If you thought Tibetan Mastiffs were cute and cuddly, then wait until you meet the Neapolitan Mastiff.
This rare dog breed may not look quite as attractive as its fluffy bear-like relation, but this huge guard dog is actually one of the most affectionate dog breeds around.
Orchid and Albert run Inland Empire Mastinos, based in California, that specializes in breeding these gentle giants.
According to the duo, defining features of a good Neapolitan Mastiff include big bone structure, a big head and a large body with creases of skin and a straight back. Typically weighing in up to 180lbs, their massive paws resemble lion paws.
Neapolitan Mastiffs have been used to intimidate intruders since the days of Ancient Rome, but have been increasing in popularity in recent years due to their formidable size.
The couple themselves own six Neapolitan Mastiffs including "baby-face" Nelson who loves a good snooze, Mary Shaw who adores wrestling, always on guard Clyde, alpha female Bonnie, Mystery who weighs around 120 lbs and Ambush, the family's biggest dog who dislikes other dogs but loves people.
The canines even eat an unconventional diet of homemade chicken soup!
"People are scared because they're really big dogs and their size is just too big," says the couple's daughter, Bailey. "My favorite one is Clyde, he's my best protector dog because he barks really loud. He's a good dog, and actually he's cuddly with us."
The couple's daughters have taught the dogs some basic tricks, while the family often like to take their dogs on a stroll - which draws quite a crowd!
Unfortunately for any admirers, the Neapolitan Mastiff can cost around $8,000 dollars for a puppy but, for the family, it's more than the money that counts.
"Seeing that dog grow up maturing is just explosive. It's not easy to do but we love to do it," co-owner Albert said.
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