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Other Names: Italian Mastiff, Neapolitan Bulldog, Mastino Napoletano, Mastino and Neo Mastiff
The profile of this breed has recently increased with the use of this dog in the Harry Potter films. Hagrid the Giant has a Neapolitan named Fang, although he is described in the film as a Boarhound. The Neapolitan’s massive size and abundant wrinkles combine to make him one of the most intimidating dogs there is, helping them serve as excellent guard dogs. They are fearsome only in appearance not in temperament. In fact, they are highly affectionate and trustworthy dogs.
Appearance: They have massive wrinkles and skin folds around the face and on the back accompanied by a large dewlap around the throat. The flat and wide head tends to be larger than the rest of the body. His eyes are almost hidden beneath the drooping upper lids, and the lower lid also droops
Coat: Short, thick and shiny. Colour: Typically blue, black, tawny of mahogany. The Neo can be either solid or brindle.
Average Life Expectancy: 8 to 9 years
Temperament: The Neapolitan Mastiff was originally bred for guarding and fighting. Today the breed has a gentle, and steady temperament to friends and family, but is still wary of strangers and willing to go to great lengths to defend home and property. This loyal dog does well with children if socialised from an early age, but due to its large size, should be supervised when around small children. Neapolitan Mastiff breed dogs have a tendency to drool excessively, especially during the summer months. Moreover, male tend to drool more as compared to the females. They also tend to be quite messy with its food and water. They require plenty of affection and attention.
The Neapolitan Mastiff is NOT suitable for the average owner.
Training: A very intelligent breed of dog and learns his commands very quickly. Due to his large size, the Neapolitan Mastiff needs a confident trainer who is both calm and assertive and can maintain proper leadership, early training is vital to establish your control over him while you still can. As with all large breeds the Neopolitan must be socialised from an early age.
Exercise: As with all large breeds care must be taken with puppies and young dogs that they do not run around too much andabsolutely no jumping, so as to avoid bone and joint problems as an adult dog. Adults need at least two long walks a day to maintain their physical and mental health. Hot weather can be fatal to this breed, they don’t even need to be moving about in it to succumb to the heat. Please make sure that any exercise is given early in the morning or late in the evening, don’t be tempted to go for a nice Sunday afternoon stroll when it is very sunny or hot. More Info
Grooming: Coat care is minimal, but you must keep the skin within the wrinkles clean and dry, nails clipped, and teeth clean.
Neapolitan Health Issues
Bloat – though not a hereditary condition, frequently affects many dogs including this breed. This is a very serious condition. When a dog bloats, the stomach can turn and block, causing a build up of gas. Unless treated quickly, bloat can be fatal. Signs of bloat include futile attempts to vomit and to salivate. Bloat, which may lead to cardiovascular collapse, usually occurs when exercise too closely follows eating. The incidence of bloat may be lessened by feeding adult dogs twice a day and, of course, by allowing a dog time to digest before taking him for a run in the park. Click Here for more information
Hip dysplasia – a malformation of the hip joint resulting in a poor fit between the head of the femur bone and the hip socket. This condition can be alleviated by surgery, at some cost to dog and owner. Because dysplastic dogs often produce dysplastic puppies, buyers should ask if both the sire and the dam of the puppy in which they are interested have been rated clear of hip dysplasia. Do not take yes for an answer without seeing a certificate, and ask for a copy to take to your veterinarian.
Hypothyroidism – an endocrine disease that results in the abnormally low production of thyroid hormones. The symptoms of hypothyroidism include lethargy, mental depression, weight gain and a tendency to seek out warm places. Hypothyroidism can also affect the coat and skin, causing hair loss and excessive dandruff.
Cherry eye is the term used to refer to canine nictitans gland prolapse, a common eye condition in various dog breeds where the gland of the third eyelid prolapses and becomes visible. This condition usually must be corrected, mostly through surgery, because the gland produces some of the eye’s tears.
Neapolitan Mastiff History
Tracing its roots to the Molossus dogs that existed in Rome before Christ, the Neapolitan Mastiff has a rich and intriguing history. They were thought to have been brought to Rome by Alexander the Great when he traveled from Greece. Alexander the Great apparently prized the ancient Molossus dogs for fighting and defending, and that is what they were bred for. Alexander was given a pair of these dogs from Asia, supposedly after he defeated King Porus in Northern India in 326 B.C. So the breed is over 2000 years old, and may have had its roots in Asia. After they were brought to Rome they were used in animal fights in the arenas, pitted against leopards, bears, lions and even gladiators. They were also excellent guard dogs for their armies. They made their way to the Middle East as well, serving their duties there. Known for at least 2000 years ago in Southern Italy, the breed didn’t actually appear publicly until 1946 in the Naples dog show. It is thought that during this show, a painter named Piero Scanziani was so impressed that he bought his own Neos and began a kennel. He developed the breed into what it is today, and is thought of as the modern father of the breed. He created a standard for the breed and it was recognised by the Italian Kennel Club as the Mastino Napoletano.