Neapolitan Mastiff

The confident Neo is not a gentle giant; he’s protective of his family and quite suspicious of strangers.

Daily Care

Grooming Tips

The Neapolitan Mastiff has a short, dense coat with oily skin that has something of a musky odor. You may want to bathe your Neo regularly to keep the scent at bay. Brush or comb him daily to remove dead hair and keep the skin and coat healthy. Wipe out his wrinkles often with a damp cloth and dry them thoroughly to prevent skin fold infections.
The rest is basic care. Theeyes and earsshould be checked and gently cleaned whenever necessary with a damp cloth or paper towel. You will find that you will need to keep a towel handy to dry the face and lips (and yourself!), especially after the dog eats or drinks.Nailsshould be kept short.

Exercise Tips

Every dog should have the opportunity to run and romp often, but don’t emphasize the running and quick turning, as joints can be easily damaged. This is a big, heavily built breed that overheats easily, so be careful in warm weather. The Neo puppy may want to play beyond when he should, so it is up to the owner to stop before the puppy gets too tired. Be careful about letting him go up and down stairs—many an exuberant puppy’s knee has been injured by a leap off a porch or a jump down those last few stairs.
With this said, Neapolitan Mastiff puppies should not be given too much exercise because their joints and bones are still growing and too much pressure on them could result in causing a dog a few problems later on in their lives. They should not be allowed to jump up or off furniture nor should they be allowed to run up and down the stairs because this puts too much pressure on their still growing joints and limbs. Exercise should not be too vigorous until a dog is around 2 years old which is when they have usually stopped growing.

Feeding Tips

Simply by looking at the impressive Neapolitan Mastiff, you can tell that he eats a lot. It is very important that he has a well-balanced, high-quality diet of dry food. Dry food is best because wet food can cause tooth decay, gum infection and bath breath in dogs. Because of the Neo’s size, he should be fed twice daily or free fed to avoid gastric torsion, more commonly known asbloat.
If you get a Neapolitan Mastiff puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it’s important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy’s diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don’t develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it’s best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It’s best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it’s good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. These dogs need to be fed a diet that contains about 24% protein.
Experienced Neapolitan Mastiff breeders recommend food that is slightly higher in fat and lower in protein, especially when the dog is young, as they grow so fast. Do not supplement with calcium. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet.Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

Health Tips

The average life span of the Neapolitan Mastiff is 8 to 10 years. Neos are predisposed to issues such as elbow andhip dysplasia. The occurrences of these debilitating problems can be decreased by not allowing the puppy to overexert himself or to jump on the furniture. Falls on slick surfaces can also exacerbate these problems. Other common issues are the cherry eye, cleft palate, cardiomyopathy, fold dermatitis, and demodicosis. Neos are especially sensitive to halothane gas anesthesia; owners should discuss this with their veterinarian and suggest that isoflurane be used if their Neapolitan Mastiff needs to be put under general anesthesia. Neos donot tolerate hot weather well.


Neapolitan Mastiff training must be conducted in an atmosphere of mutual respect, with consistency and understanding. This breed is a bit obstinate but will obey once it understands what is expected of it and recognizes its owner’s authority. Obedience training at a young age is recommended. Neapolitan Mastiffs are happy to learn, but may refuse to perform tricks they consider pointless.
It is important to train the Mastino when he is young so that when dealing with the strong, stubborn teenage personality stage, the appropriate hierarchy is already in place. By the age of 3 or 4, most Neapolitans demonstrate desirable laidback adult-type behavior. Neapolitans do not respond well to harsh training and need an encouraging and rewarding atmosphere. Be patient and consistent.


If Mastinos look like strange visitors from antiquity, it’s because that’s exactly what they are. The breed might go back as far as 700 b.c., with artifacts from several ancient civilizations depicting Mastino-like canines. In the Roman Empire, they found employment as war dogs, gladiators, and guardians whose bestial looks and huge frame were calculated to throw the fear of Jove into their adversaries.
By the early 1970s, the dogs were known in other European countries as well as in the United States. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 2004. It ranks 113thamong the dogs registered by the AKC.