Facts about Neapolitan Mastiff Puppies

Are you unsure how to care for Neapolitan Mastiff puppies, or just want to learn more about this breed?

Maybe you are thinking about buying a dog and want to know if this is the right breed for you?

No matter what your situation may be, you will find the answers to your questions right here!



Mastiff Information and History

The breed, also known as the Italian Mastiff and Mastino Napoletano, is one of the oldest dog breeds. How old? It's ancestors can be traced back more than 3,000 years!

Like all mastiffs, this one is descended from the Tibetan Mastiff.

It's believed the first mastiffs were brought to Greece from India by Alexander the Great. Alexander is known to have crossed the giant Macedonian and Epirian war dogs with the shorthaired "Indian" dogs to create the Molossus.

These dogs were later adapted by the Romans and used in blood sports of bull, lion and bear baiting, and dog fighting. They were also used in military campaigns, as herders, hunters, and guards.

It's generally believed the Molossus is the forefather of the modern Neapolitan Mastiff.

After the Romans invaded Great Britain, the Molossus was crossed with even larger local Mastiff dogs.

Several breeds were created from these dogs, all sharing the same common traits: giant size, devotion to their masters and excellent guarding instincts.

The breed name probably evolved from the Anglo-Saxon word "masty", meaning "powerful" or Latin "massivus", meaning "massive".

What I find interesting about Neapolitan Mastiffs is that, considering how old the breed is, the breed standard was finalized only in 1971.

Today, in addition to companionship, the breed is used for police and military work and guarding.

Physical Characteristics of Neapolitan Mastiff Puppies

This is a large and powerful dog that is longer than it is tall.

It has a large head with a wide muzzle, a large nose, heavy lips, and deep-set eyes. The skin on the head is lose and covered with wrinkles. The small ears are triangular and may be cropped erect or left natural. The tail is usually docked.

It has loose skin and a short coat that comes in gray, mahogany, lead, tawny, black, or a brindle of any of these colors. There may also be white patches on the chest.

Some people say these dogs were bred to be ugly to scare intruders. In my opinion, the ugliness, just like beauty, is all relative.

The Italian Mastiff tends to drool, especially in hot weather.

    Height Weight
  Male 26 - 31 inches 150+ pounds
  Female 24 - 29 inches 110+ pounds


Neapolitan Mastiff is an intelligent, easygoing and loyal dog. It rarely barks, loves to please and needs human companionship. It's gentle with its family, including children, but wary with strangers.

If may be aggressive towards dogs but should be OK with other pets if raised with them from puppyhood.

Properly socializing your dog and introducing him to basic dog obedience training while your pet is still a puppy will make living with him a lot easier. 

Best Owner / Living Conditions

The Neapolitan Mastiff is not a breed for the beginner!

It requires a calm and patient owner who can establish his or her dominance while the dog is still young. In fact, teach every member of your household to display leadership skills when dealing with your pet.

These dogs are not well suited for an apartment lifestyle.

Some Neapolitan Mastiff breeders will interview prospective owners to make sure this is the right breed for them.

Activity and Exercise

The Neapolitan Mastiff is not a very active breed.

Still, to protect his bones and joints, make sure not to over-exercise a growing puppy. An adult dog will need more exercise.

Take your pet for one or two brisk walks every day.

Because this breed tends to drool more when the weather is hot, let your pet drink plenty of water.


The Neapolitan Mastiff is an average shedder.

Brush once or twice a week with a firm bristle brush. Bathe only when absolutely necessary.

Health Concerns

Like all dog breeds, the Neapolitan Mastiff is susceptible to complications caused by parasites such as dog ticks, fleas, and puppy worms, including tapeworms, roundworms, and heartworms.

Additional health concerns include hip dysplasia, cherry eye, heart problems, and immune system disorders. Visit dog health problems for more information about dog diseases and health problems.

The breed is also very sensitive to heat.

To reduce the risk of the above and many other health problems, buy only from reputable Neapolitan Mastiff breeders (visit dog breeders to learn how to identify responsible dog breeders).

No matter how small the risk of health problems is, any puppy may get sick or injured. Many health problems will require an immediate attention from your Vet, but there are many others that will not, and you may handle them on your own.

To save time and money, learn how to diagnose and treat dog health problems that don't require your Vet's attention.

Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy for a healthy Neapolitan Mastiff puppy is between 7 and 12 years.

Did you ever consider adopting your next pet?

If this is the breed you are interested in, and adoption appeals to you, consider contacting your local Neapolitan Mastiff rescue. There are thousands of pets waiting for a loving home and, yes, it's possible to adopt a purebred dog.

Puppy Training

Not happy with your pet's behavior? Need help with training your dog for obedience? Then check this dog behavior and obedience training guide.

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