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A large and imposing breed, the Neapolitan Mastiff is a heavy and splendid dog originally bred as a guard dog by the Romans. This dog breed is a popular family dog because of its affectionate and loyal nature. It is a giant, muscular and powerful dog that weighs 120 to 200 pounds and stands 60 to 78 centimetres at the withers. Neapolitan Mastiffs have lifespans of up to 10 years.
Are you searching for a majestic-looking guard dog? Read on to learn more about this native Italian dog.
The Neapolitan Mastiff was believed to have descended from the giant war dogs of Asia and the Middle East. These are ancient dogs, large, powerful and muscular, bred to guard homes, livestock and fight lions, elephants and men. In 356 B.C, Alexander the Great brought some of these native war dogs to regions he conquered where they were cross-bred with shorthaired Indian dogs, developing the "Molossus," the ancestor of several modern breeds.
When the Romans conquered Greece among the spoils of war were the Molossus dogs that they cross bred with the courageous mastiffs of Britain in 55 B.C. Crossing these two breeds resulted into the "Mastini," which were soon further developed in the Neapolitan area in Italy. The Mastinis served as guard dogs of homes and estates.
In 1946, the breed was displayed for the first time at a dog show in Naples where it enamoured the breeder, Dr Piero Scanziani, who later established the breed standards and renamed the breed "Mastino Napolteno" or the Neapolitan Mastiff.
The Neapolitan Mastiff is a strapping, imposing and often powerful dog. It is heavy-boned, and its body is longer rather than it is tall. It weighs 120 to 200 pounds and stands 60 to 78 centimetres at the withers. Its large head is wrinkled with folds extending from the outside edges of the eyelids to the dewlap, and from below the lower lids to the external edges of the lips. The muzzle is moderately long against the head and should just be as wide. It has a large nose matching the colour of its coat, while its ears form small triangles and are either natural or cropped. The tail is set low and often docked.
The Neapolitan Mastiff wears a short and dense coat that is smooth to touch. Its coat comes in shades of blue, black, mahogany, reverse brindle, or tawny. Despite its large form, is low maintenance when it comes to grooming, thanks to its short and glossy coat. However, the folds and wrinkles around the face must be checked, cleaned and dried regularly to avoid bacteria setting in and developing infections.
Like most dogs, Neapolitans shed throughout the year and more during spring and autumn, which may require frequent grooming. It's also important to pay close attention to other basic grooming needs. Check the dog's ears regularly and clean them when necessary to avoid ear infections. Brush its teeth often to keep gum disease and bad breath at bay. Also, make sure to trim its nails to prevent overgrowth, splitting and cracking, often painful for the dog.
The Neapolitan Mastiff is the perfect guard dog and family companion. Its large and imposing figure is enough deterrent to people with evil intentions. However, its fierce loyalty and protectiveness is also a force to be reckoned with. Neapolitans are real gentle giants that crave the company of its human family. They love nothing more than to be a part of a loving environment, though they are not ideal for first-time owners as well as owners who live in small city apartments. Their size alone requires a steady hand for consistent training and a huge living space and preferably a back garden, so they can roam as they please.
Neapolitan Mastiffs crave human contact and will develop negative behaviours when left alone for too long. Thus, they are more suitable for homes where one family member stays at home. Then again, this large dog breed is not suited to families with toddlers because of its size, which can easily knock down small children. They have more affinity with older children who know how to behave around big dogs, although any interaction must still be supervised.
In the presence of other male dogs, the male Neapolitan Mastiff may become a little aggressive. However, female Neapolitans tend to get on well with all dogs especially when they are socialised from a young age. With regard to small pets, care should be taken when around the Neapolitan Mastiff as it won't hesitate to chase cats, rabbits and other small furry creatures. Although this dog breed seems to co-exist with family cats that they grew up with.
A typical serving for an adult Neapolitan Mastiff is 4 to 6 cups of high-quality dog food daily, equally divided in two to three meals. When you are not entirely certain about your dog's diet, do not think twice to consult a veterinarian.
Typical daily calorie needs of an adult Neapolitan Mastiff that weighs 150 pounds:
Large dogs like the Neapolitan Mastiff will need more calories compared to other breeds. However, its diet must focus on the quality of the food rather than the quantity. Be sure to buy commercial dog food rich in protein or prepare a home-cooked, all-natural-food diet. It's all about balanced nutrition.
The Neapolitan Mastiff is a healthy dog despite its size and its loose skin, which on occasion can be a cradle for fungal infection. However, like all breeds, this dog is predisposed to health conditions that are either genetic or acquired. These health conditions include Hip Dysplasia, Entropion, Cherry Eye, OCD, Arthritis, Bloat, heart conditions, and skin problems.
Neapolitan Mastiffs must be provided with the right amount of exercise daily. They will require at least a minimum of 60 minutes a day so they can maintain their health. Adult Neapolitan dogs are often sedentary indoors and need a little coaxing to get up and move around. Take them for walks and let them play in the yard but make sure to stop before the dog shows it is tired. Neapolitan Mastiffs are known to ignore pain and may overexert themselves needlessly.
Are you planning to buy a Neapolitan Mastiff puppy? It does sound simple: find a reputable breeder where you can buy one, but the truth is, it is not as simple as that. Taking home a dog, most especially a massive one, requires a hefty sum if you plan to care for it throughout its lifespan. It means setting aside a monthly budget for its food, veterinary care, pet insurance, supplies and more. If you're not sure what the figures look like on a monthly basis, below is the average cost on a few important pet-related financial obligations.
When you buy a Neapolitan Mastiff, you will have to spare about £800 to £2000 for a well-bred puppy. Selecting an affordable pet insurance will be tricky as there is no specific premium. Pet insurance cost will depend on your location, the dog's age and health but on average, it may cost you around £57 to £110 a month. Food is vital to keep your dog healthy, and for a huge dog like the Neapolitan, you will have to spend a bit more around £70 to £80 a month. Veterinary care is as important as food especially to make sure that your dog is not suffering from any health conditions. Vet costs will set you back at least £1,200 a year.
Are you sure the Neapolitan Mastiff is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.Dog Breed Selector Quiz
Did you realise the Neapolitan Mastiff is not for you? Don't worry. You can check out other breeds that suits your needs with our Pet Finder.
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