My first dog was Mario, a Neapolitan Mastiff we rescued. Since then, my family has rescued two other Neapolitan Mastiffs one after the other. I named Mario after my favorite video game as a kid and because the breed is Italian. We decided to keep Mario's memory alive through Marcello's name, and similarly through Marceza's name, our family's first female Neo.
As you can see from the photos, Mario and Marceza feature the grey color, whereas Marcello the brown color. Those are the two main colors the breed sports. Also, all three dogs feature fairly full tails and ears. It's a tradition to chop off the tails and ears to conform to the official Italian breed style, but we didn't do this. I find that the ears are one of my favorite parts of the dog. I think the dogs would agree, based on how loudly they snore with pleasure when their ears are massaged.
You can read all about it online, including finding tons of photos and videos (I especially love how cute the puppies are). Though the breed is not that well known or popular, it has quite a devout following of admirers. What I want to focus on in this post is what I personally love about the breed myself.
1. Super smart: They are incredibly smart and can learn almost anything. All of our dogs have been trained, and though they do have strong personalities at times, they will behave and listen to commands. They also pick up on every nonverbal and situational clue around them, such as when you get dressed or are in a bad mood; they will clearly respond intelligently to this, and that fascinates me.
2. Fun: Though they weigh typically 100-200 lbs., they are extremely fun to play with and not aggressive. They can be aggressive against strangers who surround the home without invitation, but for family and friends, they are extremely fun and gentle. They love to chase balls, play tug of war, chew bones, and perform tricks, like giving a high five or standing up and resting their paws on your shoulders.
3. Loyal and protective: They are extremely protective of their family and will be a great deterrent to anyone considering trespassing. From what I've read of their history, they have helped shepherds and farmers protect their livestock and homes for centuries.
4. Ears: As I mentioned before, their ears are amazing. Oh yeah, they also have great sense of hearing (and smell/nose).
5. Flews: I just learned this word, but apparently that's the name for their mouth/snout/muzzle (the flaps of skin hanging over their lower jaw out of which their whiskers grow). The flews are extremely cute and a hallmark of their look, but they are a double-edged sword. This cuteness comes with a clear price. Though the flews can be very cute while flapping in the wind while the dog is running or sticking its head out of the car window, they are like leaky kitchen sinks after the dog takes a drink of water or is sweating/breathing hard. We keep rags all over the house just to wipe the dog's mouth every time it drinks. It's ok: this price is definitely worth the cuteness.
Overall, I really love this breed and hope others can appreciate it too. Though most people's reaction may be one of hesitancy or fear (because of the dog's size or look), a deeper study and any time spent with the breed will immediately convert you to a lover of the Neapolitan Mastiff for life.