
- Neapolitan Mastiffs can be destructive if bored. Give them regular exercise, social interaction, and training to keep life interesting.
- Neapolitan Mastiffs are good with older children, but can be too large for a toddler. They can knock over or step on small children without meaning to hurt them.
- Never buy a Neapolitan Mastiff from a puppy mill, a pet store, or a breeder who doesn’t provide health clearances or guarantees. Look for a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to make sure they’re free of genetic diseases that they might pass onto the puppies and who breeds for sound temperaments.
- Everything about the Neo is massive. His face is deeply wrinkled and his body is covered in loose skin with a coat that is gray, black, mahogany or tawny, giving him the appearance of a scowling executive in an ill-fitting suit. He walks with a rolling, lumbering gait.
- Many of the Neo’s unique traits — the wrinkles, loose skin, massive bone and lumbering gait — are the result of generations of selective breeding in the Neapolitan countrywide with little to no influence from other breeds. The result is an assortment of recessive genes, which can make breeding this dog successfully a challenge.
- Alan from the film Babe: Pig in the City.
- Fang from the Harry Potter films .
- Pansy from the Burke series of novels by Andrew Vachss.
- Sweetie from Robert K. Tanenbaum’s Butch Karp novels.
- A Neapolitan was featured in the movie American Gangster as a domestic pet belonging to an Italian Mafia Boss Dominic Cattano.
- A Neapolitan Mastiff appears in a scene in the movie DragonHeart.
- A Neapolitan Mastiff appears in a scene in the movie “Belly“.