This Italian breed is a member of the working group. Known for its serious demeanor and guarding ability. They come in a range of colors, blue and black being traditional but also tawny and mahogany. White on paws and chest are acceptable as well as brindling on any of the above colors. Temperament can range, as well as size and wrinkle depending on the line.
Neapolitan Mastiff As its name implies, this famous mastiff breed comes from Naples and surrounding areas in Italy. Descended from the legendary wardogs of the Assyrians and Roman arena fighters, the ancestors of the Mastino Napoletano are believed by some to had been the legendary wardogs of Alexander the Great, but seeing how the old Molossers that Alexander took with him on his war campaigns were longhaired, mountain type dogs, like the breeds of Macedonia and Greece, such as the Hellenic Mastiff, Sarplaninec, Molossos tis Epirou, as well as his own famous strain of such dogs known as the Skilos tou Alexandrou, it is more likely that these large shepherd dogs came into contact with existing Roman cattledogs, guardians and fighting dogs and from then on went through generations of crossings and inbreeding, without much attention given to appearance or standards of purity, with ferociousness and working ability being the only qualities of importance.
It is claimed by some that the Romans brought old English mastiffs from the British Isles which were supposedly introduced to the bloodlines of their arena dogs, but it should be noted that the Mastin Espanol also played a much more important role in the development of the dogs of Naples, as did the Spanish and Sicilian working bulldogges. For centuries this breed was considered to be just one of the regional types of the working Cane e Presa population of Italy, alongside the Cane Corso, Bucciriscu Calabrese, U Vucciriscu and other varieties used for guarding, fighting and hunting duties prior to the World Wars. The Neapolitan Mastiff finally received its name in the 1940's.