The Neapolitan Mastiff is a serious, powerful dog. The body of this massive, rather rectangular looking dog has abundant, hanging wrinkles and folds on the head and a very large dewlap. The wide, flat head is large in comparison to the rest of the body. The muzzle is 1/3 the length of the head and is as broad as it is long with a well-defined stop. The large nose has well-open nostrils and a color that coordinates with the coat. The teeth meet in a scissors, pincer or slight undershot bite. The deep-set eyes are almost covered by the dropping upper lids and come in amber to brown, depending on the coat color. Puppies begin life with blue eyes, which later darken. The ears may be cropped or left natural. Many owners opt out of docking and cropping, preferring the natural look, as it is painful for the dog. The tail is carried straight up and curves over the back. In dogs that are shown in the AKC front dewclaws are not removed. The round feet are large with well-arched toes. The straight, dense, short coat comes in gray, blue, black, chocolate, mahogany and tawny, sometimes with brindle and white markings. A little white is permitted on the chest and toes. No white should be on the face. Chocolate dogs are rare.


The Neapolitan Mastiff is not a breed for everyone. This breed looks a bit intimidating, but is actually affectionate, calm, peaceful and loving. They enjoy family and friends. This breed is a heavy drooler, particularly in hot weather or after getting a drink. Males may drool more than females. They are very keen to their owners’ commands. Intelligent, very protective, courageous, serious and mild-mannered. Generally quiet, they tend to only bark when necessary. They can be reserved with strangers; socialize them well with people, places, sounds and animals. These dogs are usually very loving with children, provided the children know how to display leadership skills. A Neo can get along well with non-canine pets if raised with them from puppyhood and/or properly socialized. Obedience training is very important. Teach them to heel on a lead and to go in and out door and gateways after the humans. This breed needs a dominant owner who understands and is capable of controlling them properly. They will be easiest if this is established when the dog is still a puppy, but it is still possible to communicate with an adult Neo that the human is in charge. Children should be taught how to be pack leaders. Socialize this breed while they are young. This is a natural guard dog and protection training is not necessary. You cannot breed out the guard in the dog, no matter how submissive they become. If they sense there is a threat to the home they will react unless the owner is there and tells them everything is OK. Be sure you are consistent in approach and do not keep repeating commands the dog has failed to obey. If they are not listening, try a different approach, making sure you are in a confident state of mind. Neos will not listen to meek owners. These are not dogs for beginners, but it is an exaggeration to describe them as difficult in their association with others. A calm handler with natural leadership will achieve the best results. With comprehensive training and an experienced, dominant owner, the Neapolitan Mastiff can be a wonderful family pet. This breed has a high pain tolerance. Neos that do not have a firm, confident, consistent owner who provides them with daily pack walks to release mental and physical exercise will become willfulover-protective and dog aggressive. When correcting this dog, the owner's correction must match the dog's level of intensity, and the timing of the correction must be precise.

Height, Weight

Height: Males 26 - 30 inches (65 - 75 cm) Females 24 - 28 inches (60 - 70 cm)
Weight: Up to 165 pounds (74 kg)
The largest male Neapolitans may be nearly 200 pounds (90 kg)

Health Problems

Prone to cherry eye, hip dysplasia, bloat, pano-ostiosis (joint pain from growth can occur at 4-18 months and usually goes away on its own). Pups are usually born via caesarian section.

Living Conditions

The Neo will do okay in an apartment if it is sufficiently exercised. It is relatively inactive indoors and a small yard will do. Take extra caution in warm weather to provide shade, water and a cool place to lie.


Adult Neapolitan Mastiffs need a great deal of exercise. They should be taken on daily, long walks at least twice a day. While out on the walk the dog must be made to heel beside or behind the person holding the lead, as in a dog's mind the leader leads the way, and that leader needs to be the human. Teach your dog to enter and exit all door and gateways after the human.

Life Expectancy

Short, up to 10 years

Litter Size

About 6 to 12 puppies


These giant, shorthaired dogs are easy to groom. Remove loose, dead hair with a rubber brush. This breed is an average shedder.


All European mastiffs are descended from the Tibetan Mastiff, the most ancient member of the canine species. The first Asian mastiffs were probably brought to Greece from India by Alexander the Great around 300 BC. The Greeks introduced the dogs to the Romans, who adopted them enthusiastically and used them in circus combats. The word "mastiff" derives from the Latin word “masssivus,” meaning massive. English experts, however, have another theory. They contend that the mastiff was brought to Britain by the Phoenicians in about 500 BC and spread from there to the rest of Europe. In any case, the Neapolitan Mastiff is a direct descendant of the Roman Molossus. While the breed became extinct throughout the rest of Europe, it continued to survive in Campania, despite the perils of weather and war. One can therefore say that the Neapolitan Mastiff has existed in Campania for two thousand years, even though it was not officially recognized until 1946, and its standard was not set until 1949. The Neapolitan Mastiff was bred for use in war and in bloody Roman arena spectacles. Today this powerful breed has a well-deserved reputation as a formidable guard dog. Neos have been used by the Italian police and army and by that country's farmers, business establishment and estate owners to protect people and property. Though the Neapolitan Mastiff was first shown in Italy in 1946, the breed is still quite rare in the United States. The Neapolitan Mastiff was recognized by the AKC in 2004.


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The Boerboel is a big, strong and intelligent working dog. It is well balanced with good muscle development  and buoyant in movement. The dog should be impressive and imposing. Male dogs appear noticeably masculine and females feminine. All parts of the body should be in proportion with each other. The head is the most important feature of the Boerboel, as it represents its total character. It is short, broad, deep, square and muscular with well filled cheeks, the part between the eyes must be well filled. The top of the head is flat, with prominent muscle development. The face should blend symmetrically with the head, and can be with or without a black mask. The stop should be visible but not prominent. The muzzle is black, with large widely spread nostrils.The nasal bone is straight and parallel to the top-line of the head which is deep, broad and tapers slightly to the front. The nasal bone should be 8-10 cms long. The loose ,fleshy upper lip should cover the lower lip, but should not hang lower than the lower jawline. The Jaws (mandibles)  are strong,deep and broad, and narrow slightly to the front. The teeth should be white, well developed, correctly spaced, with a full set of 42 teeth and a scissors bite. The broad, horizontally set eyes are any shade of brown, but darker than the pelt, with firm well pigmented eyelids.  The ears should be of medium size, v-shaped and be in proportion to the head. They are set fairly high and wide against the head.When the dog is alert, the ears should form a straight line with the head. The neck shows a noticeable muscle curve, and is attached high at the shoulders.  The strong, muscular neck is of medium length, and in proportion to the rest of the body. The skin of the neck is loose under the throat and becomes taut between the front legs. The body narrows slightly towards the loins. The top-line should be straight. The back is straight, broad and in proportion, with prominent back muscles, and a short loin.  The rump is broad and strong, with good muscle development. The chest is muscular, broad and strong. The straight, short tail is attached high to the body. The front legs should be perfectly vertical. The hind paws are slightly smaller than the front paws. The big well-padded paws are rounded with dark curved toe nails. The paws should face forward. The skin is thick, loose and well- pigmented with moderate wrinkles to the forehead when the dog is alert. The short, dense sleek coat comes in creamy white, pale tawny, reddish brown, brown and all shades of brindle. 

The Boerboel is reliable, obedient and intelligent, with strong watch and guard-dog instincts. It is self-assured and fearless. The Boerboel is very playful and loving towards its owner, he loves to play fetch !! They are very good and gentle with children they know, allowing them to ride on their backs (not recommended), loving every minute of the attention they are getting. Boerboels will do OK with other dogs ,cats and other non-canine pets .They will guard their family, friends and property with their life. When their owners are not at home they will not allow anyone to enter the home,unless they know them very well. When welcomed visitors arrive they will accept them after being properly introduced.  They require a dominant owner and with the right owner they make amazing pets !!

The development of the Boerboel can rightfully be described as a true South African success story and is today a beacon for those who have made a contribution to improve the breed. The refining of the breed is still on the developing stage. Much has already been written on the descent of the Boerboel but nobody can state with certainty that it is bred from one, two or more breeds of dogs. What is confirmed by investigation is that Jan van Riebeeck brought with him a "bullenbijter" on his arrival to the Cape. This dog was a large strong breed which reminded one of the Mastiff type of dog. Those who followed Van Riebeeck to the Cape had also brought with them only the largest and strongest dogs and over a period of decades only the strongest survived in the now desolate country. With the arrival of the British Settlers in 1820 they brought amongst others the Bulldog and Mastiff type of dog. (In 1938 the real Bull Mastiff was imported to South Africa by De Beers to guard the diamond mines.) It is also known that they imported a champion obtained from the Hottentots, who played a role in the development of the Boerboel. The "Boerdogs" (as they are known) were scattered by the Voortrekkers during the Great Trek and they continued to breed with them. According to tradition, after the Anglo Boer War in 1902, these dogs were cross-bred with the English long-legged Bulldog and also with the Bull Mastiff in the late and early 1950s. The history is especially known among the farmers of the North-Eastern Free State, Northern Natal and in parts of Transvaal.

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THE ENGLISH BULL MASTIFF................................

Though usually mild-mannered a bull mastiff can also be serious and self-assured, afraid of nothing and does not like to back down.

A puppy (up to 3 years) are full of energy and very bouncy, loving to jump up for a fuss, fortunately adults are calm and quiet and only need moderate exercise to maintain there wonderful muscle tone.

The breed is fiercely loyal to its family and does not like being left outside. If not receiving enough company or personal attention they have been known to go through fences to get to humans.

Although they are a sensible breed when it comes to strangers, the bull mastiff does have strong territorial and protective instincts. Socialisation classes are a must at an early age for this breed so it can distinguish between friend or foe. They can be aggressive towards other dogs of the same sex and they could be ok with the family cat,but other strange animals on their property may not be tolerated.

Tremendously strong and stubborn, Bullmastiffs are inclined to do things their own way and will test members of the family. However, he will respond to early, consistent obedience training that includes leadership, cheerful praise, and food rewards.Overall, he's a splendid, capable companion for assertive owners, but without ongoing time and effort, socialization and supervision, he is too much to handle.



The Dogue De Bordeaux, also called The French Mastiff, and sometimes called the Bordeaux bulldog, is a relatively short, stocky mastiff. The wrinkled head is massive, heavy and broad, males can have a head circumference of 27-30 inches. The muzzle is somewhat short usually 1/3 of the total length of the head, wide powerful and thick, with a pronounced stop.The nose is large, with wide-open nostrils, the colour depends on the mask of the dog. The teeth meet in an under-bite. The upper lips hang thickly down over the lower jaw. The skin hangs loose around the neck, forming a noticeable dewlap. The eyes are usually a hazel to dark brown in colour, depending on the colour of the dog and are set wide apart. The ears are small, hanging down in proportion to the dog and are usually darker in colour. Te tail is thick at the base tapering to a point. The chest deep and broad, reaching lower than the elbows. The legs are muscular. The coat is short and soft with loose fitting skin. Coat colours include various shades of fawn to mahogany with a darker red or black mask around and under the nose, including the lips and eye rims. There are sometimes white markings on the chest and tips of the toes.

The Bordeaux has a good and calm temperament. It is extremely loyal, patient and devoted to his family. Fearless and confrontational towards strangers, he makes a first class watch & guard dog. Socialise him well with other animals starting as young as possible as to prevent aggression. The Dogue De Bordeaux snores and drools A LOT. Despite his fearsome appearance the DDB is gentle with children and family members. However this is a powerful animal and is not suitable for an inexperienced owner. 

Most DDB's are healthy, but the breed can be prone to hip dysplasia also epilepsy, heart problems and hyperkeratosis. Dams often need to have caesareans. 

The breed will do ok in an apartment as long as exercised sufficiently, they are inactive indoors. 

They need to be exercised daily with at least one long walk, dogs that lack mental  and or physical stimulation can often develop behavioural issues.

Life expectancy is normal 8-12 years.

 There are numerous theories about the origin of the Dogue de Bordeaux. It may be descended from the BulldogTibetan Mastiff and from the Greek and Roman Molossus, from mastiffs brought to Europe by the Alans, from the dogs of Aquitaine or from Spanish dogs from Burgos. At the end of the Middle Ages, the Dogue was used as a cattle driver and personal bodyguard. Lots of Dogues died during the French Revolution. After the war number rose again. Raymond Triquet and his French Dogue de Bordeaux Club saved the breed. The Dogue de Bordeaux is now thoroughly established in France and gaining popularity in other countries. The breed has served as a war dog, flock guardian, cattle herder, guard dog, trained to bait bulls, bears, and jaguars, and as a hunter of boars. The breed was recognised by the AKC in 2008.


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The Fila has bloodhound ancestry, and is apparent in its long muzzle, pendulous skin, and superb tracking ability. It's heavy muzzle with pendulous upper lips giving it a mastiff appearance. It's neck is very thick with dewlap. The skin is of the most important breed characteristics, it is thick and loose over most of it's body, chiefly at the neck, forming pronounced dewlaps and in many individuals the folds proceed down to the chest and abdomen. Some dogs show a fold at the side of the head and also at the withers descending to the shoulders. The coat is short, smooth, soft and dense. This breed may be any colour from solid to brindle, mouse grey, tan and black except white. Typical colours though are fawn, black or brindle.  black mask may or not be present. In all colours any white markings must be limited to toes chest and tip of tail to be show standard. The back is strong and straight rising gently towards the hindquarters. It's gait is long and elastic like that of a cat. His main characteristic is its pace  (camel's gait)moving two legs of one side first followed by the two legs of the other side , which causes a rolling lateral movement on the thorax and hindquarters accentuated when the tail is held high. During the walk he holds his head lower than the back line. This fascinating carriage has earned it much success at shows. Despite his size he is very agile.

The Fila Brasileiro is a courageous, powerful mastiff.It is amenable with it's human family, making a very loyal, loving companion. He is extremely dedicated to his family. He will protect you without a moments hesitation. Once you bond with him you and your family becomes his whole world, you do not need to teach him to protect you, he will do this naturally, it's in the breeds nature. They love children in their own family and they are very patient, extremely loyal and protective of them. They usually bond very well with other pets within the home. Some Filas drool especially after drinking.They are bold and wary with strangers making them a great guard dog. He needs a strong owner, proper socialisation and understanding of the breed instincts. Do NOT allow this breed to take over, he needs a handler with natural authority, be firm, confident and consistent. Passive owners WILL encounter dominance issues. You must make it clear to this dog that you are the leader. 

The Fila is not a breed for an average owner , they need constant socialisation so they are not distrustful of stranger.

This breed is not suited to city life, it needs plenty of exercise to run off energy so would be more suited to country living. It needs secure fencing with height, and room to run around. Even if they appear to be a couch potato they still need daily exercise. 

The Fila is a descendant of the 15th century English Mastiff, Bloodhound, bulldog and rafeiros. From the bloodhound he inherited the loose skin, and great sense of smell. The Mastiff contributed to it's compact body, , courage and ever alert disposition. When the Fila finds its quarry it does not kill but holds it at bay til the hunter arrives. The bulldog its impetuous temperament. Due to it's size and potential for aggression the Fila Brasileiro is a banned dog. The RSPCA is trying to get the dangerous dog act changed so dogs are banned for their behaviour not their breed. 

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