The Neapolitan Mastiff dog breed is a family and guard dog that was developed in southern Italy. Today this massive breed is known as a gentle giant.
All European mastiffs are descended from the Tibetan Mastiff, the most ancient member of the canine species. The first Asian mastiffs were probably brought to Greece from India by Alexander the Great around 300 BC. The Greeks introduced the dogs to the Romans, who adopted them enthusiastically and used them in circus combats. The word “mastiff” derives from the Latin word “masssivus,” meaning massive. English experts, however, have another theory. They contend that the mastiff was brought to Britain by the Phoenicians in about 500 BC and spread from there to the rest of Europe. In any case, the Neapolitan Mastiff is a direct descendant of the Roman Molossus. While the breed became extinct throughout the rest of Europe, it continued to survive in Campania, despite the perils of weather and war. One can therefore say that the Neapolitan Mastiff has existed in Campania for two thousand years, even though it was not officially recognized until 1946, and its standard was not set until 1949. The Neapolitan Mastiff was bred for use in war and in bloody Roman arena spectacles. Today this powerful breed has a well-deserved reputation as a formidable guard dog.
The Neapolitan Mastiff is fearless and extremely protective of its home and family. They prefer to be with their family. The Neapolitan Mastiff rarely barks unless under provocation, renowned for sneaking up on intruders as opposed to first alerting them of its presence.
Neapolitan Mastiffs, as a breed, are extremely intelligent dogs with a tendency to be independent thinkers. They learn quickly, which is both good and bad, since this guardian breed needs extensive proper socialization to learn to accept strangers, especially within the home.
While his appearance is unnerving, looks are deceiving. The Neo, as he’s often nicknamed, has a reputation for being an affectionate 200-pound lap dog. He is a constant guardian with an intimidating stare that he directs toward strangers, but he’s far from being a fighting dog. Steady and loyal, his primary goal is to be with his people. He’ll defend them with ferocity if need be, but he’s typically not aggressive without reason.
Like all puppies, young Neos are active, but they mature into adulthood with a preference for lounging around the home or yard. Although they’re pretty mellow indoors, Neos aren’t especially suited for life in an apartment or condo unless they have room to sprawl. Otherwise, they’re likely to shove your furniture out of place or knock objects over in their attempts to find a comfortable resting spot.
Older children will find the Neo to be a warm and comfortable backrest while watching television or doing homework. He may be too large and clumsy for younger children, however, accidentally knocking them over or stepping on them.
When it comes to living with a Neo, neat freaks need not apply. The Neo drools after eating or drinking or when he’s nervous, and he’s notorious for passing gas. Keep a small hand towel for wipeups and a can of air freshener nearby at all times. On the plus side, he’s a quiet dog who rarely barks.
For the family who can provide this large and strong-willed dog with the firm, loving, and consistent guidance he needs, the Neapolitan Mastiff is a wonderful and unique companion who will provide protection and love for everyone in his family. A dog who will protect you, your family, and your home with all the strength and love it poses.