The Neapolitan Mastiff Dog, A Favorite of Alexander the Great What Makes This Giant Breed a Great Pet

Neapolitan Mastiff photo
Giant Breed Hip Dysplasia Thyroid - Hypothyroidism Cardiomyopathy Neapolitan Mastiff

IS THE Neapolitan Mastiff RIGHT FOR YOU?

  • 1 Neapolitan Mastiffs are extremely independent and intelligent dogs.
  • 2 Because of their large size and strong protective instinct, they require firm obedience training.
  • 3 Also known as the Italian Mastiff, these dogs need to be socialized as puppies so they won't be wary of strangers.


A descendent of the original mastiffs of ancient Rome, the Neapolitan Mastiff is thought to have walked this earth for some two thousand years. Bred for their massive stature, these dogs were initially used to fight in wars and in the Roman arena. Once nearly extinct throughout Europe, The Neapolitan Mastiff line remains intact thanks to a protected community of this breed, safe from the ravages of war, in Campania, Italy. This breed was accepted by the AKC in 2004.

Quick Facts

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    Extra Large

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    8 to 10 years

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    Hair Length


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    Male Height

    26 to 30 inches

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    Male Weight

    132-154 lbs

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    Female Height

    24- 27 inches

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    Female Weight

    110-132 lbs

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    Litter Size

    6-12; 7 is average


The intimidating-looking Neapolitan Mastiff is intelligent, fearless, calm, and protective. Though wary of strangers, they are very loving toward their family and their friends. The breed does well with considerate children. Neapolitan Mastiffs donโ€™t bark much and usually sneak up on intruders. The dog is not very good with non-canine pets, unless raised with them. The Neapolitan Mastiff needs a confident owner who can dominate them and not vice-versa. Firm obedience training ensures they are not too protective or willful..


The Neapolitan Mastiff can be gray, blue, black, mahogany, and tawny. Any lighter and darker shades of these colors are also possible.

Health Concerns

Some of the health concerns related to the Neapolitan Mastiff are:


The Neapolitan Mastiff is a huge breed, with a gigantic head. They are covered in loose skin, with a head that looks like a more saggy Shar Pei. Their massive, rectangular body is deep and heavy looking. Their ears are droopy, but to maintain the threatening appearance, are typically cropped close to the head. Their tail is long and carried straight or curved, but, like the ears, can also be cropped to give a more fight-ready appearance.

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