Search the FAQ Archives

3 - A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M
N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z - Internet FAQ Archives

rec.pets.dogs: Neapolitan Mastiffs Breed-FAQ

[ Usenet FAQs | Web FAQs | Documents | RFC Index | Counties ]
Archive-name: dogs-faq/breeds/neapolitans
Posting-frequency: 30 days
Last-modified: 29 Apr 2001

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
There are many FAQ's available for this group.  For a complete
listing of these, get the "Complete List of RPD FAQs".  This article
is posted bimonthly in rec.pets.dogs, and is available via anonymous ftp
to under pub/usenet/news.answers/dogs-faq/faq-list, via
the Web at, or 
via email by sending your message to with
send usenet/news.answers/dogs-faq/faq-list
in the body of the message.

This article is Copyright 1997 by the Author(s) listed below. 
It may be freely distributed on the Internet in its entirety without
alteration provided that this copyright notice is not removed.  
It may NOT reside at another website (use links, please) other
than the URL listed above without the permission of the Author(s).  
This article may not be sold for profit nor incorporated in other 
documents without he Author(s)'s permission and is provided "as is" 
without express or implied warranty.

                           Neapolitan Mastiff FAQ
   Robert Gravel, May 1, 2000 []
   with material supplied by the United States Neapolitan Mastiff Club
   with history and Characteristics from The Neapolitan Mastiff - A
   Complete and Reliable Guide by Gonnie Schaffer and Robert Gravel
   Table of Contents
     * History
     * Characteristics and Temperament
     * Health
     * Frequently Asked Questions
     * Resources
     *      Web
     *      Books
     *      Magazine
   The Neapolitan Mastiff is a living antique that can be traced back
   over 5,000 years.  By viewing bits and pieces of sculptures, etchings,
   and writings scattered across the lands it is evident that the
   Neapolitan Mastiff of today has changed only slightly from the dog of
   ancient times.
   After the domestication of livestock, dogs of heavy body and powerful
   grip were bred by farmers and used as guardians of their flock and
   various other functions.  These dogs were kept pure in their breeding
   in contrast to other breeds that were mixed with the swift, lighter
   boned breeds.
    In the lands that were conquered and reconquered by different peoples
   we find the ancestors of the Neapolitan Mastiff.  They were called by
   many names: Macedonian Dog, Assyrian Dog, Sumerian Molossan, and the
   Roman Molossus.  The names were different, but all were of the same
   basic type: heavy bodied, enormous heads, short muzzles, dewlaps,
   wrinkled foreheads, cropped ears, and heavy legs.  Of the many Mastiff
   type dogs now extinct some were saved such as the Old English Mastiff
   and Saint Bernard.
   It is thought by many that Alexander The Great seeded this large body
   molossous dog to the lands of his conquest.  These dogs were then
   carried off to war by the Romans and pitted against wild animals such
   as lions and elephants.  To trace the footsteps from this time to 20th
   century Italy is a bit sketchy and unclear.  This ancient dog seemed
   to adapt well to the farmers of Italy and were said to be bred in the
   countryside for many years.  The chores of guardian whether it be
   flock, home or person was no stranger to this noble dog.  It seems
   there was a certain secrecy to the early breeding of this dog that may
   have led to its near extinction.  Or possibly man no longer needed the
   faithful work that this ancient breed performed.
   Although quite obscure at the time the Neapolitan Mastiff was
   immediately recognized by Piere Scanziani, a well known writer and
   journalist, at a 1946 dog show in Naples, Italy.  He wrote, "I
   recognized it instantly, it was one of the hundred that Paolo Emilio,
   the Macedonian, had brought to Rome in his triumph. It was the great
   dog of Epirus from the height of his centuries, he stared at me
   imperturbable; his eyes were not hostile, yet not kind. It was a gaze
   that does not give, yet does not ask anything, it simply
   contemplates". Piere Scanziani became Known as "The farther of the
   breed" and along with other fanciers of the breed worked hard to
   rescue this breed and cause its current resurgence.  A standard to
   which the dog should be bred was drafted and the dog became officially
   recognized by the Italian kennel club, the ENCI (Ente Nazionale della
   Cinofilia Italiana) and adopted by the FCI (Federation Cynologique
   Internationale) which is the international organization that the ENCI
   is a member.  The official name became the Mastino Napoletano and just
   referred to as the Mastino in Italy and nicknamed the "Neo" in the
   United states.  Piere Scanziani purchased a few specimens of this
   profound breed and Guaglione1 went on to become the first Italian
   Champion Neapolitan Mastiff.
   History in the United States
    The Neapolitan Mastiff has been documented as being in the United
   States at least since the early 1970's, although it is believed that
   individual dogs were brought over with their families all during the
   great waves of immigration which started in the 1880's and continued
   into the first half of the 20th Century.
    Around 1973 the Neapolitan Mastiff Club of America (NMCA) was formed
   by Michael A. Sottile, Sr. .  Mr. Sottile and his family imported
   Neapolitan Mastiffs, bred many wonderful dogs, and converted many
   people into lovers of the Neapolitan Mastiff as well as educated many
   new fans of this breed. The NMCA also ran a registry of pedigrees for
   the Neapolitan Mastiff in the United States, and kept pedigrees,
   lineage, and ownership information for most, if not virtually all
   Neapolitans in the country at that time.
   Around 1990 there were several movements across the country to form
   alternative clubs and registries to the NMCA.  In late 1990 the United
   States Neapolitan Mastiff Club (USMNC)was formed and began operations
   as both a breed club and registry.  The USNMC was officially
   incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1991.  The USNMC also
   drafted a breed standard to reflect the standard of the country of
   origin.  The standard was approved By the AKC (American Kennel Club)
   and the Neapolitan Mastiff entered into the AKC - FSS (foundation
   stock service) for pedigree record keeping in 1996.  Sometime in 1990,
   the American Neapolitan Mastiff Association (ANMA) was also formed but
   has ceased its registry operations as of  January 1, 1999.
   Characteristics and Temperament
    The Neapolitan Mastiff displays a graphic illustration of one of the
   most impressive and remarkable breeds that is in existence today.  He
   is a large breed which can weigh over 150 pounds.  A comparison to man
   or other creatures of a similar weight and one would see a body
   structure exemplifying extreme strength. A type that can perform its
   function better than any other creature or man made machine. His body
   mass is volumous but not that of just fat. His muscular development
   would cause a game or herding dog to fail at its chores but for the
   Neapolitan Mastiff this is a trade off he assumed when he chose to be
   a guardian. His bones are not unlike the trunk of a century old oak
   tree; thick, Strong and necessary or they would surely splinter
   causing the massive structure they support to crash to the earth.
    It is doubtful that there is any other breed of dog whose fundamental
   characteristics has remained as constant over the centuries as the
   Neapolitan Mastiff. However the Neapolitan Mastiff of today shows
   marked improvements in body and overall squaring of the head, all due
   to selective breeding. He has a captivating and almost intimidating
   stare, one that would make a foe turn and flee without even a growl.
    He comes in a variety of colors: Gray (Blue), Black, tawny and
   mahogany. The Blue is the most common and desired color because of his
   work as a guardian dog and his ability to blend into the night
   shadows. He is a working dog originally bred and utilized as a
   guardian and defender of owner and property. Although originally bred
   as a protection dog he has a steady temperament and is loyal, not
   outwardly aggressive or apt to bite without reason. Do not confuse our
   Neapolitan Mastiff with a fighting breed. If you are considering
   purchasing one with this thought in mind you will find him far too
   humble for he would rather spend his time by your side pleasing you.
   The Neapolitan Mastiff is certainly not a dog for everyone but you
   could not ask for a more faithful companion.
    The Neapolitan Mastiff is concidered a sturdy, healthy breed but like
   many other breeds is not free from all heath problems.  You should be
   aware of the following health problems that have been seen in this
       1. Canine hip dysplasia
       2. Immune system problems (Demodex)
       3. Cryptochism or Monochism problems
       4. Heart problems (cardiomyopathy)
       5. Cleft pallets, hair lip, or bad tails problems
       6. Ununited Unconeal process problems
       7. Hypothyroidism
       8. Cherry Eye
   Are they good with children?
   Most Neapolitan Mastiffs are good with the children they know and
   would never hurt them purposely. It is vital to remember that they are
   a giant breed and have great strength. This can result in a them
   unintentionally knocking a child down and stepping on them especialy
   if the child runs away. They should never be unsupervised around small
   Do they drool? 
   Yes, but not all the time.  The worst times are when the drink, eat,
   or are nervous. Most owners carry a small towel and learn to quickly
   respond to those drippy lips .
   Do they require a lot of excersize?
   No they do not.  In fact as adults they prefer to lounge around the
   house or yard most of the time.  although they do not need acres of
   property to run a small apartment in not well suited for a Neapolitan
   Mastiff.  They can reach near 200 pounds and will clear coffee tables
   and move furnature if they are not provided enough room.
   Do they like the outdoors?
   Neapolitan Mastiffs love the outdoors and will enjoy it year round.
   They will tolerate temperatures as low as 0 degrees F provided they
   have an insulated dog house, and below 0 degrees if the dog house is
   heated.  Because they are a brachycephalic (short-nosed) breed, they
   can have much more trouble with hot weather. They must be provided
   with shade and have lots of clean fresh water available.  In extremely
   hot weather, it is advisable to move them into the basement or some
   cooler place. Every year many otherwise healthy dogs die suddenly due
   to heat intolerance. Owners must be extremely sensitive to this issue
   and must be very cautious especially in hot, humid weather.
   How much do they eat?
   The adult Neapolitan Mastiff can consume up to a gallon of food a day.
   It is not recommended to overfeed or over supplement your dog,
   especially puppies or young adults. Too much weight or proteins and
   minerals can actually cause damage to your dog's tendons, ligaments
   and skeletal structure.
   Do they shed?
   They have short hair and actualy shed very little.  The spring tends
   to be the worst time. While the new coat is growing the dog may appear
   lighter colored and spotted.  The older hair that has not fallen off
   will lighten and the new hair will emerge a darker color.
   Are they AKC recognised?
   No they are not fully recognised.  They are recognised by almost every
   other country in the world and so far have been accepted into the
   AKC-FSS for record keeping and effective March 1, 2001, they will be
   allowed to compete in AKC-obedience trials, AKC-agility trials, and
   AKC-tracking trials.  There are people who feel full recognision will
   be bad for the breed and those who are working to get the breed fully
   When do they grow up? 
   Neapolitan Mastiffs are not completely mature until about 3 years of
   age. Most of their growth will be done at 1 year old but they will
   continue to gain mass if their genetics allow.
   How long do they live?
   Like most giant breeds their life is not a long one. Eight to ten
   years old is the normal lifespan.
   How Much Do They Cost? 
   Well, quite frankly, a lot. Neapolitan Mastiffs tend to be rather
   expensive, for a number of reasons. They are generally able to deliver
   only by Caesarean and usually need to be artificially inseminated
   because of the weight of the males. All of this tends to keep their
   prices rather high. Please ensure that if you find one that seems to
   be a bargain price that it wasn't by virtue of their care or quality
   being skimped on.
   Is there a rescue organization for Neapolitan Mastiffs ? 
   Contact the USNMC rescue/placement at
   Web    (United States Neapolitan Mastiff Club -
   USMNC)   (American Neapolitan
   Mastiff Association - ANMA)   (ATIMANA Italy)
   The Neapolitan Mastiff , A Complete and Reliable Guide
   by Robert Gravel and Gonnie Schaffer ISBN 0793807840
   The official book of the Neapolitan Mastiff by Sherilyn Allen VMD. USA
   ISBN: 0793820839
   The Neapolitan Mastiff by Mario Zacchi. La Moye Distributors, Jersey,
   1987 ISBN 0-951-2359-07  (out of print)
   Tne Neogram
      official magizine of the USNMC through membership only

  Neapolitan Mastiff FAQ
  Robert Gravel, May 1, 2000 []

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic:

[ Usenet FAQs | Web FAQs | Documents | RFC Index ]

Send corrections/additions to the FAQ Maintainer: (Barry Reder)

Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM