Neapolitan Mastiff

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The Neapolitan Mastiff, also called Italian Mastiff or simply Neo, is a breed of massive, powerful dog that originated in Italy. It belongs to the working breed family which is remarkable for their exceptional ability to carry out jobs such as guarding property, sled-pulling, or water-rescuing. Neos have been bred to become reliable guard dogs. Their short, dense coat is straight and usually comes in colors such as blue, gray, chocolate, black, tawny, and mahogany. Some members have brindle or white markings.

Height and Weight

The male members of the Neapolitan Mastiff breed normally stand a height of 26 to 30 in at the withers, while bitches typically have a height of 24 to 28 in. Both have a common weight of about 165 lbs. The largest male Neos may reach 200 lbs.


Neopolitan MastiffDespite the intimidating look of Neapolitan Mastiffs, they are actually calm, peaceful, and loving dogs. They are affectionate, and they love to be with their family and friends. The breed is also intelligent, courageous, and extremely protective. Neos are usually quiet, though may tend to bark when necessary. Socializing them at young age is highly advisable so they don’t become reserved toward strangers. Ample exercise should also be provided to keep them stable-minded. These large dogs relate very well with children, and can get along with other pets. In fact, they can become wonderful family companions. Neos are natural guardians, and have high levels of pain tolerance. The breed needs an experienced handler who can dominate them with a natural air of authority. They need their owners to be firm yet gentle, as well as consistent in leadership. Otherwise, Neos will become willful and aggressive.


Neapolitan Mastiffs are easy to groom. Their short coat only needs regular brushing and occasional bathing sessions. But because the breed possesses extensive wrinkles, their skin folds have to be checked once in a while to prevent bacterial infections.

Health Concerns

Some of the common health complications associated with the breed include hip dysplasia, cherry eye, heat stroke, bloat, and pano-ostiosis. Nevertheless, with proper attention, diet, and exercise, Neos can live for as long as 7 to 9 years.

Best Environment

Because Neapolitan Mastiffs enjoy being close to their family owners, they prefer living indoors. They can thrive outdoor life but owners have to keep in mind that the breed does not do well when exposed to great heat. Neos can become apartment dogs provided that they get to receive adequate exercise. They are moderately inactive indoors, and access to a small yard will be fine. The breed is quite demanding when it comes to exercise.

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When I adopted my shepherd mix, Molly, from a local shelter 12 years ago, I had no idea the impact she would have on my life. Through Molly, I've learned to be more patient, experienced unconditional love, been alerted to the mailman and every squirrel within a block radius of the house, and ingested enough fur to build 3 or 4 more dogs! When I lost Molly to cancer just a few months ago, I adopted Olive, a 13 week old Golden Retriever. Together, we smile at least a hundred times a day!


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