The Neapolitan Mastiff has an impressively ancient line, going back to the time when they were a Roman fighting dog, but their temperament is much more stable than their appearance would suggest.
They are a powerfully built, stocky looking dog. Their impressively large head is enhanced with a mass of wrinkles and folds with a large dewlap. Their coat is short and shiny and comes in gray, blue, black, mahogany, tawny and, rarely but occasionally, chocolate, sometimes with brindle and white markings. A small amount of white markings are allowed on their chest and toes but none on their face.
In ancient Roman times, they were used for combat, both in a war situation and in the arena. They subsequently went on to find favour as a guard dog.
Neapolitan Mastiffs can be affectionate, intelligent, calm and well behaved. Although their first instinct is to protect, a well trained Neapolitan Mastiff will only use their full force when commanded. Usually quiet, only barking if necessary, they can be wary of strangers although loving to the family and they can be trained to accept other people and animals. They tend to be inactive indoors but need a good deal of exercise so a long daily walk each day is essential.
The short coat is easy to maintain but the amount of drool they produce often needs regular attention and a towel kept nearby. They are prone to cherry eye, hip dysplasia, bloat and joint pain from growth (this last usually stops naturally). Because of the large head size, puppies are usually born via caesarian.