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Neopolitan Mastiff

Country/Date of Origin: Italy/100 BC

A living bit of ancient Italian history, the Neapolitan Mastiff is left over from the days of the Roman Empire where it was used to fight in the circus rings. These enormous animals were also used as home guardians, hunters of large dangerous game and war dogs. For many centuries the breed was largely ignored and it was not until after World War II that several fanciers, led by the painter Piero Scanziani, undertook the promotion of the breed and ensured its survival.

FCI Group: 2 (Working)

Other Names Body Type Personality Coat Health Concerns

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Mastino Napoletano

AKC Group: Miscellaneous

Breed Club: United States Neapolitan Mastiff Club

Rescue Club: United States Neapolitan Mastiff Club Rescue

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Body Type:

  • A gigantic member of the mastiff family with massive head and bone
  • Height: 26-29 inches (at shoulder)
  • Weight: 110-150 pounds
  • The thick tail may be docked by one-third of the length and is carried low
  • The ears are quite small and are cropped very close
  • Skin is loose and wrinkled, especially on the skull and muzzle. A prominent dewlap is required


  • Slow and deliberate in its movements; can be quite quick if aroused however
  • Alert with natural protective instincts
  • Very loyal
  • Tends to be a one-person dog


  • Short and dense with a hard texture
  • Allowed colors are black, gray, brown, blue or brindle. The nose and eye colors match that of the coat
  • Minimal grooming required

Health Concerns:

  • Subject to hip dysplasia
  • Heart disease
  • Bone cancer
  • Short lived
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Tasty Tidbits:
  • Obedience training is highly recommended. Be sure to establish the upper hand from an early age
  • These dogs drool a lot. Have plenty of towels handy
  • Males tend to be more aggressive than females

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