Neapolitan Mastiff Breed Caring and Family, Social Life, Physical Traits, Diet Info

Neapolitan Mastiff Breed Caring and Family, Social Life, Physical Traits, Diet Info

Neapolitan Mastiffs have their roots in Italy, and they are often called Mastino for short, or Mastini if referring to more than one. Another frequently used alias for this somber-looking canine is Neo. The Neapolitan Mastiff, also known as Mastino Napoletano, is a large breed dog known for its intense wrinkles and intimidating appearance. A well-trained Mastino can make for a fantastic pet.

The Neapolitan Mastiff’s enormous appearance has intimidated intruders from ancient Roman times until now. Suspicious of strangers, the profusely wrinkled, sad-looking Neapolitan Mastiff is calm and sweet among loved ones. They are majestic, powerful guardians of their owners and their property.

The U.S. Neapolitan Mastiff Club describes the Neo’s head as ‘astounding.’ The maze of folds and wrinkles, as well as the prominent drooping lips, make a Mastino look like a wax mold left out in the sun to melt. The Neapolitan Mastiff falls in the giant breed category, with an average weight of 140 pounds and an average height of 28 inches at the withers.

Female Mastinos have 6 to 12 puppies per litter once a year, and their lifespan is 8 to 10 years. Neapolitan Mastiffs are known by several other names, including Can’e Presa, Italian Mastiff, Italian Molosso, Mastino (plural Mastinos), Mastino Napoletano, and Neo. 

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What are the Breed Traits and Characteristics of Neapolitan Mastiffs?

The Neapolitan Mastiff’s intelligent but curious personalities are reasons for the Neo’s popularity. Intimidating to intruders but a giant teddy bear to the families they protect, the Neapolitan Mastiff is a silent watchdog. Their massive size makes them scary and competent. Neos have a loving temperament, and an affectionate demeanor toward their family makes them lovable companions. They’re one of the few heavy-boned, giant dogs that are cuddly and intimidating at the same time.

Yet, despite the breed’s size, they possess inner nobility and dignity along with a playfulness that typically surprises people. Although they love to play with their owners, they are pretty jealous, and having to share the attention with other dogs and people might trigger jealous reactions. Neos love their toys and become overly possessive over them, so providing early training is necessary to combat this.

More of the Neo breed’s traits and characteristics are listed in the table below.

Neapolitan Mastiff Dog Breed Features

Neapolitan Mastiff Dog Breed information


Males 26 to 31 inches

Females 24 to 29 inches


Male 150 to  200 pounds

Female 120 to 175 pounds

Relation with family

Loyal, Affectionate, Guardian, Reserved, Mellow, Relaxed, Quiet, Strong-willed

Relation with children

Playful and lovable

Relation with other dogs

Good but territorial

Shedding level

Low except during shedding seasons

Drooling level


Coat type 

Dense, smooth

Coat length

Short, no longer than 1”

Coat grooming frequency

Weekly Brushing

Relation with strangers


Playfulness level


Adaptability level


Openness to strangers


Trainability level


Energy level


Barking level


Mental stimulation needs level



8 -10 years 

How Does the Neapolitan Mastiff Interact with Family?

Neapolitan Mastiffs are very affectionate and protective of their family. Once you integrate the dog into your house, they will be loyal and loving. They’re also usually good with kids as long as they know they are part of the family.

With the Neo’s giant head, droopy look, excessive skin folds, and massive build, most people would undoubtedly think the Neapolitan Mastiff is unsuitable as a family companion and pet. However, this judgment appears far from the truth as Mastinos have proved themselves valuable and great family companions for several decades. 

The confident Neo is not just a gentle giant; it’s protective of its family and quite suspicious of strangers. The Neapolitan Mastiff needs an experienced and firm owner who can command his respect without being physically or verbally abusive. 

Neapolitan Mastiffs are so endearing that some would tend to become clingy. They love to receive attention from their favorite humans and if they are not getting any, expect these canines to jump on the sofa or do anything quirky until you get the attention they crave.

Mastinos form extraordinary bonds with their human families, showing affection for them. The display of affection could become overwhelming when the giant teddy bear-like dog wants to get onto the owner’s lap.

However, before choosing a Neo as a canine companion, take note of the breed’s tendency to drool excessively and the owner’s need always to have a towel ready to wipe away drool.

How Does the Neapolitan Mastiff Interact with Other Dogs?

Neapolitan Mastiffs are typically okay with other dogs and cats, but there is no guarantee. Like humans don’t get on with everybody, Mastinos may encounter other dogs that trigger aggressive reactions. Mastiff owners can play it safe and choose a second dog of the opposite sex, and there are more chances of aggressive reactions between two dogs of the same gender.

Early socialization can prevent dog fights and, at the same time, teach Mastinos to live peacefully with cats and other small pets. Even if they get on with other pets, their size may be a threat during playtime with smaller pets. Their loyalty and territorial traits could lead to jealousy when Mastinos have to share the attention of their human families with other dogs. 

Food guarding, also sometimes called resource guarding or possession aggression, is a relatively normal behavior in Neapolitan Mastiffs. Animals developed this behavior because, in nature, if they weren’t born with a strong drive to protect their food, they likely wouldn’t survive.

How are Neapolitan Mastiffs with Older People?

Neapolitan Mastiffs are okay with older people; however, their size could put the senior people at risk. Mastinos remain puppies until they are fully grown, only around age three to four. As long as they are still puppies, Neos continue with youthful jumping, playing, and other unruly behavior. Regardless of how strong the bond between an older person and the Mastino might pose injury risks because the massive dog’s boisterous play could knock older, fragile people down. 

How are Neapolitan Mastiffs with Children?

Neapolitan Mastiffs can be very loving towards children and babies. However, their sheer size can make Mastiffs dangerous around babies and small kids, and they can easily cause accidents, even if unintentional.

Because of that, you should always supervise your dog when they’re around young kids. That way, the dog can get to know your kids and learn that they’re okay. It also helps if you have kids when you get a young Neapolitan Mastiff so that the dog can grow up around kids. 

The earlier you socialize your Neapolitan Mastiff with kids, the better they will be around kids later. You can get a Neapolitan Mastiff if you don’t have kids now, but make sure you train it to behave around smaller kids and babies.

How are Neapolitan Mastiffs with Neighbors or Guests?

Neapolitan Mastiff puppies must learn to distinguish between neighbors and strangers who might pose threats from a young age. It is essential to socialize your Neo with as many people as possible, and this will help them grow up to be confident, friendly adult dogs. Enroll in a puppy socialization class if possible. 

Of course, if you’re there, your Neapolitan Mastiff will accept anyone you introduce. But they won’t be welcoming right away; instead, staying reserved with strangers and acquaintances until they no longer deem them threats.

What are the Physical Traits of the Neapolitan Mastiff?

Neapolitan Mastiffs have large, big-boned frames covered in loose skin that create awe-inspiring wrinkles and folds around their substantial heads. Their deeply set eyes have a piercing stare within these heavy facial wrinkles. The Neo’s medium-sized, triangular ears are sometimes cropped; when not clipped, they hang close. They have broad 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.

Due to their large size, Neapolitan Mastiffs require a lot of living space. They are a messy breed that drools, drips water after drinking, and spills food when they eat. They’ll need a large bed to sleep on; otherwise, they’ll settle on the couch and claim it as their own. They aren’t fully aware of their own size and can be clumsy at times. They also snore a lot during sleep.

Their loose skin makes them prone to skin infections, so be sure to clean all their nooks and crannies from time to time. Their coats will need brushing a couple of times per week to remove any dead hairs.

The Neapolitan Mastiff’s physical traits are summarized in the table below: 


Trait information




Male 150 to  200 pounds

Female 120 to 175 pounds


Male 26 to 30 inches

Female 24 to 28 inches

Skull/ Head

Skull – Wide flat between the ears, slightly arched at the frontal part and covered with wrinkled skin

Head – in balance with the body, when viewed from above, broad at the back tapering to the nose


Shades of amber or brown, in accordance with coat color


Medium-sized, triangular in shape Set well above the cheekbones. It May be cropped or uncropped


Very deep with the outside borders parallel giving it a “squared” appearance


Large with well-opened nostrils, and in color the same as the coat.


Scissors bite or pincer bite is standard

Exercise Needs



8 to 10 years


Dense, short

Coat color

The body is covered in loose skin with a coat that is gray, black, mahogany, or tawny


A thick tail usually hangs low or curls slightly at the end


Thick, straight, heavy bone, well-muscled

How to Feed a Neapolitan Mastiff?

Your Neapolitan Mastiff’s adult size determines its dietary needs through all life stages. Thus, base your Neo’s diet on a giant breed’s unique nutritional and digestive needs throughout its different life stages. Most dog food companies have breed-specific formulas for small, medium, large, giant, and even toy breeds. 

It is always a good idea to discuss your dog’s dietary needs with your vet to ensure you are prepared to deal with age-related issues as your Neo grows. A veterinarian can advise on diets, portion sizes, meal frequencies, and all nutrition matters to ensure your furry friend lives a long life with optimal health. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times, and some of the essential nutrients are listed below:

  • Protein
  • Fatty acids
  • Carbohydrates
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins

Avoid feeding your Neo from the table; all it does is add weight; instead, follow the advice below to ensure your furry friend’s optimal health.

Despite the Neo’s massive size, it is an agile, athletic breed that needs food containing animal proteins and carbohydrates for energy, vitamins and minerals for digestive and immune health, and omega fatty acids for coat and skin wellness. A dog of this size, activity level, and demeanor will thrive best on premium dry food because this food type contains balanced portions of the above-listed ingredients.

However, your Neapolitan Mastiff’s portion depends on life stage, health, metabolism, activity level, and of course, the brand and formula of food it eats. Feed your Neapolitan Mastiff food formulated for a giant breed with recipes for puppies, adults, and seniors, or look for a brand developed for all life stages.

The Neapolitan Mastiff’s daily cups of food should be spread over 2 to 3 meals per day. Feeding Mastinos several meals instead of one meal per day can prevent life-threatening bloat. However, fresh drinking water must always be available for your furry friend. When in doubt, consult your veterinarian. 

An example of premium food specially formulated for Mastinos and its benefits are listed below:

The best dog food for Neapolitan Mastiffs is VICTOR Purpose Performance Formula Dry Dog Food.

Keep your Neo going with VICTOR Purpose Performance Dry Dog Food. Not only does this food exclude questionable legume-based ingredients, but it includes all the goodness your dog needs for a happy, mobile, pain-free life. It’s high protein and gluten-free, so your immense canine companion can build lean muscle, not excess body fat. 

The chondroitin and glucosamine give your Neapolitan Mastiff’s joints the support they desperately need. Taurine is good for the heart, and amino acids and probiotics are excellent for digestion and immunity. VICTOR Purpose Performance Formula Dry Dog Food is ideal for giant breeds with high physical demands.

Below is a list of the benefits offered by the six formulas in the VICTOR Purpose Performance Dry Dog Food range.

  • Ideal for active pups and those with high physical demands.
  • Nutrient-dense recipe with glucosamine and chondroitin for long-term joint health.
  • Fortified with vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, protein, and amino acids.

Unique VPRO Blend promotes superior digestibility and immune system function.

  • Selenium Yeast – Supports essential metabolism, cellular regeneration, and good immune response.
  • Mineral Complexes – Promote efficient metabolic function, a strong immune system, and skin, coat, and paw pad health.
  • Prebiotics – Aid in healthy digestion and efficient immune response, which supports growth, activity, and overall well-being
  • Probiotics – Rich in metabolites that feed good digestive bacteria to support healthy digestion and strong immunity

When Neapolitan Mastiffs are healthy and active, every day is an adventure. That’s why VICTOR Purpose Performance Dry Dog Food is crafted with everything dogs need to thrive, starting with real protein as the first ingredient.

How Much Should a Neapolitan Mastiff Puppy Eat? 

The Neapolitan Mastiff is a Giant breed whose puppies need high-quality puppy food formulated for a large breed dog like the Neapolitan Mastiff. It is essential not to feed puppies all their food at once, and they should have it spread over the day. When Neo puppies become three months old, owners can provide them with three meals per day until they reach six months, reducing the food intake to 2 meals per day. Only high-quality and branded puppy food is acceptable. Guidance for feeding puppies is listed below.

  • Neapolitan Mastiff puppies need slow, sustained growth to help prevent orthopedic problems, such as hip dysplasia. Raise them on a diet designed for large-breed puppies. Whatever diet you choose shouldn’t overemphasize protein, fat, and calorie levels.
  • Neapolitan Mastiffs should be fed according to a schedule, spreading meal times two or three times per day. Getting the puppy accustomed to meals at specific times is better than leaving food out to allow feeding throughout the day.
  • The exceptions are Neapolitan Mastiffs with medical conditions like hypoglycemia or low blood sugar because they need to nibble bits of food throughout the day.
  • Never feed your puppy from the table. It only encourages begging. Everyone in the family must follow this rule.

What are the Health Tests that a Neapolitan Mastiff Should Take?

Neapolitan Mastiff breeders should have the following health tests done:

DNA Tests covering 7 main categories

  • Musculoskeletal and Dental
  • Haemolymphatic
  • Skin and Immune
  • Urogenital
  • Metabolic and Endocrine
  • Ophthalmological
  • Neurological

Other tests and Xrays: Hip and Elbow Evaluation, Patella Check, General Health Check, including Heart, Vaccines, Fleas, and Worms.

What are the common health problems of Neapolitan Mastiffs?

All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. The Neapolitan Mastiff has some health conditions that can be a concern. However, even healthy Neo should have regular veterinarian checkups. Owners should ensure the following list of health conditions are monitored throughout the dog’s life.

  • Hip dysplasia is a deformation that occurs and develops as Neapolitan Mastiff puppies grow. It is caused by loose joints that prevent the ball part of one bone from sliding smoothly in the socket of the other joint bone. Instead, it grinds and rubs in the joint, causing painful wear and tear damage as the Neo ages.
  • Elbow dysplasia happens when the growth of the elbow is disturbed. A condition called elbow dysplasia may ensue. While this condition is generally inherited, other factors, such as nutrition and exercise, also play a role in its development. Most dogs will display symptoms before the age of one – though some may not show any signs until several years old.
  • Cherry eye could be hereditary. It is a bright red, swollen, painful-looking eye caused by a prolapsed gland of the nictitans. It occurs after a tear gland in a dog’s third eyelid becomes inflamed.
  • Entropion is a condition where the eyelid rolls inward, causing the eyelashes to rub against the cornea (surface of the eyeball). It can happen in any dog breed; however, your Mastiff is especially at risk for this heritable disorder.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a progressive degenerative disease affecting the retina, leading to blindness.
  • Autoimmune thyroiditis occurs when the immune system attacks the thyroid gland.
  • Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) or Gastric Torsion – often known as ‘bloat’, is a life-threatening disorder that happens when a dog’s stomach fills with gas and becomes twisted.  To protect your pup from GDV, feed your dog smaller meals throughout the day and wait an hour before and after mealtimes before exercising. 
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a disease associated with the heart. Reputable breeders will screen their dogs for this disease and will not breed dogs that have it.
  • A Cleft palate is a congenital disability that leaves an opening between the mouth and nose. Many puppies with this condition die, and others often experience complications like slow growth, difficulty breathing, or infections.
  • Demodectic mange (also known as red mange, follicular mange, or puppy mange) is a skin disease, generally of young dogs, caused by the mite Demodex canis.
  • Fold dermatitis Involves all those loose skin on the Neapolitan Mastiff can be a detriment if your dog gets fold dermatitis in those folds. This is essentially an infection that exists in the pocket between folds of skin, the perfect place for bacteria to grow. Make sure to clean and dry your Mastiff thoroughly and regularly to avoid fold dermatitis.

You can minimize the chances of serious health concerns in a Neapolitan Mastiff by purchasing a Neo from a reputable breeder who engages in responsible breeding practices and screening for common diseases and conditions.

Are Neapolitan Mastiffs Hypoallergenic?

Neapolitan Mastiffs are not thought to be hypoallergenic dogs, and Mastinos are better dog breeds for people who suffer from allergies. This is because they shed very little, and their coats do not produce dander, triggering an allergic reaction in some individuals.

What is the Exercise Need of a Neapolitan Mastiff?

Like other large breeds, Neapolitan mastiffs are prone to bone damage if they jump around too much while they’re puppies because it can lead to bone deformation as they grow. Neos need a daily walk but aren’t overly energetic and don’t require vast amounts of exercise. They don’t react well to hot weather, so it’s best to walk them in the cool mornings or evenings during the warmer months. 

Although large and powerful, Neapolitan Mastiffs have relatively weak limbs that shouldn’t be stressed lest they develop joint and hip complications. Your Mastino is a giant that requires gentle play, and this means no aggressive running and no over-tiring your puppy in the name of training. You should steer clear of the Neapolitan Mastiff if a jogging companion is what you’re after.

Instead of jogs and sprints, you should embrace daily walks with your Mastino if you want to keep them healthy, happy, and fit. Since Neapolitan Mastiffs tend to overheat when it’s hot and sunny, try your best to train them when the weather is friendly enough. 

What are the nutritional needs of Neapolitan Mastiffs?

The nutritional needs of a Neapolitan Mastiff include high levels of specific nutrients. The essential nutrients for the Neo are listed below.

  • Protein: Neapolitan Mastiffs need natural animal protein, valuable for the amino acids essential for Neo’s health. Equally important is the fact that protein builds lean muscles and provides energy.
  • Fat: Animal protein provides adequate fat, an additional energy source that boosts the Neapolitan Mastiff’s metabolism. However, there is a fine line between enough and too much. Excessive fat levels in the dog’s daily diet could result in weight gain and, ultimately, obesity. Most importantly, adults and senior Neapolitan Mastiffs need lower fat levels than puppies.
  • Carbohydrates: Although carbs are not essential nutrients, they are crucial energy sources. Giving the Neapolitan Mastiff sufficient carbs will provide energy, encouraging the body’s protein absorption to build lean muscle. Beware, though, that too many carbohydrates can lead to obesity.
  • DHA: DHA is one of the components of omega-3 fatty acids. It promotes proper eye and brain development in Neapolitan Mastiff puppies, and DHA develops cognitive development in puppies and slows cognitive decline in older dogs. Furthermore, omega fatty acids benefit aging Mastinos by treating chronic kidney disease and canine arthritis. Omega-3 oils improve the coat health of the Neapolitan Mastiff.
  • Micronutrient: Taurine is one micronutrient that aids heart health, and other valuable micronutrients for promoting strong joints in Neapolitan Mastiffs are chondroitin and glucosamine.
  • Minerals: Beneficial minerals for a Neapolitan Mastiff’s growth include a healthy balance of phosphorus and calcium. Pre- and probiotics and chelated minerals provide additional health to the diets of Mastinos.

What is the Shedding Level of Neapolitan Mastiffs?

Neapolitan Mastiffs have short bristly fur that goes through a shed once a year, usually in late spring or summer. The great thing about Mastinos is you’ll never have to worry about getting their hair trimmed or styled.

What is the Coat Grooming Frequency of Neapolitan Mastiffs?

Grooming Neapolitan Mastiffs requires daily brushings, or at least a few times a week, to remove any dead hair, so you don’t have short bristly fur stuck all over the house. It can be a nightmare to remove when a Mastino’s hair gets trapped inside the skin folds. Grooming a dog as big as the Mastino can be tiresome. There are a lot of acreages to cover.

Be warned that the Neapolitan Mastiff requires a lot of attention to hygiene. So in case you opt for this friendly giant, be prepared to do the ‘dirty work’ to keep them clean. Take extra care when cleaning the folds to ensure you remove dirt build-up and bacteria, which are notorious for causing infections.

You’ll also need to regularly brush a Neapolitan Mastiff’s mouth if you don’t want their drool and breath to stink.

Coat grooming is essential for various reasons, as listed below.

  • Grooming gives your dog a healthy look and promotes hygiene. 
  • Proper grooming lowers the risks of skin infections.
  • Your Neapolitan Mastiff smells nice through grooming, thus raising the hygiene conditions.
  • Grooming promotes the growth and development of a lustrous and shiny coat.
  • Grooming allows you to check for fleas and take early preventive and treatment measures.
  • Proper grooming lowers the risks of ear infections since you can check the ears and wipe them dry after grooming regularly.
  • While grooming, you can check the skin folds for any skin problems and alert the vet before they worsen.
  • Grooming boosts the bond between you and your Neapolitan Mastiff Dog.

Your dog should be calm during grooming. Short walks before the grooming session will calm your Neo, thus ensuring they remain still during the grooming process. You can also give your Neo their favorite treat to munch on while you groom them. Grooming must be enjoyable and a stress-free process for your Neapolitan Mastiff.

What is the Drooling Level of Neapolitan Mastiffs?

As a Mastino owner, you should expect to find trails of drool everywhere your Mastiff goes. It’ll be most pronounced any time they eat, drink, get warm, get excited, or do pretty much anything. Basically, they drool all the time.

However, drooling is a natural process, and although Neos drool all the time, the primary triggers of drooling are listed below, which, in Mastinos, will increase drooling levels.

  • The thought of delicious meals like a favorite treat or meat
  • Mouth and throat problems like fractures in the mouth, throat, or esophagus.
  • Plaque build-up can also irritate the mouth and cause excessive saliva.
  • A foreign object stuck in the throat prevents swallowing, thus causing drooling. 
  • Growth in the mouth also stimulates drooling.
  • Stomach upsets.
  • Excessive heat, especially during summer
  • The main symptom of diseases like kidney disease, liver problems, seizures, botulism, and rabies is drooling.
  • Motion sickness and anxiety. Dogs who do not like traveling will get anxious whenever they board a car. Stress makes dogs pant and breathe with their mouths open, thus causing drooling.
  • Excitement and agitation make dogs drool.
  • Sexual excitement, like when a male Neo spots a female Neo in heat, causes drooling. Likewise, a female in her heat cycle might drool if she picks up the scent of a male.

What is the Coat Type of the Neapolitan Mastiff?

Neapolitan Mastiffs have a distinctive coat. The coat is dense, short, and loose-fitting, especially the head and face.

What is the Coat Length of the Neapolitan Mastiff?  

The Neapolitan Mastiff has a short coat no longer than one inch. The colors include solid gray, black, mahogany, and tawny or in tan brindle, in which the dog appears dark with tan stripes. A Neo with a white spot on the head is disqualified from the show ring, but it doesn’t affect their companion or guardian ability.

What are the Social Traits of the Neapolitan Mastiff Breed?

The social traits of the Neapolitan Mastiff are affection, playfulness, friendliness, and possessive nature. The Neapolitan Mastiffs are intelligent and learn fast, but they can be bored with long training sessions. Mastinos are fun-loving and have the charm to lighten you up when you are not in a happy mood. Your furry giant will follow you around, lean against you, and use those soulful eyes to get you to smile and be happy, and when you react, your Mastino will cuddle and lick you, all accompanied by a lot of tail wagging.

 Other social traits of Neapolitan Mastiffs include the following:

  • Elderly-friendly: Neapolitan Mastiffs love playing with their family, from children to grandparents. However, they are highly energetic and may exhaust the seniors if playtime is long. In addition, Mastinos enjoy playing rough and can easily hurt the elderly hence constant supervision is vital.
  • Children-friendly: Neapolitan Mastiffs enjoy running around or chasing after children. However, young children are too fragile to be part of the boisterous play when Mastinos are involved. Neos could unintentionally hurt small children. Older children would be safer playmates for these giant dogs. However, regardless of whether there are small kids in the family, Neapolitan Mastiffs should be properly socialized.
  • Family-friendly: Having this wonderful breed around will help improve your family’s overall health. His constant display of affection causes your body to release the hormone called “oxytocin, ” also known as the “good mood hormone.” Having your Neo around, the warm and fuzzy feelings you’ll feel are linked to decreasing stress and anxiety levels.
  • Pet-friendly: Neapolitan Mastiffs can get along great with cats and other animals, especially if they’re raised with them. However, their massive size poses dangers to smaller pets because the Mastino could unintentionally hurt them even in play.
  • Cautious with strangers: Neapolitan Mastiffs tend to be suspicious of strangers. They will show their suspicion by barking whenever they see an unfamiliar person. Their strong bond with family makes them aloof towards strangers, but you can reduce this through training on proper socialization behavior. Taking your Neo with you whenever you visit other people’s houses also helps in lowering their aggression towards strangers. Your Neo will learn to interact with new people and become less suspicious of strangers. 
  • Cautious with new dogs: Neapolitan Mastiffs often show aggressive behavior towards other animals, especially those of the same sex. However, their aggression is seldom the reaction to feeling threatened but jealousy instead.

How Do Neapolitan Mastiffs Interact with Strangers?

Neapolitan Mastiffs are not friendly toward strangers. The Neapolitan dog is wise enough to identify who is a threat and who isn’t. If your kids got home earlier than you did, you don’t have to be worried about their safety, more so if the dog has been intensively trained to guard. 

Is the Neapolitan Mastiff Playful?

Neapolitan Mastiffs are very playful with older children, adults, and even senior citizens and make excellent family dogs. However, for the giant-sized Mastino, the size of very young children may seem like playthings instead of tiny humans, and Neapolitan Mastiffs love to play with toys. Therefore, homes with young children and Mastinos should have separate areas to keep them until the children are older.

Are Neapolitan Mastiffs Protective?

There is no breed quite as loyal as the Neopolitan Mastiff. They are a loving and protective breed, and they become entirely devoted to their family and have strong protective instincts. It means that they will always be wary of strangers and may not be over the moon when meeting other dogs.

The Neapolitan Mastiff is known to have a strong history as a protector. He was widely used as a guard dog who would constantly patrol properties and estates in the past. His intimidating image can easily scare away anyone who would think about trespassing on the territory.

What is the Adaptability Level of Neapolitan Mastiffs?

Neapolitan Mastiffs are highly adaptable. Even if relocating from a farm or a ranch to an apartment in the city, they will quickly adapt if they are not separated from their human families. They would even live happily in an apartment; however, the apartment would have to be spacious enough for such a massive canine companion. Neos don’t need a lot of exercise, and as long as they can go for a daily walk outdoors, apartment living would not be a problem.

What are the Personality Traits of Neapolitan Mastiffs?

Neapolitan Mastiffs are giant dogs that can be stubborn when they feel like it. And they’ll feel like it quite often. Raising a Neo is equally frustrating and rewarding. Most of the time, their stubbornness will result in adorable antics that will make you laugh and cry. 

They are a bit more sensitive than other dog breeds, and soft punishment affects them emotionally. Neapolitan Mastiffs don’t tolerate irregular daily routines, noisy households, and frequent guest visits. They are receptive to their owner’s emotions and make excellent family companions.

Their enormous size means you aren’t going to be able to move them to where you want if they decide not to listen. And the Neos’ tendency to be lazy means you could spend more time trying to command them to stand up and move than you will spend walking them. It’s not uncommon to see a Neapolitan Mastiff who refuses to sit or walk on command, and they’ll just as soon lay down instead.

Neos is also a sensitive breed. Their feelings can get hurt, and they often respond much like a toddler. You can expect them to get disobedient and refuse to listen when they’re upset. Even worse, your Neo might decide to get destructive. 

Can Neapolitan Mastiffs be Aggressive?

Neos may seem like a calm and lazy breed, but they always know what’s going on around them, even if it doesn’t seem that way. They will be ready at a moment’s notice if they feel that you are under threat. They aren’t usually aggressive, as their large size and deep bark usually are enough to scare any sensible criminal away, but they will show aggression if the threat persists.

Can Neapolitan Mastiffs be Dangerous?

The Neapolitan Mastiff’s love can manifest in several ways. One of these is his undying loyalty to guarantee that everyone is safe. Your Mastino won’t hesitate to protect you from intruders. Even though a Neo is not the fastest mover, it’s guaranteed that he’ll persist in being unmovable, especially when it comes to defending you, and that could be dangerous.

Do Neapolitan Mastiffs Ever Attack?

Neapolitan Mastiffs are more standoffish than aggressive with people they don’t know. If they weren’t properly socialized as pups, they could be aggressive towards other dogs. But for the most part, Neos stand their ground and won’t go on the offensive unless clearly provoked or they sense immediate danger to themselves or their family

Can Neapolitan Mastiffs Kill Humans?

Yes, Neapolitan Mastiffs can kill humans, although it is unlikely. Neos are exceptionally protective of their human families, but certain circumstances could drive any dog to attack violently. 

In a tragic 2020 case, an 11-year-old girl in Georgia was mauled to death while she was alone with two Neapolitan Mastiffs in her home’s basement, which was where the two giant dogs were kept. Nobody witnessed the attack, and an older sister discovered her deceased sister later.

Do Neapolitan Mastiffs cope with being left alone?

The Mastino does not do very well when left alone. The Neapolitan Mastiff breed feels happy to be around his family and would show great sadness if he’s left alone without anything to do. Interact with him regularly, which usually happens around exercise, training, and leisure time. Generally, your Neo shouldn’t be left alone for more than 4 hours. The length of time will vary depending on his age, health, and more. 

Can I leave my Neapolitan Mastiff at home?

Neapolitan mastiffs tend to be big babies who do not tolerate being left alone well. They prefer to be at home with one of their human companions present. Many Neos tend to favor one family member, and when that person has to run an errand, the Mastino will be okay if the rest of the family is there, but that doesn’t mean your Neo’s face won’t be even more somber than usual.

Can Neapolitan Mastiffs be left alone for 8 hours?

Neos need company, and they do not enjoy spending time alone for many hours and may develop separation anxiety. Don’t get a Neapolitan Mastiff if you must leave him on his own for hours on end. You can, however, leave him alone for short periods, ideally crated with a favorite dog toy or a puzzle toy to keep him occupied. Leaving your Neo alone for more than four hours at a time is not recommended. If there is no other way, getting a dog walker or a sitter for a part of the day prevents separation anxiety.

How to Train a Neapolitan Mastiff?

Neapolitan Mastiffs are not the fastest learners, but they can be trained after some time. Mastinos will need a firm but fair leader for training. They can be very stubborn in wanting to be the boss, which can make it hard to train a Neapolitan Mastiff, and it can take more time for them to learn from you and do what you want.

The earlier you start training the Neapolitan Mastiff, the better. When you start young, they won’t have as much time to become stubborn so that you can teach them like any other puppy. You may still need to be strict with them, but you shouldn’t be mean.

When training, offer praise and treats when the dog does something good. And if others in your family are training, you all need to be consistent with how and when you train the dog. That way, your Neapolitan Mastiff will learn what is okay.

Socialization and obedience training are two areas you can’t compromise on when dealing with Mastinos. Therefore, be prepared to expose them to as many people and pets as possible immediately after bringing them home. While it’s essential to train your dog to socialize with other people and household pets, try your best to do it gradually, since overdoing it can overwhelm your little pup, making them rebellious and unresponsive.

How Frequently does a Neapolitan Mastiff Bark?

Neapolitan Mastiffs dogs are calm, naturally protective, intelligent, and loving. And although a Mastino isn’t known to bark incessantly, they can get quite loud and aggressive if they detect impending danger. 

However, the frequency of your Mastinos bark will not be enough to upset your neighbors. Most dogs have different-sounding barks for different purposes, and after all, that is the only way canines can have their say.

Below is a list of bark types that owners will learn to recognize. 

  • Neapolitan Mastiffs hate being left alone, and one way of coping with loneliness is barking. 
  • A lack of exercise and anxiety can also trigger barking.
  • Alarm barking is when your Neo is barking as a way of alerting you of approaching danger. Alarm barking can save you from danger; however, Mastinos may bark before ascertaining that there is a real danger.  
  • Another type of barking is demand barking, where a Neo feels entitled to something or your attention and would bark as a way of demanding their rights. This type can be lowered through proper training and ignoring the barking.
  • The Neapolitan Mastiff uses arousal barking to show their frustrations.
  • Boredom barking signals that your Neapolitan Mastiff is tired or bored due to being left alone or infrequent exercises. 
  • Frequent barking can be a nuisance to both the owner and neighbors. Some types of barking tend to be monotonous and continuous. 

Even though Neapolitan Mastiffs are not typically nuisance barkers, knowing their language might come in handy. However, if your Neo is the exception to the rule, below are some positive and negative motivators that might help to change your canine companion’s barking habits.

  • Whenever your Mastino starts barking, command him to be quiet and if your Neo obeys, reward him with his favorite treat or toy. If he disobeys your command, withdraw some benefits like not giving him his favorite toy.
  • Engage Neo in her favorite activity or exercise. Tired Mastinos might sleep while you are away.
  • Look for attractive toys that would keep your Neapolitan Mastiff busy while you are away.
  • Continuous barking might call for a visit to the vet.

What is the need for Mental Stimulation of a Neapolitan Mastiff?

The need for mental stimulation of a Neapolitan Mastiff is essential as it lowers the risks of destructive behaviors resulting from boredom. Mastinos are smart and learn fast, and they need regular mental stimulation. The playful and intelligent nature of Mastinos further calls for frequent mental activity. There are different ways of mentally stimulating your Neo, and some of them are listed below.

  • Playing with interactive games or toys, including dog puzzles and canine board games.
  • Encourage sniffing during regular evening walks.
  • Provide healthy chews like dehydrated sweet potato strips. Chewing for more extended periods calms the brain, thus lowering stress levels.
  • Hide and seek games
  • Drop and fetch games
  • Regular walks

These mental stimulation techniques should start at an early stage. Neapolitan Mastiffs who are Six years and older tend to have problems with their thinking ability. The primary signs of mental disorientation are listed below.

  • Excessive anxiety.
  • Frequent accidents.
  • Failure to recall previously learned commands.
  • Changes in sleep and wake patterns.
  • Low interest in physical activities.
  • Poor social skills.

What are the Breed Standards of Neapolitan Mastiff?

An ancient breed rediscovered in Italy in the 1940s. The Neapolitan Mastiff is a heavy-boned, massive, awe-inspiring dog bred for use as a guard and defender of owner and property. He is characterized by loose skin over his entire body, abundant, hanging wrinkles and folds on the head, and a voluminous dewlap. The essence of the Neapolitan is his bestial appearance, astounding head, and imposing size and attitude. Due to his massive structure, his characteristic movement is rolling and lumbering, not elegant or showy.

Some of the breed standards of Neapolitan Mastiffs are given in the table below.

Breed Standards 

Neapolitan Mastiff Breed Information 


Solid coats of gray (blue), black, mahogany, and tawny, and the lighter and darker shades of these colors. Some brindling is allowable in all colors


Neapolitan Mastiffs are very large, classified as a Giant breed

Eye Color 

Shades of amber or brown, in accordance with coat color

Average Weight 

Neapolitan Mastiff Males150 pounds Females 110 pounds 

Average Height

Neapolitan Mastiff Male 26 to 31 inches Females 24 to 29 inches

Average lifespan 

Neapolitan Mastiff Dogs have a lifespan of 8 to 10 years

What is the General Information about Neapolitan Mastiff?

Many of the Neo’s unique traits, the wrinkles, loose skin, massive bone, and lumbering gait, result from generations of selective breeding in the Neapolitan with little to no influence from other breeds. The result is an assortment of recessive genes, making breeding this dog successfully a challenge.

It seems only natural for such a large dog to be a bit clumsy. At weights up to 200 pounds, when a Neapolitan Mastiff is ungainly, it can cause serious accidents. They will accidentally knock over ornaments, plants, chairs, and more. Worse, they can accidentally knock over little children or frail older people without meaning to.

There are several subtle and other distinct differences between the two sexes of the Neapolitan Mastiff. Male Mastinos are generally the larger dogs, reaching 31 inches in height compared to the 29 inches that females top out at. Similarly, males occupy the high end of the weight range as well.

Regarding temperament, the female Neapolitan Mastiff appears to be more docile while the males tend to exhibit more aggressive behaviors. This is especially true about how they behave towards other dogs, and males tend to be aggressive towards other dogs, particularly other males.

Neapolitan Mastiffs are more standoffish than they are aggressive with people they don’t know. If they weren’t properly socialized as pups, they could be aggressive towards other dogs. But for the most part, Neos stand their ground and won’t go on the offensive unless clearly provoked or they sense immediate danger to themselves or their family.

Where to Buy or Adopt a Neapolitan Mastiff?

A purebred Neapolitan Mastiff’s price can range between $5,600 and $8,500. Lower prices are generally available within shelters and rescues, but puppies can cost as much as $10,000 from top breeders. Black Neapolitan Mastiffs are specially bred and are the most expensive variety. 

If you want to bring a Neapolitan Mastiff home, you should not rush. The only “purebreds” available upon request are not the real thing and are likely bred on puppy farms. The more realistic way is to put your name on a waiting list, and while you’re waiting, learn as much as you can about this giant dog in the cutest little dog body.

Finding a reputable breeder or rescue facility is crucial. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy and will, without question, have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as possible. They are more interested in placing pups in suitable homes than making big bucks. 

Be wary of breeders who only tell you the good things about the breed or make irrational promises to promote the dogs. Be especially suspicious when you are offered a two-for-the-price-of-one deal. 

Neapolitan Mastiff puppies are adorable, and it’s one of the reasons they are so popular. Cute puppies sell, making the Neo a favorite of puppy mills and greedy, irresponsible breeders. Do your homework before buying one of these little dogs, and you’ll be well rewarded with a beautiful companion dog.

The best way to ensure you get a healthy Neapolitan Mastiff puppy from a breeder or a rescue organization is to reach out to the registered organizations for the specific breed, if available. The Neapolitan Mastiff is recognized by the AKC, UKC, and FIC, listed below, along with other registered kennel clubs that might put potential Neo owners in touch with reputable breeders. 

  • Fédération Cynologique Internationale (International)
  • United Kennel Club (International)
  • The Kennel Club (United Kingdom)
  • American Kennel Club Market Place
  • United States Neapolitan Mastiff Club (USNMC)
  • Knuckleheads Neapolitan Mastiffs in Clarence, Mo.
  • Europetnet
  • Canadian Kennel Club
  • Continental Kennel Club
  • United All Breed Registry
  • International Canine Association

If you manage to track down Neapolitan Mastiff breeders, make sure you go to the facility and insist on meeting both the puppies’ parents so that you can get a feel for their temperament. Neapolitan Mastiff puppies are often peppy and playful—all should have cheery expressions and kind eyes. 

It might take some time to find a legitimate breeder, and travel may very well be in the cards. Steer clear of backyard breeding by avoiding sales sites and ad pages. When you select a breeder, make sure they have proof of successful, healthy litters with any documentation necessary.

You might find a Neapolitan Mastiff puppy or a rescued adult to adopt or buy from abroad, but not all countries allow importing adopted dogs. Those whose countries will enable the importation of Neapolitan Mastiffs may find the logistics challenging. 

Procedures include obtaining certification from a vet to prove the Neapolitan Mastiff is fully vaccinated and providing all the additional required veterinary documents before the travel. Furthermore, your country must approve the veterinarian to authorize the importation, and it will be your responsibility to ensure you use the services of a certified vet.

What are the Rescue Clubs for Neapolitan Mastiffs?

There are millions of homeless dogs worldwide; many are purebreds needing homes. Adopting a Neapolitan Mastiff can be life-changing, not only for the dog but also for the adopter. If you prefer adoption over purchasing a pup from a breeder, then your first stop should be the National Neapolitan Mastiff Rescue website. A Neapolitan Mastiff rescue group is an excellent idea if you want to adopt an older dog or even a Neapolitan Mastiff mix.

Neapolitan Mastiff mixes may be available for adoption in shelters and rescues. If you want to adopt an AKC registered or a mixed breed Neapolitan Mastiff, the best first step is to contact shelters and breed-specific rescues to let them know you’re interested.

Below is a list of several Neapolitan Mastiff mixes.

  • Neapolitan Mastiff x Bullmastiff mix = Neo Bullmasti
  • Neapolitan Mastiff x Dogue de Bordeau mix = Ultimate Mastiff
  • Neapolitan Mastiff x English Mastiff mix =Englian Mastiff
  • Neapolitan Mastiff x German Shepherd mix = Neapolitan Shepherd
  • Neapolitan Mastiff x Great Dane mix = Neo Daniff

Neapolitan Mastiff mixes adopted from a shelter may share physical characteristics of the breed, but their temperament may not match the breed standard. Shelters and rescues attempt to determine each dog’s personality through a series of evaluations; even if the dog’s temperament does not follow the breed standard, you can get the dog that suits your home. 

The adoption fee for a Neo from a rescue group or animal shelter will probably be between $150 and $200. Most dogs from rescue groups and shelters will be vaccinated, microchipped, spayed/neutered, and vetted before adoption

You can also reach out to your local rescue organization or animal shelter and ask if they have any Neapolitan Mastiffs or related mixes available for adoption. If not, you can always put your name on a list so that when one comes in, you’re the first one they call.

Below is a list of registered rescue centers and kennel clubs to reach out to for guidance.

  • Canada Guide To Dogs (National Neapolitan Mastiff Rescue, Inc.)
  • Canada Neapolitan Mastiff Dog Rescue Group
  •  US Neapolitan Mastiff Club’s rescue network
  • Neo rescue
  • American Neapolitan Mastiff Rescue Alliance

Facebook is another resource for pet adoption. You can search for Neapolitan Mastiff rescue groups in your region.

You can also search for adoptable Neapolitan Mastiffs online through reliable websites such as


What is the History of the Neapolitan Mastiff?

Few breeds have a history as rich and long as the Neapolitan Mastiff. Long ago, Alexander the Great brought giant Macedonian war dogs with him as he conquered the known world. Those beasts were bred with similarly-sized shorthaired dogs from India, creating the Molossus that is the father to many massive modern breeds.

From there, the dogs were used by the Romans in their exploits. When the Romans invaded Britain in 55 B.C., they discovered that the British already had some fierce canine giants of their own. The Molossus and the British dogs were interbred, creating an impressive and gigantic dog unmatched as a war animal.

These new dogs were called Mastini, and they were used in war and gladiator battles. They made their way to Naples, Italy, where breeders slowly improved the breed over centuries as they guarded the homes of Italian nobles.

But the breed remained very secret until the mid-1940s when one of the rare dogs was spotted at a dog show in Naples. The breed was then standardized and eventually made its way to America in the 1970s.

After World War II, the Neapolitan Mastiff was all but extinct. After the war, Italian painter Piero Scanziani saved the breed by setting up a kennel where breeders could evolve the Mastiffs in Italy at that time into a formal breed.

Hunters then went on to use the Neapolitan Mastiff as a bait dog. Animals that the hulking Neapolitan Mastiff could successfully bait included bears, bulls, and jaguars.

What is the Average Maintenance Cost for Neapolitan Mastiffs?

The prices of Neapolitan Mastiffs range between $5,600 and $8,500. The cost of a puppy from a registered breeder could vary, depending on the breeder you select, the location, the sex of the puppy, and, of course, the demand for the breed at the time. 

The bloodline of the puppy and its parents could also affect the price. You will be hard-pressed to find this breed in a shelter, but if you do, the price could be $300 to $500, based on the cost of care provided while keeping the Neapolitan Mastiff and extras like vaccinations and sterilizations. 

It is always best to consider annual expenses related to maintaining your Neapolitan Mastiff and its wellbeing before making the purchase. The first year will be the most expensive, as puppies require extra vet care and more one-time purchases like microchips, sterilization, licensing, etc. You can expect to spend about $6,900 for your dog’s first year. After that, the price will go down to about $2,100 a year.  

Food and medical only, excluding toys, food and water bowls, cages, doggy blankets, beds, etc., could cost an average of $850. The most regular annual expenses for dogs similar to the Neapolitan Mastiff are listed below.

  • Food items
  • Veterinary care
  • Vaccinations
  • Preventive medicine
  • Toys
  • Pet insurance
  • Pet Supplies

Other potential expenses include training, socializing, doggy daycare, dog sitters, dog walkers, etc. Grooming would likely not affect the maintenance costs of Neapolitan Mastiffs because they don’t need professional grooming about once per month to trim and bathe the Neo.

How to Name a Neapolitan Mastiff?

Choosing a name for your Neapolitan Mastiff involves essential building blocks, including the significance of the sound. The Neo’s name will mean something to the humans in the dog’s life, but for your canine companion, only the sound matters. Neapolitan Mastiffs respond best to two-syllable names that are not short enough to be confused with single-syllable command words like “sit,” stay,” “come,” and “down.” However, the names should not be long enough to become puzzling.

It is always a good idea not to rush into choosing a name. Spend a week or so with your new Neo pup, and its character traits might be all the inspiration you need. Call out any name ideas, using different tones and sounds for the two syllables, and watch your puppy’s reaction to the sound. Remember, you must compose a sound that your Neo will recognize from a distance, among many other sounds. 

Choose a name that could sound different in regular interaction and yelling or calling your Neapolitan Mastiff. Below is a list of suggestions of names inspired by your Neo’s ancestors and famous owners. 

Neapolitan Mastiff Breed Names

Inspired by their size

Neapolitan Mastiff Boy Names

Neapolitan Mastiff Girl Names





















What are the Different Types of Neapolitan Mastiffs?

Some people view the mastiff as one breed, but in reality, there are over 14 different individual breeds within the mastiff family. When most people think of a mastiff, they think of a very large, overpowering dog or a guard dog. While this is true as a rule, there are many individual differences between the breeds. 

Below is a list of some of the Mastiff varieties:  

  • English Mastiff.
  • Bullmastiff.
  • Tibetan Mastiff.
  • Neapolitan Mastiff.
  • Cane Corso.
  • Dogo Argentino.
  • Anatolian Mastiff.
  • American Mastiff

What Dog Breeds are Similar to the Neapolitan Mastiff?

Neapolitan Mastiffs may not be too difficult to find, but purebreds are expensive and involve long waiting lists. Finding a Neo at a rescue center might be equally challenging because they are so popular. However, As wonderful of a dog as the Neapolitan Mastiff may be, they aren’t for everyone. Here are some dogs that are similar to the Neapolitan Mastiffs:

Below is a list of similar breeds that might be a good match for your family.

  • American Bulldog: This one belongs to the Mastiff family but has a shorter and coarser coat. It is also known to be far more aggressive than the Neapolitan Mastiff, making it better suited to a child-free home. more about American Bulldog Social life care & diet information.
  • Bull Mastiff: Another from the Mastiff family, the Bull Mastiffs are known to be loyal and affectionate. Like the Neapolitan Mastiffs, they are also very protective.
  • Pug: Just like the Neapolitan Mastiff dogs, these dogs also require little grooming and are prone to several health problems. They are much smaller than the Neapolitan Mastiff, making them better suited to apartments and small homes.

Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is an animal lover and the proud dog-mom of a Golden Retriever named Brody and an Italian Greyhound named Jessup. Unfortunately, Jessup developed serious allergies to many different types of dog foods and ingredients when she was just a puppy. Meanwhile, Brody could eat seemingly anything and carry on as healthy as could be. Sarah spent hours of time researching and testing different foods and brands before finding something that worked for little Jessup. She wants Dog Food Care to simplify this experience for future dog-parents who face food allergy or tolerance issues of their own.