Dog Breed Profile: The Massive Neapolitan Mastiff

December 8, 2015

Neo TimBy Langley Cornwell

When it comes to choosing a dog that exudes strength and power, few breeds are more impressive than the Neapolitan Mastiff (or Neo). Besides being a powerhouse, the Neapolitan Mastiff is a very affectionate and peaceful breed that is social and enjoys being with people. While these dogs have many positive characteristics, it’s important for potential Neapolitan Mastiff owners to know the ins and outs of sharing their life with such a large dog.


The Neapolitan Mastiff is a rectangular looking dog with a wide flat head. Their expressive, deep set eyes are buried in the folds and wrinkles that this breed is known for. Because of their impressive power, a Neapolitan Mastiff may be a bit much for an inexperienced dog owner. Obedience training and an assertive owner are important to help this breed live up to expectations.

Grooming is an easy task on this short haired dog. The breed comes in gray, blue, black, chocolate, mahogany and tawny coats. They can also have brindle and white markings. This giant dog is a joy to look at.


Because of their size, the Neapolitan Mastiff appears intimidating. However, when properly trained they are quite affectionate and calm dogs. When describing this breed it is not uncommon to hear words such as courageous, serious, mild-mannered and protective. They are a quiet breed that tends to bark only when necessary and may be initially reserved with strangers. Properly introducing a Neapolitan Mastiff to people, Neo Jenaplaces, sounds and animals will help them feel more comfortable and calm. Socializing is an important part of owning this breed. They can be somewhat headstrong, and with their size to back them up, it may be difficult for anyone other than a strong owner to handle.

Keep in mind that the Neapolitan Mastiff was bred to guard, and it is impossible to breed the “guard” part out of this dog. No matter how submissive or well trained he is, a Neo will protect his home and family.

Space and Exercise

Being such a large dog, a Neapolitan Mastiff needs a great deal of exercise. However, due to their calm temperament, they are surprisingly okay with living in an apartment as long as they get plenty of fresh air and exercise. Long walks are ideal for this breed. Without proper exercise and socialization, Neos can become willful, over-protective and aggressive towards other dogs.


As with most large dogs, there are health concerns to be addressed with the Neapolitan Mastiff breed. These dogs are prone to hip dysplasia, bloat, pano-ostiosis and cherry eye. Their life expectancy is considered short, with a typical dog living about 10 years.


When evaluating the possibility of adopting a Neo, please consider the space you’ll need for this breed. It is important to note that males are generally between 26 and 30 inches tall while females are a few inches shorter. The average weight for males and females is around 165 pounds, with the largest coming in at nearly 200 pounds.

Neo Jena 2You will also want to keep your Neo on a healthy meal plan. CANIDAE makes high quality pet food for dogs of all breeds, ages and sizes. Their Large Breed Formula with Duck Meal is a great option for adult dogs over 50 pounds.

While this is a beautiful breed, keep in mind the training and leadership required to keep a Neapolitan Mastiff happy and healthy. If you don’t have the time to devote to exercise and training or if you are intimidated by the breed, you may want to choose a different breed of dog. But if you want to train and work with a loyal and protective dog that will treat you as the leader of the pack, then a Neo may be for you!

Top photo by Tim Dawson/Flickr
Middle/Bottom photos by Jena Fuller/Flickr

Read more articles by Langley Cornwell

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  1. Diana King says:

    I love large breeds! I have been owned by Pyrs since 2000 and my current three are all Rescues! BEST BREED EVER! People call them Gentle Giants and for good reason!