Neos were thought to be extinct for generations. But in 1942 they discovered a few small villages in Italy that were still breeding them. A gentleman named Pierre Scanzani (spelling?), an Italian painter, fell in love with the breed, and started collecting primitive looking specimens, to recreate the ancient Molossian look. The dogs who didn't look primitive enough to pass muster as the ancient look were called Cane Corso. Now, that's the rumor from Italy. Is it true? Who knows. Who cares? It's still a great story, and story is sometimes preferable to truth to many people. It's like religions. Are they true? They're true if you hold them to be true. People kill each other over religions every day. So, let's leave truth behind, and enjoy our legends, our myths, and our stories. And our Neapolitan Mastiffs. I'll go to my church, and you go to yours. (grins)
The Neo is the greatest home guard on earth. I speak from the platform of many years experience training every breed. The bad news: because of his intense bonding capacity, the Neo puppy requires excessive socialization from a devoted and caring breeder. This is not a dog to buy from some backyard moron with a puppy farm. More than two litters a year, without professional facilities, is a puppy farm. There are many who lament the fact that the Neo has become popular, complaining that they're ruining the breed with overbreeding junk. There will always be people breeding junk, and there will always be people breeding good stuff. So you'll always have a choice, won't you?The background of this page is a clay relief pressed from a mold 2,000 years before Christ. It is a Sumerian Molossian bitch suckling her pups. That is older than the pyramids, folks. The dog looks remarkably similar to the Neo of today. Obviously the dog didn't spring full-blown into existence at the time of this pressing, so it is safe to assume that the dog is older than this. Common relics found in the Mesopotamian region date from as early as 3,000 bc. One exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a terra cotta statue of a Neo dating from the second millenium bc. How old is the Neo? No one knows. His origins are lost in the abyss of time, his original breeders long since slid into the dustbin of the ages.