Beneath that gentle exterior beats the heart of a genuine canine gladiator! As you probably know, the Neapolitan Mastiff has been around for thousands of years and most of that time was fighting, guarding or protecting. Some say they have been around for over 5000 years, with origins in Tibet, and are the basis for all giant, mastiff-type breeds. Others say the breed originated in ancient Egypt. Who knows!
The ancestors of the Neo had many names: Macedonian Dog, Assyrian Dog, Sumerian Molossians, Bandogs, Dogues, and the Roman Molossus
The names were different, but they were all heavy bodied, big-heads, short muzzled dog with pendulous dewlaps, overly wrinkled foreheads, cropped ears to the point of amputation, and massively, heavy legs.
Can you imagine how intimidating these dogs were to foot soldiers as they faced them in battle. All I can think of is that Monty Python bit where they ran from battle screaming, "Run away! Run away!"
Below are a few images of dogs thought to be ancestors of the Neapolitan Mastiff. No matter who their descendants are...these dogs are intimidating.