By Giacomo Brunelli @GJBrunelli
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Videographer / Director: Jason Arambulo
Producer: Giacomo Brunelli, Ruby Coote
Editor: Thom Johnson
Inland Empire Mastinos, in California, breed these huge guard dogs that have been used to intimidate intruders since the days of Ancient Rome and have been increasing in popularity in recent years.
Co-owner Albert told Barcroft TV: “The defining features that make a top-quality Neapolitan Mastiff are big bones, big block heads, good girth on the whole body itself.”
Albert’s partner, Orchid, added: “They should have creases of skin, which is their wrinkles on the back, the topline has to be straight, the paws have to be like lions’ paws.”
A top-quality Neapolitan Mastiff puppy from these guys can cost up to $8000 dollars.
Orchid said: “The puppies are just incredibly cute when they’re new-born and you could already see the little waves on the fur where the wrinkles will eventually grow into them.”
Over the years, Inland Empire Mastinos has been perfecting their pack through careful breeding – and they currently own six grown mastiffs.
Albert introduced us to their mastiffs: “We have Mary Shaw, she’s weighing in at 120 pounds, very active; Clyde, he is three years old and always on guard; we have Bonnie weighing in at 135 pounds and she always tried to be the Alpha female.”
Orchid added: “Baby Face Nelson tends to be the laziest one; Mystery is about 120 pounds and Ambush is our biggest dog.”
Weighing in at a whopping 180lbs, although Ambush is certainly their most impressive dog in terms of size, they tend not to use him for breeding due to his temperament.
“Ambush isn’t the main breeding dog because he’s too aggressive with other dogs - he’s not dog-friendly but he’s people-friendly” Orchid explained.
Orchid takes the utmost care for their pack, regularly cooking fresh food for their six mastiffs.
She said: “They eat chicken soup and make a mess; this is the daily routine - we actually cook it for them.”
And due to the competitive nature of the mastiffs, these dogs cannot be left alone when eating.
“We watch them eat, they never eat unsupervised - to eat unsupervised, it would probably be ugly, they would probably end up in a fight,” Orchid said.
Hailing from Ancient Rome, the Neapolitan Mastiff was originally bred for protecting property and family as well as being used in wars.
Albert said: “The Neapolitans are thought to be aggressive to strangers, it’s an alpha breed - it’s the kind of dog that bites before it barks.”
The couple’s daughters Bailey and Abygail share the same passion for Neapolitan Mastiffs and are already able to handle the enormous dogs.
“People are scared because they’re really big dogs and their size is just too big - they’re guard dogs and they’re really good at protecting this house” said youngest daughter, Bailey.
The family cannot take their dogs out for a walk without being stopped by the public.
“We get a lot of attention when we’re out with them, we can barely get a few feet away when we have the next crowd of people asking – ‘what kind of dogs are these?’” Orchid said.
This California family has only just started with perfecting their pack and look forward to a successful future in the breeding business.
Albert added: “Seeing that dog grow up, mature and just look explosive is just something we love to do - it’s not easy to do but we love to do it.”