Dog Breeds

Neapolitan mastiff

Very large and sluggish dog with a characteristic short coat and a large amount of loose skin. Once a war dog, it is now a decorative and companion dog. Although generally calm, it should be in the hands of experienced people. The history of the Neapolitan Mastiff (mastino napoletano) dates back to ancient times, although as an independent breed it appeared relatively recently. His ancestors were probably Roman dog who came from Asia to Greece, and from there to the Roman Empire.


Mastino breeders have for years tried to tame his impulsiveness, distrust, and explosive temperament, thanks to which the modern representative of the breed is more balanced, controlled and does not show excessive aggression. Although it has a strong, dominant character, thanks to proper education you can control it.

He is emotional and loyal to all family members, but usually chooses from among them the person to whom he is most attached and to whom he shows devotion at every step. There is an opinion that due to its sensitivity it tolerates exceptionally bad change of guardian, but some dogs of this breed adapt well to new conditions, especially when in the previous house they were not treated well.

Neapolitan mastiff

The Neapolitan Mastiff is tolerant and patient with children from the owner’s family. Due to its size, however, it is not suitable for companions of toddlers, because it may accidentally hurt them. However, with older kids, he gets along quite well. However, remember that a foreign child may not accept and treat you as an intruder.

He is friendly to people who are welcome by the owner, but woe to anyone who wants to threaten his family. He remembers the harm he has suffered for a long time and can retaliate for it when the opportunity arises.

Mastino is an excellent watchman, alert but not too noisy – his appearance is awesome. He doesn’t pay attention to passers-by and usually gives the impression of being uninterested in the surroundings, but he controls everything. One should not suggest his apparent sluggishness – it can be provoked quickly and violently. He won’t be content with pulling on his clothes – he’ll fight until he defeats his opponent.

Neapolitan mastiff

He feels best in the company of a representative of his own race or other dogs, but he must be of the opposite sex. Keeping two males in advance is doomed to failure. Bitches may also not accept. Mastino usually does not respond to small torments from foreign quadrupeds, but when attacked, he is very dangerous. The representative of this breed does not require special training, but he should be given a lot of movement and space. Up to the age of 18, you can’t force him too much, he should control the pace of the walks himself. He feels best at home with the garden.


Originally, the Neapolitan Mastiff was used as a fighting dog, for hunting wild animals, guarding, hauling heavy loads, as well as for guarding cattle herds (he could tame a furious bull). Currently, he is primarily a great guardian and companion dog.

Neapolitan mastiff. Training and education

Mastino is intelligent, but at the same time independent and independent, and therefore difficult to train. Due to his size and strong personality, the owner must have an impact on the behavior of the guardian, therefore the dog of this breed should learn the basic commands. You should start learning as early as possible because it is getting harder to get your pet to work with age.

It should also be remembered that the Neapolitan mastiff does not belong to absolutely obedient breeds and even the trainee will not react immediately – he usually executes the command only after a moment of reflection. Do not practice IPO (defense training) with him, because stimulated can be dangerous and difficult to control.

When choosing a puppy of this breed, you need to pay attention to his temperament – the dog should be balanced, curious, willing to contact, without signs of cowardice. The mastino character develops for a long time (usually up to the age of two) and if at the puppy age he shows dominant behavior or is fearful, then as an adult individual can cause trouble to the guardian.

Neapolitan mastiff

The socialization of the toddler is important – he should learn new places, phenomena, other dogs and people. He’s good to do in dog kindergarten. The Neapolitan Mastiff should be brought up responsibly, firmly and consistently, but without resorting to violence that this giant does not accept.

Who is this race for?

Mastino is not for everyone. It requires responsibility and a lot of knowledge about the breed, so under no circumstances should it be bought on impulse. This is a dog for people who value strength and prudence in a four-legged friend, not aggression.

Neapolitan mastiff. Advantages and disadvantages


  • drooling heavily
  • provoked can be very dangerous
  • snoring loudly
  • expensive to maintain


  • loyal and very devoted owner
  • excellent watchman
  • does not tend to escape
  • easy to care for
  • tolerant of children from the owner’s family

Neapolitan mastiff. Health

Mastino can suffer from ailments typical of large and giant breeds. There are tendencies to hip dysplasia (less often elbows) – to obtain breeding rights, an x-ray is required in the direction of this disease. Acceptable results are A (ideal hip joints), B (almost normal hip joints) and C (slight dysplasia), with one parent always having perfect joints.

Adolescents sometimes lame one or more limbs. It usually goes away on its own around the second year of life, although anti-inflammatory drugs must be given in some cases.

The weak side of mastino is also eyes. There may be defects in eyelid positioning – mainly collapse (entropy), which requires surgical correction. There is a prolapse of the third eyelid (so-called cherry eye). Usually, veterinarians recommend removing the gland, but sometimes the complication of such surgery is dry eye syndrome, which requires the administration of medications that moisturize the eyeball and stimulate tear secretion.

Neapolitan mastiff

A dog of this breed may also have a predisposition to expand and twist the stomach. There is also dilated cardiomyopathy, which is a disease typical of large dogs and leads to enlargement of the left or both ventricles of the heart muscle and weakening of its contractility. As a result, the heart is not able to pump enough blood for the body to function properly. Sometimes there are also allergies and inflammation of the skin.

The Neapolitan Mastiff shows medium resistance to weather conditions. A few degrees of frost will not hurt him, but you should ensure a solid shelter for him in the event of lower temperatures. Excessive moisture and drafts do not serve him. In hot weather, a dog of this breed usually sleeps, but it must have a shady place to rest and constant access to water.


The Neapolitan Mastiff eats a lot and requires good quality food, which makes it expensive to maintain. Puppies, in particular, must be well-fed, because any negligence is then unrefined. The dog can be given ready-made high-quality food for giant breeds, containing glucosamine and chondroitin, or you can prepare meals yourself.

Calcium-vitamin and joint-protecting preparations must be added to home-made food – as recommended by a veterinarian. Species containing unsaturated omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can be used during the molting period.

The daily portion is best divided into two meals and provide the dog with a two-hour rest after eating.

Neapolitan mastiff. Care

Care for a dog of this breed is not labor-intensive. The intensity and frequency of mastino molting depend on the conditions in which it resides. Dogs spending a lot of time outdoors molt once a year – usually in late spring. When you replace the coat, you can see pieces of fur in different shades on the dog’s body. Mastino kept in flats lose small amounts of hair virtually constantly, but the falling hair does not stick to the ground and is easy to clean.

A representative of this breed is enough to brush once a week (during the hair change period you can do it more often) with a metal, round comb and wipe with a damp towel. Shampoos for short-haired dogs are best for bathing, but it is also worth using medicinal cosmetics, e.g. iodophor or biosulfur.

Check regularly for inflammation between the folds of the skin. If there are no changes, it is better not to nurture them as you can cause irritation yourself. Every day you should check your eyes and if necessary rinse with special preparations. You should also shorten the claws and take care of your ears.

The Neapolitan Mastiff is a heavy dog, which is why calluses are a common ailment – thickening on the skin of the elbow joints (less often ankle joints) devoid of fur that arise as a result of the pressure of these places when lying on hard surfaces. If they are dry, they do not cause any discomfort to the dog. However, any changes (e.g. purulent discharge) should be treated.

Neapolitan mastiff

A dog of this breed does not need special preparation for the exhibition. He should be clean and taught how to behave in the ring. It’s best to present it in a clamp chain and on a strong leash.


Representatives of this breed are best taken in a chain or clamp type chain (just remember not to walk in it constantly, because it can irritate loose skin around the neck). You can use automatic leashes designed for giant breeds.

Toys must be made of strong materials and large enough that the dog does not swallow them. Good size big balls made of cast rubber, cotton cords or natural teethers. For sleeping, plastic beds are best, where you can put a mattress or mattress.

Neapolitan mastiff. History

The history of the Neapolitan Mastiff (mastino napoletano) dates back to ancient times, although as an independent breed it appeared relatively recently. His ancestors were probably Roman dogs, who came from Asia to Greece, and from there to the Roman Empire. They were used to fight in the arenas, they also accompanied the legions during the conquests.

The thesis of the existence of mastino-type quadrupeds in ancient times is to be confirmed by a description from the first century AD, which he included in his work on agriculture, the Roman agronomist Columella. There we are talking about a large, black courtyard dog, which with its silhouette deterred intruders during the day, and at night the dark color made him imperceptible, so he could imperceptibly attack uninvited guests.

Over the next centuries, there was little mention of mastino. In 1897, Dr. Enrico Tecce mentioned him. From his description emerged the image of an animal “equal to the whole arsenal of weapons”, capable of fighting a bear, wolf, buffalo, other dog and man, and in guarding a house that had no equal. Tecce depicted mastino as a dog accompanying members of kamorra, a criminal organization formed in the first half Nineteenth century in the Kingdom of Naples, committing – like the Sicilian mafia – robberies, killings and fraud.

The first mastino-type dog, named Drago, appeared at an exhibition in Milan in 1914. However, the judge did not judge him, because he decided that such a breed does not exist. Even before the outbreak of World War II, the first template was developed by Dr. Soldati, but it was never approved.

In 1946, eight mastiffs appeared at an exhibition in Naples. They aroused the interest of Pierre Scanziani, who decided to look for the survivors after the war in the vicinity of the volcano Vesuvius and establish planned breeding.

The parents of the first puppies with the nickname Villanova were the dog Guaglione (his appearance was used to develop the first official breed standard and he became the first mastino entered in the Italian pedigree book) and the bitch Pacciana. In 1949, on the initiative of Scanziani, the Mastino Napoletano Association was established, which in time evolved into the Mastino Napoletano Lovers Association.

Neapolitan mastiff

Initially, the breed was not very even. Two types have been distinguished in Italy; heavy, bulky, slow, derived from old war dogs, and lighter, slimmer, taller, whose representatives could be descendants of dogs used for hunting.


Neapolitan Mastiff – group II FCI, section 2.1, reference number 197

  • Country of origin: Italy
  • Size: height at the withers of dogs 65-75 cm, bitches 60-68 cm (+/- 2 cm)
  • Coat: short, hard, dense, smooth, up to 1.5 cm long
  • Color: preferably gray, lead gray and black, also brown, fawn, intensely fawn (deer red) – all can be brindle; sometimes there are small white markings on the chest and fingertips; nut, light gray and isabella ointments are allowed
  • Maturity: 3 years
  • Lifespan:  7-8 years
  • Weather resistance: medium

Interesting facts

The history of the Neapolitan Mastiff breed dates back to 3000 BC. The sculptures from this period immortalized large dogs used during wars in Egypt and Persia.

During the times of Alexander the Great, a breed of giant dogs was created, which actively participated in the fighting. They also protected people from the lions and tigers they could face. It is believed that these dogs are the ancestors of today’s Neapolitan Mastiff.

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