In the world which we know, among the different and primitive geniuses that preside over the evolution of the several species, there exists not one, excepting that of the dog, that ever gave a thought to the presence of man. – Maurice Maeterlinck
The Neapolitan Mastiff is one of the ancient and rare breeds of dogs. He is believed to be descended from the giant war dogs of Egypt, Persia, Mesopotamia, and Asia. The Neo’s ancestors fought with the Romans in battle, and protected and defended them on the homefront.
The breed survived mainly around Naples, Italy and has been recognized as a breed in the modern world since 1949.
Originally bred as a guardian and defender of owner and property, the Neapolitan Mastiff is a massive, strongly-built dog standing up to 31 inches at the shoulder. He may weigh as much as 150 lbs. The Neapolitan Mastiff’s massive head, heavy jowls, and wrinkles are compelling enough to deter any intruders. Despite his size, he has a reputation for sneaking quietly up on unsuspecting trespassers.
Photos displayed courtesy of Tommy Chang, TDYChang, Ontario
His coat is smooth and short and requires minimal grooming. It ranges in colour from black to light gray and may have white patches on the chest or toes. The coat may also be tawny or mahogany coloured. The gray or blue as it is known is the most common colour and the most desirable. For Neos working as guard dogs, this colouring allows the animal to blend into the night.
Although originally bred as a protection dog he has a steady temperament, and is loyal and docile rather than outwardly aggressive. However, he can be fierce when defending his home. This animal is a stay-at-home type, and is good with the family. He does require exercise to keep in shape.