The Neapolitan Mastiff almost became extinct after World War II. By the 1980's greatly due to author Sherilyn Allen VMD introduced the Neapolitan to the United States through her book called "The Official book of the Neapolitan Mastiff." In 2001 this breed was registered with the AKC.
Due to its protective instincts and fearsome appearance, The Neapolitan Mastiff breed is often used as a guard dog. They are well known as defenders of their family and property. They are wary of strangers and usually stand between them and their owners until it is clear that the owner is welcoming to the stranger. Untitled provoked the Neapolitan generally does not bark.
Neapolitan Mastiffs are recognized mostly by the loose skin which covers their entire body including wrinkles on the head. Their coats come in four colors which are Mahogany, black, gray, and tawny. Sometimes they have white on the chest and on the feet. Male Neapolitans stand between 26-31 inches at the withers and weighs about 150 pounds. Females are a bit small and stand between 24-29 inches and weigh about 110 pounds.
Mastiffs are not a breed for just any owner, especially not brand new dog owners, mostly due to their massive size. It takes an experienced owner to be able to handle Mastiff dogs. Mastiffs should be trained at an early age to be obedient to their master. They have a tendency to be quite stubborn and must be taught who is in charge. If not well trained an owner might find that their Mastiff rules the house and probably has developed some bad behavioral problems which can be difficult to change.
Male Mastiffs are more dominant and aggressive than females. Females are usually rather easy going. All Mastiffs are very loving with their family and gentle with children. Children, however, should be taught to respect the Mastiff. Loving or not, the Neapolitan Mastiff is still a giant dog and due to size can accidently harm a small child.
Some of the more common health problems that Mastiffs may encounter are hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, bloat, and skin infections. A good diet, exercise, and not allowing the Mastiff to become overweight can help prevent these health problems.
Neapolitan Mastiffs are often referred to as "gentle men" and indeed they are!