Neapolitan Mastiff Dogs
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About Neapolitan Mastiff DogsAbout Neapolitan Mastiff Dogs



Experts of this particular breed more or less agree on\r\nits origin in Asian regions, mainly in Tibet highlands from where it later\r\nspread all over the world, in Europe mostly, following various directions. The\r\nhistory of the ancient molossian, to which it is connected the one of the\r\nNeapolitan Mastiff, follows the history and the most important phases of the\r\nhuman adventure.

\r\n\r\nSince long time man and dog have lived in symbiosis\r\nsharing emotions, discoveries, conquests, victories; together in wars, battles\r\nand hunting. Centuries ago on Himalaya highlands lived a large sized molossian,\r\napplied as a watchdog to the monasteries, with a long twisted tail on the back:\r\nit was the legendary Tibetan Mastiff reared by the Buddhist Monks. Those who\r\nhad been lucky to see it, had described it as a really enormous dog looking\r\nmore like a lion than a dog. Marco Polo himself, on seeing these dogs a few\r\ncenturies afterwards, was really baffled.

\r\n\r\nSome experts think that the famous legend of the Jeti,\r\nthe snow man, may have been born from this animal. This was a dog, disappeared\r\nin the past, that left his genetic imprint, as it was considered the real\r\nancestor of all big mountain dogs; furthermore, it is the direct ascendant of\r\nthe Assyrian Babylonian molossian, which is represented in ancient drawings and\r\ndocuments, like the famous Nabeth Situla. This was the ancestor of the most\r\npowerful war dog in the world, the Macedonian molossians that were applied as\r\nsheer war machines in the big and devastating wars of those times in that area.\r\nThese marvellous animals were lead to Rome where they were trained to combat in\r\ncircuses, where numerous exhibitions and dreadful fightings were taken, usually\r\nagainst wild beasts or men. During the centuries in Rome dogs mixed with either\r\nCeltic dogs from the North, that had spread in Rome thanks to the victories of\r\nCaesar in the Gallic wars or with the great molossian of Epirus that trade\r\nexchanges with Phoenician ships in the Mediterranean had favoured.

\r\n\r\nIn the following centuries these molossians were mainly\r\nreared in the south of Italy, as it was in that area, in the region Campania\r\nactually, that the famous Gladiator schools, like the one in Capua, were held.\r\nAfterwards the various rules in the south of Italy played a considerable role\r\nfor the breed: for instance, the kings of Spain introduced the dogs of the\r\n‘conquistadores’ with big head and short legs. They were called ‘perro da\r\npresa’, that is ‘lurcher’, modified into the present Neapolitan slang ‘ cane e\r\npresa’. This breed was later given the name of ‘Mastiff’ from ‘massatinus’, the\r\nguardian of the ‘masseria’. At the beginning of the 20th century this breed was\r\napplied just to watch the Neapolitan farm hinterland; during the 1st World War\r\nit was drastically cut down and only few examples survived. Only in 1946,\r\nhowever, Mr Piero Scanziani, an important Italian expert in this field, and a\r\nwriter by profession, discovered this ancient molossian in Naples.

\r\n\r\nThis is what Scanziani wrote after he first saw a\r\nNeapolitan Mastiff: “I recognized it immediately: it was one of the hundred\r\nthat Paolo Emilio the Macedonian had brought to Rome in his triumph. It was the\r\ngreat dog of Epirus, the offspring of the Assyrians, the Tibetan nephew, It was\r\nthe Molossus. From the height of his centuries he, the lad, was staring at me\r\nimperturbable, his eyes were not hostile, yet not kind – a gaze that does not\r\ngive and does not ask: it just contemplates. He was gazing at my Arno on the\r\nlead. I stepped back remembering D’Annunzio – a molossian ready to bite without\r\na howl. He became a patriarch.” Thus Scanziani was able to regenerate the breed\r\nof the Neapolitan Mastiff. The first steps towards the recognition for this\r\nbreed was the first appearance at the exposition in Naples in 1946 where eight\r\nMastiffs were presented, unsuccessfully, though, because of a lack of\r\nhomogeneity. Then this breed spreads outside the region, mainly in Tuscany,\r\nprecisely in the city of Prato, where Mario Querci, the breeder of Ponzano, was\r\nto become a real legend among the canine associations all over the world. In\r\nshort this is the incredible story of the Italian Molossian, nowadays\r\nconsidered one of the most ancient breeds in the world. That’s why I think it\r\nshould be protected at the best as it is a real living monument belonging to\r\nthe Italian culture.

\r\n\r\nNeapolitan Mastiffs arevery large dogs, with a very impressive\r\nstatuesque built which shows fierceness, strength, and power.

\r\n\r\nNeapolitan Mastiffs are a watchdog that is highly reliable for\r\nthe care of any property: it sure that he will never go beyond the property he\r\nis guarding, so that anyone will never get inside his zone. This dog could be\r\ncalled ‘an armed guard’.

\r\n\r\nAt the same time he is an affectionate dog, very fond of\r\nthe people he loves, of the family and the master that takes care of him. The\r\nMastiff should not be trained to attack or to defend because its true\r\ntemperament would be confused. Therefore all the tales about  this breed\r\nare not true: if its natural instinct is respected, its character would not be\r\nunreasonably aggressive.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nContent and Photo Source: Agraria.org.

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