How to Interact With Your Neapolitan Mastiff

Understanding Your Neapolitan Mastiff

When you first see Neapolitan mastiffs, it is very understandable to feel slightly intimidated by their appearance. These dogs have large, rectangular bodies; a massive head; and a wrinkled face giving it a brutish appearance rather than amiable. These dogs also move slowly – to the point of seeming colossal – so they don’t look like they’re there for show. They look like they mean business.

With their stocky bodies, serious stares, and an overall impression of quiet strength, these dogs were actually developed to look and act terrifying when the situation calls for it. However, it might be a surprise for some people that, at present, these dogs are less about bite and bark than they are about giving affection to their families.

Where Their Scary Reputation Comes From

Neapolitan mastiffs actually used to be bred and trained to fight alongside Roman legions. With their large bodies, incredible courage and strength, they fought against bulls and wild-boars. They were also said to be able to fight even against lions. In fact, the ancestors of these dogs were a favorite breed of Alexander the Great.

How They Are Known Now


Well, it should be a pleasure for you to know that these Neapolitan Mastiffs are actually peaceful and steady pets. That doesn’t mean, though, that they are undependable – since that is hardly the case. They are very protective and fearless, so these dogs will readily come to your aid whenever the situation presents itself.

However, these dogs can prove to be hard to handle for some people. Neapolitan Mastiffs are not just for anyone, especially not for first-time dog owners, since they need masters who are confident and firm in their commands. Otherwise, they might become too willful and independent of their masters.

Finding the Right Breeder

When looking for a Neapolitan Mastiff Breeder your search can be full of pitfalls. There are a few things you should be aware of when choosing a breeder and I’ll be explaining all you need to know. By finding the right kind of breeder you’ll be setting yourself up to get a top quality Neapolitan Mastiff.

Your new mastiff can be in your family for 10-12 years, sometimes even more. What you’re really doing is choosing another member of the family, so it’s not a decision to take lightly or something you do in a day. You want to be happy with your new addition, knowing full well that (s)he will be in good health and well tempered.

So, it all starts with the quality breeder. The best way to find a breeder is through a recommendation. So where do you find a good recommendation?

  • The Park

Try a walk to the local park where off leash is permitted. You’ll see a whole bunch of owners with their dogs, but more importantly, find the owner with a Neapolitan Mastiff. I know it’s a long shot, but if you do see one take the opportunity to walk up and start a quick conversation about their dog. Ask if they can recommend the breeder from where they received their dog and what was their experience.

  • A Dog Show

The more mastiff specific the better. Go to a dog show in town and visit the Neapolitan mastiffs on display. Again go and start a conversation with the show dog owner and ask for a reference. Sometimes you’ll find breeders showing off their dog at the event, so it’s a perfect opportunity to introduce yourself and really get a feel for who the breeder is; Get their card.

  • Community

Try calling some local Veterinarians, Dog Shelters, and Animal Rescue. The people who work at these places see a large number of animals and usually have a list of breeders in the area.

  • On the Web

You can do a search online, but because this is not coming from a reference you’re just going to have to be a little more selective. The breeder may talk a good game on the telephone or through email, but for all that you know this can be a cheap backyard mastiff hobbyist just trying to make a few extra bucks from their dog.

Screening the Neapolitan Mastiff Breeder

So at this point, you should have a few breeders contact numbers. The ones you obtain through references should be considered your “A” list. The breeders you found through web directories, and classifieds should be on your “B” list. You’re now going to figure out if you can really trust this breeder and then the quality of mastiff they sell.

Is the breeder selective? That is, does she seem inquisitive to your reasoning behind getting a mastiff. A good breeder will be selective about who she sells to. Is the breeder knowledgeable? When asking the breeder questions you should receive good responses that are well informed regarding the Neapolitan Mastiff. Does the breeder express a love for her mastiffs? It may be hard to tell, but if you can identify that the breeder is enthusiastic and really cares for this breed then you know that her involvement is seeded in passion; not solely for the money.

3 Good Questions to Ask the Breeder

1. Do you belong to any Neapolitan Mastiff Clubs or Organizations? You’re looking for a yes answer, this shows passion and involvement with the breed.

2. What other breeds of dogs do you breed? You’re looking for someone that only breeds the Neapolitan Mastiff, otherwise no more than two different breeds.

3. Do you guarantee the health of your Mastiff? The breeder should answer yes to this question. You want a breeder that breeds healthy mastiffs and one that stands behind the quality of dog they produce.

3 Things to Look for When Visiting the Breeder

1. The adult dogs should be happy to see you (waging the tail) but be well tempered enough not to jump up or be out of control. Warning signals should ring if the adult dog cowers or continues to bark at you after an introduction.

2. Is the Mastiff’s place of dwelling clean and cozy with accessibility water? This just shows that the breeder has a respect for her animals and ensures they are well taken care of.

3. Do the Mastiffs have plenty of space to run around in? A good breeder will make a home on acreage or a farm where she can breed and raise her mastiffs in a wide open area.

In Summary, it may take multiple phone calls, visits, and driving around to find a good breeder that you can trust but once you do find “the” breeder you’ll certainly find “the” mastiff.

Are You Up to Taking Care of a Neapolitan Mastiff?

Neapolitan Mastiffs are actually very intelligent so they don’t need a lot of training. These dogs are also very sensitive to what their master wants. But, before anything else, they will need an owner that they can respect as their superior.

This doesn’t mean that you have to be someone like a distinguished historical figure such as Alexander the Great. This simply means that these dogs need a dominant master who will be thorough and consistent in their training in order to properly control them.

Training the Proud Beast

Firstly, your dominance as its owner should be established early on – while the dog is still young. This goes a long way in the dog’s training since it will always look up to you as its master and not someone who it can control. It is recommended that you give your dog some additional obedience training so it will be easier for the two of you to communicate. Always remember to be firm, and confident when giving a command.

Also, you will need to socialize Neapolitan mastiffs at an early age since they are naturally wary of strangers. You’ll need to get them used to the presence of other animals that you keep as pets, and to the presence of other people such as your neighbors.

Constant exercise is also important to this breed so you are going to have to take your pets on daily walks. Again, it is important that you walk your dogs properly, especially with Neapolitan mastiffs. Remember to show it that it is you who decides the pace of the walk. You are doing it right when your dog walks alongside you and not ahead of you.

Finally, whenever you have to correct the dog for an error it committed you must be able to match the dog’s intensity, and you must be swift in correcting it.

If you are able to do all of this, then you should be able to raise a serious, calm, and quiet dog that is a natural at guarding your family against all sorts of harm. Otherwise, it might be best to pick another breed of dog to take care of, gain experience in training dogs, and perhaps consider taking on the task of raising Neapolitan mastiffs.

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About the Author Joycey

All my life I've been in love with one big friendly dopey Mastiff family member after another. No other breed has given me so much pleasure. I care about them as much if not more than most of the people I've ever known and now it's a dream to be able to research and write up everything my team and I have learned and are continuing to learn. Hope you enjoy reading about them as much as I enjoy writing :)

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