Neapolitan Mastiffs have large, big-boned frames covered in loose skin that creates awe-inspiring wrinkles and folds around their substantial heads. Within these heavy facial wrinkles, their deeply set eyes have a piercing stare. Their medium-sized, triangular ears are sometimes cropped; when not cropped, they hang close. They have wide noses and thick necks with large dewlaps. Their thick tails usually hang low or curl slightly at the end. Overall, Neos have a commanding and regal look.
Neapolitan Mastiffs are born and bred protectors. Around the home, they can be serious, sensitive and watchful. These “watchdog” instincts come from their intense love and devotion to their owners and families. The bonds they form with humans can be strong and sincere, making them incredible friends and guardians. Extremely intelligent and intuitive, Neos have an uncanny way of reading people’s emotions.
With that in mind, remember that Neapolitan Mastiffs need plenty of attention and affection in return. A daily dose of walks, cuddles, games and togetherness will help them maintain a happy state of mind. Some Neos are slightly reserved with strangers, but once a comfort level is reached they become very easygoing. Neapolitan Mastiffs love bonding and togetherness, but they also appreciate their own space. Also, they drool. So, keep a few rags handy on hot days and after mealtimes.
In spite of their size and power, Neos will do fine in an apartment as long as they get sufficient exercise. Sturdy and durable, they can easily withstand cold temperatures, but they should not be overworked on hot days. Neapolitan Mastiffs may be tough, but they are “indoor” dogs: When it comes to bedtime, they prefer a warm and dry place to sleep.
Neapolitan Mastiffs can live as long as 10 years. Common health issues include bone cancer, heart problems and eye problems like “cherry eye” in which the eye tissue becomes red and inflamed. Neos are also prone to bloat: Feeding them smaller meals throughout the day will help.
The Neapolitan Mastiff was recognized as an official breed in 1949. However, evidence suggests that these powerful, intimidating and dignified canines have been in existence since 3000 B.C., descending from the war dogs of ancient Egypt, Persia and Rome. In fact, Alexander the Great was not only a Neo fan, he helped mold the breed in 300 B.C. Adored in modern Italy as a national treasure, Neapolitan Mastiffs are beloved pets, farm dogs and show dogs all around the world.