MAGNIFICENT, MAJESTIC, MUSCULAR
History & Origin
The Neapolitan Mastiff is one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. Some believe it is centuries old. It goes all the way back to Alexander the Great in 300 B.C!
In those times, the ancient relatives of the Neapolitan Mastiffs guarded homes and animals. There is evidence that they fought bulls, bears, and elephants. Ancestors of the Neapolitan Mastiff were around at the time of the Greeks and Romans.
Lovers of these dogs also link them to the Roman Molossus. This was a huge, powerful dog, very similar to the Neapolitan Mastiff of modern times.
But war and hardship in Europe nearly destroyed the breed. Only a few dogs remained and in the 1940s, an Italian by the name of Piero Scanziani rescued them. He loved the look and history of these dogs. He established a breeding kennel and dedicated much time and energy to revive the line.
It is largely due to Scanziani’s efforts that official recognition came in 1946. Other names for these dogs are Mastino, Mastino Napoletano, Italian Molosso and Neo.
Interestingly, the Italian police still make use of the Neapolitan Mastiff. The breed is not well known outside the country. There are not many in the US, for instance.
Nevertheless, the AKC approved a standard of the Neapolitan Mastiff in 1996.
PERSONALITY AND CHARACTER
The Neapolitan Mastiff is a humungous dog. This puppy is no lapdog – but he may try to climb on your lap! They are deeply affectionate and will slobber all over you if you let them.
The Neo looks fierce and mean and this intimidates many people. This is mostly because of their massive heads and jowls. However, they are not aggressive dogs. But if another dog comes looking for trouble, he will get a response.
This is why they are not ideal for first-time dog owners. Your Neapolitan Mastiff puppy has a big personality and needs lots of authority. It will try to dominate you and you will have to be firm and consistent.
It is best not to have other animals in the house, as the Neapolitan Mastiff may not tolerate them. In addition, you should think twice about having them if you have small children in the home.
But with older children, this could be the perfect pet.
As they are excellent guard dogs, you will never have to worry about unwanted visitors or intruders. Protective and loyal, the Neapolitan Mastiff can be stubborn.
However, this can be addressed with a little bit of training. Socialization is not only about your puppy meeting other dogs. Your pup must be brought into contact with new things and strangers.
This is especially relevant with the Neapolitan Mastiff. They need to know that they can’t do what they like.
NUTRITION AND FEEDING
In the sections to follow, we provide advice on taking care of your Neapolitan Mastiff. Those include from what to feed him to grooming requirements and health tips.
You need to think carefully about the kind of food you feed the new furry member of the family. Many people buy a bag of dog food from the pet store and think that is good enough. Little do they know, however, that this is far from the truth.
You don’t know what goes into most of these products. Checking the label won’t help. Chances are it will say “meat” or “meat products”. Do you know what kind of meat this is? Can you be sure this is a healthy, good quality kind of meat?
If you do decide to go with a store-bought food, try to pick an expensive one. The better brands tend to have the higher standard of food as well. But if you really want to be sure, you many need to consider an alternative.
Proper Puppy Food
Several shocking stories about the pet food industry have made headlines. These reports of what actually goes into the food you feed your dogs are upsetting. This is understandable. We want to give our puppies only the best. Right?
This is why you should think about making your dog’s food yourself. This may sound like a lot of work. It does take time and effort. But think about all of the benefits for your puppy.
Dogs can eat everything that we, humans, eat. There are few things that they cannot eat. There are foods that are bad for dogs, like raisins and chocolate. But in general, human food is great for dogs.
Then there are those who believe in the raw diet. This theory claims that dogs should only eat raw meat. Believers say that dogs and wolves are the same on the inside and process food the same way.
This is not really true. Science shows us that dogs have evolved. The dogs of modern times can digest starches like rice and pasta. Their tummies are perfectly set up to eat bread and potatoes.
A new puppy can be disruptive in the house. They run all over the house, making a mess of everything. That is why you need to establish some ground rules.
This begins with a schedule for feeding time.
The issue of feeding times can be a headache. But this is one of the ways in which you set a routine in your puppy’s life. Your Neapolitan Mastiff likes things in an ordered way. This provides their life with structure.
Dogs like predictability. They do well in homes where everything happens the same way, every day.
So while he is still very little, you may feed your pup three or four times a day. As he grows bigger, this will become less and less. Eventually, you will feed him twice a day. Usually, this is when he is around six months old.
Get your puppy his own bowl and put it in the same place. You will notice how quickly your doggie knows this is where he eats. Soon he will go there looking for scraps of food all by himself.
COAT AND GROOMING
Size and Coat
The Neapolitan Mastiff is a large dog breed. The adult male can weigh 150 pounds (68kg) while the female weighs 110 pounds (49kg) on average.
The Neapolitan Mastiff has a smooth coat. They don’t usually come in a lot of colors. Black, blue and gray is the most common.
The coat of your Neapolitan Mastiff pretty much looks after itself. Brushing it every couple of days will ensure that it stays clean. This is also good for stimulation of the skin.
Your puppy is an average shedder. This means that it will lose hair a couple of times a year. If you would like to keep shedding to a minimum, just brush your pup more often.
The Neapolitan Mastiff is very low maintenance. Compared to other dogs, there is very little to do in the way of grooming. This is not a dog that needs to go to professional groomers every couple of weeks.
This does not mean, though, that there is nothing to do in terms of grooming. You will need to trim your dog’s nails every few weeks. Lots of people don’t like doing this. They are scared of hurting their dog.
But trimming the nails is important. Nails that grow too long can tear off or get hooked on furniture or branches and roots outside. The dogs can also hurt themselves when scratching.
There are many dog nail clippers on the market and you will have to get a pair.
Not to mention the other things like checking your dog’s ears. These must be clean and infection free. This is coupled with dental care. Start to brush your doggie’s teeth when he is still small. This will prevent dental pains later on.
EXERCISE AND TRAINING
Exercise, Energy, and Activities
Neapolitan Mastiffs are not the most energetic of dogs. Because they are so big and heavy, they don’t need to work out so much. But this is not to say that you don’t need to give them a walk every day.
These puppies are not suited for long runs or steep hikes. A nice walk at the end of the day is enough. Although they aren’t big on running, the Neapolitan Mastiff does like to get out regularly.
Neapolitan Mastiffs can be clumsy as a result of their size. Knocking things over and falling into furniture, messing up carpets etc. This is why they need a lot of space. They also require stimulation and plenty of attention from their owner.
The Neapolitan Mastiff responds well to training. It also helps with the communication between dog owner and pup. Training begins at home, the moment your new guy arrives at home.
Commands like “yes”, “no” and “good boy”, tell your dog what you want him to do. This is very good for your relationship. Neapolitan Mastiffs can be domineering and bossy. Training helps to show your dog that you are in charge.
He needs to know that you are in charge. He must listen to you at all times. Positive reinforcement and training is the best way with the Neapolitan Mastiff. Don’t go for any kind of training that uses force or painful methods.
The dog may be tough, but you don’t need to strong-arm him into submission.
Your new puppy would like nothing better than to lie in your bed. But sharing your bed with your new Neapolitan Mastiff is not wise.
He may be cute and cuddly now, but your pup is going to grow up into an enormous hound. It will be basically like sharing your bed with another person!
Studies show that dogs and humans that sleep together don’t sleep peacefully. There are all sorts of cleanliness issues as well. Do you want your doggie jumping on your bed with muddy paws?
If you put a soft pillow next to your bed, your new friend will be more than happy there. In addition, he will know that you are at the top of the pecking order. This is a good point to note with the Neapolitan Mastiff.
You don’t want this dog thinking he is your equal, or perhaps even, your superior.
The Neapolitan Mastiff does not have a very long life expectancy. It usually lives eight to 10 years.
There are, sadly, quite a few health niggles with these dogs.
This is partly due to the fact that the breed is so ancient. At times, the genetic pool was very small and some medical problems developed.
The breed can suffer from canine hip dysplasia as well as heart and joint issues. There are also a few eye conditions, like cherry eye. Fortunately, your furry pal can be treated for this.
Neapolitan Mastiffs are also prone to becoming overweight. Their great size and build make them lazy in later life. They like to eat, too. If you don’t watch their food and how much they eat, the pups could become obese.
Being too fat is linked to conditions like diabetes and cancer.
Can I keep my dog healthy?
Of course, you can do much to prevent illness. A happy dog is a healthy dog. Start with getting the fundamentals right and you will not have costly vet visits later on.
Surprisingly enough, many owners struggle with this. They buy the puppy and expect him to fit right in. But you need to give a new dog plenty of love, direction and exercise to ensure they grow up into well-adjusted adults.
That daily walk is not just about getting his legs going. It works off extra steam and stimulates the mind. It is probably the biggest reason why so many dogs find destructive things to do.
Barking, digging, running off etc. are all signs of dogs that need more attention. This is what dog trainers tell people all the time when they complain about dogs.
To Sum Up
The Neapolitan Mastiff is a sweetheart. He may look really scary, but this adorable big guy can bring much love into your life.
No more waiting! Now you are good to go! There are puppies for all!
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