Neapolitan Mastiff | Mastino Napoletano


Neapolitan Mastiff | Mastino Napoletano


neapolitan-mastiffNeapolitan Mastiff also known as Neo Mastiff or Mastino Napoletano are one of the oldest types of dog out there. Not necessarily the Neapolitan Mastiff, but we do know that the first Mastiffs (which resulted in the Neapolitan) started in Tibet over 5,000 years ago. At this point, they were mainly used as guard dogs. They did, however, also have a role in the military.

The Neapolitan Mastiff, as you can probably guess from the name, was actually developed in Italy, close to Naples. Their job was to create a dog which was incredibly heavy, willing to defend, and also have thick rolls of skin which would protect the dog should it come under attack. However, they also wanted the dog to be fine when it was with its family members. As a result, they created one of the most loving Mastiffs around.

This type of dog was actually not thought all that much about until 1946 when it appeared in a dog show. Its popularity soared after that. This was, no doubt, down to Piere Sazanziana, a journalist at the time. He believed that the dog on show showcased just how brilliant the Roman Empire was. No, the Neapolitan Mastiff did not exist then, but its ancestors did.

Shortly after, Neapolitan Mastiff owner clubs started to spring up around the world. It was in 2004 that it was finally recognized by the American Kennel Club, although Mastiff Owner Clubs had existed in the United States before that point.


Despite their size, the Neapolitan Mastiff tends to have a rather docile temperament.  For the most part, they do like to hang around their family. They will be fiercely protective of them too. However, unless provoked, it is unlikely that they will bark. In fact, it is incredibly rare to hear a Neapolitan Mastiff bark.

As a dog, they tend to be fairly calm and quiet whilst inside. Of course, due to their size you probably do not want to leave them hanging around children for long periods of time. Even a small amount of play from the Neapolitan Mastiff could easily overwhelm your child.

As they are, technically, bred to be guard dogs, it is likely that you are going to want to keep a watchful eye on your dog if they do come to meet strangers. They are always going to be wary of strangers and even the slightest wrong move could quickly put them into a position where they will defend themselves and you.

It is important that you start introducing the dog to strangers at a young age, particularly if you are not going to be using them as a guard dog. This will allow them to be a bit more comfortable around strangers, which is incredibly important. If you can do this then there is a pretty strong chance that you are going to end up with one of the most docile dogs around.

It is, however, worth noting that this dog is incredibly strong-willed. If you have never trained a dog before, then a Neapolitan Mastiff certainly should not be one of the first routes that you go down. They require an incredibly confident owner to keep under control. An un-trained dog will very quickly run riot which is, obviously, one of the last things you want to happen.


Unlike other large dog breeds, the Neapolitan Mastiff does not actually need all that much exercise. A couple of twenty minute walks each day should be more than sufficient. After this, as long as you are putting a decent amount of effort into their training, you are probably not going to need to do much else. As mentioned before, this is quite a docile breed of dog and thus they will not be running around, jumping everywhere!

Height and Appearance:

This dog is huge, similar to other Mastiffs. Its defining feature is the thick rolls of skin that it has. These rolls of skin are there to protect the dog should it come under attack. This is what makes it a remarkable guard dog and you will actually be surprised at the level of protection that they do end up offering. Of course, as with many other dogs that have thick rolls of skin like this, they are very prone to infection. This is because they are going to be very difficult to clean out. This is why the Neapolitan Mastiff is fantastic for experienced dog owners. They know how to provide the love and care that is required.

The Neapolitan Mastiff male can reach a height of up to 30 inches (75cm) with the female coming close at 28 inches (70cm), although, most seem to hover around the 24” (60cm) mark.

These are one of the heaviest dogs around. They can weigh up to 74kg. Some of the larger mastiffs out there may also reach up to 90kg. Basically, you are going to need to make sure that you have a lot of control over them!

Life expectancy:

The Neapolitan Mastiff is one of the shortest living dogs around. On average, it will be live to about seven years old. Only a sixth of these dogs will ever reach the age of nine. It is very rare for them to go beyond this.

Health issues:

Similarly to most other large breeds and pure breed animals, there are a number of different health issues which are commonly associated with the Neapolitan Mastiff. These are some of the ones which tend to occur the most often:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Anesthetic Sensitivity
  • Skin Infections, these occur quite frequently between the folds of the skin
  • Bloat
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Sebaceous Adentis
  • Ectropion
  • Entropion

Thankfully, many of these conditions are fairly easy to treat. If you do run into any difficulties, then your vet will be able to provide you with all of the assistance that you need.


This animal tends to come in black or brown.


Neapolitan Mastiff comes in two variations. One of them is working neapolitan mastiff. Working neapolitan mastiffs are the pure old school mastiffs that were the best of guard dogs and very agile and quick to respond and have very few wrinkles.

Modern Neapolitan Mastiff on the other hand is more of a show dog and is very wrinkly. It isn’t as agile as working line and skin around the neck and face is quite loose.

Working Neapolitan Mastiff            


neapolitan mastiff






Modern Neapolitan Mastiff