Thanks to their sizeable frames, the pregnancy and mating of the Neapolitan Mastiff can mean fewer problems than smaller dog breeds. The female Neo's generous pelvis size can mean a litter with anywhere from six to twelve pups. To ensure the health of the mother and her brood, there are always a number of guidelines that must be followed when it comes to pregnancy and mating. While the vast majority of Neapolitan Mastiff pregnancies are uneventful, it is still important to not only consult a vet but a local breeder to ensure important aspects of the process are being properly addressed.
In general purebred dogs such as the Neo will have arranged mating sessions; however, a reputable breeder will not allow this to occur unless and until the prospective female is a minimum of two years old. Because it takes approximately this long for a dog's skeleton to calcify, any sooner can present a number of dangerous health problems. It gives a female's pelvis time to fully develop and owners can also become familiar with their dog's heat cycles. Knowing the female's heat cycles is key to planning successful mating sessions. Because a male's weight can be a problem during mating sessions, artificial insemination is a commonly performed procedure for Neo's.
The average gestation period will be approximately eight weeks. During this time, most vets recommend allowing the Neapolitan Mastiff to go about her daily routine, although intense or extreme activity should be avoided. Most pregnant females keep their regular feeding schedule all the way up to the fifth week of gestation. It is typically then that the outward signs of pregnancy will begin to present themselves and a diet for pregnant and lactating females will be initiated. An appointment with a veterinarian is usually set somewhere in the last two weeks of pregnancy. The vet can then find the number of heartbeats and estimate the number of pups to expect. He or she will also likely explain the signs of pregnancy and what to do in case of complications.
With the Neo, pregnancies are typically problem free but Cesarean sections can be quite common. Owners should opt for a vet that has plenty of experience dealing with the labor and delivery of extra large dog breeds. This information can be gained by contacting a local breeder or the area chapter of a Neapolitan Mastiff organization. As labor begins, females often refuse food and will either become clingy or demand their privacy, ignoring any kind of attention. This is usually the first sign that it is time to call the vet. Though exciting, a female should be given a good amount of privacy for the first twenty four hours after birthing her pups.