Neapolitan Mastiffs - general behavior
by Linda Janse van Rensburg, Picasso Neapolitan Mastiffs.
Despite the beastly and vicious appearance, the Neapolitan Mastiff is a peaceful and steady dog. It is serious, calm and quiet, unless provoked. The breed sleeps a lot, but can get on its feet incredibly fast. Mastinos are slow, lumbering large beasts with only limited energy for play, normally in the cooler hours of the day. They have busts of energy for extreme strong play, but for only short periods.
The Neapolitan Mastiff is a guard dog and defense dog par excellence, of great size, powerful and strongly built, of tough yet majestic appearance, sturdy and courageous, of intelligent expression, endowed with correct mental balance and docile character. It is highly protective and fearless, but affectionate and devoted to its family and family’s friends. He won’t respond quickly to your commands, but do not mistake this for being dumb.
The Neapolitan Mastiff of today is categorized by the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) as a dog bred for protection and guarding. His typical color is black or grey, so that at night, the dog, lost in the shadows, can attack without being seen. This breed rarely causes trouble by excessive barking…in fact, the most of the time, when they do bark….there will be a good reason.
The dog’s bodies are heavy, so they are big enough to bring down a man or other beast. They are meant to carry out their work from close quarters and do not need to run far. They are not dogs bred for running. They are actually bred so that they will not run away. The Neo is the messiest of eaters. His copious flews and large lips scatter food in all directions and are great hiding places for snacks long after the meal is over. They will get very messy around the mouth after eating and drinking, but drooling is fairly limited to mealtimes. This dog is not known for his neatness. Another endearing habit of the Neo, is snoring. A sound-asleep Neapolitan will be heard from quite a distance.
Being with their owner means more to them than anything, and doors are only a small encumbrance to a Neo who wants to be with his family. They are incredibly desirous of companionship. When they are separated from the object of their affection, they will take matters into their own jaws to try and change the conditions, and can break down a solid wooden door in a very limited time. They are awesomely devoted to their human family.
They do their work very well by their astute sense of smell which informs them who is coming. This sentence sums up what every owner of Neapolitans has observed – most of them do not see very well. They appear to be nearsighted. Many do not recognize a person until they smell that person, or see the person up very close. And if a person persists in approaching, they violently attack. This is their nature.
The most important quality in these dogs is that they are guards, and do not permit anyone onto their property, and if they are provoked, they will defend and fight with vigor and tenacity.
The Neapolitan Mastiff still retains a strong sense of social hierarchy and needs to know who is boss. It is not uncommon for the Neapolitan to be stubborn, independent and strong-willed, wary of strangers and sometimes shy. They need early socialization to become accustomed to different people, places and things. If not well socialized they are difficult to introduce to other dogs when adults, and can be very dangerous when meeting other dogs, especially the same sex.
Neapolitan Mastiffs make great companions for those adults who are animal orientated and can control as well as care for a very powerful animal whose basic instincts are to guard, defend and attack if necessary.
Most Neapolitans are fond of their human children and would not purposely hurt them, but, because of their large size, they could knock over a small child and step on them per accident. Most Neapolitans are very gentle with children and will probably only drool on a kid. Children are very excitable and they love to run and yell. This might cause most dogs to become excited as well. They should never be unsupervised around very small children, and children must handle a Neo with respect.
Neapolitans by nature are dominant alpha dogs and must be handled accordingly. It is important that every member in the family, including the children must outrank the Neapolitan in pack member status.
They are relatively inactive indoors and a small yard will do. They need dry, soft bedding to prevent pressure markings, although, they always prefer a cold hard surface to sleep on in the summer. In warm weather they need a lot of shade and fresh water. Normally they do not need to have high fencing to keep them inside, as they are not likely to jump.
This breed should never be aggressive, they are protective. It is up to the owner, to ensure that they understand when it is okay (and required) not to be protective. Eighty kilograms leaping away from you is impossible to hold. Physical strength of a man means nothing to this beast. Psychological control is the only option.
They are very intelligent and highly trainable. Neapolitan’s are preferably for well experienced dog owners only.