History ​Of The Breed

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.

CKC Neapolitan Mastiff Breed Standard


Health of the Mastino

Neapolitan Mastiff's share many of the same health problems as any other giant breeds. It is VERY important to educate yourself on the health of the breed before you choose to add a Mastino to your family.

I am about to dive into some health concerns that can come up in the breed. A lot of this information goes out into my puppy info package I send out but I do not think there is a ton of health information available online for this breed so I want to be able to give out as much information as possible. "The Official Book Of The Neapolitan Mastiff" by Dr. Sherilyn Allen, VMD is what I would refer to as the "Neo Bible".Truth is that what I have learned about this majestic breed has come from past experience and this book. It is very rare that you will find a vet that has actually practiced on a Mastino. It is VERY important to find the right vet, I have been lucky enough to find an amazing vet that I have brought over 10 Neos to but sometimes you need to interview vets and ask the right questions.

Do you have experience with my breed? If not, do you see a lot of giant breeds?

Do you have an orthopedic specialist on your team?

What type of sedative do you use for procedures? 

Will you preform a cherry eye removal surgery? NOT A TACK

Did you know that the Neapolitan Mastiff is on the top 20 list of "Most Unhealthy Breeds"?

It makes the top 20 list due to being a GIANT breed, the more dog you have the more problems you can run into right? WRONG, Although there are many Neapolitan Mastiff breeders our there I can only count on one hand who actually does the health testing to help improve the health of this breed. 

See below for common health problems

Cherry Eye

(Photo from Google images)

Cherry eye is a very common condition in the breed. The gland in the third eyelid swells forcing it to pop out. Mastinos have very loose connective tissue and if you tack the gland down the tissue will roll over the other subcutaneous layers and will pop out again. Most vets will try and talk you into a tacking procedure but I can almost guarantee you that it will fail and leave your dog more uncomfortable than before. The ONLY treatment to cherry eye in this breed is to remove the gland. It is a very simple procedure and takes less than 10 minutes under sedation. 

If one eye pops but not the other, its probably only a matter of time until the other pops as well. It looks like its very uncomfortable for your dog to pop a cherry eye but it does not cause any pain, its more of a nuisance to them. Its best to wait a few weeks, even a month before getting it removed to see if the other will pop. Be sure to keep the eye clean in the mean time, we put Tobradex drops twice a day to prevent any potential bacterial infections until surgery. 

Please contact us if you need help finding a vet that will do a removal. 


Bloat, also known as Gastric Dilatation is an issue among any large or giant breed. The stomach gets filled with gas, food, or fluid and can cause it to twist. Bloat is life threatening and can lead to death if it is not treated quickly. There are many steps you can take to minimize the chance of bloat but sometimes it cannot be avoided. I have lost a dog to bloat and by the time we realized it was to late. Its important to know the signs to took for. You can purchase an emergency bloat kit to keep at home, but be sure to know where your closest 24 hour emergency vet is located. 

Way's you can reduce the risk of bloat

-Do not elevate bowls!

-Limit exercise an hour after eating or a large drink

-Smaller portioned meals multiple times a day

-Slow down a fast eater, purchase a slow feeder

- Feed a good diet

Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Dilated Cardiomyopathy is one of the most acquired heart diseases in dogs. The disease results in weakened contractions and poor pumping ability, as it progresses the heart chambers become enlarged, one or more valves may leak, and signs of congestive heart failure develop. Signs to look out for depends on the stage of the disease. Loss of appetite, pale gums, increased heart rate, and coughing are a few. If you think your dog has DCM your vet will recommend a chest X Ray or an ECG to diagnose. 

We test the hearts of all the dogs in our program. X-Rays are taken prior to breeding to get a vertebral heart score.

Hip Dysplasia


All Neapolitan mastiffs have loose skin, connective tissue, and joints. If they didn't, they wouldn't be Neapolitan Mastiffs! Because they have loose connective tissue they will always radiograph with some degree of joint laxity. Your vet may do an exam.... feel the loose hips.... want to radiograph... and already programmed to look for the dreaded hip dysplasia they will jump to the diagnoses of doom. 

Hip dysplasia is not joint laxity. True, joint latixy can predispose a dog to develop hip dysplasia, but the term hip dysplasia is by definition the arthritis that develops from excessive wear on incongruent joints. Not all dogs with loose joints go on to develop hip dysplasia. 

There are many things that can cause hip dysplasia.

- Genetics, this is why health testing is so important!

- Keeping your dog at a healthy weight

- Environmental factors such as slippery floors or stairs

- Over exercised as a puppy, to much running on uneven surfaces

We supplement 1000mg of Ester C daily until 18 months to help with connective tissue. We also give glucosamine chrondronitin msm supplement to help with growing pains.


We test hips and elbows of all the dogs in our program. They are done under sedation and reviewed by an orthopedic specialist at the practice we use.

*Some information above is cited from "The official book of the Neapolitan Mastiff" by Dr Sherilyn Allen VMD


*Photo from Google Images*

Entropion is a condition where the eyelid rolls inward, causing the eyelashes to rub against the cornea (surface of the eyeball). This is an extremely irritating condition that can ultimately lead to blindness. It can happen in any breed; however, Neapolitan Mastiff's are especially at risk for this disorder. Surgical correction is usually successful if performed early. It is common for a puppy to grow in and out of this condition. Neos will either have soft or hard eye lashes. If the lashes are soft you can keep the eyes clean and lubricated (you can purchase eye lubricant at any drug store) if the dog is comfortable and it is not damaging the cornea there is usually no need for surgical intervention. 

If the lashes are hard and it is starting to scratch the cornea, this cannot be treated at home and you need to see a vet. You cannot lubricate a scratched eye, that could lead to infection. Once the cornea is scratched, the eye will start to cloud and this will progress very quickly. Once clouding happens you should see your vet as soon as possible, if left for even a few days the ulcer on the eye can grow leading to damage and partial vision loss.  Entropion is treated surgically, they lift the eyelid slightly so its not rubbing the cornea. Treating the ulcer on the eye takes time. It requires drops, drops, drops, more drops, and don't forget the drops. Blood is collected from your dog and spun in a centrifuge extracting the blood plasma. Plasma drops are given alongside Tobrex (NOT to be mistaken for Tobradex that contains a steroid) 3-4 times a day until a scab forms on the cornea and falls off. All while making sure your dog is not scratching and irritating the eye while its healing. The entire process can take up to 2 months, so it is definitely recommended to keep an EYE on it so this can be prevented.