gray, blue, black, mahogany and tawny (any lighter and darker shades of these colors are allowed.
26 to 30 inches
24- 27 inches normal.
This is a dog that does well indoor if the home is dog proofed and saliva proofed. Neos can live outdoors even in the winter time if there is access to a good doghouse with a lot of bedding. However, summertime can present some breathing issues especially since the Neo has a short muzzle. Owners must ensure shade and access to fresh water. Yet if the weather becomes extreme, the Neo should be moved indoor especially in humid and low air quality days.
An ancient breed, rediscovered in Italy in the 1940's, the Neapolitan Mastiff is a heavy-boned, massive, impressive dog bred for use as a guard and defender of owner and property. His loose skin is all over his entire body, and is abundant with hanging wrinkles and folds on the head and a voluminous dewlap. His intense, piercing stare and regal stoicisms are enough to ward off an intruder; however, with its owner it is highly loyal and affectionate. The Neo mastiff is supposed to be imposingly massive and rectangular in shape. Since this is a head breed, the headpiece must also be massive. Toplines of cranium and the muzzle must be parallel. The face is made up of heavy wrinkles and folds. Required folds are those extending from the outside margin of the eyelids to the dewlap, and from under the lower lids to the outer edges of the lips. The essence of the Neapolitan is his bestial appearance along with its astounding head and imposing size and attitude. The characteristic movement is rolling and lumbering, not elegant or show. Many Neo owners say that the gait is like that of a lion and/or a big cat-slow but fluid. The same gene that causes loose skin is the same that causes the loose joints that give the Neo its noted gait.
The coat is short, dense and one length with an overall smoothness over the body. The coat should be straight with no waves or curls and should be no longer than 1 inch. No fringe is allowed anywhere.
Solid coats of gray (otherwise known as blue), black, mahogany and tawny (any lighter and darker shades of these colors are allowed). Brindling is allowed in all colors but it must be tan . When present, brindling must be tan, which is called reverse brindle. There may be solid white markings on the chest, throat area from chin to chest, underside of the body, sheath, backs of the pasterns, and on the toes. There may be white hairs at the back of the wrists. Any other white is a disqualifying fault for the dog and the dog should never be used for breeding.
The Neapolitan Mastiff is a breed that was reconstructed in the 1940s by Piero Scanziani and other lovers of the Mastini. Scanziani came across the breed in Vesuvius, Italy when it was on the brink of extinction. He would learn that the breed was steeped in 4000 years of historical presence that seemingly originated with the breeding of large, massive dogs by the Sumerians and the Mesopotamians. Throughout history, the Neapolitan Mastiff was used by the Romans in wartime, later as a hunter of deer and wild boar, and fighters of wild animals in the circus and in arenas as gladiators, but always remaining true to its heritage with an inherent talent as a guard dog especially in the Roman villas of Campania. Many of the early Mastini were depicted in many artifacts, statues, and carvings in which the artist depicts the massive head, skin folds especially an exaggerated dewlap, and cropped ears. Even after the fall of the Romans, the Neapolitan Mastiff remained in the region making the slopes of Vesuvius its home and offering companionship and protection to its people.
The Neapolitan Mastiff made its way to America by the way of Italian immigrants and the late Mr. Michael Sotille, Sr. In 1991, further promoting of the breed by US Neapolitan Mastiff Club (USNMC) led the Neapolitan Mastiff to be accepted into the AKC as the 152nd breed.
The Neapolitan Mastiff is a breed that is wary of strangers but is tolerant of friends or acquaintances of the owner/family. The temperament should be steady and self-confident, loyal, courageous, vigilant, and intelligent with an air of regality, but not aggressive.
The appearance of the facial expression should be fierce in so much to deter an intruder by his looks alone. The breed is forever watchful with an intense focus.
Crate training is suggested as well as Mastino-proofing your house. The crate will not only keep your Neapolitan safe, it will also keep your valuables from being accidentally broken by the lumbering bump of a Neo in passing. Since the Neo can be a "Velcro" dog that loves to be with their owner at all times, it is suggested to use the crate to foster some individuality and independence or else the Neo may develop separation anxiety. A frantic, massive dog can be utterly destructive and could potentially harm itself.
Being that the Neo has an inherent nature to protect its owner; it has an excellent balance of even temperament to deal with social situations.
If Mastini are socialized at an early age, many of them will come to adore children and will not purposely hurt them. However, in play or sleep, owners must remember that the Neo is a massively large dog that may not know their weight or force. Children should always be supervised. If properly socialized around other animals, large or small, the Neos will be highly tolerant even though they do like to chase. It is recommended not to maintain the same sex because To keep a stable temperament, make sure to expose a young puppy to as many new people, places, and noise in a positive setting, so that the Mastini will accept new experiences and situations.
Neapolitans are a hardy breed and the main Health concern is "cherry eyes." Cherry Eye is a condition caused when the gland of the third eyelid of the dog becomes inflamed, swells up, and if it pops out of place it will become more inflamed, swollen and irritated such that it becomes bloody and ulcerated, and can cover 1/2 of the eye of the dog. If this occurs then the cherry eye is referred to as follicular conjunctivitis. In the Neos, it is recommended to remove the gland because of the massive wrinkles and excessive weight of the additional facial skin that folding down or any other cherry eye surgical correction procedure will only have to be repeated with the condition worsening each occasion. Despite the wrinkles and loose skin, the Neos should not have skin problems.
In the first year of growth, many Neos grow very quickly and can develop panostetis, Growing pains. Also, many Neos are misdiagnosed with hip dysplasia; even though they can be prone to it. Many breeders attest to the fact that young mastini have a degree of looseness in the joints which attributes to the signature lumbering gait. Talk to your breeder and your veterinarian about these sorts of problems.
Other health issues are Bloat, a mysterious illness that is usually fatal for large breeds; excessive Exercise can lead to over heating; and rough play can lead to accidents, joint injuries, and various precarious situations due to the clumsiness of a Neo puppy.
Mastinos should be fed quality food with no by-products, no whole ground yellow corn, minimal to no wheat. The food should not be high in protein because it can lead to kidney failure and no extraordinary amounts of calcium or calcium supplementation which can lead to joint issues. Owners should know that an adult Neo can easily eat 8-10 cups a day. Puppies should eat 2-3 times a day and an adult 1-2 times a day.
Owners must be prepared to deal with drool. Neos drool when they are excited, eating, drinking, or some (because of the massive folds of facial skin) drool constantly. Many Neo owners keep towels handy to keep the dewlap and folds dry and infection free. Many owners also state that the Mastinos have a distinctive odor which may be classified as woodsy. Grooming will not eliminate the scent. However, weekly brushing, ear, eye, teeth, and skin care are highly recommended. This is an average shedding breed; however, very easy to care for. The ears and tail are normally cropped.
Due to the clumsiness of the Neo puppy, no extraneous exercise or rough play to include jumping, Frisbee chasing, tug of war should be used. Because of the high pain tolerance found in the Neo, unsuspected joint injuries that may cause permanent damage due to non-treatment can occur. However, walks are fine and yard runs are ok as long as they are tolerated well. Stopping such exercise prior to the dog tiring out also prevents injuries as well. Over exercise in a breed that grows so fast and so massively large can also result in hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and other joint diseases that are usually genetic. Owners must realize that the Neo continues to grow and change up to the age of three.
Training this dog should be started at an early age to avoid dominance issues. The handler should always remain firm and consistent but not overly corrective or negative. Basic obedience is a must at about 4 months because this puppy will already weigh about 40 to 60 lbs.; therefore, imagine at 6-10 months you will be dealing with 100+ lb dog if you wait to start training basic commands. This breed is highly intelligent and will quickly learn all of the commands; however, the biggest issue is the time in which it will take for the Neo to complete the task if it so desires. Their willfulness does not diminish their love and protective nature of their owner however. The Neapolitan Mastiff should not participate in protection training or bite work because it possesses a natural protective temperament that does not need to be expounded upon or brought even further to the surface.