Despite the beastly and vicious appearance, the Neapolitan Mastiff is a peaceful and steady dog. It is serious, calm and quiet, unless provoked. It is muscular, with a massive head and wrinkled face. The facial wrinkles continue under the chin and down the neck to form the dewlap. The loose connective tissue on the head, dew lap and body, protects the Neo from attacks. If an enemy were to pull or bite at the flesh, the protective skin would stretch, leaving the vital parts unhurt. Strangers should beware. Never walk straight towards an unknown Neo. The breed sleeps a lot, but can get on its feet incredibly fast. The Neo has a loose, rolling, cat-like gait.

The Neapolitan Mastiff is not a suitable dog for everyone, it is definitely not for the first-time dog owner, and the prospective owner thinking of purchasing this breed of dog, should have some experience with dominant alpha dogs. It takes a person who has an innate understanding and interest of animals and an ability to communicate on the animal's level to be able to successfully own a Neo. Neapolitans need and require attention, discipline and human companionship. A Neo is a large, powerful, vocal and messy animal.

The Neapolitan Mastiff is a guard dog and defence dog par excellence, of great size, powerful and strongly built, of tough yet majestic appearance, sturdy and courageous, of intelligent expression, endowed with correct mental balance and docile character. It is highly protective and fearless, but affectionate and devoted to its family and family's friends.

The Neapolitan is different from other more familiar breeds of dog. He is different in appearance, health requirements, and temperament from the normal dog with which people are familiar.

The Neapolitan Mastiff is slow to mature and his puppyhood is long. He is not considered a mature specimen until the age of three years. Unfortunately, like all other giant breeds, they do not have a long life. The average lifespan is eight to ten years.

To comprehend the Neapolitan Mastiff, you should research existing ancient descriptions of Mastiffs. You will then understand that this breed has not changed materially for the past 2000 to 5000 years. When you understand what ancient instincts run in his genes, you will understand what the cute little wrinkled puppy is going to grow into.

The Neapolitan Mastiff of today is categorised by the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) as a dog bred for protection and guarding. His typical colour is black or grey, so that at night, the dog, lost in the shadows, can attack without being seen. This breed rarely causes trouble by excessive barking…in fact, the most of the time, when they do bark….there will be a good reason.

The head is very massive, and seems to be the most important part of the body.

The body is thick and heavy enough to bring down a man or other beast. They have powerful feet and strong claws. They are meant to carry out their work from close quarters and do not need to run far. They are not dogs bred for running. They are actually bred so that they will not run away. Therein may lie the reasons why their conformation is so different from other dogs seen and admired in show rings. It's impossible and wrong to compare them with light-boned, swiftly moving dogs that we consider to be elegant.

Neapolitan Mastiffs are not noted for their correctness of conformation, and they often have orthopedic problems. It should be noted that the Neo is the messiest of eaters. His copious flews and large lips scatter food in all directions and are great hiding places for snacks long after the meal is over. Another endearing habit of the Neo, is snoring. A sound-asleep Neapolitan will be heard from quite a distance.

Being with their owner means more to them than anything, and doors are only a small encumbrance to a Neo who wants to be with his family. They are incredibly desirous of companionship.

They do their work very well by their astute sense of smell which informs them who is coming. This sentence sums up what every owner of Neapolitans has observed – most of them do not see very well. They appear to be nearsighted. Many do not recognize a person until they smell that person, or see the person up very close. And if a person persists in approaching, they violently attack. This is their nature.

The most important quality in these dogs is that they are guards, and do not permit anyone onto their property, and if they are provoked, they will defend and fight with vigour and tenacity. 

It is important for people in today's society to realize that the Neapolitan Mastiffs of today have not changed at all from the dogs of 5000 years ago. People today want dogs for protection, but expect that the dogs will not actually hurt anyone. Then society is outraged when dogs act like dogs and actually bite or attack someone.

The Neapolitan Mastiff still retains a strong sense of social hierarchy and needs to know who is boss. It is not uncommon for the Neapolitan to be stubborn, independent and strong-willed, wary of strangers and sometimes shy. They need early socialisation to become accustomed to different people, places and things. We believe Neapolitan Mastiffs make great companions for people who are animal orientated and can control as well as care for a very powerful animal whose basic instincts are to guard, defend and attack if necessary.


Most Neapolitans are fond of their human children and would not purposely hurt them, but, because of their large size, they could knock over a small child and step on them by accident. Most Neapolitans are very gentle with children and will probably only drool on the kid. Children are very excitable and they love to run and yell. This might cause most dogs to become excited as well. They should never be unsupervised around very small children, and children must handle a Neo with respect.

Neapolitans by nature are dominant alpha dogs and must be handled accordingly. It is important that every member in the family, including the children must outrank the Neapolitan in pack member status. 


They are relatively inactive indoors and a small yard will do. They need dry, soft bedding to prevent pressure marks, although they always prefer a cold hard surface to sleep on in the summer. In warm weather they need a lot of shade and fresh water. Normally they do not need to have high fencing to keep them inside, as they are not likely to jump.

Neapolitans seem to do well when kept in the house, only wanting to go out for occasional exercise or drink of water, but tend to want to be in the house with his adoring family, sleeping at your feet or sitting next to you.


The Neapolitan is not known for his athletic ability and endurance, but most of them love to swim and this is a good form of exercise.

Don't let young puppies run and play too much. Limit its exercise and avoid rough playing. Adult Neapolitans could be taken on a long walk once a day. If your lifestyle includes hiking, jogging or cycling, and you want your dog to accompany you, you need to choose another breed.


Every breeder and every book that you will read, will differ on what to feed your Neo. The goal is to allow them to grow to their maximum genetic potential without making them grow too fast. This can be very tricky as every dog is an individual and has different nutritional requirements.

  • Always discuss changes in feeding your Neo, with your breeder first.
  • Do not ‘free feed' your Neo, meaning that you should not leave big bowls with food all day.
  • Set a routine of twice-daily feeding and do not overfeed. There is no need to rush the growing process. It is better to keep young dogs lean – you should not see the ribs, but be able to feel them under the skin.


  • A badly-raised Neo could be very dangerous and harm the reputation of the breed.
  • They get very messy around the mouth after eating and drinking – you need a towel or cloth nearby to wipe them.
  • Many Neapolitans will not tolerate another dog of the same sex when grown.
  • They have an independent mind and are willful and powerful, therefore they require a confident owner who can take charge of them.
  • Neapolitans snort, grunt and snore loudly.
  • They have an easy-to-care coat.
  • Neapolitans love to be indoors with their owner.
  • They are the most “beastial-looking” breed in existence.
  • They have protective instincts towards strangers.
  • They slobber and drool a lot.
  • Male dogs tend to be more outgoing and affectionate.
  • Male dogs tend to be more reliable in mood and less prone to emotional swings.
  • Male dogs tend to be clumsy and silly and prone to acting like oversized pups.
  • The accepted colours of the Neo is blue-grey, black, mahogany and tawny.
  • They are very intelligent and highly trainable.
  • Some bitches get pregnant easily, whelp easily, and are good mothers; however, most bitches are not.
  • Heavy, massive Neapolitans do not breed easily, and most of the time require artificial inseminations to be done.
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