Neapolitan Mastiff at Westminster Kennel

Neapolitan Mastiff breed judging at Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show 2010 on Dog Breeders.

Since ancient times, the Neapolitan Mastiff has been found in Campania, which is in central Italy, but it was not exhibited at shows until 1947.

The Neapolitan Mastiff is a serious, powerful, looking dog. It is muscular with a rather rectangular body, massive head, and wrinkled face.

The facial wrinkles continue under the chin and down the neck to form a prominent dewlap. The skull is broad and flat on top, and the nose is large. The teeth meet in a scissors or level bite. A tradition was established when the dogs were used in combat to crop the ears short and dock the very thick tail by one third.

Many owners opt out of docking and cropping, preferring the natural look, as it is painful for the dog. The short, harsh coat is dense and smooth. The most common coat color is blue, though black is the next most common color. Chocolate dogs are rare. The Neo can be either solid or brindle.

The dark colors and brindles help the Neo blend into the night shadows as he waits for the unsuspecting prowler. A little white is permitted on the chest and toes. No white should be on the face. Puppies begin life with blue eyes, which later darken. Adult Neo eyes vary with the color of their coat.

Dewclaws should be removed. The Neapolitan Mastiff has a loose, rolling, cat-like gait.