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Neopolitan Mastiff

The Canine Chronicles Directory

Neopolitan Mastiff

The Neapolitan has a short, dense and smooth coat. The coat color is usually blue, black, mahogany and tawny. Splashes of tan brindle on dark coats and white on the chest, throat, toes, back of pasterns and underbelly are all permitted when showing this breed. There should not be any white on the face of the dog. The large, flat head should have a wide skull, a well pronounced definite stop and a muzzle with deep flews. The face has dewlap beginning near the mouth and continuing to the middle of the neck. The wide set eyes are round in shape and slightly set forward. Puppies are born with blue eyes and as the dog grows the eyes darken. The rim of the eyes should be the same color as the nose and the nose should be the same color as the coat. The nose should be large with well opened nostrils. The small ears are triangular in shape. They sit well apart and slightly forward high on the head. The ears are traditionally cropped. The jaw should be well developed and the teeth should meet in a level, slightly undershot or scissor-like bite. The short, stocky neck is very muscular merging in long, slightly sloping shoulders. The broad chest should be well-muscled and the underline should have little to no tuck-up. The body is rectangular in appearance and is heavy-boned. The forelegs should be straight when viewed from the front and the rounded hindlegs should be well-muscled with powerful hocks. The rear dewclaws should be removed. The dark colored, oval-shaped feet should have arched toes with hard, thick pads. The hindfeet should be slightly smaller than the forefeet and the toenails should be strong, curved and dark in color. The tail sits slightly lower than the topline and tapers toward the tip. When in motion, the tail is carried level with the topline, however it is customarily docked by one third.

Temperament Though the Neo has a beastly and vicious appearance, he is peaceful and steady. He was bred to look and act fearsome but is very affectionate with his family and family friends. He is highly protective and fearless, yet extremely intelligent and somewhat willful. Neos are much attuned to their master's wishes. They are not excessive barkers. If they are provoked, they will be fearless and protective. The males of this breed are more aggressive and dominant than females, making the female a better family pet. They are good with children provided they are not teased. Males are very aggressive with same-sex dogs. They are usually good with other pets when raised with them. The owners should be firm with this breed and capable of controlling them properly. Owner dominance should be firmly established while the dog is young. Thorough obedience training is recommended and very necessary with this breed. They tend to drool more during the warm weather and after drinking water. An adult Neo can eat 8-10 cups of dog food a day.
Height, Weight Male Height: 26-30" ; Weight: up to 165 lbs. with some males weighing up to 200 lbs.
Female Height: 24-28" ; Weight: up to 165 lbs.
Health Problems Neapolitan Mastiffs are susceptible to hip dysplasia, pano-ostiosis, and "cherry eye", which can be corrected with minor surgery.
Living Conditions Neos can live okay in an apartment if they are given sufficient exercise. An average-sized yard is fine. They will be more comfortable in a well-padded dog house in the winter months. They need plenty of shade and water during the summer months.
Exercise Limit exercise with younger Neos to prevent growth problems. Adult Neos need plenty of daily exercising. Take them on a couple of walks per day.
Life Expectancy Up to 10 years
Grooming The Neapolitan Mastiff is easy to groom because of their short coat. Wipe with a rubber brush to remove loose hair. This breed is an average shedder.
Origin Neapolitans are direct descendants of the molossus of the Roman arenas, probably very similar to the old type known 2,000 years ago. Over the centuries, the dog has been used in war and for police, guard and draft work, as well as being a collaborator in crime. The Italian standard calls for a dog of "rustic but majestic appearance". Although the breed has existed in southern Italy since Roman times, the Neapolitan was first presented to the general public at a Naples dog show in 1946. They so impressed a painter, Piero Scanziani, that he collected superior animals and started his own kennel. He is now considered the modern father of the breed. The breed was not imported to the United States until the 1970s, was recognized by the UKC in 1995, but was not officially recognized by the AKC until 2004.
Group AKC Working, UKC Guardian Dog