Life span: 8-10 Years
Height: 26 – 30 inches (male), 10 – 11 inches (female)
Weight: 130 – 150 lbs. (male), 130 – 150 lbs. (female)
Known for its wrinkled and sagging face, and massive stature, the Neapolitan Mastiff is a dominating breed. This ancient breed is often used as a means of protection, acting as a guard dog, which is helped by their foreboding appearance. The Neapolitan Mastiff has a semi-short coat of hair that comes in colors, such as black, brindle, and mahogany.
This big breed’s personality is practically the opposite from its appearance. They are calm, gentle and loving dogs who enjoy spending time being lazy with their family. However, they are wary of strangers and might be aggressive towards other dogs.
The most characteristic features of this breed include their skin folds and their tremendous size. Their ears are medium length and fall down, with a large tail that curls at the end. The eyes can be brown or light brown, with a black, blue, brown, or isabelline nose. Their coat is short, sparse, and straight. Coat colors include black, red, brown, and light brown.
This dog’s ancestors go way back to Roman war dogs being crossbred with large British Mastiffs. They were created in Naples, Italy and became highly popular due to its protective nature and gentle soul, which earned them the nickname “big dogs for little men”. Sadly, during World War II they became completely extinct and only resurfaced thanks to the research of Piere Scanziana, an italian journalist. In 1946 they appeared in public once again in a dog show in Naples. In 1970, they were already popular in the United States and Europe. Now they are mostly seen as show dogs and companions.
This big dog may look scary, but the are as tame as it gets. They love their family and will protect them, but are gentle beings. However, they were bred to be protectors, so they might be aggressive towards other dogs, and extremely wary of strangers. They must begin being trained at an early age in order to form an even tempered adult that is calm within the household. Early and constant socialization is extremely important with this breed.
This breed may suffer from many diseases, including:
- Cardiomyopathy, in which the heart muscles become thin and weak through an enlargement of the heart chambers, causing an abnormally big heart and eventually leading to heart failure. It can be treated.
- Cherry Eye, in which the gland from the third eyelid extends and looks like a cherry in the corner of your dog’s eye, which can be surgically removed.
- Cleft Palate, a disease that causes an abnormal opening on the roof of the puppy’s mouth and can be surgically corrected at 4 months old.
- Demodectic Mange, or demodicosis, a disorder in which mites (which would otherwise be harmless), passed from the mother to the puppies with weak immune systems, cause hair loss and red, scaly skin. This disease usually passes on its own, but should be checked by a professional in any case.
- Fold dermatitis, which is a skin infection that can be caused by moisture in the skin folds and can be noticed through odor, sores and/or redness on the infected area.
- Hip dysplasia, a hereditary disease in which there is an abnormal formation in the hip socket, that may eventually cause painful arthritis. It may also be affected by the environment they reside in.
Apart from the occasional bath, this breed needs little else done to their coats. Their ears should be checked regularly, as well as their folds, and be kept clean. Their nails should be trimmed regularly, as well as their teeth brushed and ears checked for any dirt to prevent infections. This breed has to be exercised daily, but their joints and bones tend to be sensitive, so running or rough games are not ideal. A daily walk should suffice. As puppies, they are easy to train, but once they grow older they tend to become more stubborn, so be sure to begin training early in age.