|Black Male Mastiff with cropped ears.|
|Other names||Italian Bulldog
|Country of origin||Italy|
|Dog (Canis lupus familiaris)|
The Neapolitan Mastiff or Italian Mastiff, (Italian: Mastino Napoletano) is a large, ancient dog breed. This massive breed is often used as a guard and defender of family and property due to their protective instincts and their fearsome appearance.
Size and proportion
According to American Kennel Club (AKC) standards, male Neapolitan Mastiffs should measure 26–31 inches (66–79 cm) at the withers, weigh 130–155 pounds (60-70 kg), while females should measure 24–29 inches (61–74 cm) and weigh 110–130pounds (50–60 kg). Body length should be 10–15% greater than height.
The Neapolitan Mastiff is a loyal companion to its home and family. They prefer to be with their family by staying around the home outside at all times sleeping, which is their natural instinct. The Neapolitan Mastiff rarely barks unless under provocation.
Neapolitan Mastiffs, as a breed, are extremely intelligent dogs with a tendency to be independent thinkers. They learn quickly, which is both good and bad, since this breed needs extensive proper socialization to learn to accept strangers, especially within the home; with proper early socialization and training, these dogs rarely become aggressive towards strangers or unfamiliar dogs.
As with every breed, obedience training is very important. The Neo is very tolerant of pain due to the fact the skin is loose on the body, so it is important to routinely check for health problems, as a Neo may not behave differently when injured or ill. They also are renowned for drooling especially after drinking or if they get excited.
The Neo has some specific health concerns. The most common is Cherry eye. Others include:
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- Sebaceous adenitis
- Progressive retinal atrophy
- Skin infections between skin folds called Pyoderma
- Anesthetic Sensitivity
Additionally, Neos do not do well in hot weather, and are prone to heatstroke. Like most giant breeds, the Neapolitan Mastiff is not particularly long-lived, averaging 7 to 9 years, however, with a proper biologically appropriate diet, safe exercise, and proper weight maintenance, there is no reason that the average Neo cannot live beyond that.
Care and maintenance
When it comes to exercise, Neapolitans are not a very active breed as their energy tends to be short lived and their weight causes stress to their joints when excessive. However, they can and will have short, extremely powerful bursts of energy.
Despite centuries of popularity throughout Europe, this type of dog was almost lost after World War II. Soon after the war, Italian painter Piero Scanziani established a breeding kennel to turn the mastiff-type dogs of Italy into a formal breed which was then named the Neapolitan Mastiff and English Mastiff was used to help in this process. A Neapolitan Mastiff has set the record for giving birth to 24 puppies, although 4 of them didn't survive.
Neapolitan Mastiffs were also trained to bait bulls, bears and jaguars.
Neapolitan Mastiffs in the media
- Alan from the film Babe: Pig in the City.
- Fang from the Harry Potter films (in the books, Fang is a boarhound, an old term for a Great Dane, while in the films he is a Neapolitan Mastiff).
- Pansy from the Burke series of novels by Andrew Vachss.
- Sweetie from Robert K. Tanenbaum's Butch Karp novels.
- A Neapolitan was featured in the movie American Gangster as a domestic pet belonging to an Italian Mafia Boss Dominic Cattano.
- A Neapolitan Mastiff appears in a scene in the movie DragonHeart.
- A Neapolitan Mastiff appears in the Movie "Hotel for Dogs"
- A Neapolitan Mastiff appears in a scene in the movie "Belly".
- Julius (Marguerite's dog) from the Argeneau Family novels is a Neapolitan Mastiff.
- "American Kennel Club Neapolitan Mastiff Breed Standards". Akc.org. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
- "Facts about NEAPOLITAN MASTIFFS ***". Facts-about.org.uk. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
- Pansy Imprisoned, excerpted from Choice of Evil, by Andrew Vachss. Vintage, 2000.
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