Unless you’ve been to Jurassic Park, you’ve never seen anything like a Neapolitan Mastiff. These majestic guardians of startling appearance are massive, powerful dogs. The U.S. Neapolitan Mastiff Club describes their dog’s head as “astounding”—and give them credit for hitting upon just the right adjective. The profuse hanging wrinkles and folds, and pendulous lips, make the Neapolitan Mastiff look like a marzipan Mastiff that’s been out in the sun too long. And yet, the breed’s inner dignity and nobility can only be described as beautiful.
The Neapolitan Mastiff, also known as the Mastino, is an estate guard dog from Italy. The breed traces its roots to the dogs of war used by the Roman Army. The breed then existed on estates and farms across Italy for the past two millennia, known as the “big dog of the little man” — the extraordinary dog of the ordinary man.
It’s fun inventing new ways to describe this astonishing dog, but acquiring a Mastino should be the product of serious consideration. If you’ve read our pages devoted to other big protective breeds, you already know how important it is to apply firm training and socialization early, while the pup is still small enough to handle. Mastinos might not be a good fit for novice dog owners. But for experienced big-dog owners looking for something different, the Mastino is as different as it gets.
Neapolitan Mastiffs on Embark
Explore some Embark dogs that share Neapolitan Mastiff ancestry.