Neapolitan Mastiff vs Lion: Does Your Dog Stand a Chance?

The Neapolitan Mastiff is known for his size, strength, and history as a protector. We often wonder how far can his skills go as a guardian when it comes to meeting potential threats and that includes the lion.

In some ways, the Neapolitan dog can stand a chance against this wild animal, including several others. This dog has a high territorial and protective instinct which means, if he was trained well, he can pin down anyone to the ground. His looks and size alone can be intimidating to people. Of course, we cannot ignore the abilities of the renowned king of the jungle. We all know what he’s capable of.

To learn more about the differences between this domestic and wild animal, this article is for you.

Would a Neapolitan Mastiff Fear the Lion?

The Neapolitan Mastiff is deemed one of the true and excellent guard dogs. He is not one to be underestimated since he takes his duty seriously. He has high territorial and protective instincts and that only means one thing- he won’t be the easiest to intimidate, not even by the ferocious lion.

Of course, different factors can come into play. To successfully withstand the presence of the lion, the Neapolitan Mastiff should be trained in guarding. Untrained dogs, especially those who have behavioral issues can end up getting themselves into more trouble just by not knowing how to react or what to do in a situation. 

Young Neapolitan dogs are surely going to flee the scene as well and seek refuge from their mother. However, healthy and trained adult Neapolitan Mastiffs will not flinch at the sight of a big lion.

Most likely, he will observe the animal’s actions before concluding that something needs to be done. 

Comparing Features and Traits


Neapolitan Mastiff: The Neapolitan Mastiff is known to have extremely loose skin. He has various wrinkles and folds that cover his entire body for one specific purpose- defense. Breeders in the past find it more advantageous if the Neapolitan Mastiff can’t be easily and heavily injured, thus the presence of too much skin.

Photo from: lauraktay (IG)

Additionally, he stands tall at about 24 to 31 inches with a weight that can be around 110 to 150 pounds. His massiveness can be explained by saying that the large English Mastiff contributed significantly to his development. As we all know, the English Mastiff is the biggest dog breed by mass.

Lion: The lion is one of the most easily identifiable animals on the planet. Male lions have this amazing mane that adds up to their glorious image. Even the female lions are deemed mesmerizing. Generally, they have muscular and heavy, powerful bodies with a height at withers of 55 to 68 inches and a weight that can reach 270 pounds to 570 pounds. 

Lions have different coat colors and they may range from white, brown, tawny yellow, to deep-orange. Typically, their eye colors match their coat colors. It can either be brown or amber. The stare of this animal is enough to let you know how strong and serious he is about surviving the wild.


Neapolitan Mastiff: Training lowers the chances of a Neapolitan Mastiff showing aggression. Still, he can show hostility when it is highly needed or when he is provoked and left with no choice. This is a naturally unfriendly dog toward strangers and dangerous foes, so surely, his belligerent nature can be awakened at any time.

And, even if this is hailed to be a gentle giant, it remains unwise for anyone to approach this dog without the owner’s supervision and permission. He is very protective of his family and kids, meaning his wariness toward others might push him to switch moods when others disrespect the boundaries he set.

Lion: The only common times a lion shows tolerance is when he is with his pride, but if he’s all alone in the jungle, he shows 100 percent alertness which is vital in his daily survival. He is naturally savage, especially when he needs to fill up his stomach. Any potential victims are sure to see a merciless beast.

Photo from: taraturk1 (IG)

Acknowledging the fact that some lions were trained to participate in the circus, that does not mean that they will not turn to their owners. Lions are complex animals and they are never meant to be domesticated. 

Bite Force

Neapolitan Mastiff: So far, there are no exact records that tell how strong the bite force is of the Neapolitan Mastiff. However, since his ancestors are composed of the English Mastiff and the Roman War dogs, you can assume that it would be extremely excruciating to be bitten by this Neapolitan dog. The British Mastiff has a recorded 552 pounds per square inch, so that can give you a clue how dangerous it is to be masticated by the Neo. 

Lion: The lion is hard to beat in several areas. Once again, he proves to be superior to the Neapolitan Mastiff with his bite that reaches 650 pounds per square inch. If he is severely threatened, this may even go higher than expected. This amount of force can break off a femur bone in just a few snaps!

Hunting Tactics

Neapolitan Mastiff: There is no strong history of hunting if we talk about the Neapolitan Mastiff. In the past, he was more renowned as the efficient guard dog that can be commonly seen in estates, homes, and farms. With that being said, this dog does not usually go around seeking food nor accompany its owners in chasing after wild boars or even rabbits.

Despite not being a natural-born hunter, the Neapolitan Mastiff remains to have a moderate level of prey drive. The sight of a small animal running can likely spark his excitement. 

Lion: It is no longer a surprise for us to know that lions hunt regularly to feed themselves. They either do it alone or with a few accomplices from his pride. Since hunting is part of their lives, adult lions are experts in making a kill. Generally, they only have a 25 percent successful hunting rate. This is because animals evolve too and they gradually learn how to survive and break free from the lion’s undivided attention. 

Motivation to Fight

Neapolitan Mastiff: With his even and gentle temperament, the Neapolitan Mastiff is not necessarily the type of dog who would love to get himself into fights. In fact, he dislikes conflicts and would try to help deflect intense situations. However, if a fight is inevitable, this dog will surely not back out.

The common motivating factors that would push him to fight are either seeing his family being threatened by someone or by a wild animal or if he is being taunted, mocked, and provoked. 

Lion: Lions are trained to fight for their lives even when they are still young cubs. Their play with their siblings is already seen as a sort of practice that will teach them many lessons about hunting and survival. Some of the cubs will, later on, leave the pride and create their own, so they are expected to learn well from their mother.

Photo from: sara.jenner1 (IG)

On another note, hungry or threatened sickly lions will no doubt fight to their deaths if met with an enemy.

Protective Instinct

Neapolitan Mastiff: Trespassing is one serious offense for the Neapolitan Mastiff. With his strong history still rooted in his nature, anyone will find himself in hot water if an intruder ends up in a home with a guarding Neapolitan dog. This canine is very loyal to its owner and would do anything to prevent them from getting harmed.

Lion: In pride, lions dutifully strive to ensure everyone’s safety. The mothers’ priority is their cubs and the male lions, their whole group. They can be very protective of their kills as well. They tend not to share it with anyone, so unless a cunning animal distracts them, no one can get near their prized kill.

How Many Neapolitan Mastiffs Can Take Down a Lion?

It will take a whole lot of Neapolitan Mastiffs to take down one adult lion. In fact, it is even uncertain if at least 10 of them are enough to defeat such a strong beast. The Neapolitan Mastiff dog moves too slow and this highly unmatches the speed, endurance, and strength of the lion. 

How Likely Can a Neapolitan Mastiff Meet a Lion?

The chances of a Neapolitan Mastiff meeting up with a lion is low. This is because while the Neapolitan Mastiff is a domestic pet, the lion thrives living in the wild. Still, it is not impossible for the two animals to end up facing each other. 

In some parts of the world, cities can be visited by stray lions. This in turn means that despite having a peaceful life at home, odd incidences may still occur.