The Neopolitan Mastiff, also known as the Italian Mastiff or Mastino Napoletano, is a large and powerful breed that has a rich history and a loyal following. These massive guardian dogs with their furrowed brows and wrinkled faces can appear intimidating at first glance. However, despite their imposing physical structure, these powerful dogs are quite gentle and affectionate. 

The Mastino Napoletano has captured the hearts of many, and their distinctive appearance and unique personality make them stand out among other breeds. But the question is, are these powerful mastiffs right for you?

In this article we will try to find an answer to this question by exploring the Neapolitan Mastiff’s history, temperament and needs. 

Origins And History Check If Information Is Correct

Origins And History

The Neapolitan Mastiff can trace its origins back to ancient Rome. It is believed that these ancestors are descendants of the powerful molossser dogs 

These dogs were used as war dogs, gladiators, and guardians of property and livestock. With the fall of the Roman Empire, the breed’s popularity declined, and it was on the brink of extinction until it was revived in the 1940s by Piero Scanziani, an Italian dog fancier. 

The exact origin of the Neapolitan Mastiff is unclear, but it is believed to have descended from ancient Molossian war dogs that existed in ancient Greece and Rome. These dogs were used by the Romans in warfare and were also kept as guardians and protectors of homes and estates. 

Ancient History 

The Neapolitan Mastiff’s ancestors were present in the Italian region of Campania as early as 700 BC. They were known for their impressive size, strength, and loyalty. The breed’s name is derived from the city of Naples, which was an important center for the development and preservation of the breed. 

The Neapolitan Mastiff’s imposing appearance and protective nature made it a favored choice among the nobility and the wealthy in Italy. They were used to guard estates, livestock, and property. Over the centuries, the breed’s popularity waned, and they faced near-extinction during World War II. 

Revival and Modern Development: 

After World War II, a dedicated group of Italian breed enthusiasts, led by Piero Scanziani, worked to revive the Neapolitan Mastiff. They scoured the Italian countryside to find surviving specimens and began a breeding program to reestablish the breed. 

The breed’s revival was successful, and by the 1970s, the Neapolitan Mastiff gained recognition and popularity beyond Italy. In 1949, the breed standard was established, and in 1949, the Italian Kennel Club (ENCI) officially recognized the Neapolitan Mastiff. 

Spread and Recognition: 

In the following decades, the Neapolitan Mastiff gained recognition and popularity in various countries. It was recognized by major kennel clubs, including the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 2004. 

Neapolitan Mastiff: Breed Overview in Brief

Breed Overview

Neapolitan Mastiffs are known for their massive size, impressive strength and unique appearance. If you want to know if this breed is for you, check out the breed overview below:  


The Neopolitan Mastiff is a large and muscular dog with a massive head and a deep, wrinkled face. They have a thick and loose skin that forms folds and wrinkles all over their body, giving them a unique and intimidating appearance. These dogs have a short and dense coat that comes in various shades of grey, black, and fawn. 

One of the most striking features of the Neopolitan Mastiff is its size. These dogs can weigh up to 200 pounds and stand at a height of 30 inches at the shoulder. Their powerful and bulky build makes them look like a force to be reckoned with, and their massive size can be intimidating to those who are not familiar with the breed. 


Despite their intimidating appearance, the Neopolitan Mastiff is a gentle and loving companion. They are known for their calm and patient demeanor, making them excellent family dogs. However, their strong protective instinct and territorial nature make them excellent guard dogs as well. 

These dogs are also known to be loyal and devoted to their owners and will do anything to protect their family. They are not aggressive by nature, but they will not hesitate to defend their loved ones if they sense a threat. This makes them a great choice for families looking for a devoted and protective companion. 

Training and Exercise 

As with any large breed, proper training and socialization are essential for Neapolitan Mastiffs. These dogs are intelligent and eager to please, making them easy to train. However, they can be stubborn at times, so consistency and patience are key when training them. 

Despite their large size, Neapolitan Mastiffs are not very active dogs. They do not require a lot of exercise, but they do need a daily walk and some playtime to keep them happy and healthy. These dogs are not suited for apartment living and do best in a home with a yard where they can roam and explore. 

Exercise Needs of Neapolitan Mastiff 

Moderate Exercise: Neapolitan Mastiffs are not overly energetic dogs, but they still require regular exercise to maintain their physical and mental health. Aim for moderate exercise sessions rather than intense or prolonged activities. 

Daily Walks: Take your Neapolitan Mastiff for daily walks to provide mental stimulation and physical exercise. A couple of 30 to 45-minute walks per day are usually sufficient. However, adjust the exercise duration and intensity based on your dog’s age, health, and individual needs. 

Controlled Play: Engage in controlled play sessions with your Neapolitan Mastiff, such as gentle games of fetch or tug-of-war. Be mindful of their size and strength, as they can unintentionally cause injury during play. 

Mental Stimulation: Neapolitan Mastiffs are intelligent dogs that benefit from mental stimulation. Incorporate puzzle toys, food-dispensing toys, and obedience training into their routine to keep their minds engaged. 

Avoid Overexertion: Due to their heavy build and shortened muzzle, Neapolitan Mastiffs can be prone to overheating and respiratory issues. Avoid exercising during hot weather and be mindful of their breathing and energy levels. Provide plenty of fresh water and shade during outdoor activities. 

Swimming: If your Neapolitan Mastiff enjoys water, swimming can be an excellent low-impact exercise option. However, always supervise them around water and ensure their safety. 

Health Concerns and Lifespan 

Like all breeds, Neopolitan Mastiffs are prone to certain health issues. Some of the most common health concerns that affect this breed include hip and elbow dysplasia, bloat, and eye problems. It is important to choose a reputable breeder and to ensure that your dog receives regular check-ups and vaccinations to prevent and detect any health issues early on. 

Grooming Requirements 

Despite their wrinkled appearance, Neapolitan Mastiffs do not require a lot of grooming. Their short coat only needs to be brushed once or twice a week to remove any loose hair, and they only need to be bathed when necessary. However, it is essential to pay attention to the folds and wrinkles on their face and body to prevent any skin irritations or infections. 

Here are some grooming tips for the Neapolitan Mastiff: 


Despite having a short coat, the Neapolitan Mastiff’s skin folds and wrinkles require regular attention. Use a soft brush or a grooming mitt to gently brush the dog’s coat at least once a week. This helps remove loose hair, dirt, and debris and helps distribute the natural oils in the coat. 

Cleaning Wrinkles:

The Neapolitan Mastiff’s loose skin and wrinkles are prone to trapping dirt, moisture, and bacteria, which can lead to skin irritations and infections. It’s essential to clean and dry the wrinkles regularly. Use a soft, damp cloth or a gentle dog-safe wipe to clean between the folds, paying close attention to areas like the face, neck, and tail. Be sure to dry the wrinkles thoroughly to prevent moisture buildup. 


Neapolitan Mastiffs do not require frequent baths unless they get particularly dirty or develop an odor. Bathing every few months or as needed is usually sufficient. Use a mild, dog-specific shampoo and thoroughly rinse the coat to remove all soap residue. After the bath, dry the dog thoroughly, paying attention to the wrinkles, as moisture can get trapped there and cause skin problems. 

Nail Care:

Regular nail trimming is important for any dog, including the Neapolitan Mastiff. Trim the nails using a proper dog nail clipper or grinder. Be cautious not to cut into the quick, which is the sensitive area inside the nail. If you’re unsure or uncomfortable with nail trimming, consider seeking assistance from a professional groomer or veterinarian. 

Ear Cleaning:

Check the Neapolitan Mastiff’s ears regularly for dirt, wax buildup, or signs of infection. Use a gentle, dog-specific ear cleaning solution and a cotton ball to clean the outer part of the ears. Avoid inserting anything deep into the ear canal to prevent injury. If you notice any redness, swelling, or discharge, consult a veterinarian. 

Dental Care:

Dental hygiene is crucial for overall health. Brush your Neapolitan Mastiff’s teeth regularly using a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste. This helps prevent tartar buildup, gum disease, and bad breath. Additionally, provide dental chews or toys that promote chewing to help keep the teeth clean. 

While regular home grooming is essential, professional grooming can also be beneficial for the Neapolitan Mastiff. A professional groomer can help trim nails, clean ears, and provide a thorough coat inspection. They can also offer guidance on maintaining the breed’s unique features. 

Do Neapolitan Mastiffs get along well with Children?

Neapolitan Mastiffs are often referred to as “gentle giants” due to their calm and patient nature. These dogs are excellent with children and make great family pets. They are known to be tolerant and loving towards kids, and their protective nature makes them great playmates for children. 

However, due to their massive size, it is important to teach children how to interact with these dogs properly. They should be taught to respect the dog’s boundaries and never to pull on their ears or tails. It is also essential to supervise any interactions between children and Neopolitan Mastiffs to ensure that both are safe and comfortable. 

Is The Neapolitan Mastiff for Me? 

To sum up, the Neapolitan Mastiff is a magnificent breed with a rich history and a unique personality. They may have an intimidating appearance, but they have a sweet and loving personality and can make loyal and devoted companions to those who can take care of them the way they deserve.  

Moreover, with proper training and socialization, these dogs can make great family pets and guardians. So, if you can provide a Neapolitan Mastiff with the love,care, training and exercise that they need then the Neapolitan Mastiff may be the perfect breed for you.

You May Also Like

What is your reaction?

In Love
Not Sure
shreyasi datta
Meet Shreyasi with her 7-year experience as a responsible pet parent to a handsome Golden retriever, who she claims is the 'love of her life.' Found with her nose buried deep in research when she’s not discussing The Crown, you can trust her to answer your queries as a first-time pet parent! From possible signs of canine diseases to finding the best supplement for your fur baby, Shreyasi has an answer for all things dogs! Her dedication towards canine wellness, irrespective of the breed, is worthy of a PhD in Canine Companionship!

    You may also like

    1 Comment

    1. Your expertise is evident in every post.

    Leave a reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *