Neapolitan Mastiff Breed Origins and Caracteristics

From ancient times, the royal armies have been accompanied by fighting dogs. The Roman legions took many fighting dogs in campaigns. The most known were the molossus from Epirus. When the Romans occupied the British islands, they found a great resistance and they met dogs that exceeded their molossus both in strength and aggressiveness. The Romans took some of these dogs and cross-bred them with their molossus, using them for fighting and later in the circus, to fight against beasts and gladiators. These dogs were the ancestors of the nowadays called Neapolitan Mastiff. The opinions about the character of this breed are divided; many breeders considered that these dogs are quiet, loyal, easy to dominate and good guardians that only attack at the expressed command; others state that they are difficult to domesticate and dangerous even for their master. It is true that the Neapolitan mastiff is a confident dog that does not subject easily. But it recognizes its master as the boss and accepts it; it will only show a good disposition towards its master.

The origin of all the breeds closer to the mastiff can be found in Central Asia. Commonly the Tibetan mastiff, mastiff of the Tibet, is said to be the ancestor. At present, these dogs are robust, have long hair and guard yack herds and houses, stores of people from Asian mountains. They are intelligent and obedient, but mistrustful, irritable and hostile with strangers.

Neapolitan Mastiff. Size: male 65-75 cm: female 60-70 cm. Weight: 65-75 kg. Colors: black (1) lead-gray, straw-color or stripped. The white patches are allowed on the chest and toes.

Mastiff from Tibet. Size: male 65-75 cm, female 60-70 cm. Weight: 65-70 kg. Colors: black with red or yellow patches (2), there are also black or white patches that only represent a fourth of the fur and they should be limited to the limbs, feet and chest.

The dogs of these two breeds have small and drop ears. In the past the Neapolitan mastiff was given a "fighting cut". The only thing that was left from the ear was the lower part of the cartilage of the outer ear (3). In this way the ears of the dogs destined to fight was cut in order to avoid that the adversary could catch the dog from the outer ear which is very sensitive.

Dog Breeds Descriptions by Breed Neapolitan Mastiff Tibetan Mastiff Mastiff German Shepherd Groendaell or Belgian Shepherd Collie Shetland Shepherd, Shetland or Sheltie Bobtail Pembroke Welsh Corgi Briard or Brie shepherd Pumi Affenpinscher or Monkey Pinscher Doberman Miniature Pinscher Schnauzer Boxer Bulldog Bullmastiff German Mastiff or Great Dane Bordeaux Mastiff Mastiff or English Mastiff Neapolitan Mastiff Rottweiler Hovawart Leonberger Pyrenean Mastiff Newfoundland Saint Bernard Great Swiss Mountain Dog Airedale Terrier Bedlington Border Terrier Fox Terrier Irish Terrier Jagdterrier or German Terrier Lakeland Terrier Manchester Terrier Welsh Terrier Dandie Dinmont Terrier Norwich Terrier Scottish Terrier Sealyham Terrier Skye Terrier West Highland White Terrier Boston Terrier Bull Terrier Yorkshire Terrier Kerry Blue Terrier Teckel Siberian Husky Alaskan Malamute Spitz Chow-Chow Basenji St. Hubert Hound or Bloodhound Foxhound Beagle Basset Hound Bavarian Red Dog German Short-Haired Pointer Stichelhaar, Pudelpointer and Spinone Weimar Pointer Hungarian Pointer or Viszla Large Munsterlander Brittany Spaniel Pointer English Setter Gordon Setter Labrador Retriever Golden Retriever Wachtelhund American Cocker Rhodesian Ridgeback Cocker Clumber Spaniel Springer Spaniel Irish Water Spaniel Maltese Caniche or Poodle Belgian Griffon Hairless Dogs Lhassa Apso Shih Tsu Chihuahua Dalmatian King Charles Knight King Charles Spaniel Chin or Japanese Spaniel The Pekinese Spaniel French Bulldog Pug Barzoï Whippet