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Neapolitan Mastiff Dog


Neapolitan Mastiff Dog

  • Mastiff-type dogs have existed for millennia. The first mastiffs are thought to have been developed in Tibet, some 5,000 years ago. The massive dogs were used in battle and served as guards, both tasks for which they were well suited.The dog that became the Neapolitan Mastiff was developed in southern Italy, in the vicinity of Naples, from which he takes his name. The Neapolitan breeders focused on creating a dog who was massive in size with heavy, loose skin that would protect him in case of attack. They also wanted a dog who would be loyal and loving toward family members.

  • The Neo, or mastino as he’s also called, might have remained in obscurity in Italy but for the chance attendance at a Naples dog show in 1946 by journalist Piere Scanziana. He saw the Neapolitan Mastiff and recognized the breed for what it was: a living remnant of the Roman Empire, a descendant perhaps of the mastiffs of Epirus who accompanied Roman consul Paolo Emilio on his triumphant entry into the city after defeating Perseo of Macedonia. Scanziani took an interest in the breed and worked to make it become more well known. He was instrumental in writing the breed standard and in the Neo’s recognition by Italy’s national dog registry. The dogs were given the name Mastino Napoletano. One of Scanziani’s dogs, Guaglione, became the first member of the breed to become an Italian champion. The breed was recognized by the international dog registry, the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI), in 1949. By the early 1970s the Neo had gained some popularity in Europe. The first Neo known in the United States was imported by Jane Pampalone in 1973, although Italian immigrants may have brought some of the dogs with them as early as the 1880s. The Neapolitan Mastiff Club of America (NMCA) was formed in 1973 and kept a registry of pedigrees, lineage, and ownership for the majority of American Neapolitan Mastiffs. The club’s other function was to educate people about its well-loved breed. In the 1990s, the American Neapolitan Mastiff Association and the United States Neapolitan Mastiff Club were formed. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 2004. Today, the Neo ranks 112th among the 155 breeds and varieties registered by the AKC.

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Neapolitan Mastiff Dog

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