Sunday 20 March 2011

More on the Mastino

Just to be clear what the fuss is about, here's the official picture of the Neapolitan Mastiff BOB at Crufts 2011,  Belkeiminter Marquinn.  His win was not a one-off aberration.  This dog has also won widely elsewhere, including:

Best of Breed at Leeds Champ Show 2010 under judge Vic Salt
Best Dog at Darlington Champ Show 2010 under judge Ann Sutton
© The Kennel Club
Here for comparison is a working-bred Neapolitan Mastiff, Dante, owned by Roger Williams in the US. Roger breeds performance-orientated family guardians and personal protection dogs.

And below is a photograph of Dante's son, Mog. There is no excess flesh on his body or legs; only moderate wrinkling on his head and his eyes are a revelation compared to the showdogs - there is no exposed haw in which damaging debris can collect. And, surely, this dog looks the part far more than anything you'll see trotting round a show-ring?

Working Neo head (above) versus show extreme (below)

It is the working dog that needs to provide the template for so many breeds - dogs bred by those who are breeding for function, not to a written template that is open to too much interpretation by people who have either lost sight of what a dog should be about or never knew it.

I am pleased to report that there has been  considerable consternation by some within the show world at the state of the Neapolitan Mastiffs at Crufts. "I was shocked to see some of the BOB winners which looked to me to be almost deformed yet they were in the big ring at Crufts as top specifiments of their breeds!" writes top judge Sigurd Wilberg in this week's Dog World. "Surely with such a large audience watching at the NEC plus the extensive television coverage with millions viewing, these dogs' presence and wide exposure cannot have done the pedigree dog world any favours."

Boerboel enthusiast Norman Epstein, meanwhile, warns those in his own breed to guard against the insidious, creeping exaggerations that within just  few years can transform a fit and functional dog into a caricature of its former self.

"If there was even a minimum test for function and movement does anyone think those cripples would have been able to exhibit those exaggerations and still be able function in any capacity?" he writes on his blog. 

"The next thing that might have crossed our collective minds is how anyone could think that those dogs are beautiful and are exceptional representatives of their breed.

"Exaggerations occur slowly. In the case of the Neapolitan Mastiff the dogs that started to win and or score higher had more bone, more wrinkles were larger than the ones that were not winning. Therefore the breeders surmised if the judges wanted wrinkles and loose skin etc. then they would really like a lot more wrinkles loose skin.

"A little closer to home we have most of the English Mastiffs today, and because of the same shapers of show phenotypes are now weighing in around 200 pounds and have the bone of a mule. Must be a real man stopper and they might be if they could get up from their ongoing nap and dysplasia. Can it happen to the Boerboel? You do the math."


  1. I question whether there really is such a thing as a "working" Neo. A Boerboel? Yes. A Neo? No, not that I know of. The "work" of a Neo is to LOOK imposing and perhaps to run 100 yards if that is needed. But is that WORK? Not in my book. There is a reason this dog is not used by the police and the military ANYWHERE as a guard or protection dog -- it simply fails at the job when it is really needed in a crunch.



    The most common working Neo I've seen are crosses that are called Bandog Mastiffs. Usually, they are Neapolitan mastiff/pit bull crosses.

  3. Even if their job was "just" to look intimidating - a perfect deterrent to most problems - the show Neo doesn't do the job. That dog, sadly, looks ridiculous enough that it likely inspires pity, maybe even laughs from a potentially bad person. I'm not afraid of dogs at all, but Mog (and any dog that has that intimidating look could make me stop in my tracks and hope its owner was nearby and liked me. I'm also quite sure that Mog could run more than 100 yards, but since a bad person is unlikely to get more than 10 yards before Mog caught them, that's not all that vital, is it?


  5. I just hope the breeders start to select for less extreme features over the next few years. Its going to be such a slow process, I hope that the next generation of breeders learn from the mistakes that have been made.

  6. The term "working dog" is thrown around much too freely these days. Real working dogs are dogs that make their living doing a job, not just dogs that people use as hobby or sport dogs. Racing Greyhounds are working dogs, stock dogs are working dogs, police dogs are working dogs. Yes, Neos are not really suitable for work. But, there's no reason they can't be suitable for sport. Most people don't need a working man-stopper, but there are a large number of people that enjoy training dogs for protection sports like French Ring, PSA, Schutzhund etc. It sounds like this is the type of thing that dogs like Dante and Mog are bred for. Not real "work" in the true sense of the word, but still a worthwhile activity. Neos may not, and probably aren't the best sport dogs, but if people like them and want to train them for it then I think that's great.

  7. Stoutheartedhounds, sentry and patrol dogs are working dogs, hunting dogs are working dogs and dogs used to protect people and property are working dogs. Without health and sound structure the breed finds it very difficult to perform these types of functions. These are the jobs the breeders of "working" Neos are generally speaking of. It would be nice to see a whole lot more on the sporting field as well!

    Good Bandog breeders are achieving a dog that is suitable mentally and physically for the tasks above by crossbreeding these and other large mastiffs. Not so good breeders of the Bandog are cross breeding these types with little regard to improving health, temperament and type or doing much else but selling pups.

  8. I think we all know what you think about the Best of Breed at Crufts 2011 as we have all covered it extensively in the other thread. But here you go, overkill.

    Your lack of education once again is apparent with what YOU believe typifies a working Neapolitan and so annoying to me is the total disregard you pay to the breeds heritage before embarking on these ridiculous opinionated blogs of yours.

    Working Mastini come from Southern Italy and have a very specific type not evident in either of these dogs above, which I wouldnt expect, seeing as they were rarely exported to places like USA or UK.

    Therefore its impossible to create a 'working Mastino' from the genepool in these countries without undertaking intensive research and embarking on a serious project to import and recreate them elsewhere in the world.

    What you are holding up is a genetic mish mash from the very dogs you dislike so much mixed with fila/pit bull etc. Bandogs.

    Meet Rush!

    TRUE TYPE, all capable Mastino Napoletano. Note the cranium shape and size, ancient imposing expression, powerful muzzle and jaw, muscular complete body with massive ribcase and powerful, wide hindquarters.

    A dog like Rush would be a farm/estate dog and spend his days (and nights) patrolling his boundaries and ensuring the safety of everything contained within. Of hard uncompromising temperament, he would not suffer fools gladly.

    Compare this dog with 'Mog' Ms Harrison. Tell me which one is a working Mastino?

    Yours with a somewhat sad, non descript face, fragile construction, weak jaw and painfully thin rears which are straight in stifle? Or my unique specimen?

    Munacella, mother of Rush....'Mastina Rustica'

    Stop calling for dogs more like Mog under the banner of better health because its the height of stupidity on your part.

  9. Well, I think there is a reason why people crossbreed Neo's with other dogs to make a protection mastiff. Same reason why one jackrabbit coursing authority says to cross an Afghan with a Saluki.

    BTW, some of the working protection dogs on the Abcalert site I posted are pure Neos, not bandogs.

    Anyway, who cares about blood purity?

    This is one of those toilet ideas from the nineteenth century that the dog fancy has--unfortunately-- made its highest virtue.

    That notion alone has caused more misery than anything else that has happened to dog since we domesticated them.

  10. PS As for your claims that the Crufts BOB 'has won widely' Actually Ms Harrison, he won only where you mention above in 2010 and the year before that he would be a puppy/junior!

    Yet again trying to slant things to make it appear different to the reality.

    2010 Championship Show results

    1 Two The Sud (D) 4 x BOB ,5 x BD
    Breeder/Owner Kim Slater

    2 Vallino Marillion via Tannick (B) 2 x BOB ,3 x BB
    Breeder Sean and Dawn Platts, Owner Nick Lees

    3 Inisbua Diomedes (D) 2 x BOB ,3 x BD
    Breeder/Owner Nelson Ray

    4 Dalnarck Ercole at Makaevo (D) 2 x BOB ,3 x BD
    Breeder Anita and Rick Bailey, Owners Mike Evans and Mandy Johnson

    5 Vallino Pantera (B) 3 x BB
    Breeder/Owner Sean and Dawn Platts

    6 Belkeiminter Marquinn (D) 1 x BOB ,2 x BD
    Breeder/Owner George and Gloria Speights.

  11. Retrieverman, people can cross breed all they like for all I care, if they have certain purpose in mind and they understand what their ultimate aim is. Im not a breed purist and if I was I sure picked the wrong one to involve myself in!

    Abcalert dogs are the same as the above and there is no such thing as a 'pure neo' of that type!!!!!!!

    Just dont look at one of these mutts and call him a working Mastino Napoletano, because that means something very specific and important in the breed and I can assure you, none of these mutts come close in any capacity!

  12. Well, I'm sure the Abcalert people would appreciate you calling their dogs mutts and fakes.

    And I'm sure that if you have to be a walking example of qualzucht to be a "pure Neo" then I'm not so sure that that this is a good thing.

    You have no proof that this dog is the original type-- except speculation on old artwork.

    You have no genetic evidence to prove that this is ancient breed at all. None. 0. A bread sandwich.

    The original Neapolitan mastiff, as far as any credible historiography would suggest, is the estate guardian dog of southern Italy. And we have lots of evidence of what they looked like. Panthers, not Indian rhinos.

    I have seen Neapolitan mastiff propaganda that shows Assyrian mastiff type dogs and claims some relationship with those animals. You need more than that, I'm afraid. We have genetic evidence about which breeds are that old, and Neos aren't one of them. In fact, no European breed is. Europe has always had different groups of people coming in all directions-- bringing with them different types of dog.

    You dog fancy people do not realize it, but you are egging on the animal rights extremists. Every single time you defend extreme conformation, every time you celebrate qualzucht as beauty, and every time you accuse critics of being in league with the ARniks, the more power the animal rights lobby has within the public debate.

    As a political strategy, it is worse than useless. It is counterproductive.

    And every one of these comments attacking Jemima Harrison and PDE winds up drawing more people to this blog. People like seeing a good spat.

    This is a very good example of the Streisand Effect.

  13. Working Neapolitan21 March 2011 at 16:10

    A real working neapolitan.

  14. @Anonymous,

    The traits that make a dog suitable for work are usually the same traits that make them suitable for sport. My only point in my last post was to distinguish between dogs that work for a living and dogs that work for sport for their owners. I breed my dogs for traits that would allow them to be "working dogs" but they all go to sporting homes.

    I have hunting dogs, but I wouldn't call them "working dogs" because they do not hunt for my, or their, subsistence. We hunt purely for sport (i.e. for fun), so in my view they are sporting dogs.

    My former racing Greyhounds were actually working dogs; they worked to make money for their owners and trainers which then went to pay for their own food/shelter. Once they came off the professional racing track and started running amateur racing with me they became sporting dogs.

    None of my dogs work for me; they are my pets first and foremost. We enjoy a lot of sporting activities together, but we don't do those activities to make a living.

  15. Retrieverman. My views on the Abcalert dogs are well documented. They have absolutely no valid claim to promote their dogs as working Neapolitan Mastiffs. No, they didnt much like it when I queried the bloodline and type of their dogs and how that made them 'working', but Maria couldnt win the argument as she didnt know anything about the real Mastino Napoletano, Zaccaro/Rustic style and his specific head and body, never in fact having been to Italy or importing a single dog! Finally she admitted they called them 'working Neos' because they happened to be lightweight dogs to run around their place!

    As someone who has studied this breed historically and who's mentors have also been historians, I can state as an absolute FACT the dog Rush represents a true working Mastiff from the South of Italy. This is different from the romanticised stories of Mastini fighting in the arenas of Rome.

    The traditional rustic Neapolitan Mastiff is very real. I have seen with my own eyes, both living breathing examples and in masses of photographs and paintings, statues and such like in their homeland over the generations.

    So, without any doubt, Im talking about a completely different TYPE dog to these mutts in Australia and USA. Just because they can work doesnt make them true to breed type and without type, they are just a mutt.

    The rest of your post makes me wonder if you are reading me. I have not once defended the breeding of extreme dogs. But where I see gross inaccuracies and sometimes downright lies posted, I am compelled to correct them.

    The last thing this breed needs in UK are dogs like Mog and co being held up as the pinnacle of working type dogs according to our breed. We have enough mutts in rescue homes already.

    If someone wants to embark on a serious well thought out programme of breeding rustic dogs in UK, use to expand the genepool and improve the breed overall than Id be in the front row cheering them on. But Mog and co ARE NOT IT and its completely ignorant to say they are.

  16. FWIW, The UKC's illustrated version of a proper Neo seems quite reasonable. The dog has a unique type without being overdone:

  17. I would like to see the photos of Rush on the Neapolitan World website. However all links to this site are coming up blank, with a "Critical error, this searchstring is empty" message. Would anyone be able to provide direct links to the jpegs by right-clicking on the images themselves and posting their specific URLs? Thank you.


    Considering the attitude of some the poobahs and weroances of the Neapoltian mastiff in the UK on this blog, I agree with Jemima that it make take deregistering this breed for to get you people to come to realize just how silly this all is.

    You've asserted facts, but have provided no evidence. I don't care if rhino dogs existed 2,000 years ago. They had a slave-based economy and crucified people.

    This is a fantasy.

    Dog people would rather believe fantasy than actually solve problem. They would rather turn up the fire and bring the animal rights loons on. They would rather let the real animal rights loons take over this debate. And when they do, all dogs and the greater dog culture will suffer.

    But don't say you weren't warned. Continue on this path, and it's coming.

  19. Although, of course, this is all part of the greater plan to stop that scenario...



    I hope you can read the above. Rhino dogs? Fantasy???

    I am sending Ms Harrison pix of Rush and Munacella and hope she can see her way to post them here for all to see.

  21. Well, I don't know about the rest of you but I found Kim Slater's rant about "mutts" to be quite terrifying. We already have enough "mutts" in rescue, so only dogs of sufficient "purity" are worthy of being bred? I thought Victorian era eugenics theory had fallen out of favor...!!!

  22. OH Dear Jemima you are just getting yourself in more and more hot water and making your self look even more stupid than already possible

    I have a question for you have you yet taken up the offer to visit "true correct to type functional " Neapolitan Mastiffs by the numerous offers made to you here ? If not you are a half cocked ignoramus.

    Fancy putting up pics of half bred mutts and trying to pass them off as Neapolitan Mastiffs lols

  23. Ive been called many things, but terrifying??? I mean mutts like Mog in rescue Anonymous, Neapolitan Mastiff cross breeds. Not mutts in general. I do enough fund raising with the Dogs Trust to love all kinds of dogs, but you cannot call a mixed breed mutt a working Neapolitan Mastiff, well, you can, if you are not educated properly!

  24. Jemima you still have not answered the questions about the serious problems in YOUR so called breed the Flat Coated Retriever ?? Why is this ??

    How about cleaning up your own backyard before pointing the finger at a breed you know NOTHING about, putting up pics of sick looking cross bred band dogs and calling them Neapolitan Mastiffs, you really are showing just how much you DON,t know about the breed.

    As for the other fools here knocking Neapolitan Mastiff,s with out knowing absolutely anything about them, do you really think people are listening to your garbage self claimed expertise .

  25. Flatcoats suffer from a hideously-high rate of cancer. Only the Bernese is worse. I have written about it many times, including here, and will return to it again I'm sure.

    Of course, when I do, and the flatcoat breeders say in defence, as they likely will and often do, that breeds like the Neopolitan Mastiff are in a far worse state, I'll be sure to tell them that I consider that as much of a non-argument as yours.


  26. Im sorry, Éadaoin, that link to Rush is not working, I will try again.

    Retrieverman, the link you provided to Guaglione says to you what? This dog looks like Mog and Co? I am afraid he does not. He looks like a slimmer version of Rush, head type bearing the same important characteristics. He was after all, along with Pacchiana, one of the foundation dogs used by Scanziani in his resurrection of the breed and there are better pictures showing the head and body dimensions than the one in your link.

    I have no idea why you think I am living in a fantasy. I am putting aside for a moment comparisons with the BOB at Crufts 2011. I am attempting to show you a correct working Neapolitan Mastiff, genetically and physically. Which is not the same as these bandog style mutts.

  27. I think you're living in fantasy because you think that the majority of the working mastiffs that were in Southern Italy looked like rhinos-- you cherry-picked a dog from the past-- and because you refuse to deal with the very realities that these dogs are in great discomfort because of their skin. And I just read that many of these dogs die from euthanasia because of arthritis-- under the age of 8.

    That's unacceptable.

    There have been no scientific studies to show that the conformation causes this problem, but it doesn't take too much to figure that one out.

    But if you're living in the fantasy world, it doesn't matter.

    I think correct for a Neo mastiff is the result of qualzucht.

    Any rational person can see this.

    But not Neo mastiff breeders.

    Corract is nonsense.

    Correct is fantasy.

  28. The AKC golden retriever standard may be misinterpreted and sometimes ignored.

    But I can tell you that the people who wrote it spent years studying working retriever conformation and gaits. They tried to use the best science available to create a functional conformation standard-- one that is sort of Darwinian in a sense. Granted, the show ring and fads have distorted this dog a lot, but the AKC standard was written with the best science available and with practical considerations. I can show you every practical consideration in that standard and where it makes sense in the real world. (The KC/FCI golden retriever standard is not nearly as good.)

    Can you tell me when the Neo mastiff people did this?

    My guess is they didn't.

    And if they did, they probably made up nonsense about the wrinkles channeling blood away from the nose.

    I'm not opposed to thinking about conformation in dogs. I think it needs to be more science based and less based upon fantastical notions or what is really showy in the ring this year.

    That's the problem with conformation breeding as it exists right now. Even the best standards, like the one for AKC golden retriever, that try to create a functional standard of excellence get perverted by all the razzle-dazzle.

    Why is that all the other working mastiff breeds have pantherine conformation? If you look at the old photos of Gamekeeper's Night Dog (bullmastiff), they look more or less like that. If you look at Presa Canarios, same body type. If you look at the old depictions of the English mastiff (Lyme Hall type) and the Spanish war mastiff, you get the same thing. The Lyme Hall mastiff became a show dog early on, and it very quickly changed. They originally looked more like the Gamekeeper's Night Dog.

    Why is it only this breed that looks like an Indian rhino?

    Does that conformation somehow impart some advantage?

    I don't see it.

    Of course, golden retrievers have feathering, and it's not all that useful for their original purpose. But I have never heard of feathering causing the dog major health problems either.

  29. I do not hand pick a dog from Southern Italy to suit my purpose here and Rush was a Champion dog from 1997, not 1947!

    He is just a good representative of a TYPE from that part of the world who was outwardly different (but genetically the same) than say Neapolitan Mastiffs in the North of Italy and important because this type is a WORKING MASTINO. And I KNOW, not think, Rush is both historically and a modern day example of that. NOT MOG and friends, which are bandogs.

    I am not going to talk about your beliefs on arthritis and so on as its very irrelevant to what I am trying to achieve here.

    Which is to attempt to educate both you and Ms Harrison as to what type of dog a rustic working Mastino actually is. He is not a 'rhino' and he is not a mutt!!!!!

    another of young female also of '90s with same head and expression
    7 yrs old rustic female, 'true type Zaccaro' 2007

    Let me know if I need to post more links or you really understand me now?

  30. Kim, I had a look at the historical pictures on Neapolitan World and I cannot find a single older one which looks anything like the dogs we saw in the ring at Crufts. The historical pix are all of much less exaggerated dogs - ones that look much more like Mog (cropped ears aside)in fact, with much less wrinkling on the head. The baggy skin on the legs also appears to be a very recent development.

  31. In my breed, it is very commonly claimed by breed fanciers (especially in Europe) that the pale cream dogs were the original colors.

    Any cursory examination of the early dogs finds this simply to be false and a total flight of fancy.

    I highly suspect that the same is true for Neapolitan mastiffs and many other breeds.

    I did have a photo of a Neo named Sergio from 1958, and he looked like a black panther or jaguar. I cannot find right now on my hard drive. I must have deleted it.

  32. Cherry picking.

    For every one of those dogs you put up, I can find at least two others that are "Moggish."

  33. Interesting about the recent development of sagging folds of skin drooping down the legs of the Neapolitan mastiff. Kim, if loose leg skin was not present on the original dogs, then it must have been added by breeders because it serves some useful purpose?

  34. Yes, Retrieverman, I can probably find 1000 Mogs to one of these rustic treasures, because more deluded people breed mutts and call them 'working mastini' than take the time, make the effort and spend the money to find out what that really means and then strive for generations to produce these unique dogs instead.

    You need to make a trip to Italy and really learn more than scour the internet for silly pix to support your stance.

    I dont have a clue with regard to original retriever, so cannot comment, but never cease to be amazed at how many can have firm beliefs and opinion in Mastino without the same level of study and knowledge as someone like me......maybe I just wasted almost 20 years of my life and thousands of pounds travelling and meeting people who really know and were around in 1958 and earlier to share with me their past and dogs and you and Ms Harrison have vastly superior knowledge sitting in front of PC, LOL

  35. Anonymous Loose skin on the legs is not a desirable feature for me and detracts from the aura of a true Mastino. But thats a personal opinion.

  36. Just reading the original blog and after seeing this post it helps to explain why they are against Mog and similar type Neapolitans.

    Anonymous said...

    WOW these are some sick looking dogs. People actually breed these? Looking at these dogs it reminds me of that movie The Fly when the golden retriever gets put through the machine.

    How can these people justify owning let alone breeding with these dogs.

    Its easy to see the demodex, HD, Spinal problems and host of other issues.
    I wonder how these poor dogs actually can even get up to stand let alone walk or go potty.
    21 March 2011 16:00

  37. Mog is not a Neapolitan Mastiff. He is a cross breed and I am not against him.
    Hes probably a very nice dog loved by owner and perfectly suited to the role his owner needs him to carry out, but he is not what he is being portrayed as on the thread.
    Please try to understand the difference between him and the linked pix I have posted, regardless of what you think of the show specimen in the original blog.

  38. I don't think Kim is defending the extreme examples of Neopolitan Mastiffs like the ones at Crufts. In fact, she just said that loose skin on the legs, which is an extreme feature, is not desirable. All she's saying is that the examples of "working" neos, like Mog, are not proper in type.

    Personally, I believe that even the examples of working Mastini that Kim references are too exaggerated and differ greatly from dogs pictured in historical photos. Mog and company may be mixed breeds, but they do bear a much stronger resemblance to the dogs in historical photographs than the ones referenced by Kim, and they appear to be fitter for whatever work they were intended to do.

  39. Ms Harrison, are you comparing a legend of the past Sahib Di Ponzano with MOG????? lol

    Sahib was bred by the late Mario Querci, the man responsible for transforming dogs from the rustic working variety to those for the showring. He still holds to this day, the record for more show Champions than any other in history. Sahib was one of his earlier dogs and the Ponzano line evolved greatly in the decades following, the pinnacle was the dog I posted on the other thread, World Champion Caligola in the mid 1990's.

    A lot of the older breeders of Naples (Querci was from Prato in Tuscany) really did not agree with how he changed things. But its interesting you selected this picture to support your stance, as really Sahib represents a different type and character to the rustic dogs of the time.

    However, if we were to make selection backwards from the traits you dislike with true dogs of the Ponzano bloodline, the dogs may look like Sahib, but will never look like Mog, because he is a mixed breed and will never look like Rush because he is a different type of Mastino.

    I hope thats cleared things up for you a little.


    You are quite right, I have not defended extremism here and yes, its a question of type.
    Thanks for that!

  40. So, stouthearteddogs and Kim Slater: are you of the opinion that the winning dogs at Crufts do not represent the current breed ideal? Is this not the type that the breeders are working towards?

    If not, then why are these dogs the champions? Do you think the judges are mistaken? Are the dogs at Crufts somehow not representative if the true beed type?

    Kim Slater, could you post a picture of your ideal Neopolitan Mastiff, if it's not the Best of Breed at Crufts? What sort of dog is the breed club working towards? Where do you see the breed in 50 years from now?

    All this derogative talk about mutts makes me think about the Mastino gene pool. So I take it a future outcross is out of the question for Mastinos? Where do the healthier genes and fenotypes come from?

  41. @Paivi
    My opinion is that the current type found in the show ring is exaggerated, extreme and disgusting. I don't believe there is any good reason to breed dogs like that from an aesthetic or welfare stand point.

  42. @Kim - thank you for the new links, they worked fine this time.

  43. The thing that you all are forgetting is that the breed was almost wiped out during WW2 and the fact that there was 7 specimens found and used in the breed reconstruction. By the 70's breeding had reached the stage of heavy linebred dogs mated to their daughters. At this point outside breeds were used to dilute the blood. Great Dane, DDB, St Bernard, Spanish Mastiff, English Mastiff and Fila Brasiliero to name the ones I recall.
    Some of these breeds did not blend in well were others did but added in some of their own traits. While today's dog is looked upon by some as bad and others as good there is no point to live in the time before the other breeds were added unless you are saying to make a whole new reconstruction.
    It is easy to find mastini of the 80's and they do not look that far away from the dog of today. Obviously today we do have some extreme examples and while people like this type somebody will breed to supply it but just remember that there are still many good examples left in the world. Though perhaps not in UK but the KC can soon help to correct this by being stricter about what wins at shows and what the judges are being educated about the breed.

  44. Stoutheartedhounds I know of 5 dogs of Marie's that have either been returned to her or PTS due to ill health and I have a close friend who has the invoices to prove it.
    I honestly cant believe you would think this is the true look for a Neapolitan Mastiff without considering that any breed without health testing can throw mutts. I have heard her bandogs are allowed to run with her Neos so what you get is anyone's guess. I have no dislike for Marie but Im tired of people stating her dogs are NM and when I have my dogs in public they only admire and say they didnt realise the difference until they see them in the flesh. We need to educate people not show wrong comparisons.
    Encourage testing and we are on the right road.
    Breeding poor examples of any breed doesnt make you a good breeder it just makes you a person with a narrow mind with blinkers on.
    Some people just need to stick to one breed and keep learning not act like they know all and know F@!K all

  45. Thank you so much, Mastinolover and Lynn for your accurate inputs to the thread. Of course, Lynn, if you are breeding with predisposed untested dogs in any combination, they will have the likelihood to develop the same weaknesses if they have much skin or little skin and if you introduce untested dogs of other breeds they can also inherit the genetic problems of THOSE breeds in addition.

    Herein lies the problem of the uneducated trying to make a 'quick fix' without understanding the complexities involved to ensure breeding more healthy dogs follows a steady path, guided by medical evidence not guesswork based purely on the external.

    When I interviewed Mastino vet Loris Pazzaglia in Italy in 2007, he lay the blame for the increase of certain health issues firmly at the door of commercial breeders in his homeland and their practice of inbreeding. He warned that greater diversity in the genepool was necessary and that screenings have to become commonplace to weed out the lines most responsible.

    Of course, Mastinolover, you are spot on. It comes down to supply and demand of a specific overtype monster dog. Yes, there are many good dogs still in the world, even here in UK and yes again, what we need now is consistency in judging practices for those dogs who go to show.


    My ideal Mastino can be different, because I do not place all emphasis on one element of appearance. Temperament is as important. My own dogs are not all the same, either in looks or personality and I love them all for different reasons, so really hard to say who is an ideal.

    Most judges will tell you Caligola Di Ponzano was the greatest show dog to ever live in Mastino and I would concur.

    But if you can go to Youtube and search on 'Poli Mastino Napoletano' you will find a rare treasure. Is a dog for me who encapsulates what Mastino is all about.

    In 50 years I think I will have joined 2 and 4 legged friends on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge, lol, but hope I can look across and still see my beloved Mastini happy healthy and long living here on Earth. Whilst I am still here, I will continue to work hard to achieve this.

  46. Hello friends, please check this video of my dogs, and tell me if they can run 100 yards or not. Don't mix up over-done Neos with healthy show Mastinos. I don't agree that some judges pick the over-done Mastino to win at the show, but it's the name of the game, it can happen anywhere. And I don't agree that people breed over-done Mastinos too. But if you want a lighter Mastino to look like a Lab, why don't you go to the other smaller breeds?

  47. And one more thing, you guys compare Mastino today with the past, why don't compare with these dogs, they sound more "the past" to me.

  48. I have neapolitan Mastiffs for 14 years. I have only had good comments about my dogs when we are out walking.Never has anybody said anything nasty about them always wanting to touch them and say hi and my dogs are always happy to be stroked and talked to. So please take the time to get to know the breed before you start makeing you'r judgement.

  49. I've only had two Neapolitan Mastiffs so can only comment on my limited experiences. Both my dogs have been the "non-typey" dogs. Tighter skin, longer legs and they appear to be much helthier.
    My first dog died at almost 11 years old, from cancer unfortunately. But up until his last month he was aways active, running and swimming on acerage.
    My current dog looks to be just as athletic, active and healthy.
    The vet that i use is always commenting on much healthier my Neos are compared to the other more typey dogs.
    I feel that if fashion is the cause of unhealthy dogs, something is wrong.
    By the way, both my dogs are from Abcalert.

    1. I agree.... I do not know this Abcalert everyone is all discussing but having had several Neo's and major health issues with the more typey dogs, I consciously brought more athletic less wrinklier pups this time round because one of the last two I had was this type and not only lived the longest, also he was relatively healthy until he to got cancer. I think everyones focus should be on correcting the health problems to better the breed so future generations can continue to enjoy them and not who has the best show dog as some of the commentors are suggesting... surely the soundest quality and best dog should also be the healthiest.... or am I mistaken????

  50. I love neos. THEY are by far the best dogs ever and I have had 8 neos all registered dogs from registered breeders.... The dogs I have had over the years have ranged from excessively wrinkly and droopy to more athletic and less wrinkly... All breeders claiming to have champion bloodlines (but what is that really a dog can have champion bloodlines because even a poorly bred dog can be pulled out at every show and finally earn its title if there are not many of the breed around).... All I ask for is a dog that is healthy and sound... I have owned a neo from champion lineage that developed cardiomyopathy by 18mo.... Another (excessively to the extreme - looks like the dog from cruffs) which had horriffic issues with skin disorders and ear infections.... one with cherry eye and two who despite having xrayed parents had hip dysplasia and horriffic issues with arthritis... Disappointing when these guys have brilliant temperments which cannot be faulted.. my last neo before i got the two I have now was brilliant, less wrinkly and had far less health issues. Sadly I had to have him PTS at 8 & 1/2 because of a tumor. The two I have now are still only young yet but they too are less wrinkly... are you saying that they are shit dogs cause they are considered pet quality???... see i have been told mine are bandogs too funny that cause they have registration papers and the bloodlines of reputable breeders... I have personally witnessed a 40something year old woman be brutally cruel to a 14year old kid who was wanting to place their dog up for challenge... It shouldnt be like that in the dogworld.... I just think there is too much bickering and not enough people working together to make things right with the breed... sorry if I offend but sometimes in the dog world the bigger bitches are proven to have two legs not four cause the dogs are sweet but a lot of the owners monsters....

  51. And a neo mastiff is a working dog!!!! If most of u that are talking down about the breed done ur research u would know that.

    1. Working at WHAT? They are an invented breed with an invented history, and NO ONE serious about working dogs even thinks about using a neo, especially not the hippo show type neo.