Neapolitan Mastiff Temperament
Top 6 Personality Traits Revealed

Adopting a Neapolitan Mastiff is a big commitment. Before bringing a Mastino into your home, you have to be sure you know how to handle a dog of this breed. 

What are Neapolitan Mastiff temperament and personality traits? There are six crucial traits that Neapolitan Mastiffs have that make them a difficult breed to raise:

  • They are stubborn. 
  • They are fearless. 
  • They are dominant. 
  • They are obedient. 
  • They are protective. 
  • They are trainable. 

Neapolitan Mastiffs are enormous dogs that often think they’re in control. Due to their arrogance, this breed of dog requires a parent that understands their personality and needs. That’s why we’ve put together this guide with six personality traits you need to know about Neapolitan Mastiff temperament. Read More Below...

Pro-tip: Ever try lifting a Mastiff? Their weight can hurt not only your back but their joints when they hop down from cars, sofas or even your bed. To protect your back and theirs check out the best Mastiff ramps on Amazon.com now.

Neapolitan Mastiff out exercising


Neapolitan Mastiff Temperament: Stubborn

Neapolitan Mastiffs are giant dogs that can be stubborn when they feel like it. And they’ll feel like it quite a lot. Raising a Neo is equally frustrating and rewarding. Most of the time, their stubbornness will result in adorable antics that will make you laugh and cry. 

Their enormous size means you aren’t going to be able to move them to where you want if they decide not to listen. And their tendency to be lazy slouches means you could spend more time trying to command them to stand up and move than you will to walk them.

It’s not uncommon to see a Neapolitan who refuses to sit or walk on command. They’ll just as soon lay down instead. That’s why they’re not often in dog shows and competitions. However, with the proper bond and training, it could be possible to compete.

Neos is also a sensitive breed. Their feelings can get hurt, and they often respond much like a toddler. You can expect them to get disobedient and refuse to listen when they’re upset. Even worse, your Neo might decide to get destructive. 

Stubbornness in Puppies

As puppies, Mastinos can be rambunctious and clumsy. They can also be stubborn and hardheaded. You must start training your Neo as early as possible, so they don’t become too set in their ways. 

Neapolitan Mastiffs are smart, even as puppies. If they figure out that they can make you give up on making them do something, they’ll take advantage and never obey.

Many pet parents choose to enroll their puppies in obedience classes for expert training. If you’re having trouble with a stubborn Neo who refuses to listen, these classes can be a lifesaver. It is dangerous and not recommended to have an untrained Mastino.

Stubbornness During Adolescence

Around six to seven months old, Neos will enter the adolescence phase, which is when they will be at their most stubborn and difficult. During this time, you can expect frequent disobeying and refusal to follow even simple commands like sit or walk. 

It’s a lot like raising a teenager, except they can’t talk back- with words anyways. But they will give you plenty of attitudes. It’s crucial to use consistent training during this time so you don’t end up with a dog that you can’t control. 

In the adolescence phase, your puppy will also be at his most energetic and playful. Neos are known for being clumsy as much as they are for being stubborn. Go ahead and enjoy your puppy’s silliness when he decides to do his own cute thing instead of what you said. It’s just a phase.

Stubbornness During Adulthood

Most Mastinos age out of the adolescence phase by the age of two, although some can take up to three years. A sure sign that your pet has reached adulthood is that they are more serious and settled.

As adults, your Mastino isn’t traipsing clumsily through the house all day. Instead, they’re more likely to lay around and relax. By now, your Mastino knows how to follow commands and does so on a steady basis.

But, there will still be plenty of times where they want to butt heads. As Mastinos get older, they start to become lazier. It can be a workout just to get your Neo to begin his walk if he’s not in the mood. They are going to do what they want when they feel like it. 

That being said, Neos love to please their pet parents. Once fully grown, most Neos will do as you say, if you do it nicely. And especially with the incentive of yummy treats. Remember that you aren’t going to be able to force a Mastino to do something if he’s not interested. 


Pro-tip: Does your Neapolitan Mastiff have issues with anxiety, destructive chewing, aggressiveness, jumping up, barking or fearfulness?

Brain Training For Dogs is an excellent online training course that
addresses these behavioral issues as well as dog training basics.

Neapolitan Mastiff Temperament: Fearless

Neapolitan Mastiffs are giant dogs that look fierce and terrifying. And Neos aren’t shy about using their intimidating appearance to ward off anything they feel poses a danger to them or their territory, including their family. 

Mastinos have no problem confronting anything that comes their way, whether it’s a burglar or a strange animal. They won’t back down when threatened, which can be dangerous in regards to people. 

When a Neo barks, it’s loud and deep and can be scary. But unlike most other breeds of dogs, Neapolitan Mastiffs aren’t going to bark at the wind blowing. They save their voice for when they see something threatening or concerning.

If your Neo decides to bark, it’s worth your time to see what has caused him to become alarmed. This dog is untrusting of anything that they don’t know, but they usually only bark as a warning of a suspected threat.

Fearless Protectors

Because of their fearless nature, Mastinos are going to protect themselves and their family, regardless of the threat. It does not matter what type of danger they may face. 

They also have a high pain threshold. Even if your Neo gets injured, he won’t stop defending and protecting his family. Chances are, you wouldn’t even notice your pet was hurt because they won’t act differently.

Their high pain tolerance can be a big problem if your Neo ends up in a dog fight or if someone tries to use violence to end a Mastino attack. Your pet won’t stop until he feels there is no longer a threat. 

Learn Even More About
The Neapolitan Mastiff Temperament
In This YouTube Video...


Neapolitan Mastiff Temperament: Dominant

Neapolitan Mastiffs are a dominant breed that does not like to take orders. If you want your Mastiff to do what you say, you have to be firm but calm and friendly. A stern tone can backfire and make your pup ignore you.

Due to their dominant nature, Neapolitan Mastiffs are not for everyone. It requires experience and confidence to raise a well-behaved Neo properly. If you are a first-time pet parent, the many challenges of raising this breed will be too much for you.

Without proper supervision and handling, Neapolitan Mastiffs can become dangerous and aggressive, even to their family members. Something as simple as a slight nip from a full-grown Mastiff can cause serious injury. 

Establish a Bond of Respect Early

The best way to get a Neo to accept your authority is to establish a close bond built out of mutual respect from an early age. When a Mastino feels loved by his parents, he’ll be more open to listening to what you say.

If you don’t show your Neapolitan Mastiff enough love and attention, they will not be as easy to control. Trying to make them obey out of fear can increase their dominant behavior and can lead to confrontation or aggression. Remember, they don’t back down when threatened.

Never yell at or hit a Neo. Their sensitive souls will not respond well to anyone trying to exert dominance through violence. And remember that this breed doesn't get scared. Intimidation won’t work. You have to treat them like you would a child. 

Neapolitan Mastiff Temperament: Obedient

The majority of Neapolitan Mastiffs won’t be obedient enough to win the grand prize in a dog show. But most Mastinos, with the proper training and handling, will follow your commands and obey the rules.

Neos are a very intelligent breed that picks up on what they are taught pretty quickly, especially with the right incentives. And because these are big dogs, there’s nothing they love more than yummy treats. Just be sure not to feed them too many, or they could become obese. 

The key to getting a Neapolitan Mastiff to obey commands is to start training as a puppy. You can begin as early as eight weeks. Trying to train an adult dog can be very difficult. At full size, most Mastinos weigh the same as an average adult, between 120-150 pounds (54.43 to 68.03 kg). 

Obedient at Times

Even the most well trained Neos will have their moments when they don’t want to do what they’re told. Once puppies reach their adolescent period, they become little rebels, frequently ignoring your commands until you’ve repeated yourself numerous times.

Their independent thinking is just something you’ll have to learn to love. Be prepared to spend a lot of time trying to coax and command your pooch to do your bidding. He’ll get around to it when he’s finally ready.

The key to dealing with a Mastiff is that you have to have patience. Your Neo will be a lovable, well-behaved dog most of the time, especially once she’s reached adulthood. But you have to remember not to freak out if your pet doesn’t listen the first or fifth time that you’ve told them to sit. 

Pro-tip: Ever try lifting a Mastiff? Their weight can hurt not only your back but their joints when they hop down from cars, sofas or even your bed. To protect your back and theirs check out the best Mastiff ramps on Amazon.com now.

Neapolitan Mastiff Temperament: Protective

Neapolitan Mastiffs are a working dog breed. And throughout history, they have been used as guard dogs for livestock, homes, and properties. 

Protective instincts run deep in a Neapolitan Mastiff. Once they form a bond with their family members, a Neo feels they must protect them. Even from things that aren’t threatening.

Neos do best indoors to be close to their family, but they also enjoy having time outdoors to patrol their yard and check things out. 

They Aren’t Trusting 

Due to their protective urges, Mastinos are often wary of people they don’t know, especially when strangers approach them or their people. 

When you’ve correctly socialized and trained your Neo, they will be watchful but not aggressive. If you seem okay with the person’s presence, your Mastino will tolerate the visitor. But they aren’t going to be friendly and loveable with them.

Many describe the Neapolitan as standoffish when it comes to his attitude towards those he doesn’t know. A Neo probably won’t growl at a stranger when they get close, but he’s undoubtedly going to be standing alert and ready in case there’s trouble. 

They are Territorial

Because Neos are so protective of their home and families, they can become aggressive in the wrong situations, such as when a guest visits or the neighbor’s dog runs into your yard.

You must start socializing your pet as soon as they finish their immunizations so they can become accustomed to seeing different people at various times of the day. They need desensitization to things like hats, sunglasses, umbrellas, canes, and wheelchairs. 

Your Mastino needs to be able to tell a dangerous situation from a safe one, so they don’t become overprotective over something as innocent as a jogger passing by at the park or a kid riding their bike in front of your house. 

Neos Are Protective Against Other Animals

Most Mastinos are best in a single-pet home because they usually don’t do well with other pets. Neos like a lot of affection and can get jealous when they have to share the attention. 

When it comes to other pets, this breed is especially protective of their home and territory. If not properly socialized to accept other animals, you could face severe problems with your Neo and a strange dog, your other pets, or a friend’s pet who has come for a visit. 

Start taking your pet to a puppy class or a dog park as soon as they’ve finished their immunizations. The earlier your pooch gets introduced to other dogs, the less distrustful he will be. 

However, you should never let your Neo wrestle with other animals, no matter how well they get along. Mastinos can be temperamental and take playing to mean aggression. 

Neapolitan Mastiff Temperament: Trainable

Training a Neapolitan Mastiff takes time, a lot of patience, and a ton of repetition. You can expect your Neo to learn new things pretty quickly, but only if they are in the right mood to participate. 

When training your dog, use short training sessions, so your pup doesn’t get bored. Once they get disinterested in your training, they aren’t going to do what you say, no matter what reward you offer.

Remember that Neapolitan Mastiffs have minds of their own, and they aren’t always going to do what you tell them. If your pet doesn’t want to engage during training time, don’t keep trying to force them. 

Instead, take a break and try again in a few hours. Figure out what rewards and behaviors your pet responds to best. Then, be sure to use those techniques every time you train. 

Be Consistent

Consistency is critical when it comes to training a Neapolitan Mastiff. During your puppy’s training, and probably quite frequently throughout their adult life, you’ll end up repeating yourself more than once to get your pet to do what you say. 

It can be a slippery slope when training your puppy if you wait for them to be in the right mood. If you give in too many times and stop training, your Neo could start to think he’s in control. You never want a Mastino to think they rule the roost. 

Make sure you always use the same commands and hand gestures, so your pet doesn’t get confused. And don’t teach them things as a puppy that you don’t want them to repeat as a full-grown dog.

It may be cute to see your puppy put his paws on your chest to hug you. But it won’t be so cute when your 150-pound grown Mastiff throws his giant paws on your shoulders and puts his massive weight on you. You could even end up injured from their claws. 

Consider Formal Training

A lot of pet parents choose to enroll their Neo puppy into a puppy school, where a trained professional will teach your puppy basic commands, including potty training. 

Other parents prefer a more hands-on approach and sign up for joint-training classes, where an instructor teaches you how to train your puppy through hands-on supervision. 

Final Thoughts...

We’ve told you all about the Neapolitan Mastiff temperament, so you can decide if this would be the type of breed you would want to adopt. Remember that raising a Neapolitan Mastiff is a busy, full-time job, and it isn’t meant for a novice parent. 

Mastinos are stubborn, dominant, and too large when they’re fully grown to be raised by parents who don’t know how to have the proper control and authority. Raising an untrained Neo can be dangerous, for humans and animals alike, including your Mastino. 

Before you decide to adopt a Neapolitan Mastiff, make sure you’re ready and able to provide your pooch with a loving forever home.

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