Neapolitan Mastiff – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Neapolitan Mastiff or Mastino Napoletano is a large size dog originally from Italy? Is this dog for anyone? Well, no. Read on and discover what kind of owner this breed needs.
Dog Breed Group:
Working Dogs
24 to 31 inches tall at the shoulder
120 to 200 pounds
Life Span:
8 to 10 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

Neapolitan Mastiff is a huge dog of 31 inches and 150 pounds (these dimensions are common for males).

Powerful as this breed is and large, they tend to have a shorter lifespan compared to medium-size or small-size dogs, living between 7 to 9 years. This powerful guarding dog dates from the old Rome.

Neapolitan Mastiffs will respect and love their humans, but they will be more than wary of strangers. These large dogs are wrinkled and it just adds to their general appearance and original expression.

This wrinkled dog is sweet, gentle, and reliable. This is not a breed for first time dog owners and those who cannot handle walking peacefully this large dog on a leash.

They shouldn’t be left in the sun for too long, since they are prone to heatstroke. This breed is closely related to the Cane Corso but is two separate breeds.

The preferred coat colors are black and gray, although they come in different colors as well. All coats may be brindled with white markings on the toes and chest.

On average, they live up to 10 years, although in practice they tend to live most around 7 years.

Life expectancy is definitely something that should be taken into consideration when it comes to choosing this breed.

Quick Facts

Real name: Neapolitan Mastiff
Other names: Mastino Napoletano
Origin: Italy
Breed type: Working Dogs
Weight: 120 to 200 pounds
Height: 24 to 31 inches tall at the shoulder
Lifespan: 8 to 10 years
Litter Size: 1 – 12 puppies
Color: Gray, lead gray or black
Coat: Short and smooth coat

Neapolitan Mastiff History

Neapolitan Mastiff is a large size dog that was developed to be a working dog.

Originally from southern Italy, this massive dog is best known for his large size and loose and saggy skin that only adds to its rough appearance.

The first standard on the breed was defined in now far 1948. One year later the Italian Kennel Club officially recognized the breed. Although today these massive dogs are mostly full-time pets, some of them are still busy working as catch and guard dogs.

Probably the most fascinating thing about this breed is that they look exactly like when they were first created.

Neapolitan Mastiffs are ancient dogs, and their roots can be traced as far as 700 BC.

During the Roman Empire, these powerful dogs were used as war dogs and guardians. The Neapolitan Mastiff was recognized as a breed by the AKC in 2004.

Neapolitan Mastiff Physical Appearance

Neapolitan Mastiffs are large and powerful dogs who weigh between 120 to 200 pounds and stand 24 to 31 inches tall at the shoulder.

If you manage to provide the right care, keep their joints healthy, and enable regular veterinarian check-ups, you can expect your Neapolitan Mastiff to live between 8 to 10 years.

These dogs are massive and heavy-boned dogs characterized by loose skin and hanging wrinkles.

When compared with the rest of the body the head is massive, while the face is entirely covered with folds and heavy wrinkles.

Eyes are set deep and hidden, while most common eye colors are amber or brown. Ears may be cropped or uncropped and are always of medium size.

The coat is short and dense, and a bit smooth on the touch. No fringe should be present on the coat. As for the color, they may appear in blue (gray), black, tawny, and mahogany.

Neapolitan Mastiff Personality

Neapolitan Mastiffs are large size dogs and as such, they tend to be intimidating. However, under that giant size, they are true giants of softness and love.

These gentle giants are a great choice as family dogs, as long as family members have experience with dogs and especially large size dogs.

After all, large size dogs require more care, stronger training, and overall more time, and financial investing.

Still, every investment is worth investing in when you get to have this soft giant as your walking buddy.

Neapolitan Mastiffs will love and protect their family members and they will be wary of strangers.

Children should always be supervised when with this large dog. Not that they will try to hurt them, but they are large size dogs, and accidents can happen even during playtime.

To keep everyone protected supervise child-dog playtime. Also, educate your children on how to behave around dogs.

Children should know not to disturb dogs while they are eating, playing alone with their toys, drinking water, or just resting in their crates.

Your Neapolitan Mastiff won’t mind being left alone for a few hours, as long as you provide enough love and care once you are back home.

Neapolitan Mastiff Training

Did you know that dogs are capable of mastering basic commands as of eight weeks of age? Or that Neapolitan Mastiff is no exception to this rule?

Training and early socialization are mandatory if you want to have a well-behaved dog, and this is especially true when you have a physically massive dog like Neapolitan Mastiff is.

As puppies, these giant dogs will be active, curious, and playful. As adult dogs, they tend to be less packed with energy, but they will still love a nice treat as a reward for their good behavior.

As a young dog, the Neapolitan Mastiff may be stubborn a bit, which is why they will prefer having an experienced dog owner. This dog isn’t for first time dog owners or for those who don’t know how to work with giant dogs.

If you feel like you need help training him, make sure that you hire a professional dog trainer, or enroll in puppy classes.

Just like other dogs, these large size dogs will never respond well to harsh training.

They need a positive atmosphere, a lot of encouraging and reward-based training.

To get the maximum out of training sessions, make them short, fun, engaging, consistent, and packed with treats.

Neapolitan Mastiff Exercise

Neapolitan Mastiffs love spending time outdoors. However, they aren’t much of runners of hiking dogs.

If you want a running partner you will need an active breed such as Dalmatian, or Siberian Husky for hiking sessions.

Neapolitan Mastiffs are for experienced dog owners who are happy with a fair amount of exercise and outdoor time. That being said, these large size dogs will be happy with a daily walk.

They will appreciate the backyard for extra stretching, but intense workouts aren’t necessary with this breed. Neapolitan Mastiffs are more lounge dogs than active dogs.

Neapolitan Mastiff Grooming

If you are not a fan of long and demanding grooming sessions, but you are a big lover of giant dogs, then the Neapolitan Mastiff is a breed to consider.

These massive dogs are kind of wash-and-go dogs. Their coat is short which makes them super easy to brush and clean.

Weekly brushing and occasional baths are all that you need to keep this dog clean and neat.

The rest is basic are:

  • Trim or grind nails monthly
  • Check eyes daily for any sign of eye discharge
  • Clean ears when needed
  • Bathe only when needed
  • If recommended brush dog’s teeth
  • Check gums weekly

If you have any concerns regarding the best dog grooming routine talk to your veterinarian.

Pro tip: to make grooming an easy and fast routine, use the right grooming tools.

Neapolitan Mastiff Health

If you are buying a dog, make sure that you work only with responsible dog breeders.

Finding reputable breeders isn’t hard, but choosing the best one will require additional research.

In general, you want to avoid puppy mills and focus on reputable and responsible breeders who care about bringing healthy puppies.

Reputable breeders will always screen puppies for most common health issues and present you with medical documentation on puppies. They will also give you inputs on possible health issues in the future and tips on providing the best care, nutrition, and exercise regime.

Expect a lot of questions as well, because breeders want to make sure that they are giving the pup to the truly responsible person.

If they do see you as a good fit, they will not hand you the puppy over.

Neapolitans are generally healthy dogs. You may provide the best care and nutrition possible, and your mastiff could still end up being sick.

Here are the most common health issues in Neapolitans:

Learn more about a condition called bloat, which is common for large size dogs.

Learn how much your mastiff should eat, how often, and which food is best for your dog based on your dog’s age, size, and activity level.

Neapolitans are proud owners of wrinkled skin, but they do not come with significant skin problems, which is a plus.

You may wipe off his face more than with any other breed, just to keep it clean and dry.

If you have any concerns health-wise make sure that you talk with your veterinarian.

In the meantime, provide proper nutrition, exercise time, and regular veterinarian check-ups. Prevention is the key when it comes to having a healthy dog.

Is Neapolitan Mastiff For You?

If you are a first time dog owner this breed isn’t for you.

They need an experienced and friendly owner, who will provide proper training and early socialization.

If you have experience as a dog owner but you don’t want a large size dog who is heavy, destructive when bored and has potential aggression toward other animals, this breed isn’t for you.

On the other hand, if you want a massive and powerful dog that comes with an easy-care coat, this is the breed for you.

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