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Frequently Asked Questions

  • I’m Interested in buying a puppy. How can I find a breeder or someone to talk to?
    The club's website has a list of all current club members and their email address. The list is sorted by state so you can easily find members near you. Though not all members are breeders they may be helpful in connecting you with a reputable breeder to help with what you are looking for.
  • How much does a Neapolitan Mastiff cost?
    Puppy prices usually start at $1500 and go up from there depending on several variables such as pedigree, show potential and breeder costs, etc. A higher price does NOT necessarily mean a better dog! Be sure to have a good working knowledge of health and soundness and ask about testing and show wins to use as a basis for selecting a puppy that is most likely to be healthy, happy and the right fit for you.
  • How long will my Neapolitan Mastiff live?
    7-9 years is the average life span.
  • How big will my Neapolitan Mastiff get?
    According to the Breed Standard, the Neapolitan Mastiff males are 26-31” tall and weigh 150 lbs. and females are 24-29” tall and weigh 110 lbs. Both males and females can and usually do weigh more but must be of correct proportions. Remember, heavier does NOT mean better and they should not be “as heavy as possible”. Correct structure must be maintained.
  • What colors are Neapolitan Mastiffs?
    Blue, Black, Tawny and Mahogany. Any color can have reverse brindling (tan).
  • What are other names for the Neapolitan Mastiff?
    Mastino, Mastino Napoletano and Neo.
  • Do Neapolitan Mastiffs drool a lot?
    Well, let’s just say if drooling was an Olympic sport, the Neapolitan Mastiff would be the clear and undisputed gold medalist. A drool towel will be an essential part of your wardrobe with a Neapolitan Mastiff.
  • What are some health concerns in the breed?
    HEART DISEASE Neapolitan Mastiffs are prone to cardiac conditions, including dilated cardiomyopathy. Mastiffs with dilated cardiomyopathy will sometimes have an irregular heartbeat, or heart murmur, that your vet can hear during an exam. A definitive diagnosis will come after an echocardiogram, or ultrasound of your dog’s heart. BLOAT Bloat is a mysterious problem of all deep-chested breeds. Also known as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) complex. Bloat is a medical and surgical emergency and must be treated immediately. In cases of bloat, the stomach fills with air, pressure builds, stopping blood from the hind legs and abdomen from returning to the heart. Blood pools at the back end of the body, reducing the working blood volume and sending the dog into shock. HIP DYSPLASIA Hip dysplasia is the abnormal growth or development of the hips. It occurs during a puppy's growing phase, usually a large and giant breed puppies, and essentially refers to a poor fit of the ball and socket nature of the hip. When a dog has hip dysplasia, the ball and socket do not fit smoothly. The socket is flattened and the ball is not held tightly in place, thus allowing for some slipping. This makes for an unstable joint and the body’s attempts to stabilize the joint only end up yielding arthritis. X-rays provide a definitive diagnosis and will show evidence of abnormal joint laxity. Treatment is aimed at relieving symptoms of pain and includes drug therapy and/or surgery. Hip dysplasia is thought to be hereditary, but other factors such as diet and conditioning cannot be ruled out. Dogs older than 2 years can have their x-rays evaluated and may be registered free of the disease by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) in Columbia, Missouri ( EYE AILMENTS Entropion - an uncomfortable or painful condition in which the eyelids roll inward, allowing the eyelashes (or other hair) to rub against the cornea and irritate it. The upper and/or lower eyelids can be involved, and the condition can occur in either one eye or both. Cherry Eye - a common minor condition that occurs when the tear gland of the third eye lid prolapses. The tissue in the corner of the eye becomes red and inflamed. This looks terrible but is cured with a minor veterinary procedure. Young Mastini grow very rapidly for the first year or so, and they can develop temporary problems related to this rapid growth, such panosteitis (growing pains). The lameness can shift from one leg to another and can be accompanied by fever. Talk to your breeder and your veterinarian if you notice a limp in your puppy.
  • What training will my Neapolitan Mastiff require?
    In the House—Crate Training A pristine house with many precious or fragile items is not the ideal environment for a young Mastino. Put the crystal and other breakables safely out of the way. You will find that crate training will be very important to the safety and comfort of your Mastino puppy and to your own peace of mind in dealing with this large, demanding, messy, wonderful dog. One endearing trait of the Neapolitan is that he or she wants to be right next to its owner. The dog will follow you from room to room, upstairs, downstairs, indoors, outdoors. Wonderful as this may seem, it is very important that you also teach your young puppy to be comfortable in the crate when you need your dog to be safe. If you don’t, you can run into the problem of a dog that cannot be apart from you for even a moment. This is called separation anxiety and can result in enormous destruction by a frantic dog. Obedience Training Mastini respond well to steady, consistent training. We encourage basic obedience for all Mastini when they are old enough to tolerate a 10-20 minute lesson once or twice every day—about 4 months of age. If you haven’t taught your 40 or 60 pound baby “Sit” or “Down” or “Off” or “Come,” you will find it very much harder to teach these commands to your wild 100+ pound adolescent! Protection training is definitely not recommended for a Mastino as its naturally protective temperament is exactly suitable for this giant powerful dog and does not need any exaggeration. We also very strongly recommend that you avoid any training course asking you to send your dog to live with someone else for training. This breed is loyal and loving of its owner, and learns best when trained by someone it knows, not by someone focused on teaching immediate obedience on a strict time frame.
  • How and what do I feed my Neapolitan Mastiff?
    The Mastino eats about the same amount as other giants, about 8-10 cups per day for the adult. Feed the Mastino any quality food and check with your breeder for recommendations. Some breeders supplement with cooked meat, yogurt, pasta, rice, cottage cheese or other items. Puppies (up to a year old) must be fed 2-3 times a day; adults 1-2 times daily. One note: do not feed food too high in protein (too hard on kidneys) and do not supplement with calcium (can lead to joint problems).
  • What grooming does a Neapolitan Mastiff require?
    They require routine baths and brushing with a rubber brush. These are recommended to minimize shedding and keep the skin and coat in good condition. Their folds and wrinkles will need to be cleaned and dried frequently to prevent skin problems and sores. Nails must be trimmed regularly unless naturally worn down on a hard surface.
  • What is the temperament of the Neapolitan Mastiff?
    Though Mastini have a fierce appearance, they are generally peaceful, steady dogs with even temperaments. They are wonderful with their families but can be wary of strangers. If they have a personality flaw, it is that, like many mastiffs, they can be stubborn or shy. It is important to get your young Mastino accustomed to strange people, places and noises, so that it can happily accept new people and new experiences. Raising a Mastino requires a real awareness of how giant guard dogs think and behave. This is not always the same as other breeds of dogs!
  • Are Neapolitan Mastiffs good with children?
    Most Mastini are excellent with the children and people they know and would never hurt them purposely. Still, you must remember that these are huge dogs. For instance, if startled, they may instinctively give chase and will often playfully knock down someone who is running or bicycling past. Their size and these tendencies mean they should never be unsupervised around children even when asleep. Most Neapolitans are good natured and tolerant of other dogs and if they are raised with other animals they are often best friends. However, adult dogs of the same sex cannot be expected to always get along. Most Mastini will chase cats or other small animals.
  • How much exercise does a Neapolitan Mastiff need?
    The young Mastino grows very rapidly. It is a mistake to play roughly with a young Mastino or to encourage the young dog to run extensively. First of all, these large animals overheat easily. Secondly, overly vigorous exercise can damage the very rapidly growing bones and joints. Let the dog be the leader in the kinds and types of play. Don’t encourage the Mastino to chase a Frisbee and do not play tug-of-war with your young puppy. But do take the Mastino for walks and do let the dog play in the yard as long as he or she seems untroubled. Just stop well before the dog shows it is tired. Mastini have been known to be extremely stoic dogs, and they often ignore pain. This means that the dog may try to participate in play or exercise beyond the point where they should. Because of their clumsiness as they grow, it is relatively easy for a mastiff puppy to incur joint injury. You cannot prevent every accident, but by being careful, you can prevent many problems.
  • Do Neapolitan Mastiffs do well in hot temperatures?
    Neapolitans love cold weather and under regular conditions a healthy adult can be outside as long as it has access to a good solid doghouse with plenty of bedding. Puppies and older dogs will, of course, need much more warmth and shelter. Because they are brachycephalic (short-nosed), they have much more trouble with hot weather. They must be able to get out of the sun and into the shade, and they must always have lots of clean fresh water available. In extremely hot weather, it is advisable to make sure they are moved into a cool place. Every year, many otherwise healthy dogs die suddenly due to heat intolerance. Owners must be extremely sensitive to this issue and must be very, very cautious, especially in humid weather.
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