With males reaching up to one hundred seventy pounds, the Neapolitan Mastiff is definitely one of the largest breeds in the canine world. Their sizeable physique is often mesmerizing, leaving many to wonder exactly what goes into owning such a creature. Unfortunately, its size can also lead to many misconceptions. Those who know a bit about the dog's history may assume that the Neo is purely aggressive or that they have a penchant for being destructive or unapproachable. As many have come to find, getting to know a Neo easily blows any and all preconceptions right out of the water.
While they were once bred for use in wars and guarding large estates, the Neapolitan Mastiff is far removed from those long forgotten days. Throughout several centuries, breeders have worked diligently to remove overly aggressive behaviors from the Mastiff. While they are still a guard dog at heart, the Neo that is cared for in a responsible manner will rarely take an immediate aggressive stance. At the same time, the mere sight of them and a good bark or two is more than enough to keep intruders at bay. The Neapolitan Mastiff will always look out for his or her owner and property; however, those looking for a hostile attack dog will be sorely disappointed.
Obviously, the Neapolitan Mastiff is not a breed that will do well for apartment living. While the Neo will require a yard and daily exercise, they actually do not require nearly as much room as one would think. For the most part, large dogs such as the Neo tend to be more laid back and they do not expend great amounts of energy if they do not have to. Thus their reputation as gentle giants comes into play. It may even be difficult at times to get them out to exercise. When they are inside, many owners find they must rearrange rooms in a certain manner to allow their Neo to maneuver through the house without knocking over valuable items. The Neo should be exercised everyday; however, having a large estate of land is not required for this breed.
Docking the tail and cropping the Neo's ears, a practice that was fairly common with early breeders, is now simply a matter of preference for owners. Though this was frequently done when the Neo was used for working purposes, the cropping of ears and tails for aesthetic purposes has largely fallen by the wayside for many dog breeds. While tail docking is performed shortly after birth many recommend allowing a vet to perform ear cropping surgeries. This ensures the process takes place in a hygienic environment. It also allows doctors to give the ears better symmetry. These days, however, most Neapolitan Mastiffs are left intact.