Evolve a Neapolitan Mastiff Puppy into a Giant

Dogs Human Classroom

The ancestors of this great dog go back to about 2000 years ago, being part of the ancient breed families, and had great participation in history in the Roman Empire. The Neapolitan Mastiff is a completely faithful dog, with a big and robust appearance, great strength but with a friendly and familiar personality too. Whoever decides to have this puppy as part of its family will promise complete loyalty. This Mastiff is not suitable for first-timers with pets, it requires a lot of attention and education at an early age, just as it is not suitable for living in small places. If you are interested in knowing more about this great dog, I invite you to keep reading.


Like many Mastiffs in Europe, the Neapolitan mastiff is directly descended from the great Roman Mastiff. This amazing dog holds a great size, many qualities, noted strength, and always attracted the attention of people for its large size and energy. Consequently, this dog training leads to fighting against animals of similar sizes such as bears, lions, and tigers. They become part of the gladiators in Roman circuses, also they were known to be a war dog. This breed was found in many parts of Europe, but where it was most known and established was in the region of Campania, Napoles in Italy. Further, its presence is known from 2000 years ago in the area. The current Neapolitan Mastiff was born with the passage of time between the crosses of a mastiff with a molossus dog, and other breeds as Neapolitan breeders focused on creating a dog that would keep a large size with loose skin. But that would protect them in case of attacks and also being a dog that was loyal and loving to the members of their family, so it ended up receiving the name from the city of Naples.

This was a breed that was maintained over time. Its work was changing from being an aggressive dog dedicated to violence and only to attack to become a guard dog. Also doing grazing work, hunting, caring for farms, herds, and land. In war times, when other dogs were on the verge of extinction, this breed remained present and was not at great risk, because their qualities allowed them to survive. It was not until 1946 that the breed was introduced and three years passed to 1949 when The Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) recognized the, and allowed the standards of the breed to be regulated. The year that the Neapolitan Mastiff was presented in a dog show in Napoles, many people were delighted with this magnificent breed and one person, in particular, the cynologist named Pierre Scanziani acknowledged this dog and was fascinated. So he, with other dog lovers who were dedicated to promoting the breed, and increasing its population to present it to the world, also began to recognize this breed and introduce it as a companion dog, leaving behind that aggressive past and being today as a good family pet. 

In the early ‘70s, the Neopolitan Mastiff began to gain popularity in Europe, and in the United States was introduced for the first time as a recognized breed in 1973. This same year was formed The Neapolitan Mastiff Club of America (NMCA) keeping records of the pedigrees, lineage, and ownership of most American Neapolitan Mastiff, also with the function of educating plus teaching people about this beloved and marvelous breed. Later The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 2004.


The Neapolitan Mastiff Breed is part of FCI Group 2 classified in section 2 as Molossoid breeds, Mastiff type. It has a life span of approximately 8 to 10 years. It is a large dog, more well known as a giant breed, it is strong and muscular with a great body with a bulky appearance. The male Neapolitan mastiff measures between 26 to 31 inches, and weighs around 150 to 200 pounds. Females measure one 24 to 29 inches and weigh about 120 to 175 pounds. Its head is short, its skull is wide flat and the frontal nasal depression is well marked. Furthermore, its muzzle is square and big, with a strong jaw. It presents abundant wrinkles, and by the amount of skin folds that it has they make him see the bigger face with an extensive dewlap. Its eyes are round with good separation between them and slightly sunken. Neapolitan mastiff puppies are born with blue eyes, but these change to amber, or brown when they mature. Its nose corresponds to the color of its coat, can be black, brown, and dark brown. Its ears are triangular and of small size that falls to both sides. Sadly, the ears of this were cut, but this practice became illegal, and many countries prohibited it. Its body is longer than high, rectangular in shape, with a wide and open chest. Its tail is of medium length, thick at the base, and gradually thinning to the tip. Its extremities are long and thick. This dog breed has a short coat, is dense, hard, and rough to the touch, and may vary from different coat colors such as; blue, black, mahogany, or tawny brown, and maybe brindle patterned.


This dog has a quiet temperament and is home-loving, also very independent, and completely loyal to his family. It is an intelligent dog that can make his own decisions, it is somewhat reserved and can be distrustful to strangers if he is not used to it. Once you have your Neo puppy at home, you should educate him, and focus on his socialization. So that he gets used to living with other dogs and people. In this way you avoid having aggressiveness problems in the future in front of others, it is easy to domesticate him, so be encouraged and spend time with him. Like all the puppies, young Neos are very active but when it is an adult dog. When they reach maturity, they prefer to be calm in the house, or in the yard. An important fact is that the Neapolitan Mastiff is not suitable for apartments. This large breed requires space to move unless it is a large apartment, but I recommend that you decide to adopt it if you live at home with access to a safe garden.

Even though it has a relaxed and independent attitude, this dog deserves to share time with his family members since he can’t tolerate being alone for long and can suffer from separation anxiety, developing destructive attitudes around him and unpleasant behaviors. Therefore, dedicate him to his dose of love and affection daily. You must take into consideration that if you have young children, you must always watch them when he is with them, even if it’s not his intention, this dog is big and heavy with a lot of strength, so any unexpected movement can be dangerous for the little ones in the house. Neo Mastiff gets along very well with older children as they are older so they can enjoy moments together whether it is just resting, watching TV together, or doing any other kind of activities. This dog is not noisy and doesn’t like to bark much either. It doesn’t do it unless he has a real reason, It can also show attitude when he feels that something in his territory or a person close to him is a possible threat. They have a great instinct of protection and vigilance, they are always alert to the unknown, so you should never teach them to be aggressive as they can create tendencies that affect others, a good positive education avoids this type of situation.

You must take into account that due to the temperament, great body, and education that this english mastiff must-have, it is not recommended for first-time owners, they must have the experience to be able to control them and teach them in the best way.


Due to the amount of skin that has the Neapolitan mastiff you should always check their skin folds and wrinkles to see if it needs cleaning. I recommend that you clean them with a wet wipe and then dry it so it doesn’t get humid because bad hygiene can develop fungus and other problems. Considering their coat is short, a simple weekly brushing is enough to remove the dead coat, and bathe it only when it is dirty, or do it every couple of months. This dog has a tendency to drool a lot, so hygiene is something fundamental in them, and also this breed is not suitable for people obsessed with cleaning. You must also be aware of your dog’s teeth and maintain good hygiene to prevent dental disease. You must brush it at least 2 to 3 times a week with a special toothbrush and toothpaste for dogs to remove tartar buildup and other bacteria. You should also maintain nail care and use special nail clippers for dogs.

Thinking of its lifestyle, you must take into a reflection that exercise is something fundamental for your Neapolitan Mastiff, you should always look for ways to keep him active, making some kind of game or go for a walk with him but with great care, because if he is very sedentary and eats a lot he can develop obesity. Also, at the moment of making exercise, you must be careful in avoiding that he makes jumps, or climb stairs as they are a puppy. So they can have a good development in the bones, don’t have any problems in the future, and reach maturity in a good physical state. Moreover, you should avoid walking your dog, especially in summer when it is very hot because it can suffer from a heat stroke and can be fatal for your dog. This also applies to avoid leaving him locked in the car without enough air, or leaving him tied up somewhere without access to clean and fresh water, if it’s not treated in time it can be fatal for your pet.


Make sure you keep up with your vet’s visits at least every 6 months, as it is very important to give your dog all of his checks. Make sure it is in good condition so in this way any illness can be detected in time. Due to their large and muscular body, they can enjoy good health. But also like other dogs they can suffer from certain conditions and illnesses that can harm them if they are not given proper care. One of the main ones that are better known in dog breeds with high weight and similar proportions like a rottweiler, tend to suffer from hip dysplasia being one of the most common, it is an Inherited disease that makes the hip bone doesn’t fit with the femur, causing wear and joint pain. Then, if you see your dog limping, you should go to the vet as soon as you can as with any other changes in his behavior. Another condition that is very similar to this situation is elbow dysplasia but limping by the front legs, that with early diagnosis it can be treatable and even prevented. 

Neapolitan Mastiff is also prone to suffer also from a heart disease known as Dilated Cardiomyopathy or DCM, where the heart gets longer, thinner, and weaker, which will affect the pumping of blood in the body. The first signs can be detected in the first year of life when an electrocardiogram (ECG) detects an abnormality in the heart’s rhythm. If it isn’t treated under preventive medication and supplements with a good diet, the dog will eventually begin to feel tired, faint, have shortness of breath, and can be life-threatening.

Additionally, they can develop a skin infection called fold dermatitis that is caused by moisture trapped in the folds of the skin. The first signs of this dermatitis are redness in the skin, the appearance of sores, and bad smell can affect areas like the tail, lips, face, or any other wrinkled area. It can be treated with topical ointments or antibiotics under the recommendation of a veterinarian. In case of a serious case, it can be removed by surgery. To avoid this you should follow the steps mentioned early in the care section.

Another important thing to consider is to keep your dog wormed regularly, you can ask your vet which is the best way to apply the correct medication as there is a great variety and you can choose the one that best suits your budget. As well as keeping in touch to determine how often to apply them again. The important thing is to protect your pet from fleas and ticks, including deworming it internally to keep its intestinal system healthy.


The feeding of the Neapolitan Mastiff is mainly based on providing high-quality food, which complies with ingredients that are beneficial to their health, moreover, provide good nutrition for their growth, also in this way you can avoid future diseases. Wherever you go to get dog food you should make sure you check all the ingredients it has, and if they are the right ones for its condition. You should always allow them access to water that is clean and fresh. Plus, after every meal allows them to rest for at least 1 hour.

 Depending on the age of this dog breed you have to focus on what nutritional aspects are right for their development. These are divided into 3 stages:

  • Puppies: once your new pet is ready to be weaned, you can choose a high-quality puppy food and make sure it contains vitamins, iron, calcium, and protein. This will allow your puppy to grow in good health and without any bone or muscle problems. Pups improve with a routine, so establish and set guidelines for a moderate schedule for eating, so you can maintain it while continuing to grow, encouraging better breeding.
  • Adult: as they are large dogs they also need large doses of food. I recommend that you ask your vet what is the best amount you can give them, as it can vary according to their weight. If they exceed the amount of food and water they need, and later exercise, they can develop gastric torsions, with the consequence of great risks to their health. They must contain a high degree of protein and you can choose their feeds depending on their lifestyle, whether they are dogs that exercise constantly, or are normal life dogs or even feeds that help them lose weight if they are overweight.
  • Senior: after the age of 7 you should start focusing on what type of nutrition is most suitable for your dog. Unlike other ages, the amount of protein can be reduced in case they are in delicate health, your vet will recommend which diet is most beneficial for them.


If you decide to have a Neapolitan Mastiff puppy as a new member of your family, I recommend you opt to have it through a Neapolitan Mastiff breeder that is subscribed to the clubs of this breed and follows all the rules established to be an official breeder. Once you have contacted a reputable breeder, you have to make sure that he gives you all the necessary information about your puppy health. For example, how he was raised, his genetic history to confirm if his parents suffered from any disease, and make sure if it is a purebred, that it has all his vaccines and that it’s dewormed, also what kind of food was used in the puppy. Check how the parents, and the puppies react to the breeder to identify if they are in a healthy environment, and are not being exploited just to have benefits. An honest breeder makes sure that all parents were cared for and treated correctly by their owner and vet, besides respecting the time frame to have pups and that he is dedicated to this breed. 

You can also choose to adopt and give a second chance to live in a family to a Neo mastiff dog that is in a shelter, or with protectionists, it may be neo dogs abandoned by their previous owners as they did not know how to assume the responsibility that it takes to have this dog breed.

I hope that all this information about the Neapolitan mastiff has helped you to decide if you wish to have this dog. In case you do, and you want to take the responsibility that it deserves, you are going to have a new member of your family. This dog will be a great companion for many years, that will demonstrate its loyalty to you in the best way, to express its affection and love, to share many moments together, and to keep great memories. If you think I have missed something, or if you have any doubts please let me know in the comment section down below. 

Professor Whiskers

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