Neapolitan Mastiff Temperament – The Good and the Not So Good Revealed

Some of the Neapolitan Mastiff temperament traits and personality is not for the faint of heart.

You should probably hold off on owning this dog breed if you’re new to the game.

The main reason is that you have to be willing to put a lot of work into her. You’ll essentially be domesticating her from the get-go.

3 Neapolitan Mastiffs Hanging Out Outdoors |

The Neapolitan Mastiff protective temperament makes her naturally distrustful of strangers.

Other dogs may be more willing to accept strangers or to drop their defenses.

Not the Neapolitan Mastiff.

When it comes to protecting their owners, the Neapolitan is not a dog to mess around.

He takes guard duty very seriously and will do whatever it takes to keep his owners safe from harm. That's great to know and any owner will want those characteristics, but it comes with significant responsibility.

According to the  American Kennel Club Neos are “working dogs”. Other dogs that fit into the “working” category are the Anatolian Shepherd Dog, the Doberman Pinscher, and the Rottweiler.

Let’s take a look at some of the qualities that make up the Neapolitan Mastiff temperament. You’ll see why an extraordinary amount of patience and dedication goes into training this dog.

Importantly, you’ll see why most of their good qualities come, unfortunately, with a negative twist.

Neapolitan Mastiff Temperament Traits

1. Protective

Above all else, the Neo is extremely protective.  He is a fearless dog, and he prefers to be inside the home, keeping a watchful eye on his family. Although he will probably do well outside guarding the exterior of the house.


A Little Girl Petting a Neapolitan Mastiff | DogTemperament.comSomething to be aware of is the importance of training your Neo to be around children.  If the Neo is not familiar with small children, he can see them as a threat to his family.  It is crucial that you socialize him with children as early and as often as possible.

Some folks make the mistake of thinking they’re in the clear because they trained their Neapolitan to be good with their own kids. However, this is not enough.  All your child has to do is have a friend over, and the Neapolitan’s threat senses can kick in all over again.

The best way to combat this is to have your Neapolitan around as many different people, children, and animals as possible. Do this on a continual basis throughout the entire course of his life.  It is an ongoing process that must not be neglected.

2. Obedient

Because of the Neo’s intense sense of protection, you don’t have to worry as much about getting her to listen to you.  She is willing to do whatever she has to do. This includes laying her own life on the line, to keep her family safe and happy.

3. Stubborn

The Neo is a very smart dog.  Unfortunately, that can also lead to stubbornness since she’ll have more of a tendency to think for herself.  While she is obedient, as expressed earlier, she can be stubborn in the areas that matter.


For example, her intense drive to protect her family can make her stubborn to any commands that suggest she do anything otherwise.

4. Fearless

The Neo is not a barker.  He will not bark just because a stray leaf blows next to him or a car honks outside. He’ll save his barks for when he feels it really matters or for when he’s provoked.

Fierce Neapolitan Mastiff Charging in Snow|

In fact, the Neapolitan would rather sneak up on an intruder than give the intruder any inclination that he’s onto him.  And, considering the size of this dog, he is definitely not one that you want sneaking up on you anytime soon.

Another interesting fact is that the Neo has a high tolerance for pain.  This is because of the fighting background from which she comes. As well as, the fact that her skin is loose on her body.

For this reason, you’ll want to check her routinely for any potential health problems. The Neapolitan may not necessarily behave any differently if she’s ill or suffering from an injury.

5. Dominant

With some breeds, you can use “dominance” training or asserting yourself in the “alpha” role. However, this won’t work with the Neapolitan.  Mentioned earlier, the Neapolitan is a smart dog, and he fully comprehends the fact that you can’t physically dominate him.

That’s the problem with trying to train a dog that is as tall as an adult human. At least when it comes to the Neapolitan.

Just to put into perspective the size of this dog:

  • Adult males typically measure between 26 and 31 inches and weigh between 130 and 155 pounds.
  • Female Neos are, on average, 24 to 29 inches tall and weigh between 110 and 130 pounds.

Black Neapolitan Mastiff in the Woods|

6. Trainable

The Neapolitan is very easy to train because he learns quickly.  This, however, can be both a blessing and a curse.  The blessing goes without saying. But the curse is because, in order to properly accept strangers, the Neapolitan needs to be thoroughly socialized. This means meeting strangers which will be a challenge to begin with.

Not socializing your Neapolitan is more serious than just having a shy dog on your hands. You could actually turn him into more of an aggressor this way with both human strangers and other animals.

As is a common training strategy, you should start socializing your Neapolitan early and continue socializing him throughout the course of his life.

Think Twice Before Settling on a Neapolitan Mastiff

As is noted above, you must be an experienced dog owner, and one with a passion for Neapolitans, before taking home a dog of this breed.  The Neapolitan Mastiff temperament can make him, simultaneously, the best and worst dog you ever own.

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