WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU CONTACT US ABOUT PURCHASING A NEAPOLITAN MASTIFF

All of this information is copyrighted & cannot be used online or in print without written permission from the author Cassandra Boczar. I'm using it in a book some day and if I find it on the internet or in print without my WRITTEN permission you will be seeing me in court!

 

Please recognize this is a breed that is not for everyone, as many breeds are not, especially giant breeds of a Molosser nature. Keep in mind, I already know that if you are reading this now then you must be one of the awestruck that has somehow come upon the image of a Mastino, whether it was an in-person siting or just a picture that you couldn't forget. I want you to also know that if you are still looking at this page you are taking the right first step in going beyond the wrinkles. Researching this breed is key to saving yourself all the hell that can be Neo ownership. Some will be lucky enough to find in the Mastino a friend for life. Neapolitan Mastiffs ARE the Ferrari of Dogs......people can't help but look when they go by, there is nothing else in their class, and they are more expensive to maintain than anything else in the garage. Before you contact anyone about a Neo, these are answers to questions you may have.

 

Neapolitan Mastiff Information

 

1. Neapolitan Mastiff Registration

2. Neapolitan Mastiff Colors

3. Neapolitan Mastiff Ear Cropping

4. Neapolitan Mastiff Feeding/Diet & Supplements

5. Common Neapolitan Mastiff Ailments

6. Socializing a Neapolitan Mastiff

7.Breeding a Neapolitan Mastiff

8.What is the difference between the American and Italian style Neos?

9.AKC Standard

 

First you should become familiar with some breed vocabulary......

 

Neapolitan Mastiff- Neo, Mastino, Mastino Napoletano

Standard- the exact physical definition of each breed

Type- wrinkles, mass, bone density

Plain- lack of type (see above definition)

Overdone- excessive possession of type

Color- usually refers to tawny or mahogany

Cherry Eye- prolapsed gland of the third eyelid which swells and pops out

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feeding, Diet & Supplements

 

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Ingredients:
Lamb, lamb meal, egg product, ground rice, cracked pearled barley, millet, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), potato protein, potatoes, oatmeal, tomato pomace, natural flavor, flaxseed, ocean fish meal, salmon oil (source of DHA), potassium chloride, salt, choline chloride, dried chicory root, kelp, carrots, peas, apples, tomatoes, blueberries, spinach, dried skim milk, cranberry powder, rosemary extract, parsley flake, yucca schidigera extract, L-Carnitine, dried fermentation products of Enterococcus faecium, Lactobacillus acidophilus

Guaranteed Analysis:
Crude Protein 27.0% (min.), Crude Fat 15.0% (min.), Omega-6 Fatty Acids* 2.2% (min.), Calcium 1.2% (min.), Omega-3 Fatty Acids* 0.3% (min.), DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid)* 0.05% (min.), Moisture 10.0% (max.), Crude Fiber 3.0% (max.), Phosphorus 1.2% (max.), Phosphorus 1.0% (min.), Zinc 150 mg/kg (min.), L-Carnitine* 30 mg/kg (min.), Selenium 0.4 mg/kg (min.), Vitamin E 150 IU/kg (min.

Caloric Content:
3,656 kcal/kg (342 kcal/cup)

 

I could not say the exact amount my pups eat because puppies are fed together and eat at different paces. The amount can vary depending on how hungry they are and who else they are eating with. I generally feed as much dry food as they can eat in a setting without stuffing themselves, which usually doesn’t occur with dry food. You can feel out the amount by putting food down and seeing how much your pup eats. If your pup inhales the food and still acts hungry add a little more. For the most part as you will read about later in this packet, intact Neos are not overeaters. Most of the few overweight neos I have seen are spayed/neutered & spoiled or extreme hypothyroidism or other health issues are of strong suspect. When pups go to their new homes, sometimes they do not eat well in the beginning, this is probably due to the lack of competing littermates. The act of eating was a group activity & you may find that eating a lone throws your pup off its feed. You can add a little plain yogurt or cottage cheese to the food to aid in picking up an appetite or mix in some of what they are familiar with, powdered Esbilac, or raw hamburger (73/27 fat). Yes, that’s right, your pup has eaten RAW hamburger meat and loves it. It’s great for making raw meatballs with meds hidden in them or for added fat. The raw doesn’t hurt them, their stomachs are primitive enough to eat cat poop and dead things so there is little danger in raw meat. We buy the cheap fatty kind in the tube in 3-10 lb rolls at Walmart & value groceries. We will have hand fed your new baby many times before they leave us so it is safe and our recommendation that you feed any raw meat by hand. Feeding makes a connection with your neo that begins this breed’s characteristic undying loyalty to his master. Since the food we are currently feeding our pups is only available at Tractor Supply Company there will be limits to its availability, so here is a list of some other puppy foods I recommend…. Victor Dog Food Purple or Green, Nature's Domain (Costco), Kirkland Signature Puppy Formula (Costco brand), Chicken Soup for the Puppy Lover’s Soul.

        

My dogs 5+ months eat Victor Select High Energy (in the red bag). The ingredients are listed below in the order of greatest to least. It is available at some local feed stores. It runs about $30 for a 40 lb bag, which is reasonably priced for an above-average quality dry food. It has a good level of meat content which is beef based, multiple sources of protein, added probiotics & supplements, and is corn free.

   

 

These other Victor Foods are also il Drago approved...the purple bag is Victor Select High Energy and the green bag is Victor Performance/Joint Health and they are both 26% protein and 18% fat with the first ingredient being beef meal. The light blue bag is Victor Select Hi-Pro Plus and it is 30% protein & 20% fat and the first ingredient is beef meal. This particular bag I don't recommend feeding to neos that are younger than 18 months as it is very high in protein. It's great for a very active neo or an adult that needs weight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These protein and fat levels help keep weight on my dogs, which are show/breeding dogs that are not spayed or neutered and require a little more get up & go in their diet. Soft or runny stools are a very common problem with Neos. I believe this may happen due to a fast rate of absorption or metabolism. Victor has been the only other food I have used that has consistently kept my dogs stools solid. All for not, if you decide to stray from my instructions, I at least recommend feeding a premium food with meat as a first ingredient, multiple forms of protein, and avoid foods with corn as one of the first 3 ingredients. I highly suggest that the food you feed not be lower than 15% fat or higher than 28% protein. I do not recommend “large breed foods” because my experience with Neos is that they require more fat than “large breed” dog foods contain. I find that Neos often stay too skinny on “large breed” foods because they grow at an alarming rate and in general as a breed I think require more fat. Also, feeding a food that is marketed with glucosamine & supplements in it isn’t bad, but there is never enough in the food to make a difference with a Mastino, don’t skip supplements because they are listed as ingredients in the dog food. Check the availability of the food we feed in your area at www.victordogfood.com. Usually this is purchased at feed stores and not your bigger chains and you may not be able to find it near you, so here is a list of some other foods I recommend…. Nature’s Domain(Costco brand), Diamond Naturals Adult Chicken or Beef Formulas, Kirkland Signature Adult Chicken & Rice (Costco brand), 4Health Chicken & Rice Formula, 4Health Performance Formula. If you really want to spend a lot you can try some of the newer holistic foods/human-grade foods, but honestly my luck has not been good with the super high end foods, either they are too rich, too high in protein or the dogs just won’t eat them. In 16 years I have tried almost EVERY diet possible and every brand of food from cheap to ridiculous. Learn from my mistakes

               

Neos are not proportioned well, their heavy bone & even heavier fronts make it harder for a neo to get around gracefully, especially if they are heavy all over. It is very common to see skinny waists on big adult dogs, especially males. Although your dog may not look like the fat Lab next door, this is normal for the breed. Below are pics of dogs with good weights for a male and a female. This is also why I feel supplementing & adding raw meat can benefit Neos, especially if you are having a hard time getting them to eat dry food consistently. So in addition to commercial dog food we feed dogs a partial raw meat diet consisting of raw ground beef & dogs 15 months & older, raw chicken on the bone. The warning about not giving your dogs’ bones is aimed at cooked bones, not raw bones. Cooked bones are much softer and brittle so when broken they splinter. Raw bones are harder and are crunchy. I prefer to use drumsticks and thighs when feeding raw chicken, I think that leg quarters can be too big. I don’t like to give our young dogs chicken because it seems to be too much protein for a growing neo. A great book to read about natural diets is “Give Your Dog a Bone” by Dr. Ian Billingshurst. This book will help calm some of your fears about raw foods and bones, but most certainly will not calm your vet’s. Keep in mind though that switching your dog’s food around and adding lots of tidbits to get them to eat their dry food can make them finicky eaters. You can quickly find yourself playing chef to your picky Neo. We also play around with our feeding schedule, I will not feed raw everyday, nor on a time schedule. I find that Neos catch on to a feeding schedule and will sometimes stop eating their dry food and wait until the other goodies appear. It is a common occurrence for breeders to occasionally fast their dogs, or withhold food for a day in order let their appetites pick back up.

 

 

 

Supplements

 

You can use fish oils for skin and coat. Vitamin C is helpful and mandatory for the growing years. All of our dogs 12 weeks and older get a dose of vitamin C via the Natures Farmacy product called Cran-Tri-C everyday. It helps the immune system & also promotes good development of joints & bones. This powdered formula is the easiest to digest and has the greatest absorption rate. I also recommend another daily supplement by Natures Farmacy called Ultimate. It's a blend of minerals & vitamins that aid in proper digestion, coat quality & general health. There are more suggestions listed further down pertaining to growing Neos and appropriate supplements, Neos are really good at fishing pills out of food, they can even strain them through what your average dog would gulp in a minute. I think that the powdered supplements made by Natures Farmacy are the easiest to digest, dose and are the most cost effective since a container goes a long way. If you have to administer pills, peanut butter on a piece of bread is 1 trick in getting them to take pills. Also sticking supplements in a raw hamburger ball can work. Many times the only sure way to know that a Neo has swallowed a pill is to shove the pill far down in their throat, then rub the throat to make sure they swallow. Diet is probably the biggest part of what you can do for your Neo to keep it healthy and sound.

  

 

 

 

Your Growing Neo & Some Common Ailments

 

Due to their size, most giant breeds are prone to problems with....eye disorders, cancer, bloat, hip dysplasia, heart problems, & knee, elbow, bone & joint injuries & disorders. There is really an unlimited amount of information on these things, of which I am no expert at any. I have had some luck in buying and breeding & have not had to deal with these problems too much, but I have learned everyday is a new learning experience with the Mastino. I think this is where getting a puppy from a reputable breeder that has written guarantees & knows the history of their bloodlines is important. There is an even longer list of Neo "idiosyncrasies" including...yeast infections, demodex, interdigital cysts, foot licking, & hygromas.

 

 

Joint, Hip, Bone & Growing Concerns

The Neapolitan Mastiff has what is referred to as incongruent growth patterns. Basically, their rear quarters and front quarters do not grow at the same time. One week his rear end may look higher than the next week he is flat on top. The neo is not physically mature until 3-4 years of age, some experts argue even longer. It is very important to appreciate that your 8 week old 20 lb puppy will be gaining close to 100 lbs in his first year of life. It takes a human 12+ years to obtain this weight. This in itself is traumatic on the bones, joints and hips. We suggest that you do not subject your pup to extraneous activities such as long jogs, repeated stair climbing, or jumping in and out of trucks or off beds. These activities, added to the stress of growing on your pup’s soft connective tissues could have severe consequences. Try to maintain normal to low levels of play fighting with other dogs, because when they play they often slam into each other. Should you see your puppy limping or looking a little “gimpy” this is somewhat normal. Vitamins A & D and of course C, or a product made by Natures Farmacy called Phyto-Flex can be given to help pups if they are limping, walking down on their pasterns or if their toes are splayed or the back legs are hocky. Phyto-Flex &  MSM are awesome additions to your pup’s diet that will surely help relieve the stress of stiffness and joint problems. I purchase a horse MSM in a crystal form for about $15 for a 1 lb container at Tractor Supply. Only a small amount of the scoop in the container (about 1/6) is needed and can be sprinkled in food or water. 

 

Neos often experience growing pains, as do humans, however a consistent, lasting or any swelling with limping does require veterinary attention. Keep in mind vets are eager to diagnose hip dysplasia in giant breeds & that’s why we start our guarantee at 1 year old, because before that, many pups can be misdiagnosed by a vet unfamiliar with Mastini. You purchased a breed that you were attracted to because it has heavy loose skin all over it’s oversized body. Neos are based on loose connective tissue, so not just there skin is looser that other breeds, their bones, joints, sockets, have a tendency to be loose as well. There are many other common ailments in Neos that can cause limping that can be fixed with time, diet change or supplementing in their growing period. If you chose to not feed the diet I have recommended then you are risking having these problems. Neos or other giant breeds can have many other problems that can lead to lameness and some can look very similar to dysplasia.

 

  • Panosteitis is the long form for what breeders call "Pano." Pano is a growth disease which is more common in large, big boned dogs. Often we find that dry foods with higher protein than we recommend and excessive raw bones can contribute to this condition. Extra weight can create this problem as well. Reversal of this condition can often be as simple as a diet change.

  • Osteochondritis dissecans or OCD is a disease of the cartilage that can affect various joints.This is when cartilage that supports the joint is damaged or grows abnormally. In conservative cases crate rest & supplements can fix this, severe cases can require surgery.

  • Luxating Patellas can occur when the structures that make up your dog's knees (stifles) are misaligned or misshapen, a problem called "trick knee" or patellar luxation. Again diet and supplements can aid in low grade cases of this. Higher grade cases may require surgery.

  • Cruciate ligament ruptures are the most common dog knee injury; it is a rupture of one of the cruciate ligaments. Neos can do this by jumping off things, rough play, etc. I recently had my vet do a successful knee surgery called “lateral stabilization” to correct this problem and I highly recommend it over any other kind of cruciate surgery.

      

 

 

Cherry Eyes, Dry Eye & Entropion

 

One common problem I can almost promise that your pup will experience is at least one if not two CHERRY EYES. This usually occurs after their second or third set of shots somewhere between 9 and 16 weeks. It appears suddenly and often scares the crap out of the new Neo owner. It is not the actual eye ball; it is the tissue around the eye, a third eyelid gland which has prolapsed. It can be very small but often gets very large quickly. It doesn’t hurt the dog so much as it gets in the way. The area around the eye will get watery and over time can get infected and you will see a green discharge. The treatment for this in Neos is REMOVAL of the cherry eye, which requires someone who is experienced in doing so. This is very often mistreated by vets not familiar with the Neo. Many vets, especially newer vets, will recommend tacking the prolapsed gland down. They have learned in school that removing the tear gland that helps to lubricate the eye often leads to other problems like dry eye. While this can be true, the treatment for this is to lubricate the eye artificially, which many Mastini require anyway to maintain clear eyes as they get older. So tacking the prolapsed gland may work in other breeds that suffer from cherry eye, like St. Bernards, Cocker Spaniels, Bulldogs, Bloodhounds, as Neos are not the only droopy-eyed breed afflicted with cherry eye, but this absolutely does not work with the neo. It is necessary to remove the prolapsed part of the gland. If you have a vet that insists on tacking the gland instead of heeding your advice & removing the gland then ask them to put it in writing that they will remove the gland & correct any problems they have created by tacking, free of charge when they realize that tacking isn't working. I guarantee no vet will do this & it is probably best to just find a vet that has the experience & will remove the cherry eye. This is a relatively simple procedure & can be done with or without anesthesia and should not cost more than $200, unless you are in California. I often recommend to puppy buyers to give it a couple weeks once one cherry eye has appeared to give the other eye a chance to pop one too, that way the pup only has to go to the vet once instead of twice which saves you money & saves the dog the risk of anesthesia again. It will not hurt the pup to have it for a little while.

 

 

12 week old pup with cherry eye

 

Close up of cherry eye

 

Few hours after cherry eye removal

Most Neos have some kind of eye discharge, wiping daily is necessary. You can purchase Terramycin ointment for the eye at Tractor Supply or order it from one of the vet supplies I have listed, to treat the eye when a green discharge appears. Green is a sign of infection and this is an antibiotic. Other than that, simple lubrication of the eyes can be done with Paralube or an ointment your vet recommends. Paralube is also available from the vet supplies I have listed and is about $5 a tube. You can use it daily when the dog gets older and it helps to keep them clear and lubricated. If the eye starts to get cloudy, this can be sign of entropion. This is a common condition in Neos in which the top or the bottom of the eyelids are turned inward so that the eyelashes constantly rub and irritate the eyeball itself. Untreated, it can damage vision severely. It can also be caused by injury or a long-standing eye infection. A surgical procedure can fully correct this condition. Corneal injuries are common in this breed as well. A Neo has so much skin that it often falls over their eyes when they lower their head, and when they walk around sniffing the ground they often walk right into things like trees and bushes.

 

Bloat

Neapolitans are a breed that are predisposed to gastric dilatation or BLOAT, this is twisting of the stomach after gastric distention occurs. Bloat kills quickly and is apparent when the abdomen swells with air and the torso of the dog appears extremely distended. This is horribly painful for the dog and they need to be rushed to a vet immediately for treatment. There are some things you can do to try and prevent bloat, some revolve around diet, although the exact causes of bloat are not known at this point. Genetics and environmental stresses are the most common contributors. Discourage rapid eating of dry food. Do not allow heavy exercise for two hours after a meal. DO NOT elevate the food dish, DO NOT soak the food, and if a dog is a gulper find a method that slows them down. Do not feed commercial dog foods that contain any kind of fat in the first 4 ingredients listed, or any citric acid; these 2 ingredients alone increase your risk of bloat tremendously. Natures Farmacy offers a unique product called a Deluxe bloat kit which contains 7 pieces: “How To” Manual, 5 foot clear vinyl tube, wood mouth block and trochar, DOGZYMES 35 gm paste, 2 oz Bloat Buster, and 60 cc bulb syringe. Pieces can be purchased separately, but this kit is essential to have on hand in case of this emergency, it can save your dogs life. We have started having the stomachs of some of our dogs tacked down when they go to a vet for another procedure, this almost always prevents bloat and can lead to piece of mind when it comes to a huge problem in giant breed dogs.

      

 

Hygromas

A hygroma is a false bursa, which is a non painful, fluid-filled swelling surrounded by a thick, fibrous capsule that develops under the skin. Hygromas most commonly develop on the outside of the elbow. They can also occur on the hip and hock. Hygromas are initially small & soft and don't pose a problem for the dog. They may be present for the dog's life time. In some instances, they may become quite large, up to 2 inches in diameter, or very hard. Hygromas can become infected in which case they are painful, sometimes warm to the touch, and may develop draining tracts. A hygroma is caused by repeated trauma to a bony area. This most often occurs as a result of lying on hard surfaces, such as cement or hardwood floors. It is more common in larger breed dogs in which more weight is placed on the bony area having contact with the hard surface. This problem is seen often in Neos because they are commonly a sedentary or less active breed and they have a tendency to throw themselves down when lying down.

    

 

 

 

Socialization

 

So are Neos good with cats or kids or are they aggressive with strangers? The answer to all of these questions is up to you. The most important thing in molding the temperament of your puppy is SOCIALIZATION. I suggest frequent car rides from the start, because neos can be very bad in the car if they don’t get used to them. Some will vomit and others will defecate and others will jump from the front to the back and to your lap. Best to start when they are little and that doesn’t give you much time. I strongly recommend puppy classes, both for you and the puppy. After your pups final vaccinations take him to pet stores and vet clinics and dog parks. If your pup is from us it will be born in a family atmosphere with the busy goings on of a normal home. He will be raised with my son & I handling him from birth & a Pug as a surrogate mom, but he will be around his own kind enough to learn to bark when the big dogs bark. You will want to continue on with the process of teaching your puppy manners and Neos are stubborn and wary of new and different things and people. You may think by keeping him from socializing outside your family that it will make him a better guard dog or protector, but Neos have a natural watch dog instinct and you will not need to encourage this behavior to see it when it is needed. Be prepared to be firm & don’t be afraid to use a little strong-arm. Neos need to be set straight at a young age, as they are dogs and dogs are pack animals. When they are young their litter is their pack, and when they go to your house, your family is their pack. A Neo should never be allowed to be the alpha. You will find that they don’t always readily respect your personal idea of "who is who" in your pack. This makes young & small children susceptible to dog law, which is much more physical than human law. If you have kids raise them with your kids and teach your kids to respect the boundaries of the dog, and the dog to respect the frailness of children. Common sense tells you that any giant breed of dog is not necessarily the safest bet with small children. Giant dog + small child = potential accidents. Always supervise young children with your neo. We personally do not sell intact males (dogs not being neutered) to families with kids under the age of 10. Adult intact males rarely have the innate maternal instinct to withstand the unpredictable behavior of small kids. Females are usually cleaner, less stubborn and more tolerant of young children. This is of course a generalization, there can be exceptions to these rules. There is always someone that will sell you a male regardless, but keep in mind I have a child and I had Mastini before I had him and I am just giving parent to parent advice. Mastering your pup while he is small & more impressionable is essential; do not tolerate aggression of any kind. Activities that seem harmless & cute while a Mastino is a baby can be down right dangerous when they are full grown. At the end of the day, they each have their own personality, just like people. The breed in general is superbly loyal; they do not roam off of your property because they do not love everyone like they do their master. They are smart for their own good and not quick to the task, but they are efficient in following basic commands & they have a loving and silly persona. You could never over-socialize them with anything. They were bred to intimidate with their looks not their bite. Their natural instinct is to protect what is theirs, so this never needs to be encouraged in everyday life. In fact it can be quite dangerous when the dog is full grown and now has an overly aggressive nature because it was allowed to growl at strangers or play "get em" games. REMEMBER, Neos were bred to be wary of things that they are unfamiliar with. That's why you have to start young, doing and meeting and seeing all of the things he should be ok with. Cars, doors, trash cans, vets, parks, kids, carts, strollers, bikes, other animals (big & little), water, baths, loud noises, etc. They are actually great off leash dogs, they are not roamers, they were bred as courtyard, farm & estate dogs, they know their perimeters. At times they have gotten out of their areas and they just lie at the door or in the garage till I discover them. That's what they were bred to do.

 

il Drago Valentino with my son Joel 2003

   

"Would you like to try and go inside?"

 

 

 

Breeding

 

Breeding Neos is a HUGE task. One must evaluate the sire & dam to ensure that a genetic match is appropriate; meaning in part that they compliment one another and that you are not breeding 2 dogs that have the same faults. I do not believe that a bitch should whelp her first litter prior to her 2nd heat, and a male shouldn’t be bred until at least 12 months. Typey neos are often difficult to breed and even harder to whelp. Probably only 1 in 10 true Italian Mastini can breed naturally. Yes, that means that Neos DO NOT BREED NATURALLY. You can put a male & female in the yard together and you will most likely NEVER get pups. Even when Neos breed naturally there is nothing natural about it. Someone's holding up the female, someone's holding up the male, and possibly someone to put the male in the female, like I said, nothing natural about it. Artificial insemination is the choice standard for breeding Neos, sometimes even surgical implantation. Most female Mastini need C-sections, they can have HUGE litters and tire out easily while giving birth naturally, thus leaving the pups not yet born to cook inside. Keeping the neonates alive the first 2 weeks requires around the clock supervision. Many Mastini mothers lay on and smash their offspring, or refuse to feed them or clean them. Be prepared to supplement an entire litter by bottle, both of these are not uncommon. Of course, there can be great joy in whelping a litter & watching them grow and change. Most people that decide to breed Neos have one litter and then never again. The people that think having a litter of Neos is a great way to make money usually go into debt after the first round and run screaming out of the breed. Type is hard to get and even harder to reproduce, it takes many generations of wrinkle, mass & heavy bone to consistently reproduce these qualities. If you buy a pup out of Neos that look more like Cane Corsos than the Neos you see on this site, then your pup, no matter how cute, will look like a Cane Corso as an adult. You will pay for quality in this breed, because it costs so much to produce it.

   

 

A rare occasion of 2 Neos breeding "naturally", it only took 4 people to make this happen

 

 

 

The Real Mastino

 

There are certain people that will tell you there are 2 styles of Neapolitans today, the Americanized version and the mother-land (Italian) version. The Americanized version is supposedly sounder with longer legs and shorter lips and dewlap (which the breeder will tell you inadvertently leads to less drool) and they have plainer, less wrinkled heads and longer noses while possessing the less typey lighter boned bodies, they are more athletic and can run and jump and seize large prey easily (I suppose that's a good excuse). The Italian style Mastino is shorter legged, has a thicker frame, heavier bone, excessive skin on the body and head, more head wrinkles, shorter noses and is less able-bodied and slower than the American version. In reality, there is no geographical difference in these 2 kinds of Mastini, they are the same breed and share the same bloodlines. So why are these 2 dogs so different? How can they look like 2 different breeds, both impressive in their own rite but so obtuse? The answer is simple, there is no American/Italian Neo, it is simply the difference between a good and a bad Neo. I know this will be hard for some people to grasp and even harder for certain die-hards to believe, but the Neapolitan was created in Italy, therefore that gives the Italians the privilege of creating the standard for the Neo. Every breed was created for a purpose, some to hunt, some to lay in our laps, some to kill vermin, some to protect and some to run. Each breed has the physical design to make it best at what it was bred to do. NEAPOLITANS are a member of the working group, but they were not intended to ever serve the same purpose as a Doberman Pinscher or a German Shepherd, they were bred to LOOK the part. A Neos worth is not in chasing after the intruder and dragging them down and holding them till their master arrives. A Neos worth is the intruder that never follows through with his trespass, because the lion-like monster that lays waiting for him isn't worth whatever prize he is risking crossing it for. You may find a rare Neo that loves to chase a ball over and over, and loves to take long romps in the park while you roller blade, and loves to jump and chase their tail, but they are few and far between, most will just lay about unless they are busy following you from room to room. The bottom line is that both the overdone and the plain Mastini can have health issues, they both suffer from dysplasia, cherry eyes, demodex, & heart issues. They both drool, are destructive, need extreme socialization and are not for the novice dog owner.

 

 

True Italian style Neo w/mass, wrinkle & heavy bone. The height of the dog should come from the body NOT the leg!

 

Poor quality Neo that lacks mass, wrinkle & has light bone & more leg than body

 

 

Confirmation Shows & Clubs

 

If you plan on showing your Neo, you need to check with show agents in your area or go to www.akc.org, or www.infodog.com. Feel free to contact me to get info on upcoming shows in my area. If you bought a show quality puppy from us, there is a 50% rebate on the purchase price if you champion your dog before the age of 3 years old. Since the Neapolitan Mastiff was admitted into the Working Class of the AKC in July 2004 there is much greater access to shows. Finally championship titles are available for this breed from the AKC. The USNMC (United States Neapolitan Mastiff Club) does have a National Specialty Show every year for the breed. I do offer handling; specializing in the neo, so if you decide to pursue a conformation title for your Mastino please feel free to contact me. I may be able to recommend someone in your area.

    

 

It is important to learn the standard for the Neapolitan Mastiff, we have provided the AKC Standard by Neapolitan World below.

 

AKC Standard

(With Photos provided by Neapolitan World)

 

 

AKC Working Group

General Appearance 
An ancient breed, rediscovered in Italy in the 1940's, the Neapolitan Mastiff is a heavy-boned, massive, awe inspiring dog bred for use as a guard and defender of owner and property. He is characterized by loose skin, over his entire body, abundant, hanging wrinkles and folds on the head and a voluminous dewlap.

The essence of the Neapolitan is his bestial appearance, astounding head and imposing size and attitude. Due to his massive structure, his characteristic movement is rolling and lumbering, not elegant or showy.

 

 

 

Size, Proportion, Substance   
 A stocky, heavy boned dog, massive in substance, rectangular in proportion. Length of body is 10% - 15% greater than height. Height: Dogs: 26 to 31 inches, Bitches: 24 to 29 inches. Average weight of mature Dogs: 150 pounds; Bitches: 110 pounds; but greater weight is usual and preferable as long as correct proportion and function are maintained.

The absence of massiveness is to be so severely penalized as to eliminate from competition

 

 

HEAD -  Large in comparison to the body. Differentiated from that of other mastiff breeds by more extensive wrinkling and pendulous lips which blend into an ample dewlap. Toplines of cranium and the muzzle must be parallel. The face is made up of heavy wrinkles and folds. Required folds are those extending from the outside margin of the eyelids to the dewlap, and from under the lower lids to the outer edges of the lips. Severe Faults: Toplines of the cranium and muzzle not parallel. Disqualifications: Absence of wrinkles and folds. Expression: Wistful at rest, intimidating when alert. Penetrating stare. Eyes: Set deep and almost hidden beneath drooping upper lids. Lower lids droop to reveal haw. Eye Color: Shades of amber or brown, in accordance with coat color. Pigmentation of the eye rims same as coat color. Severe Faults: Whitish-blue eyes; incomplete pigmentation of the eye rims. Ears: Set well above the cheekbones. May be cropped or uncropped, but are usually cropped to an equilateral triangle for health reasons. If uncropped, they are medium sized, triangular in shape, held tight to the cheeks, and not extending beyond the lower margin of the throat. Skull: Wide flat between the ears, slightly arched at the frontal part, and covered with wrinkled skin. The width of the cranium between the cheekbones is approximately equal to its length from occiput stop. The brow is very developed. Frontal furrow is marked. Occiput is barely apparent. Stop: Very defined, forming a right angle at the junction of muzzle and frontal bones, and the sloping back at a greater angle where the frontal bones meet the frontal furrow of the forehead.

 

 

Nose: Large with well-opened nostrils, and in color the same as the coat. The nose is an extension of the topline of the muzzle and should not protrude beyond nor recede behind the front plane of the muzzle. Severe Faults: Incomplete pigmentation of the nose.Muzzle: It is 1/3 the length of the whole head and is as broad as it is long. Viewed from the front, the muzzle is very deep with the outside borders parallel giving it a "squared" appearance. The top plane of the muzzle from stop to tip of nose is straight, but is ridged due to heavy folds of skin covering it. Severe Faults: Top plane of the muzzle curved upward or downward.

  

 

 

 

Lips: Heavy, thick, and long, the upper lips join beneath the nostrils to form an inverted "V". The upper lips form the lower, outer borders of the muzzle, and the lowest part of these borders is made by the corners of the lips. The corners turn outward to reveal the flews, and are in line with the outside corners of the eyes. Bite: Scissors bite or pincer bite is standard; slight undershot is allowed. Dentition is complete. Faults: More than 1 missing premolar. Severe faults: Overshot jaw: pronounced undershot jaw which disrupts the outline of the front plane of the muzzle; more than 2 missing teeth.

 

Neck, Topline, And Body 
Neck: Slightly arched, rather short, stocky and well-muscled. The voluminous and well-divided dewlap extends from the lower jaw to the lower neck. Disqualification: Absence of dewlap. Body: The length of the dog, measured from the point of the shoulder to the point of buttock is 10 - 15 percent greater than the height of the dog measured from the highest point of the shoulder to the ground. Depth of the ribcage is equal to half the total height of the dog. Ribs are long and well sprung.Chest: Broad and deep, well muscled. Underline and tuckup: The underline of the abdomen is practically horizontal. There is little or no tuckup. Back: Wide and strong. Highest part of shoulder blade barely rising above the strong, level topline of the back. Loin: well-muscled, and harmoniously joined to the back. Croup: Wide, strong, muscular and slightly sloped. The top of the croup rises slightly and is level with the highest point of the shoulder. Tail: Set on slightly lower than the topline, wide and thick at the root, tapering gradually toward the tip. It is docked by 1/3. At rest, the tail hangs straight or in slight "S" shape. When in action, it is raised to the horizontal or a little higher than the back.

 

    

Severe Fault: Tail carried straight up or curved over the back. Kinked tail. Disqualification: Lack of tail or short tail, which is less than 1/3 the length from point of insertion of the tail to the hock - joint.

 

 

Forequarters 
Heavily built, muscular, and in balance with the hindquarters. Shoulders: Long, well-muscled, sloping and powerful. Upper arms: Strongly muscled, powerful. In length, almost 1/3 the height of the dog. Elbows: Covered with abundant and loose skin; held parallel to the ribcage, neither tied in nor loose. Forelegs: Thick, straight, heavy bone, well muscled, exemplifying strength. About the same length as the upper arms. Set well apart. Pasterns: Thick and flattened from front to back, moderately sloping forward from the leg. Dewclaws: Front dewclaws are not removed. Feet: Round and noticeably large with arched, strong toes. Nails strong, curved and preferably dark-colored. Slight turn out of the front feet is characteristic.

 

Hindquarters As a whole, they must be powerful and strong, in harmony with the forequarters. Thighs: About the same length as the forearms, broad, muscular. Stifles: Moderate angle, strong. Legs: Heavy and thick boned, well-muscled. Slightly shorter than thigh bones. Hocks: Powerful and long. Rear pasterns: (metatarsus) Heavy thick bones. Viewed from the side, they are perpendicular to the ground. Viewed from, the rear, parallel to each other. Rear dewclaws: Any dewclaws must be removed. Hind feet: Same as the front feet but slightly smaller.

Coat The coat is short, dense and of uniform length and smoothness all over the body. The hairs are straight and not longer than 1 inch. No fringe anywhere.

Color Solid coats of gray (blue), black, mahogany and tawny, and the lighter and darker shades of these colors. Some brindling allowable in all colors. When present, brindling must be tan (reverse brindle). There may be solid white markings on the chest, throat area from chin to chest, underside of the body, penis sheath, backs of the pasterns, and on the toes. There may be white hairs at the back of the wrists. Disqualifications: White markings on any part of the body not mentioned as allowed.

 

 

Gait The Neapolitan Mastiff's movement is not flashy, but rather slow and lumbering. Normal gaits are the walk, trot, gallop, and pace. The strides are long and elastic, at the same time, powerful, characterized by a long push from the hindquarters and extension of the forelegs. Rolling motion and swaying of the body at all gaits is characteristic. Pacing in the show ring is not to be penalized. Slight paddling movement of the front feet is normal. The head is carried level with or slightly above the back.

Temperament The Neapolitan Mastiff is steady and loyal to his owner, not aggressive or apt to bite without reason. As a protector of his property and owners, he is always watchful and does not relish intrusion by strangers into his personal space. His attitude is calm yet wary. In the show ring he is majestic and powerful, but not showy.

 

 

 

Faults The foregoing description is that of the ideal Neapolitan Mastiff. Any deviation from the above described dog must be penalized to the extent of the deviation

 

Disqualifications 
Absence of wrinkles and folds
Absence of dewlap
Lack of tail or short tail, which is less than 1/3 the length from point of insertion of the tail to the hock.
White markings on any part of the body not mentioned.

 

 

 

The absence of massiveness is to be so severely penalized as to eliminate from competition

 

AKC Approved: January 13, 2004
AKC Effective: May 1, 2004

 

 

 

 

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Registration

Neapolitans Mastiffs are an AKC breed, they are in the Working Group and their papers and titles are issued via AKC's regular registration process. AKC (American Kennel Club) is the GOLD STANDARD in the United States. Neo's have been fully AKC recognized since July 1st 2004 in the Working Group, therefore they can participate in shows and all other AKC events. There are still Neos that are not AKC registered and these dogs are often CKC*(Continetal Kennel Club), FIC, WWKC, AAPR, NMCA, ANMA, FCIPR, ACA or one of the other what we commonly refer to as "junk" registries that are out there. A little history on the Neapolitan Mastiff registration, the USNMC (United States Neapolitan Mastiff Club) was the registry that was turned over to the AKC in 2000 when Neos were admitted into the Miscellaneous Class, but Neapolitans were AKC-FSS eligible since 1996. The USNMC is now the parent club for the breed. The standing registries that are accepted by the AKC for Neapolitan Mastiffs are the UKC (United Kennel Club), CKC* (Canadian Kennel Club) and a few other Internationally recognized registries that you would see on some imports such as FCI.me and change my font click on the Design tab in the property panel.

Colors

There are 4 colors of Mastino, Blue, Black, Tawny & Mahogany.  Brindling, white on the feet & chest, those are all MARKINGS, not colors. Grey and blue are the same color. There are a million variations of each color, there will be blue dogs with a lighter, silvery grey coat, and ones with a darker, charcoal-grey coat. There will be tawnys that are colored like a yellow Lab and some that have the hue of a fawn Pit Bull. Mahoganys that are red like a rust colored Dobie or darker like a chocolate Lab. Still with all the variations there are just the 4 colors. There are Neos with no white, some white, lots of white (white only allowed on feet & chest), the same goes for brindling, but again these are not color variations, these are MARKINGS. We personally mostly breed blacks and blues, therefore most of our dogs do not carry or produce color. A great misconception about color is that if you breed a colored dog, colored being tawny or mahogany, then you will get color. This is true only if you breed to another colored dog OR the black or grey dog you are breeding to carries the gene to produce color, if not you can breed endlessly and only get the dominant blue and black. It used to be that most major breeders did not breed for color, and some like us would actually avoid color. You have to remember that the backyard breeders & puppy mills in the USA in the 80s and 90s, even the early 2000s were pushing these colored dogs as "rare" for years and because it is expensive, inconvenient and disappointing to breed typey neos, most of the puppy millers have been breeding the generic, type-less dogs that breed naturally and raise their own young. Hence a mass production of bad quality colored dogs had been peddled into the market for years. AKC working group status has helped change that, and as I predicted in time we are seeing more and more exceptional tawny and mahogany dogs. It has taken generations & generations of correction to make colored dogs that look like my black & blue dogs consistently. The Italians are contributing to this as well. Still when it comes to just pure ratio, colored dogs generally have a tendency to be plainer. Whatever the shade, there are only 4 colors and NO color is more valuable than another, NO shade of a color is more rare and expensive. Below are pics of all 4 colors, all are represented by typey examples of the breed.

Ear Cropping-Pros & Cons

Ear cropping has become highly controversial in the day and age of animal rights. Seen as only being done for “cosmetic” purposes, many breeders and vets are steering away from cropping. My retort to people that feel ear cropping is cruel, is that all over the world people are still doing circumcisions as well, and that is done for "cosmetic" reasons, and no one is outside the hospital protesting for the rights of baby boys. In many countries, cropping is now illegal as well as tail docking, not just for the Neo but for Dobermans, Boxers, Danes, etc. As you can see we have both cropped & natural ears here. I prefer cropped, reason being most of mine are show dogs and for non-specific reasons the dogs without ears tend to fair better in the ring. The Neapolitan is what is called a “head breed” meaning a lot of importance is weighed in the head. When a Neo doesn’t have big floppy ears to frame its head, the head looks wider and the cropped ear looks more alert and gives the dog a more intimidating look. That is why breeds like the ones listed above have cropped ears, they were breeds designed to protect, and a dog without a tail and ears cannot use its body language to tell you if it’s friendly or not. It will look alert and ready, even if its not. Man created every breed for a purpose, some are companion dogs while others kill rodents or hunt game. Each breed was distinctively bred to fit the mold for the chore he is designed for. To start banning crops and docks is to change the standard and the definition that created each breed, which differentiates each breed from one another. We do not require our pup’s ears to be done nor do we automatically do them before they go to their new homes. We leave it up to you the buyer whether YOU want to have them done. There are certain risks involved, Neos are not good under anesthesia, and they require about 1/2 of what other breeds their size need. You would need to have them cropped by a vet familiar with the breed, which has experience with neos and this surgery. We have advise available to those who would like to take info to their vet. Vets do not understand that the risk is real, we ourselves have lost a pup during this procedure and our vet was wonderful and had never had problems before. Not to mention the aftercare needed takes time and patience. You need to keep them buttoned & clean them and keep them from scratching at them and then have the stitches removed and possibly do things to get them to set. Cutting the ears is risky, expensive and there is aftercare. If you like the look of the natural ear then save yourself the drama and leave them on. The only physical benefit to having ears cropped is that dogs with ears have a much greater chance of having chronic ear or yeast infections. This is because of the weight of the ear holding it close to the head, it does not allow air to pass into it and then moisture collects and causes bacteria growth and then infection. I know this paragraph is rambling on, but I want our puppy buyers to be as informed as possible when making the decision to crop or not. We have a good ear crop vet here, but we do not crop buyers ears. We can however give you our vets number, help you research your area or contact local breeders to locate an experienced neo cropping vet. If you have such a vets number please feel free to email me at ildragoneo@aol.com to have it listed on this site. It's great to have someone who is experienced with this crop.

 

Food & Supplements

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Your pup will be eating 4Health Puppy Formula (regular not large breed) when he leaves here. You will be given a sample of this food, and it is available only at Tractor Supply Company. It runs about $35 for a 35 lb bag, which is reasonably priced for an above-average quality dry food. It has a good level of meat content which is lamb based, multiple sources of protein, added probiotics & supplements, and is corn free. The ingredients are listed below in the order of most contentscription here

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