Owning a Neapolitan mastiff can be the beginning of a wonderful relationship with years of happiness or it can be the beginning of overwhelming responsibility for which you may not be prepared.
mastiffs are loving, slobbery, gentle giants. They are among the giants of
the dog world, and can range in size from 24 - 31 inches at the shoulder
with a weight from 140 to 180 pounds (although some are both taller and
heavier). Once they are over their major growing stage, they will eat two
large meals twice a day.
There are several items you should consider when determining if you are ready to become a Neapolitan mastiff owner. Careful and honest consideration will help to ensure yourself, your family, and your Neo the future you all deserve.
Read the following paragraphs carefully to help
determine if the Neo is the right dog for you. For future research you
might want to read some of the following publications. Dr. Allen's "The
Official Book of the Neapolitan Mastiff", "The Ultimate Breed of Mastiff"
by Douglas Oliff, and the "Project Breed Directory."
Neapolitan mastiffs are wonderful companions. They are not dogs that should be left outside chained to a doghouse or left alone in a fenced yard. They are loving companions who need a lot of human companionship to be properly socialized, trained, and owned.
If your house is too small for
a very large dog, then a Neapolitan is not the right dog for you. We have
found serious behaviour problems in Neapolitan Mastiffs that were excluded
from the family and relegated to the backyard with only occasional human
Neapolitans slobber, some more than others, but they all do after they eat or drink. Are you willing and prepared to wash your walls, ceilings etc. after the slobber flies when they shake their heads? (We owners call it Neo necter) Slobber towels must always be handy in strategic locations!
Neapolitan mastiffs will snore and sometimes you think a train is going through the house. Are you a light sleeper, or one that needs quiet to sleep? If so, you might consider another breed.
Neapolitan mastiffs are not attack dogs. These dogs will guard their house, but they protect their family by their mere presence. Their size, look and bark will scare away the bravest of burglars. If you open the door and let someone in the house, the Neapolitan Mastiff should accept that person.
Neapolitan Mastiffs are generally good with children, but a giant, clumsy, yet excitable dog is not a good combination for smaller children (up to the age of 10).
Neapolitan mastiffs can be territorial dogs. They will protect their yard, house, car and family from people or other dogs. They want it to be known that this is their yard, their car. They can be very good around other dogs and cats, as long as they have been raised with them. They can have a high Alpha drive, so if you already have an adult male dog, for example you should consider a female Neo and vice versa.
An adult male Neapolitan can go through 40 - 70 pounds of food a month. That's roughly £40-80 a month in food alone. Because of their size, a Neapolitan will cost you more at the Vet's Surgery too, so it's a good idea to take out health insurance on him.
You can expect to spend approximately £100-£500 per year at the Vet's surgery (and sometimes more, depending on age, medical condition, and luck!) So health insurance is a must on these large dogs.
A vehicle large enough to transport your Neapolitan is also a good idea, something like a Volvo estate, MPV or similar.
Obedience training can also be important when owning a Neo. After all, do you want to be pulled down the street, when your 160-pound male wants to chase a squirrel? The training must not be based on punishment or negative reinforcement. Classes on training in your area are usually advertised at your local vets or look in the yellow pages or local papers.
Exercising a Neapolitan is not as difficult as those of the sporting breeds who seem to have endless energy. A Neapolitan is happy to go on 2 walks a day of about 20 - 30 minutes each. Some love to hike and swim, but they are not the best jogging companions. They should not be asked to jog, as it can be very difficult on their joints. Walks can be around the neighbourhood, or you can go on hikes in the forest, swims in the local lake, or chasing a soccer ball. A couch may be his/her favorite spot, but exercise will help them live longer!
If you are interested in having a Neapolitan Mastiff become a part of your family, please Read up on the breed and consider adopting one who requires a home.