The Neapolitan Mastiff, or Mastino Napoletano, is a breed of large dog that originated in Italy. This breed is known for its unique physical appearance, which includes a heavily wrinkled face and a formidable size. The history of the Neapolitan Mastiff can be traced back to ancient times. They were used as war dogs and guard dogs by the Romans, who admired their strength and protective nature. The breed's lineage is believed to date back to the massive war dogs of the Middle East that were introduced to early Greece and subsequently to Italy.
The Neapolitan Mastiff, or Mastino, is a large, deep-chested dog that can suffer from bloat, also known as gastric dilation volvulus (GDV). This is a life-threatening condition that can come on suddenly, so it’s important to know the warning signs and get an affected dog immediate veterinary care. They are also prone to cherry eye. Mastinos may suffer from back problems, Wobbler Syndrome, osteosarcomas, heart muscle degeneration, and epilepsy. Like many breeds, the Mastino can be affected by degenerative myelopathy, progressive rod-cone degeneration, hip dysplasia, and hyperuricosuria. Genetic screening is recommended to assist veterinarians with diagnosis and proactive care, as well as help breeders identify affected and carrier dogs.
Neapolitan Mastiffs are known for their calm and steady nature. They are very protective and loyal, making them excellent family dogs if socialized properly. Despite their size, they can be quite gentle and are generally good with children. However, they can be wary of strangers and may not be well suited to homes with lots of visitors. Early socialization and training are key to ensuring they are well-behaved and comfortable in various situations.
Despite their short hair, they do shed, particularly during shedding season. Regular grooming can help manage this and keep their skin healthy.
The dog in the Harry Potter series, "Fang", is a Neapolitan Mastiff.
The Neapolitan Mastiff was almost extinct after World War II, but was brought back by a group of enthusiasts from Italy
They can weigh over 150 pounds. Despite their intimidating size, they can be quite gentle and are sometimes nicknamed "gentle giants".