Country of Origin:The Neapolitan Mastiff (also known as the ‘Neo’, ‘Mastini’, or ‘Italian Mastiff’) is an Italian breed named after the region of Naples, where most of its development occurred. The Neapolitan Mastiff’s ancient origins are with the Molossians, an early Hellenic tribe known for its powerful guard dogs. In 326 B.C., King Porus of Punjab gave Alexander the Great a pair of Neapolitan Mastiffs which proved quite popular. These dogs were bred widely, producing many offspring which were adapted by the Romans as war dogs and fighters. They were also put in the Arena against gladiators, bears, and even elephants. The dogs were later crossed with fierce British guard dogs, producing an even larger, more powerful breed resembling the modern Neapolitan Mastiff. It was discovered near Naples in 1946 by Piere Scanziani, who standardized the breed and promoted its development. Few Neapolitan Mastiffs arrived in America until the 1970’s. They were fully recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2004. Neapolitan Mastiffs have inspired portrayals in fictional literature including ‘Fang’ from ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Pansy’ from Andrew Vachss’ series of Burke detective novels.


Size:The Neapolitan Mastiff has a shoulder height of 23-30 in (60-75 cm) and weighs 140-175 lbs (50-70 kg). It has a large, droopy, wrinkled head with large flews (upper lips) and dewlap (wrinkled folds beneath the chin), deep set eyes which are almost entirely covered by folds, and pronounced stop (depression where the muzzle meets the forehead). Loose folds of skin cover nearly the entire body. Neapolitan Mastiffs have a flat back round feet, and low-hanging tail docked to two-thirds its natural length.
     Large in comparison to the body. Differentiated from that of other mastiff breeds by more extensive wrinkling and pendulous lips which blend into an ample dewlap. Toplines of cranium and the muzzle must be parallel. The face is made up of heavy wrinkles and folds. Required folds are those extending from the outside margin of the eyelids to the dewlap, and from under the lower lids to the outer edges of the lips. Severe Faults: Toplines of the cranium and muzzle not parallel. Disqualifications: Absence of wrinkles and folds. Expression: Wistful at rest, intimidating when alert. Penetrating stare. Eyes: Set deep and almost hidden beneath drooping upper lids. Lower lids droop to reveal haw. Eye Color: Shades of amber or brown, in accordance with coat color. Pigmentation of the eye rims same as coat color. Severe Faults: Whitish-blue eyes; incomplete pigmentation of the eye rims. Ears: Set well above the cheekbones. May be cropped or uncropped, but are usually cropped to an equilateral triangle for health reasons. If uncropped, they are medium sized, triangular in shape, held tight to the cheeks, and not extending beyond the lower margin of the throat. Skull: Wide flat between the ears, slightly arched at the frontal part, and covered with wrinkled skin. The width of the cranium between the cheekbones is approximately equal to its length from occiput stop. The brow is very developed. Frontal furrow is marked. Occiput is barely apparent. Stop: Very defined, forming a right angle at the junction of muzzle and frontal bones, and the sloping back at a greater angle where the frontal bones meet the frontal furrow of the forehead.
Lips: Heavy, thick, and long, the upper lips join beneath the nostrils to form an inverted "V". The upper lips form the lower, outer borders of the muzzle, and the lowest part of these borders is made by the corners of the lips. The corners turn outward to reveal the flews, and are in line with the outside corners of the eyes. Bite: Scissors bite or pincer bite is standard; slight undershot is allowed. Dentition is complete. Faults: More than 1 missing premolar. Severe faults: Overshot jaw: pronounced undershot jaw which disrupts the outline of the front plane of the muzzle; more than 2 missing teeth.
Neck, Topline, And Body:
     Slightly arched, rather short, stocky and well-muscled. The voluminous and well-divided dewlap extends from the lower jaw to the lower neck. Disqualification: Absence of dewlap. Body: The length of the dog, measured from the point of the shoulder to the point of buttock is 10 - 15 percent greater than the height of the dog measured from the highest point of the shoulder to the ground. Depth of the ribcage is equal to half the total height of the dog. Ribs are long and well sprung. Chest: Broad and deep, well muscled. Underline and tuckup: The underline of the abdomen is practically horizontal. There is little or no tuckup. Back: Wide and strong. Highest part of shoulder blade barely rising above the strong, level topline of the back. Loin: well-muscled, and harmoniously joined to the back. Croup: Wide, strong, muscular and slightly sloped. The top of the croup rises slightly and is level with the highest point of the shoulder. Tail: Set on slightly lower than the topline, wide and thick at the root, tapering gradually toward the tip. It is docked by 1/3. At rest, the tail hangs straight or in slight "S" shape. When in action, it is raised to the horizontal or a little higher than the back.
  Heavily built, muscular, and in balance with the hindquarters. Shoulders: Long, well-muscled, sloping and powerful. Upper arms: Strongly muscled, powerful. In length, almost 1/3 the height of the dog. Elbows: Covered with abundant and loose skin; held parallel to the ribcage, neither tied in nor loose. Forelegs: Thick, straight, heavy bone, well muscled, exemplifying strength. About the same length as the upper arms. Set well apart. Pasterns: Thick and flattened from front to back, moderately sloping forward from the leg. Dewclaws: Front dewclaws are not removed. Feet: Round and noticeably large with arched, strong toes. Nails strong, curved and preferably dark-colored. Slight turn out of the front feet is characteristic.Hindquarters As a whole, they must be powerful and strong, in harmony with the forequarters. Thighs: About the same length as the forearms, broad, muscular. Stifles: Moderate angle, strong. Legs: Heavy and thick boned, well-muscled. Slightly shorter than thigh bones. Hocks: Powerful and long. Rear pasterns: (metatarsus) Heavy thick bones. Viewed from the side, they are perpendicular to the ground. Viewed from, the rear, parallel to each other. Rear dewclaws: Any dewclaws must be removed. Hind feet: Same as the front feet but slightly smaller.

Gait: (CH. "Carnera" Della Grotta Azzurra)
The Neapolitan Mastiff's movement is not flashy, but rather slow and lumbering. Normal gaits are the walk, trot, gallop, and pace. The strides are long and elastic, at the same time, powerful, characterized by a long push from the hindquarters and extension of the forelegs. Rolling motion and swaying of the body at all gaits is characteristic. Pacing in the show ring is not to be penalized. Slight paddling movement of the front feet is normal. The head is carried level with or slightly above the back.
Disqualifications: Absence of wrinkles and folds Absence of dewlap Lack of tail or short tail, which is less than 1/3 the length from point of insertion of the tail to the hock.
Coat:The Neapolitan Mastiff has a short, dense, hard, fine, uniformly smooth coat. The Neapolitan Mastiff can be standard grey, leaden grey, dove-grey, leaden black, brown, fawn, deep fawn, light fawn, or hazel. White patches on the chest and tips of the toes are not uncommon.


Character:The Neapolitan Mastiff is confident, gentle-natured, and powerful. Bred as a guard dog, it is highly suspicious of strangers and protective of its property and family. It does not bark unless necessary. Neapolitan Mastiffs are intelligent, majestic, and noble. They do drool and tend to make a mess when eating and drinking.

Temperament:Neapolitan Mastiffs are very good with children if socialized early, but close supervision around young children is advised due to their massive size. The Neapolitan Mastiff generally gets along with other dogs and household pets, but socialization when young is recommended. Male Neapolitan Mastiffs may be aggressive with other male dogs.


Care:The Neapolitan Mastiff requires frequent cleaning of the dewlap area and facial folds. Other than that, the Neapolitan Mastiff coat requires little attention; dead and loose hairs should be removed with a rubber brush when the Neapolitan Mastiff is shedding. As with all very large dogs, the Neapolitan Mastiff needs a soft place to lie down to avoid pressure marks. The Neapolitan Mastiff has a short lifespan of 8-10 years, with larger dogs tending toward the lower end of that range. Common health problems for Neapolitan Mastiffs include hip and elbow dysplasia (malformed joints which can cause lameness or arthritis), skin infections, and cardiomyopathy. Bloat is another potentially dangerous illness which can be prevented by placing the dog’s food dish on a raised surface, spacing meals throughout the day, and avoiding exercise immediately after meals. Obesity can cause a number of problems for the Neapolitan Mastiff; proper exercise and nutrition are critical. Neapolitan Mastiffs prefer life indoors and are not well suited to hot weather.

Training: 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.


Activity:In spiteof its large size, the adult Neapolitan Mastiff has only an average need for exercise. It enjoys walks or play in a large fenced-in yard. Puppy Neapolitan Mastiffs should not be over exercised—the Neapolitan Mastiff requires all of its energy to grow strong bones and put on weight because it grows very rapidly. Due to their large size and space requirements, Neapolitan Mastiffs are not recommended for small apartments.

Over All: For those of you that believe you can only get a animal to have extreme muscle by pumping them with steroids..... The amount and type of muscle the Mastinos exhibits dispells all that you stand on. Being that a pup, like a small child, can only exhibit what is there from birth. Mastinos as young as 12 weeks young to have been conditioned to the point that you could blame conditioning as the factor For what you see. supplements and nutrition can always mold what's there to start, but supplements or diets without the foundation of heavy to extreme muscle genetics will give your animal no more than loose stool excessive weight, and possibly irregular bone growth. When dealing with muscle genetics, phenotype (looks) can be impacted outwardly according to the amount of mass and definition expressed through the muscle genotype (structure) that is produced inwardly, extreme muscle mass on a sound structure and ample bone equate to substance. Remember the old statement nothing from nothing leaves nothing, well pertaining to muscle that is a true statment, in order to have a muscular being, the genetics for muscle need to be a primary part of the reproduction process.

So You Want to Breed Your Female?

Is a Neapolitan Mastiff Right for you?

For those people who think they would like to breed their female, we broke down the costs that would be incurred so that everyone has a good idea of how much breeding your female can cost.

Initial cost - price of the puppy


Testing costs to ensure puppy is a good
breeding candidate

Hips & Elbow X-rays


Eyes and CERFI


Thyroid & VWD


Heart Test






Long Hair Gene Test




Showing costs to obtain championship

Per entry per day


Handler Costs per entry, plus traveling expenses for the handler

$75.00 - $95.00

The total cost to obtain a championship and depends on how many shows you have to enter.

After the female had achieved her championship and hopefully passed her testing, a suitable stud has to be found.

Stud fee

$1500 - $3500 or puppy back

Artificial breeding

$1000 - $1800

Ultrasound (to see if female is pregnant)


C-Section (to deliver puppies)

$900 - $1800

These costs are variable from vet to vet.

After the puppies are born, there is the priceless time that has to be spent caring for the mom and pups. If everything goes well and the puppies and mom stay healthy, the only extra vet costs incurred are for the litter to be vet-checked, micro-chipped, first shots and de-wormed.

Finally the expense with the AKC to register the litter and to transfer the ownership of each puppy to the new owners.

Remember, Neapolitan Mastiff litters can range from 1 to 17 (rare) puppies. Breeding Neapolitan mastiffs is not always a profit-making venture, more often than not, breeder’s loose money, either due to small litters or costs incurred to keep mom and puppies healthy and alive.

Neapolitan Mastiff Ear Cropping:  It is a personal choice and many countries have banned the practice.  Here is a guide that will assist you, if you are considering ear cropping the Neapolitan Mastiff.  Although the Neapolitan Mastiff is equally beautiful with cropped or natural, but I think this is a great guide to follow for the proper ear crop for the Neapolitan Mastiff.  Cropping must only be done by a qualified veterinarian.

1.  Put the two ears together, and make a small cut with the scissors and mark the size of the ears over the head.


2.  The heart of the ear or bulb locates, to put the tweezers

 (photos 2, 3, 4 and 5).


It cuts with the Bistoury knife (photos  6 and 7).


It reduces the part of underneath the ear well, cuts the cartilage with scissors until the end to avoid a horrible shell. It does not retire the tweezers of the part of above of the heart, until it does not finish the points of the part of down  Give antibiotics for 10 days.



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