The Neapolitan Mastiff is a dog breed which belongs to the Mastiff group of dogs. It is an ancient race of dogs which dates back quite a long time in the past. It mainly developed form the ancient Mastiff breed and was officially formed in Italy, from which it gets its name for. It is a massive dog in appearance, but it is a very gentle and loveable dog. This breed was developed to be a family dog and is a great watch dog and a perfect protector of a household.
History & Origins
The Neapolitan Mastiff belongs to the Molosser type of dogs. There are actually no clear evidence how great his connection is to the ancient Molosser from which most of the Mastiff dogs descend from, but it is clear that the connection is there. After World War II, this breed was closer to extinction so an Italian painter named Piero Scanziani decided to take matters into his own hand and create a formal bred which will originate in Italy.
For that purpose he used the English Mastiff which was already established and managed to create a dog which is both loyal and fearsome, but very strong and protective. He wanted to make a dog which would serve the master and be strong enough to deal with bigger attackers. He was quote capable of tackling against bulls even. The breed was officially recognized in 1949 and was given a name based on the area it was developed in.
Neapolitan Mastiff Characteristics & Temperament
The thing that characterizes the temperament of a Neapolitan Mastiff is that they are fearless but extremely protective. This is what makes them great guard dogs. They will protect their masters and homes from any threat or intrusion. They do not tend to bark, but will rather sneak up on an intruder. They are good with the children of the family they protect, but stranger children should not get close.
The breed is intelligent but also has a tendency for independent thinking. This means that you have to assert yourself early on when training this dog and you have to provide it with a lot of socialization even when they are puppies. If not, you risk your dog being overly aggressive towards strangers and other animals as it might perceive them as intruders.
Another thing that you should now about the Neo is that it has a low level of energy, so you do not have to walk it a lot. You do not even have to take it to the park so much. You do not have to give them any protection training as they are guard dogs by nature. They also do not feel pain as other dogs do and it is due to their background in fighting and also due to their loose skin. Also, Neapolitans tend to drool a lot, particularly after drinking water.
Appearance, Colors, Size
The size of a Neapolitan Mastiff is what defines the dog. All Mastiff groups are quite large animals and the Neapolitan one is no exception. They grow to be somewhere between 26 and 31 inches in height and weigh about 130 to 155 pounds for males. Females are a bit smaller but are equally big. They are between 24 and 29 inches high and weigh between 110 and 130 pounds.
What also the Neapolitan Mastiff to be recognized among other breeds of dog is their lose skin. The coat is short and sleek and the usual coat colors are black, blue, mahogany or tawny. They do look menacing in appearance at times, but this is mainly due to their size as these dogs are anything but threatening.
Neapolitan Mastiff Health
Like so many large dog breeds, the Neapolitan Mastiff does not have a long lifespan. This is something that you have to be aware when you are thinking of getting a big dog. The life expectancy for these types of dogs is 7 years, but it is not uncommon for them to get to 9.
There are some specific health conditions that you have to be aware though, with cherry eye being the top problem that Neapolitan Mastiffs could have. Others include Hip dysplasia, Entropion, Ectropion, Elbow dysplasia, Hypothyroidism, Cardiomyopathy, bloat and Anesthetic Sensitivity as the most notable.
Grooming & Shedding
Because of the type of its skin, a Neapolitan Mastiff is an average shedder. They have short hair but a very thick coat, so if you want to keep your dog’s skin smooth, you should simply brush it from time to time. A couple of times a week is quite enough. But what is more important here is to clean the skin and inspect regularly. Due to the type of their loose skin they can get bacteria and get infected, so this is the best way to protect them. As far as other things go, dental hygiene and nail clipping is also a good way to go.
Neapolitan Mastiff Price and Breeders
Finding a Neapolitan Mastiff can be easy. There are breeders in Italy which still have a great offer to provide and various organizations and groups are growing in America as well. As far as getting a dog for yourself you have to be aware that the price is not cheap. Like many big dog breeds this one can cost quite a pretty penny. The price ranges between 1,200 and 2,000 dollars.
Rescuing a dog instead of buying one is pretty popular and you can also find a Neapolitan Mastiff that way. The breed is stable when it comes to its number so it is not uncommon to find a dog of this kind. Yet it is still not available in all of the countries but its home country of Italy and America are probably the most suitable places to look. Start with United States Neapolitan Mastiff Rescue and see if you can find a suitable puppy for you.