Are Neapolitan Mastiffs Aggressive? Understanding the Mastiff Behavior

Most Neapolitan Mastiffs are gentle with people and other dogs. If ever hostility shows, it is either he received little to no socialization during puppyhood or that his or his family’s safety is being threatened by a stranger. Ideally, he should not react with belligerence without any reason. 

Photo from: phill_380 (IG)

This massive dog is known for its gentleness and calm temper. It is understandable why some often assume that he’s dangerous due to his size and intimidating appearance, but give this dog a chance and he’ll surprise you with his awesome characteristics as a family companion. Still, hostility remains a possibility. 

Learn more about how he treats people and animals as well as how to ensure your puppy grows up to be well-behaved!

How Do Neapolitan Mastiffs Treat People?

With Strangers

When it comes to strangers, a Neapolitan Mastiff will show wariness. He is naturally untrusting due to his protective and territorial instinct. Remember that he was originally a guard dog, so the safety of his family is always a priority. Unless he was socialized during puppyhood, the possibility of him being pugnacious remains there. 

If you have a visitor coming, be sure that the introduction is done properly. Advice your guest to stay calm and show no movements which the dog might take as a threat. If he was exposed to different faces right from when you brought him home or while he was still under the care of the breeder, there is less concern regarding his interaction with other people.

With Kids

Be ready to witness such a sweet sight whenever your kids and your dog bond. The Neapolitan Mastiff knows how to take care of your kids and won’t do anything that can be deemed unpleasant. He is not rambunctious and tends to be very careful when it comes to dealing with children. Of course, considering the size, he is not ideal for toddlers. No matter how gentle he is, he can knock one over or step on the kid’s hand or leg by accident. 

How Does a Neapolitan Mastiff React Toward Other Dogs?

Same-sex aggression is common to dogs, especially those who are innately dominant. For your Neapolitan Mastiff, it is easy to show authority considering the size he has. That alone can be a great tool to intimidate the other dogs around him.

If you have a Neapolitan Mastiff and you are considering getting a new buddy to keep him company, always consider the sex. Having two male dogs or two female Mastiffs can be a recipe for chaos. It is not entirely impossible, however, to have dogs of the same sex. With thorough training and socialization, conflicts between them are less likely to happen.

Before you bring home a new family addition, your four-legged friend must first prove himself sociable. Bring him often to doggy parks or let him meet and play with your neighbor’s dogs. 

Is It Alright to Introduce Other Pets?

Yes, it is alright to do so. Some dog lovers aren’t just confined to the idea of only having dogs as their pets. You might be one of those who also have a liking toward cats, bunnies, horses, or hamsters. Generally, it is better to have your pets grow up together. In that way, they will be more familiar with each other and the sight of smaller pets won’t spark the prey drive of the Neapolitan Mastiff. 

Bonding your pets altogether should be monitored depending on how big their size difference is. A small hamster might end up getting unintentionally hurt even by just the slightest movement of an innocent Neapolitan Mastiff. 

On another note, if your dog is already a grown-up and you have just decided to take home another pet, always give them time to adjust to one another. Do not right away place them in one area without boundaries or your dog might end up causing a crime scene in your home. 

How to Know if Your Neapolitan Mastiff Is Aggressive

Are you worried to know if your Neapolitan Mastiff is an aggressive dog? There are various ways to tell that he might be or might be not. Be observant of his behavior and determine if he acts reasonably whenever he is unkind. If he’s not cheerful despite no sight of an intruder or trespasser, his unnecessary act of aggression can be concerning.

So how do you know he’s being hostile? Below are the clear signs you should look out for:

  • He is lunging at you back and forth.
  • He exhibits an offensive posture. 
  • Shows menacing and direct eye contact. 
  • Exposing his teeth toward others.
  • He is on high alert.

Things You Can Do to Avoid Neapolitan Mastiff Aggression

Aggression in dogs, particularly the Neapolitan Mastiff is an inherent trait that can be awakened when the situation calls for it or if the dog grows up to think that such behavior is acceptable. Even if this is genetic to some breeds, a good socialization and training program can fix or manage this. Of course, there is no surefire method to eliminate this, but there are some primary steps you can take so your Neo won’t develop this behavioral problem:

Treat Him With Kindness

Abuse can dramatically change the overall temperament of a dog. Treat your Neapolitan Mastiff with love and respect. If ever you have to discipline him, do not resort to physical punishments. Learn how to properly correct his behavior in a way he’d understand without sacrificing your relationship.

Neuter or Spay Your Dog

Consult your vet about when the right time is to either spay or neuter your pet. A Neapolitan Mastiff who has undergone this surgery will have greatly reduced hormone aggression.

Use Positive Reinforcements

Whenever your buddy shows belligerence, be stern and encourage him to calm down. Give him treats the moment he’s relaxed for several seconds. Do this repetitively until he learns that he should not act out like that when around other people. 

Don’t cease from reinforcing his good and proper behaviors. Patience and consistency are two vital elements for a successful and properly-raised dog. 

Let Him Socialize

Your Neapolitan Mastiff puppy shouldn’t be taken away from his mother until he’s at least eight weeks old. His first interaction should be with his siblings and mother, so taking him prematurely could cause certain unpleasant behavioral effects. Once he’s old enough to be brought home, socialization has to continue. Let him get used to other animals and faces so he becomes a friendly and pleasant dog to be around with.

Keep Training Him

Teaching your Neapolitan Mastiff the essential doggy lessons should be a continuous process. Also, it shouldn’t just be you who’s employing the methods. All the other family members should do the same thing so that the consistency is retained and the dog’s learnings don’t get messed up.

Bring Him Out for an Exercise

Sometimes, your Neo would show undesirable behaviors simply because he’s got a lot of pent-up energy that needs to be let out. Bring him to your yard or somewhere to keep him sweating!