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Subject: rec.pets.dogs: Neapolitan Mastiffs Breed-FAQ

This article was archived around: 21 May 2006 04:22:38 GMT

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Archive-name: dogs-faq/breeds/neapolitans Posting-frequency: 30 days URL: http://www.neapolitan.org/breed/faq/faq.html Last-modified: 29 Apr 2001
======= There are many FAQ's available for this group. For a complete listing of these, get the "Complete List of RPD FAQs". This article is posted bimonthly in rec.pets.dogs, and is available via anonymous ftp to rtfm.mit.edu under pub/usenet/news.answers/dogs-faq/faq-list, via the Web at http://www.k9web.com/dog-faqs/lists/faq-list.html, or via email by sending your message to mail-server@rtfm.mit.edu with send usenet/news.answers/dogs-faq/faq-list in the body of the message. This article is Copyright 1997 by the Author(s) listed below. It may be freely distributed on the Internet in its entirety without alteration provided that this copyright notice is not removed. It may NOT reside at another website (use links, please) other than the URL listed above without the permission of the Author(s). This article may not be sold for profit nor incorporated in other documents without he Author(s)'s permission and is provided "as is" without express or implied warranty. ========== Neapolitan Mastiff FAQ Author Robert Gravel, May 1, 2000 [rockbust@mailandnews.com] with material supplied by the United States Neapolitan Mastiff Club with history and Characteristics from The Neapolitan Mastiff - A Complete and Reliable Guide by Gonnie Schaffer and Robert Gravel Table of Contents * History * Characteristics and Temperament * Health * Frequently Asked Questions * Resources * Web * Books * Magazine History The Neapolitan Mastiff is a living antique that can be traced back over 5,000 years. By viewing bits and pieces of sculptures, etchings, and writings scattered across the lands it is evident that the Neapolitan Mastiff of today has changed only slightly from the dog of ancient times. After the domestication of livestock, dogs of heavy body and powerful grip were bred by farmers and used as guardians of their flock and various other functions. These dogs were kept pure in their breeding in contrast to other breeds that were mixed with the swift, lighter boned breeds. In the lands that were conquered and reconquered by different peoples we find the ancestors of the Neapolitan Mastiff. They were called by many names: Macedonian Dog, Assyrian Dog, Sumerian Molossan, and the Roman Molossus. The names were different, but all were of the same basic type: heavy bodied, enormous heads, short muzzles, dewlaps, wrinkled foreheads, cropped ears, and heavy legs. Of the many Mastiff type dogs now extinct some were saved such as the Old English Mastiff and Saint Bernard. It is thought by many that Alexander The Great seeded this large body molossous dog to the lands of his conquest. These dogs were then carried off to war by the Romans and pitted against wild animals such as lions and elephants. To trace the footsteps from this time to 20th century Italy is a bit sketchy and unclear. This ancient dog seemed to adapt well to the farmers of Italy and were said to be bred in the countryside for many years. The chores of guardian whether it be flock, home or person was no stranger to this noble dog. It seems there was a certain secrecy to the early breeding of this dog that may have led to its near extinction. Or possibly man no longer needed the faithful work that this ancient breed performed. Although quite obscure at the time the Neapolitan Mastiff was immediately recognized by Piere Scanziani, a well known writer and journalist, at a 1946 dog show in Naples, Italy. He wrote, "I recognized it instantly, it was one of the hundred that Paolo Emilio, the Macedonian, had brought to Rome in his triumph. It was the great dog of Epirus from the height of his centuries, he stared at me imperturbable; his eyes were not hostile, yet not kind. It was a gaze that does not give, yet does not ask anything, it simply contemplates". Piere Scanziani became Known as "The farther of the breed" and along with other fanciers of the breed worked hard to rescue this breed and cause its current resurgence. A standard to which the dog should be bred was drafted and the dog became officially recognized by the Italian kennel club, the ENCI (Ente Nazionale della Cinofilia Italiana) and adopted by the FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale) which is the international organization that the ENCI is a member. The official name became the Mastino Napoletano and just referred to as the Mastino in Italy and nicknamed the "Neo" in the United states. Piere Scanziani purchased a few specimens of this profound breed and Guaglione1 went on to become the first Italian Champion Neapolitan Mastiff. History in the United States The Neapolitan Mastiff has been documented as being in the United States at least since the early 1970's, although it is believed that individual dogs were brought over with their families all during the great waves of immigration which started in the 1880's and continued into the first half of the 20th Century. Around 1973 the Neapolitan Mastiff Club of America (NMCA) was formed by Michael A. Sottile, Sr. . Mr. Sottile and his family imported Neapolitan Mastiffs, bred many wonderful dogs, and converted many people into lovers of the Neapolitan Mastiff as well as educated many new fans of this breed. The NMCA also ran a registry of pedigrees for the Neapolitan Mastiff in the United States, and kept pedigrees, lineage, and ownership information for most, if not virtually all Neapolitans in the country at that time. Around 1990 there were several movements across the country to form alternative clubs and registries to the NMCA. In late 1990 the United States Neapolitan Mastiff Club (USMNC)was formed and began operations as both a breed club and registry. The USNMC was officially incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1991. The USNMC also drafted a breed standard to reflect the standard of the country of origin. The standard was approved By the AKC (American Kennel Club) and the Neapolitan Mastiff entered into the AKC - FSS (foundation stock service) for pedigree record keeping in 1996. Sometime in 1990, the American Neapolitan Mastiff Association (ANMA) was also formed but has ceased its registry operations as of January 1, 1999. Characteristics and Temperament The Neapolitan Mastiff displays a graphic illustration of one of the most impressive and remarkable breeds that is in existence today. He is a large breed which can weigh over 150 pounds. A comparison to man or other creatures of a similar weight and one would see a body structure exemplifying extreme strength. A type that can perform its function better than any other creature or man made machine. His body mass is volumous but not that of just fat. His muscular development would cause a game or herding dog to fail at its chores but for the Neapolitan Mastiff this is a trade off he assumed when he chose to be a guardian. His bones are not unlike the trunk of a century old oak tree; thick, Strong and necessary or they would surely splinter causing the massive structure they support to crash to the earth. It is doubtful that there is any other breed of dog whose fundamental characteristics has remained as constant over the centuries as the Neapolitan Mastiff. However the Neapolitan Mastiff of today shows marked improvements in body and overall squaring of the head, all due to selective breeding. He has a captivating and almost intimidating stare, one that would make a foe turn and flee without even a growl. He comes in a variety of colors: Gray (Blue), Black, tawny and mahogany. The Blue is the most common and desired color because of his work as a guardian dog and his ability to blend into the night shadows. He is a working dog originally bred and utilized as a guardian and defender of owner and property. Although originally bred as a protection dog he has a steady temperament and is loyal, not outwardly aggressive or apt to bite without reason. Do not confuse our Neapolitan Mastiff with a fighting breed. If you are considering purchasing one with this thought in mind you will find him far too humble for he would rather spend his time by your side pleasing you. The Neapolitan Mastiff is certainly not a dog for everyone but you could not ask for a more faithful companion. Health The Neapolitan Mastiff is concidered a sturdy, healthy breed but like many other breeds is not free from all heath problems. You should be aware of the following health problems that have been seen in this breed. 1. Canine hip dysplasia 2. Immune system problems (Demodex) 3. Cryptochism or Monochism problems 4. Heart problems (cardiomyopathy) 5. Cleft pallets, hair lip, or bad tails problems 6. Ununited Unconeal process problems 7. Hypothyroidism 8. Cherry Eye FAQ Are they good with children? Most Neapolitan Mastiffs are good with the children they know and would never hurt them purposely. It is vital to remember that they are a giant breed and have great strength. This can result in a them unintentionally knocking a child down and stepping on them especialy if the child runs away. They should never be unsupervised around small children. Do they drool? Yes, but not all the time. The worst times are when the drink, eat, or are nervous. Most owners carry a small towel and learn to quickly respond to those drippy lips . Do they require a lot of excersize? No they do not. In fact as adults they prefer to lounge around the house or yard most of the time. although they do not need acres of property to run a small apartment in not well suited for a Neapolitan Mastiff. They can reach near 200 pounds and will clear coffee tables and move furnature if they are not provided enough room. Do they like the outdoors? Neapolitan Mastiffs love the outdoors and will enjoy it year round. They will tolerate temperatures as low as 0 degrees F provided they have an insulated dog house, and below 0 degrees if the dog house is heated. Because they are a brachycephalic (short-nosed) breed, they can have much more trouble with hot weather. They must be provided with shade and have lots of clean fresh water available. In extremely hot weather, it is advisable to move them into the basement or some cooler place. Every year many otherwise healthy dogs die suddenly due to heat intolerance. Owners must be extremely sensitive to this issue and must be very cautious especially in hot, humid weather. How much do they eat? The adult Neapolitan Mastiff can consume up to a gallon of food a day. It is not recommended to overfeed or over supplement your dog, especially puppies or young adults. Too much weight or proteins and minerals can actually cause damage to your dog's tendons, ligaments and skeletal structure. Do they shed? They have short hair and actualy shed very little. The spring tends to be the worst time. While the new coat is growing the dog may appear lighter colored and spotted. The older hair that has not fallen off will lighten and the new hair will emerge a darker color. Are they AKC recognised? No they are not fully recognised. They are recognised by almost every other country in the world and so far have been accepted into the AKC-FSS for record keeping and effective March 1, 2001, they will be allowed to compete in AKC-obedience trials, AKC-agility trials, and AKC-tracking trials. There are people who feel full recognision will be bad for the breed and those who are working to get the breed fully recognised. When do they grow up? Neapolitan Mastiffs are not completely mature until about 3 years of age. Most of their growth will be done at 1 year old but they will continue to gain mass if their genetics allow. How long do they live? Like most giant breeds their life is not a long one. Eight to ten years old is the normal lifespan. How Much Do They Cost? Well, quite frankly, a lot. Neapolitan Mastiffs tend to be rather expensive, for a number of reasons. They are generally able to deliver only by Caesarean and usually need to be artificially inseminated because of the weight of the males. All of this tends to keep their prices rather high. Please ensure that if you find one that seems to be a bargain price that it wasn't by virtue of their care or quality being skimped on. Is there a rescue organization for Neapolitan Mastiffs ? Contact the USNMC rescue/placement at http://www.geocities.com/rescue_a_neo/index.htm Resources Web http://www.neapolitan.org (United States Neapolitan Mastiff Club - USMNC) http://members.aol.com/anma1/private/index.htm (American Neapolitan Mastiff Association - ANMA) http://www.mastinonapoletano.it (ATIMANA Italy) Books The Neapolitan Mastiff , A Complete and Reliable Guide by Robert Gravel and Gonnie Schaffer ISBN 0793807840 The official book of the Neapolitan Mastiff by Sherilyn Allen VMD. USA ISBN: 0793820839 The Neapolitan Mastiff by Mario Zacchi. La Moye Distributors, Jersey, 1987 ISBN 0-951-2359-07 (out of print) Magazines Tne Neogram official magizine of the USNMC through membership only __________________________________________________________________ Neapolitan Mastiff FAQ Robert Gravel, May 1, 2000 [rockbust@mailandnews.com]