Italian Mastiff: The Neapolitan

Large, independent, intelligent, and naturally protective of their territory and people – if you can live with some drool than this big breed has a lot to offer for families that want an impressive looking watch dog. The Neo is another of the mastiff family members who traces their ancestral roots back to the ancient Roman gladiator dogs. The modern Italian Mastiff though is just that – modern.



The Neapolitan standard was first set in 1948 and updated in 1971. This breed is the result of a fair bit of inbreeding. The result is a uniquely wrinkled mastiff with a strong natural propensity for watching over their people and property.

This breed requires socializing and training from a young age and have a more independent personality than their cousins the English Mastiff.



Despite the heavy face, this breed needs a couple of good walks everyday and is actually pretty energetic; they can adapt to life in an apartment if provided with enough exercise during the day. The Neo is a breed used to having a job and that job is usually looking after people and property.



Neos have been used to guard farms, businesses, and have worked with the police and military. This is an intelligent and trainable breed that can also be stubborn. The Neapolitan is calm, confident, and cautious. Another of the mastiff breeds that while clearly warning off strangers should never be unduly aggressive or prone to biting without need.



 This is a steadfast and loyal breed, that is a guard – not an attack dog. With their formidable appearance and impressive size, their presence is usually sufficient to deter unwanted visitors. No average robber is going to try and walk past a Neo to get into a house.



The Neo is an uncommon breed – and yet they can still be found available for adoption. It is also becoming more common to find people intentionally cross breeding Neos with other large mastiff breeds like Cane Corsos. Petfinder and Neapolitan breed rescue both have Neos and Neo mixes available for adoption.


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