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Description of Neapolitan Mastiff

´╗┐The Breed History

This is an ancient breed with reports dating back 5000 years, but only recognized as a distinct breed since the 1940s. Very early origins trace back to the war dogs (Macedonian, Sumerian, Assyrian) in the middle east and Asia. Alexander the Great was reported to have crossed war dogs with short-haired Indian dogs, giving rise to the Molossus. The Romans crossed these Molossus dogs with English Mastiffs when they invaded, increasing their size. In southern Italy in the Neapolitan region, these crossbreds were further selected for guarding and inbred over the years. Breed characteristics that define the Neapolitan Mastiff include extensive loose skin, enormous body and head, and a smooth lumbering gait. First reported imports to the USA occurred in the 1970s, and now estimates are that 6000 dogs are in the country, especially along the eastern seaboard. AKC recognition occurred in 2004.

Breeding for Function

These dogs fulfilled many roles including guard dog, war dog, hunting dog, and draft dog.

Physical Characteristics

Height at Withers: female 24-29" (61-74 cm), male 26-31" (66-79 cm)

Weight: bitches: 110 lb (50 kg), dogs 150 lb (68 kg)

Coat: Smooth, short (1") and dense, the hairs are straight. Lacks furnishings anywhere. Colors include black, tawny, mahogany, grey (also termed blue). Sometimes brindling may occur, but must be tan. Any white markings must meet the breed standard-if outside defined areas, these are a disqualification. Blue color is most desired as he blends into the shadows during guarding.

Longevity: 8-10 years

Points of Conformation: Massive! Heavy boned. If not, the dog is eliminated. The head is substantially larger than a typical dog and the skull top is broad, flat and parallel to the muzzle profile. The stop is very well defined, muzzle is square. The head has specified folds that must be present. Bite is scissors or slightly undershot. A little longer than tall, the first thing that strikes you is the masses of folded and wrinkled loose skin over the dog, with an extensive dewlap merging with massive flews. The eyes are expressive, deep set, with large overhanging dorsal palpebral, and lower palpebral sags, showing the third eyelid. Eye color and rim synchronize with coat color, and usually are brown to amber. Ears may be cropped to a triangular shape. The neck is short and well muscled. The thorax is deep and ribs are well sprung. The topline is level. The abdomen is not tucked up. Front dewclaws are not to be removed but rear ones are. Feet are large, round and the front feet are slightly turned out. Tail is tapered, and docked to 1/3 of the length to the tarsus. Carriage is horizontal to slightly elevated when working. The gait is slow, steady and a rolling swaying attitude is normal, especially if pace rather than trot. The head is carried just above the topline level usually, and front feet may paddle a bit. There is a low shedding tendency except during seasonal coat turnover.

Thanks for description - Animal life club

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