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Common Concerns in the Breed

 

ARE YOU THE RIGHT PERSON FOR A NEAPOLITAN MASTIFF?

 

Owning a Neapolitan Mastiff can be the beginning of a wonderful relationship with hopefully many years of

happiness. However, it could also be the beginning of an overwhelming responsibility which you just

weren’t prepared for!!. This information sheet has been compiled to help you and your family consider the

Pro’s & Con’s of ownership and, with your own careful and honest consideration, will help to ensure that

you and your family have enough understanding to reach an informed decision about ownership.

Living with a Neapolitan Mastiff

Neapolitan Mastiffs are high maintenance, time consuming, smelly, slobbery and because of their size, are

constantly under your feet! Neapolitans are also devoted, loving, loyal, charismatic companions, gentle

giants with their family, fearful foe to the intruder. Neapolitans are generally very good with children

especially if raised with them but, they can be a bit clumsy and at times excitable, so great care should be

taken around babies and toddlers. Older children should always be involved in the training and

socialisation of your puppy; this will encourage balance and harmony for your adult dog within your family

unit. Socialisation and Obedience training is very important, you must be in control of your dog at all times.

Training must NOT be based on punishment or negative reinforcement, but on instruction and repetition of

commands, giving praise and reward for good behaviour will generally have the desired affect. If you do not

have the time for training and socialisation regimes, then a Neapolitan Mastiff is not the breed for you.

Neapolitans can be very good around other dogs and cats, as long as they have been raised with them but

as adult Neapolitans have a very high Alpha drive, can be intolerant of other dogs if not socialised as a

puppy. If you already live with an adult male we urge you to consider a female as a companion and vice

versa. If you have no previous experience of dominant alpha breeds, a Neapolitan is not the breed for you.

Neapolitan Mastiffs make wonderful companions, they are not dogs that should be left to their own devices

outside or chained-up all day long. They are loving animals that thrive on human companionship. If your

house is too small for a very large dog to interact with your family unit, then a Neapolitan is not the breed

for you. Some Neapolitans naturally slobber more than others but, all Neapolitans slobber following eating

& drinking. Are you prepared for wiping down floors & walls several times a day after your dog has shook

his head and the slobber has flown everywhere? Slobber towels, kitchen roll and newspaper around water

bowls are a must, as is the weekly chore of washing dewlap and wiping down of folds. If you haven’t the

time for daily or weekly rituals, then a Neapolitan is not the breed for you. Some Neapolitans also snore

very loudly, if you or your children are light sleepers, a Neapolitan is not the breed for you.

Once over their major growing stage, Neapolitans will eat two meals a day, preferably from feeding stands.

Food must be good quality and in adulthood, low in protein; it does make all the difference if Neapolitans

are fed the correct food. An adult Neapolitan can get through roughly £30-£50 worth of food in one month

alone. Veterinary fees are more expensive for giant breeds due to their size and weight, so health

insurance is also a must, as is a vehicle large enough to transport a Neapolitan. If you are not prepared for

financial commitment then a Neapolitan is not the breed for you.

Considerations of Health - (Please see Information sheet 2 & 3)

The average lifespan of a Neapolitan Mastiff is approximately 8 years, although we all know of dogs that

have lived 10 to 12 years. As with all giant breeds, there can be health problems that can occur during the

optimum growing period, so a controlled diet is essential. Do not over feed at puppy stage as this places

too much stress on growing limbs; a fat puppy does not make a large boned puppy. Neapolitans can suffer

from hip dysphasia and elbow dysphasia but incidence of these conditions is no more so than any other

large breed. Neapolitans can be, because of their lowered immune system, prone to infections of the skin

especially during periods of stress, which they are also prone to suffering from. Neapolitans can also suffer

with eye problems like cherry eye, entropion or ectropion, although the incidence of cherry eye in more

recent years, has surpassed that of entropion or ectropion. All issues of health need to be considered, for

the chances of your Neapolitan Mastiff living into old age without having suffered from any health problems,

is highly unlikely. Have you considered all issues of Health?

Considerations of Exercise

It is very important that a Neapolitan Mastiff whilst growing, has only controlled exercise on a lead and for

short periods of time with limited free running. However, free running time is a must provided you the owner

do not allow the dog to over exert himself and damage limbs in anyway. Exercise & stamina should be

built-up over a period of time in a controlled manner. Neapolitans are not jogging companions and should

not be expected to be so, this puts enormous stress on joints. Walks around the neighbourhood, car boot

sales, country fairs, the type of places where you do lots of short stops are best for the young dog, and

your dog will get lots of attention and will invariably end up being well socialised. A daily walk is as much

about quality time with your Neapolitan as it is about exercise; Neapolitans adore your full attention and will

relish their daily stroll. Have you considered daily exercise?

Are you sure that you are the right person to own a Neapolitan Mastiff? And do you know what you

are looking for in the Breed?

General Appearance - (Please see KC Breed Standard)

The Neapolitan Mastiff should be well boned, large, heavily built, strong and muscular (They should not

look like a Great Dane). The height can range between 25.5 – 29.5 inches at the shoulder, with a weight

from 110 to 154 pounds, although some are lighter and some are heavier. Neapolitans must also be

balanced; it is not healthy to allow a Neapolitan to carry so much weight that it cannot move correctly.

The Neapolitan Mastiff must have a degree of loose fitting skin over the body and head but this must not be

overly excessive so that it is detrimental to health. The head must be square and flat between the ears (Not

round or have low set overly long ears). They must have a double dewlap and the required feature of the

lips forming an upside-down ‘V’. There are four colours, all shades of grey, black, mahogany and ash

blond, all these coats may be brindled.

Breed Characteristics

The Neapolitan Mastiff should be even tempered, loyal, vigilant, intelligent and slightly aloof. The

movement is an important characteristic which could be compared to the motion of large mammals, when

pacing the Neapolitan moves like a bear, and when trotting he moves like a lion. Neapolitan Mastiffs are

not attack dogs and should never be trained to be so, Neapolitans will naturally guard their family and

home and are apt at protecting by presence alone. However, Neapolitans can be very territorial and will

protect their garden, home, car, and family, from people or other dogs, this is why socialisation and training

is very important, if you accept someone into your house, your dog should accept that person also. It is

your responsibility, your duty of care, to teach your dog what is acceptable and non-acceptable behaviour,

and it is your responsibility to ensure that you are in full control of your dog at all time.

The Neapolitan Mastiff is not a Breed for everyone – Weigh up the Pro’s & Con’s very carefully.

Good Points                                            Bad Points

Unconditional Love                               Slobber / Odour / Snoring

Unconditional Loyalty                          Size / Weight

Devoted Companion                             Dominant / Alpha

Majestic / Charismatic / Unique        Stubborn / Headstrong

Intelligence / Trainability                     Life Expectancy

Will not Stray                                           Health / Stamina

Protector / Guardian                            Food Bills / Veterinary Bills

 

 

 

 

©2012 Rayvonley Mastini