Standard - Neapolitan Mastiff


The Neapolitan Mastiff is a direct descendant of the Molussus, the ancient mammoth war dogs of the Middle East (Sumeria, Assyria, Phoenecia, and Babylonia). It is first and foremost a working/utility breed, whose purposes are greatly varied. It has been primarily a farm helper/protector, also serving as a herding dog, flock protector, cattle drover, cart dog, large game hunting dog, and personal protection dog.


The Neapolitan Mastiff is a large and massive dog, with loose skin all over his body, and abundant, hanging wrinkles on his face and neck.


The breed is strong and loyal, but not aggressive nor prone to bite without cause. The Neapolitan Mastiff is an alert, intelligent, noble and majestic defender of person and property.

HEAD - The head is large in comparison to the size of the body. The planes of the skull and muzzle must be parallel. The head has abundant skin, which forms wrinkles and folds; one that is typically pronounced begins at the outer corner of the eye and descends to the profile corner of the lips.

Disqualification: Absence of wrinkles, folds and dewlap. Convergence or divergence of the parallel lines of the skull and muzzle.

SKULL - The broad skull is flat between the ears, and arched at the forehead. The skull width is greater than one-half of the total head length. When viewed from the front, the skull is very developed, with a pronounced frontal furrow and a well developed brow. The occiput is barely apparent. The stop is very pronounced.

MUZZLE - The muzzle is very wide and deep. The muzzle length is one-third of the total head length. The sides of the muzzle are parallel so that when viewed from the front, the muzzle almost seems to form a square. The lips are heavy, thick and abundant. When viewed from the front, the upper lips meet to form an inverted "V". In profile, the upper lip descends beyond the lower line of the jaw, and is on the perpendicular line with the outer corner of the eye.

EYES - Set fairly deeply and well apart. The color of the iris should be darker than the color of the coat. The expression is intimidating when the dog is alert. Eye rim color corresponds to the color of the nose.

Disqualification: Complete lack of eye rim pigment.

TEETH -  A full complement of strong, well-developed regularly aligned, white teeth meet in a scissors or level bite. A reverse scissors bite is acceptable.

Very Serious Fault: Pronounced undershot bite.

Disqualification: Overshot bite.

NOSE - Large, with well opened nostrils. The nose must not protrude beyond the vertical line of the lips. Color corresponds to coat color.

Disqualification: Complete lack of nose pigmentation.

EARS - Cropped or Uncropped. Set well above the cheekbones. If cropped, they are triangular in shape. If natural, they are small in comparison to the size of the dog, triangular in shape and held close to the sides of the head.

NECK - The neck is rather short and it is thick and well muscled. There is a double dewlap that is well separated and not exaggerated; it begins at the lower jaw and does not descend to lower than the middle of the neck.

FOREQUARTERS – The shoulder blades are covered with long, well developed and defined muscles. The blades form an angle with the upper arm of approximately 110 degrees.
FORELEGS – The forearms are vertical, strong in bone and covered with lean, well developed muscles. The elbows are covered with loose skin, and are not held too close to the body. The pastern joint is broad and lean, and the pasterns are flat and sloping.

BODY - Body length is greater than height by 10%. The backline is straight. The withers are broad and not very prominent. The chest is broad and deep, nearly half the height at the withers, and the ribs are long and well sprung. The tip of the sternum is at the same level as the point of the shoulder. The loin is wide, and the rump is broad and well muscled. The slope of the croup is about 30 degrees. The hipbones are slightly prominent.

HINDQUARTERS - Powerful and strong, in harmony with the forequarters.

HINDLEGS - In length, the long upper thigh is about one-third of the dog's height. It has an inclination of about 60 degrees, and is wide, with large, clearly-defined muscles. The thighbone joins the hip at a 90-degree angle. The stifle angle is about 110 to 115 degrees. The lower thigh is slightly shorter than the upper thigh. The rear pasterns are long and cylindrical in shape, perfectly straight and powerful. Dewclaws should be removed.

FEET - The round, voluminous, tight forefeet have well arched toes. The hard, dry pads are well pigmented. The strong nails are darkly pigmented. The hind feet are smaller than the forefeet, with identical attributes.

TAIL - The tail is wide and thick at the base, and then tapers slightly. It is generally docked to allow two-thirds to remain, but if natural it will reach the point of the hock. At rest, the tail is carried slightly sloping. In action, it is carried level or slightly higher than the topline.

Very Serious Fault: Gay tail.

Disqualification: Complete absence of a tail.

COAT - The glossy, dense, fine coat is equal in length and uniformly smooth. The maximum length is about five- eighths of an inch. It must not have any trace of fringe.

The thick skin is abundant and loose all over the body. It is particularly loose on the head, where it forms numerous wrinkles and folds. On the underside of the neck it forms a well-divided dewlap.

COLOR - Preferred colors include: gray, lead, black, mahogany, tawny, and tawny stag. Each color may be brindled. There may be small white patches on the chest and on the tips of the toes. The following shades are acceptable, but not preferred: brown, pale gray, and cream.

Disqualification: Albinism.

HEIGHT and WEIGHT - HEIGHT - Height is measured at the withers. The acceptable height range for males is from 25½ to 29½ inches. The acceptable height range for females is from 23½ to 26¾ inches.

Very Serious Faults: Heights over or under the tolerated limits.

WEIGHT - The weight range for males is from 132 to 154 pounds. The weight range for females is from 110 to 132 pounds.
GAIT - A typical characteristic of the breed is its walk, which is slow and resembles that of a bear. The trot has good extension of the front legs, with strong drive from the hindquarters. The preferred gaits are the walk and the trot. The pace is tolerated. The Neapolitan Mastiff rarely gallops.

DISQUALIFICATIONS - Viciousness or extreme shyness. Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid. Overshot bite. Convergence or divergence of the parallel lines of the skull and muzzle. Total depigmentation of the nose or eyelids. Crossed eyes. Wall eyes. Absence of wrinkles, folds and dewlap. Complete absence of a tail. Albinism.

Pet Care

© 2008

© 2008

© 2008

© 2008

© 2008

© 2008

© 2008

© 2008

© 2008

© 2008