Don't be fooled by the Neapolitan mastiff's size and appearance: these gentle giants are unlikely to be aggressive without cause. This breed is a loyal, affectionate watchdog that is entirely unaware of its foreboding size and will try to curl up on your lap. Adults can reach between 24 and 31 inches at the shoulder and weigh as much as 200 pounds. If you have the time — and space — to invest their care, the Neapolitan mastiff will give you big love.
Neapolitan mastiffs are protective of their families, and their deep bark and menacing appearance are enough to make any intruder think twice. These dogs are unlikely to let anyone you haven't invited enter your home. When you have company over, Neos are usually accepting of them, but they remain aloof, saving their great affection for their family.
Neapolitan mastiffs are big and headstrong, so training can be difficult. Start early, using consistent positive reinforcement, praise, and affection. Socialize them frequently with other puppies and people when they're young. They can be aggressive with other dogs, so it helps to train this behavior out of them as early as possible.
Neapolitan mastiffs are much too big and clumsy to be around toddlers. They would never intentionally hurt a member of their family, but they can easily bump into younger children and knock them over. Families with older children are a better fit. Neos are not fond of other dogs and can get aggressive, but they can get along with other dogs and cats if they are raised together.
This is not a good dog for neat freaks; to say they're sloppy is a bit of an understatement. Neapolitan mastiffs are known for wheezing, grunting, snoring, and flatulence. They also drool a lot, particularly after a meal or when they're nervous. The best way to cope with this is to keep baby wipes and air freshener close by.
This big breed is generally healthy, but Neapolitan mastiffs are prone to developing some health problems, including hip and elbow dysplasia, cardiomyopathy, cherry eye, cleft palate, mange, and fold dermatitis. Getting your dog from a reputable breeder is the best way to avoid these issues. Healthy Neapolitan mastiffs live to between 8 and 10 years.
When training a Neopolitan mastiff as a puppy, it's important to always keep in mind how big they're going to get. For example, don't let a 20-pound puppy sleep in your bed unless you want to let it sleep with you when they weigh close to 200 pounds. Never wrestle or roughhouse a Neo puppy because it will think it's okay to do it when it's fully grown.
Don't expect a Neapolitan mastiff to be a jogging or hiking companion. This dog is much more likely to want to curl up on the couch. They should get a decent walk or two every day, but they don't tolerate heat and humidity well, so schedule summer outdoor time in the mornings and evenings when the temperature is cooler.
It's not surprising that Neapolitan mastiffs are prone to gaining weight since they prefer to lounge around the house over running around in the yard. Watch their diet and exercise carefully, always choose a food formulated for large breeds, and measure out each meal instead of leaving food in their bowl around the clock.
The Neopolitan mastiff's coat is short, dense, and smooth. They come in solid black, grey, mahogany, tawny, or brindle, and some have a white spot on their head. Neos shed as much as the average dog, and they should be brushed once a week. Bathing an adult Neopolitan mastiff is a tricky but necessary task, so prepare to get wet.
While their coat doesn't need a lot of attention, Neopolitan mastiffs have an abundance of face wrinkles that require daily care. Heavy folds extend from their eyelids to below their neck and throat and the outer edges of their mouths. Check their skin folds daily and keep them clean and dry to avoid infections.
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