With a history dating back to the Bronze Age, the Neapolitan Mastiff, or The Neo or Mastino as the breed is sometimes affectionately called, is essentially a 200 pound lap dog. Male Mastiffs may stand 26 to 31 inches at the shoulder and weigh 150 to 200 pounds. Females are 24 to 29 inches tall and weigh on average 120 to 175 pounds. Although appearing somewhat unnerving due to its massive size, loose skin, thick facial wrinkles, and intimidating stare, the Neo is a constant guardian that is both steady and loyal. They live, on average, for eight to ten years.
The coat of the breed varies in color from solid gray, black, mahogany, tan, or tawny. Dogs with white on the face are not permitted to be shown. The head circumference of the breed is large in comparison to the rest of its body with its muzzle occupying 1/3 the length of its head. Its teeth meet in a scissors, pincer, or slightly undershot bite. The breeds’ eyes are often almost completely covered by their dropping lids and are either amber or brown, depending on the coat color (but blue at birth). The ears of the Neo may be cropped or left natural. The tail is always carried straight up, curving in over the back. The breed is recognized by the CKC, FCI, KCGB, NKC, NZKC, USNMC, APRI, ACR, DRA, AKC, NAPR, and ACA
Only aggressive when provoked, the breed has a deep bark but is otherwise normally quiet. The Neo has a slow but powerful gait and a preference for lounging around the home or yard. They also have a propensity for drooling, especially after eating and drinking, or when nervous. They also have a tendency to be very flatulent and also wheeze and grunt.
The Neo is ideally suited for a larger residence with a yard they can patrol due to their size and tendency to knock things over. Although very gentle with children, the breed may be unintentionally clumsy with younger children, especially toddlers who can accidentally be stepped on. Their clumsiness may also lead to issues navigating longer staircases, especially in puppyhood.
The Neo is best suited to a one dog household although may adapt to other breeds if raised alongside them from puppyhood. The same applies to households with cats.
Early socialization is essential for the breed so that the dog learns how to behave around other people and animals. The breed needs training from a consistent and firm but also loving handler making it not an ideal fit for a timid or first-time dog owner. The strong willed nature of the breed means that they will constantly test any command given to them. They can also be destructive when bored so it is important to provide the dog with regular exercise, social interaction, and ongoing training.