All European mastiffs are descended from the Tibetan Mastiff, the most ancient member of the canine species. It is believed that Alexander the Great probably brought the first Asian mastiffs brought to Greece from India around 300 BC. However English experts say that the mastiff was brought to Britain by the Phoenicians in about 500 BC. Irrespective of their initial introduction, they spread to the rest of Europe. Over time they became extinct except in part of Italy south of Naples. It is from these dogs that the Neopolitan mastiff is directly descended. They were bred for war and use in the Roman arena. Nowadays the breed is recognized as an excellent guard dog, used by Italian police and the army as well as those needing protection of family or property.
The Neapolitan Mastiff is a solid, powerful dog. It’s body appears rather rectangular and it has abundant, hanging wrinkles and folds on the head and a very large dewlap. It has a short straight, dense, coat which may be gray, blue, black, chocolate, mahogany and tawny, sometimes with brindle and white markings The breed is prone to drooling in hot weather or after drinking.
This is not a dog suited to every owner. They need an experienced handler who can dominate them and the need plenty of regular exercise. Despite this they can be a wonderful family pet. They are calm and affectionate, peaceful and loving, gentle with children. They prefer to be with their family by staying around the home outside at all times guarding, which is their natural instinct. They are fearless and extremely protective of their home and family. The Neapolitan Mastiff rarely barks unless under provocation, and it is renowned for sneaking up on intruders as opposed to first alerting them of its presence.
Males stand 26 - 30 inches (65 - 75 cm) tall and may weigh up to 165 pounds (74 kg). Females are shorter 24 - 28 inches (60 - 70 cm) but may weigh the same as a male. The largest male Neapolitans may be nearly 200 pounds (90 kg)
Extracted From: The Dog Breed Information Center (www.dogbreedinfo.com)