A-z - Animals

neapolitan mastiff

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Large in size, the Neapolitan Mastiff has featured at many points in history. This floppy, wrinkled pup may not look that agile, but they are quite confident, agile, and active.

They love being pugs, though it's hard for them to realize that they're not as small as they were puppies.

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These dogs are highly protective of their owners' family, giving a very intense and fearless gaze. Neapolitan Mastiffs are easy to find in shelters and rescues at relatively low prices, although they can also be adopted from breeders.

History and Origin

This mammoth breed dates back to early Rome, when legionnaires and commoners used them as guard dogs, hunting dogs, war dogs, and even as gladiators. The Neapolitan Mastiff is used throughout central Italy. There is no doubt that they were bred and developed to create an intimidating appearance that would intimidate potential opponents.

Piero Scanziani first set the standard for this mammoth breed in the late 1940s and helped bring the dog into the world's spotlight.

Neapolitan Mastiff 1

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3 Pros and Cons of Ownership

Before adding a Neapolitan Mastiff to your home, get a better idea of what's in the store. Here's an unbiased look at the pros and cons before finalizing your decision.

Neapolitan Mastiff Health and Recreation

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advantage! shortcoming!
Protective : If your primary requirement for a dog is protection, then this dog is up to the task. Repelling Strangers : These dogs are not very nice to strangers, seeing them as an intrusion into their owners' home life.
No Heavy Exercise Requirements : These dogs don't have much need when it comes to exercise. For them, a little space at home and a little time for a walk on a leash is enough. Drooling : These dogs have a problem with excessive drooling, which can turn into a mess in the long run.
Light grooming : If you don't want to spend too much time grooming your dog, the Neapolitan Mastiff doesn't need it. Their short coat is easy to maintain and brush. Hot weather : These dogs cannot tolerate hot weather and it can be dangerous to their health.
Portrait photo of neapolitan mastiff outdoors
Neapolitan Mastiffs don't have many needs in terms of exercise, a little space in the home and a walk with the dog on a leash is more than enough for them.

©Christian Mueller/Shutterstock.com

size and weight

The Neapolitan Mastiff is a giant dog. Females are approximately 24 to 29 inches, while males are 26 to 31 inches. Regarding their weight, females can weigh up to 120 to 175 pounds, while males weigh around 150 to 200 pounds.

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height (male) 24”-29” high
height (female) 26”-31” high
weight (male) 120-175 lbs, fully grown
weight (female) 150-200 lbs, fully mature

Learn more about the best large dog breeds here.

Neapolitan mastiff dog isolated
Male Neapolitan Mastiffs weigh approximately 150 to 200 pounds.

©Erik Lam/Shutterstock.com

common health problems

Like many other animals, these dogs suffer from various health problems. Many of the common diseases they face are common in long-legged dogs. They often face elbow and hip dysplasia, which is caused by abnormal growth and development of the joint socket.

Cherry eye is another problem with these dogs. The condition can also affect the tissues around the eyes, causing irritation and pain. Often, pink tissue under the eyelids will stand out.

The eyes are a significant source of health problems for these dogs — they can also suffer from entropion and progressive retinal atrophy. Entropion means the eyelids start to roll inward, causing scratching and irritation when the eyelashes scratch the eyeball. Progressive retinal atrophy, on the other hand, causes the eye to shrink, which can take a long time to show symptoms.

Neapolitan Mastiffs may develop a heart condition called cardiomyopathy. This disease affects the muscles inside the heart, causing them to stiffen and swell. Some of these dogs suffer from autoimmune thyroiditis, which prevents their bodies from producing hormones from the thyroid gland.

In general, problems that Neapolitan Mastiffs are prone to include:

  • hip dysplasia
  • elbow dysplasia
  • cherry eye
  • entropy
  • progressive retinal atrophy
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • autoimmune thyroiditis


The temperaments of these dogs are quiet and affectionate, so it's no surprise that any threats to their owners are greeted with protective aggression. They don't go out of their way to be violent, but they do what they have to do for the safety of their families.

These dogs enjoy the company of other pets and enjoy the harmony of the other animals in the house. Spotted with keepers and animal rescuers, they quickly found their place among their roommates with soft demeanor. They are more easygoing.

Strangers don't always appreciate the Neapolitan Mastiff's hospitable personality, as the dog may worry that their family members are threatened. They can also become quite aggressive with dogs outside their home that they are not familiar with.

They bond closely with the people they live with and struggle with separation anxiety when they are alone.

The temperament of the Neapolitan Mastiff is quiet and affectionate, so it's no surprise that any threat to the owner is met with a protective attack.

© Lisa M. Herndon / Creative Commons

how to care for a

Before adopting any pets, the first thing you need to know is how to take care of them properly. From training, to food, to exercise—everything plays a role. Here are a few things you need to know before you start living with a Neapolitan Mastiff:

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The best dog food for them

You can provide a variety of options in your dog's diet. While kibble and other dry dog foods are necessary to keep teeth clean and satisfy most diets, some human foods are safe when prepared correctly.

In particular, this dog loves well-cooked turkey and chicken, though they sometimes indulge in tuna as well. Some owners will use pasta to regulate the digestive system when they have diarrhea.

Especially since this breed can eventually develop cardiomyopathy, owners should be careful about choosing legume-free foods. That's because soy in dog food has been linked to heart failure.

Therefore, AZ Animals believes that the best dog food for the Neapolitan Mastiff is Victor Purpose – Performance, Dry Dog Food .

Not only does this food exclude problematic soy ingredients, but it includes all the goodness your dog needs to live a happy, mobile, pain-free life. It's high in protein and gluten-free, so your big friend can build lean muscle, not excess body fat. Chondroitin and Glucosamine give your Neapolitan Mastiff's joints the support they so desperately need. Taurine is good for the heart, amino acids and probiotics are excellent for digestion and immunity.

Here you can buy Victor Purpose Performance dog food on Chewy and Amazon.

Best Protein Rich

VICTOR Purpose Performance Formula Dry Dog Food

  • 81% Meat Protein Plus Premium Beef, Chicken and Pork Meals
  • Ideal for sporty and physically demanding puppies
  • Contains Glucosamine and Chondroitin for Long-Term Joint Health
  • Rich in vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, protein and amino acids
  • Promotes Digestive and Immune Health

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Maintenance and Grooming

While these dogs don't require a lot of grooming, they do need regular baths to get rid of bacteria buildup in the folds. Most dogs don't get very dirty and just need a bath every six to eight weeks. Bathing also removes the unwanted hair they shed.

In between baths, be sure to wipe away wrinkles with a damp cloth. Nails should be trimmed every few weeks, and their teeth will need brushing as well. Many treats on the market will automatically break down plaque that may have built up, but this is no substitute for the use of dog-friendly toothpaste and a brush.

Cleaning your ears is also important since earwax can build up.

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Largest Dog Breed: Neapolitan Mastiff
Neapolitan Mastiffs need regular baths to get rid of bacteria buildup in their folds.

© Sue Thatcher/Shutterstock.com


While training these dogs is not difficult, they can sometimes become stubborn and resist training if they are constantly pushed or led strictly.

Start training your puppy early by keeping them nearby while you work to gain momentum. Puppies have an open and pure mind, providing a base that is relatively sensitive to commands.

greyhound breed
Neapolitan Mastiffs can be stubborn at times and will resist training if they are constantly being forced or led strictly.



These dogs don't need a lot of exercise. The best exercise for these dogs is usually a daily walk, though they also appreciate a little extra room in the home to move around.

Daily walks are very important for Neapolitan Mastiff puppies because they are full of energy.


Caring for a Neapolitan puppy is much the same as you would care for an adult Neapolitan Mastiff. However, you should start training your puppy early to help them develop good habits and adapt to daily tasks. They may be independent, but they are quick learners and love to please their owners.

As mentioned above, Neapolitan Mastiff puppies need regular walks to release energy and maintain mental health.

Grey, black and brown puppy, neapolitan mastiff
Caring for a Neapolitan Mastiff puppy is similar to caring for an adult dog.

© Fomin Serhii/Shutterstock.com

with children

Neapolitan Mastiffs are known to be as good with children as they are with other family members – protective and affectionate. However, you always want to supervise a Neapolitan Mastiff around a toddler, as the dog is too big for them and could accidentally knock over the baby.

Neapolitan Mastiffs are excellent watchdogs, and their size makes them intimidating.

type of big dog
With a Neapolitan Mastiff, you always want to be around to supervise your toddler because they might knock them over.


similar dog

As wonderful a dog as the Neapolitan Mastiff is, they're not for everyone. Here are some dogs that are similar to the Neapolitan Mastiff:

  • American Bulldog: Belongs to the mastiff family, but has a shorter and rougher coat. It has been known to be more aggressive than the Neapolitan Mastiff, making it a better fit for families without children.
  • Bull Mastiff: Another breed from the Mastiff family, the Bull Mastiff is known for being loyal and affectionate. Like the Neapolitan Mastiff, they are also very protective.
  • Pug: Just like the Neapolitan Mastiff, these dogs also require little grooming and are prone to some health issues. They are much smaller than Neapolitan Mastiffs, making them better for apartments and small houses.

Here are some popular names for the Neapolitan Mastiff:

  • Angel
  • Bacardi
  • Amir
  • August
  • Caesar

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Neapolitan Mastiffs are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and other animals.

The Neapolitan Mastiff belongs to the animal kingdom.

The Neapolitan Mastiff belongs to the class Mammalia.

The Neapolitan Mastiff belongs to the phylum Chordate.

The Neapolitan Mastiff belongs to the canine family.

The Neapolitan Mastiff belongs to the order Carnivora.

The Neapolitan Mastiff is covered in hair all over.

The Neapolitan Mastiff belongs to the genus Canis.

The scientific name of the Neapolitan Mastiff is Canis lupus.

These dogs usually live about 8 to 10 years.

It costs between $5,600 and $8,500 to adopt these dogs from a breeder, although dog rescues cost much less. Veterinary visits, neutering and licensing costs approximately $6,900 for the first year. Over the next few years, expect to spend more than $2,105 to keep your puppy fed and healthy.

Yes, the Neapolitan Mastiff is great for kids. However, sometimes they inadvertently harm young children.

Females weigh about 120 to 175 pounds, while males weigh about 150 to 200 pounds.

Yes, these dogs make great family dogs because they are affectionate and caring. They are also very proactive towards the host family.

They are usually not aggressive. They are easygoing, gentle, and affectionate. However, they can be aggressive towards strangers and unknown dogs.

These dogs are not very difficult to train, but do not adapt well to excessive pushing and punishment.