Neapolitan Mastiff

Neapolitan Mastiff Breed description: Character & Co

Neapolitan Mastiff


The Mastino Napoletano is an intelligent and faithful dog with a lot of character. Since they are not particularly easy to keep, this breed belongs only in the hands of especially responsible and animal-loving people.

The origin of the Mastino Napoletano

The name already reveals it, this dog originally comes from the warm south of Italy. Around there this dog breed is spread around the metropolis of Naples as a watch and protection dog. The often very isolated farms as well as a high crime rate required especially large, intimidating dogs. The Mastino has been systematically bred since the end of the Second World War. Its ancestors probably go back to the old Roman Molossians. This huge and heavy fighting dog accompanied soldiers to war. Later Molossians are said to have been involved in the famous and very bloody games in the Colosseum of Rome.

The breed characteristics of the Mastino Napoletano

Its body size, the mostly silvery shimmering dark fur and the typical wrinkles give this dog its unmistakable appearance. Their drooping eyes are not for everyone. Some love them for their special facial expressions, others have voted them to be the "ugliest dog in the world".

The Mastino Napoletano "Fang" became world famous for its role as the dog of the giant Hagrid in some episodes of the Harry Potter film adaptation.

Since 1956, the Mastino is officially recognised as a breed by the FCI. It is listed under group 2, "Molossoids" and further under the "Great Dane dogs".

  • very big and heavy dog
  • typical droopy eyes
  • wrinkles and mostly dark shimmering fur
  • famous as "Fang" from Harry Potter
  • counts to the dane-like dogs
  • striking appearance
Banner: Shutterstock / Erik Lam
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Alternate Name Neapolitan Molosser, Neapolitan Mastiff
Origin Italy
Life expectancy 8 - 10 years
Care requirements low-maintenance
Activity level average
FCI group Molossian type
AKC group working group
KC group working group

The typical character traits of the Mastino Napoletano

You would think that these dogs would be relaxed and calm throughout. However, if you have ever seen an agitated or playing Mastino Napoletano, you know that this is a misconception!

This dog likes to form a bond to one person and their house. From their origin in the south of Italy it is more used to being led by men. If you are a woman and would like to keep such a dog, you should have a strong sense of assertiveness as well as a lot of dog experience. The Mastino Napoletano is neither aggressive nor tends to bite. It is only protecting and very alert at the same time. It never gets angry without good reason. Nevertheless, they know how to get their will and how to use their strength for their own good. You should train your Mastino Napoletano puppy in a strong and intelligent way from an early age. They must know where their limit is in order to be a confident companion to its owner.

  • not always just relaxed
  • can be very temperamental
  • easier to be led by men
  • intelligent and sometimes very stubborn
  • needs consistent training and boundaries
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Breed typical diseases of the Neapolitan Mastiff

For many years, breeding focused far too much on achieving extreme wrinkles and overweight types. In the 1970s, the breed was so overbred that today it would be called torture breeding. The dogs degenerated to huge mountains of meat, which could hardly move and suffered from coat problems. These times are fortunately over and the new strict breeding selection has long since taken hold in Italy as well. Nevertheless, there are still some dogs that show this heavy heritage and an excess of wrinkles.

If this dog degenerates into a couch potato, it can get serious problems with its joints at an early age.

  • tends to be overweight
  • Skin problems due to too many wrinkles
  • Problems with the joints

Breeding and purchase of a Mastino Napoletano

Mastino Napoletano breeders must be extremely responsible people. In Germany, the breeding is supervised by the "Club für Molosser" ( The number of puppies is between 60 and 80 animals per year. If you want to buy a Mastino Napoletano you have to expect to pay about 1000 Euros for a healthy puppy with papers.

But please note that the Mastino Napoletano can still be on the list of dangerous dogs in Germany. In this case, either the keeping is completely forbidden or only possible with conditions. The regulations are so different depending on the municipality and the federal state that you have to ask at your local citizen's office.

In Austria, the Mastino Napoletano is on the list in Vienna and Vorarlberg. In Vienna you can take an aptitude test. If you live in Vorarlberg, you need the explicit permission of your municipality to be allowed to keep this dog.

The Swiss cantons of Geneva and Valais have completely banned imports, breeding and keeping. In the cantons Fribourg, Schaffhausen, Solothurn and Ticino you need a permit.

  1. only few puppies per year
  2. price 1000 Euros or more
  3. classified regionally as dangerous
  4. keeping is often subject to authorisation or prohibited
Neapolitan Mastiff Profile Picture Breed Description

The Mastino is immediately recognisable by its large head, drooping eyes and many wrinkles. The short coat is mostly dark coloured and shimmers in a silky way. The colour is black or dark brown. Light brown or fawn animals are extremely rare.

Size, weight and life expectancy of the Mastino Napoletano

With its stately weight of up to 70 kg, the Mastino Napoletano is one of the heaviest dog breeds in the world. The bitches always remain a bit slimmer and more delicate than males. Despite their stately size this dog can reach an age of up to 10 years.

  • Shoulder height males approx. 65 to 75 cm
  • Weight males approx. 60 to 70 kg
  • Shoulder height bitches about 60 to 68 cm.
  • Weight bitches approx. 50 to 60 kg
  • Life expectancy up to 10 years
Fur length short
Fur flat coated
Ear shape Floppy Ear
Tail lang
Anatomy strong
Size ♀ 58 - 70 cm
Weight ♀ 50 - 60 kg
Size ♂ 63 - 77 cm
Weight ♂ 60 - 70 kg
Suitable For -


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  • A Mastino Napoletano costs about 1800 Euro.

  • Guess right. The dog of Hagrid is Harry Potter is the breed Mastino Napoletano.

Sources and relevant links

FCI Rassestandard

Accessed on 10.03.2023

American Kennel Club

Accessed on 10.03.2023


Accessed on 10.03.2023

Hans Georg Niemand (2006). Praktikum der Hundeklinik. Georg Thieme Verlag.

Accessed on 10.03.2023

Hans Räber (2014). Enzyklopädie der Rassehunde, Band 1. Franckh-Kosmos Verlags-Gmbh & Company KG.

Dr. Dieter Fleig (2011). Kampfhunde... wie sie wirklich sind. Kynos Verlag.

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