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To read about our precious companions,
visit our Available Dogs page.
The Neapolitan Mastiff is a member of the Working Group. This Italian Mastiff is a direct descendent of the dogs used to fight in the Roman Coliseum. Over the past 2000 years it was refined to its present form as a guardian of the family and estates in northern Italy. (Note that we use the abbreviation Neo, yet the name for the breed is Neapolitan, not Neopolitan. The common misspelling is a pet peeve for true Neo-folk.)
The Neapolitan is a guard dog and is protective by nature. Even though they have a fierce appearance, they are generally peaceful, steady dogs with even temperaments. They are usually wonderful with their own families but wary of strangers. If they have a personality flaw, it is that, like many mastiffs, they can be stubborn and can be shy. It is important to socialize the Neapolitan and to get it accustomed to different people and places. It is also critical that owners never forget the instinctive nature of the dog. Raising a Neo requires an awareness of how dogs think and behave, and a consistent sensible discipline.
~Read more about this magnificent breed~
Check out our Photo Gallery.
These are photos of some of the Neos we have rescued.
See how Goofy, Gooey, and Gregarious they are.
Hope for Tomorrow"
"Learn from Yesterday,
Live for Today,
NeoRescue Inc. is a National non-profit 501(c)(3) Corporation that exists to place stray, abandoned, abused or neglected purebred Neapolitan Mastiffs in permanent adoptive homes, which will provide a high level of care and where the spirit of the NRI Code Of Ethics is observed.
The number of Neapolitan Mastiffs needing a new home continues to rise. The number surrendered by their owners and abandoned in shelters is a sad commentary on our society in general and what is happening to this breed in particular.
We want to thank all of you for being involved in Rescue and for your continued support of our cause. Money alone won’t move a dog from a shelter to a new home. It takes compassionate volunteers willing to dedicate time, some financial burden and a huge heart. It also takes a great amount of support from the general public and breed fanciers.
NRI is the only purebred Neapolitan Mastiff Rescue in the United States that is endorsed by the United States Neapolitan Mastiff Club, the American Kennel Club parent club for the breed.
Please take your time in visiting our website and considering if the Neapolitan Mastiff is the right breed for your family and lifestyle. We've provided you with additional information on our "Breed Info Page".
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This is a typical email we receive on a regular basis:
I am interested in the Neo Mastiff. I have some questions about the breed. Are these good dogs for first time pet owners?
Are they good family dogs? What are the most common health problems? Are they aggressive? Do they bark and chew things? How old do they live to be? How big do they get? What are the main differences in the Neo vs an English or Bull mastiff?
Hi. I’m a volunteer with NeoRescue Inc. I have owned only one Neo (Claude), and I found him abandoned in 2005 where I was walking my other dogs. I hadn’t even heard of the breed until I found him (I took him to my vet, and one of the techs said he was a Neapolitan Mastiff). Since finding him, I have done some research on the breed, and after he passed in 2008, I joined NeoRescue Inc, because I must say, he was one of the most wonderful dogs I’ve ever owned. So, I am not an expert on the breed. However, I will try to answer your questions.
Question: Are these good dogs for first time pet owners?
Answer: I’d have to say “no”. They are very large dogs and can be stubborn. Someone with no dog experience, especially big dog (and when I say big dog, I mean German Shepherd, Lab, etc, which are smaller than Neapolitan Mastiffs) could have trouble with Neos. We (NeoRescue Inc) get a lot of inquiries from people requesting our help with Neos they’ve adopted and found they cannot handle them because of their size and temperament.
Question: Are they good family dogs?
Answer: Yes and no. They are very protective of the family, so much so that they may in fact show aggression to visitors in your home. My Neo was that way. Anybody he met outside the home on a walk, he was very friendly with. Let that same person knock on the door and come in to the house, we had to make sure he wouldn’t defend (nip, bite, attack). As I said he was abandoned, and he was very insecure, but after 3 days with us, all of a sudden the house was his. A neighbor stuck his head over our back fence, and Claude jumped up to “bite his head off”. Fortunately Claude wasn’t that agile and the fence was high!
Question: What are the most common health problems?
Answer: There are a lot. Cherry eye, which my dog had, which can or cannot be all that serious, depending on who you listen to; entropion, which is a much more serious eye problem where the eyelid is rolled inwards. It is painful and can lead to blindness. Plus all the other large dog joint issues, such as ACL, which are very expensive to repair.
Question: Are they aggressive?
Answer: In general, no, unless they are protecting their house. However, this depends on the dog. Just as all other dogs have a variety of temperament, so do Neos. You can’t predict how an individual Neo will react.
Question: Do they bark and chew things?
Answer: Not sure about barking, mine didn’t bark that much. But yes, any young dog, Neo or otherwise, will chew things. Mine who was 5 yrs old, chewed my shoes when we first found him. My husband jokingly said “well I never liked those shoes on you anyway”. Claude was new to the house, so didn’t know the “rules”. A young dog will probably chew more things if left alone.
Question: How old do they live to be?
Answer: Typically 8yrs. Mine lived to 8 yrs. Although, we recently had someone contact NeoRescue Inc whose Neo lived to 14 yrs, but this is rare. Typically expect about 8 yrs or perhaps slightly less.
Question? How big do they get.
Answer: Typically 105 to 150, depending on sex, etc. My Claude’s ideal weight was 130 lbs, although he was slightly overweight and weighed 147 lbs.
Question: What are the main differences in the Neo vs an English Mastiff or Bull Mastiff?
Answer? English mastiffs are bigger, but I think gentler and less stubborn than Neos. I don’t have any experience with Bull Mastiffs.'
Starry Night Neo Print
In time to fulfill your holiday shopping needs, NRI has a limited number of prints of 'Starry Night' Neo in a variety of mat colors. Printed on card stock paper, the total dimensions are 11" x 14" suitable for standard frames, or they can be custom framed. They are available for $19.99 each plus $5.00 shipping.
Click Here to Purchase
Great holiday stocking stuffer DECAL for you or the Neo lover in your life!
Dress up your vehicle or kitchen window with this beauty!!!
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My Heart Belongs to NEO Rescue T-shirts
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Many thanks and congratulations to Pirate (owned and loved by Gabe Razzano (NRI volunteer) and Peggy Hartwick for volunteering at the Neapolitan Mastiff booth at the AKC Meet and Compete Event in NYC!! Not only did Pirate and his parents work the booth for 8 hours by meeting and greeting the public, but Pirate managed to raise funds in the amount of $240 for NRI - and all he had to do was lay down and be petted by spectators!! Thank you so much Pirate, Gabe and Peggy!! We love and appreciate all of you and look forward to more fundraising in the future!!