ANCIENT 'OLD WORLD' MASTIFF
HISTORY OF CANE CORSO
The Italian Mastiff, also known as the Cane Corso (pronounced KAH nay - COR soh) or the Sicilian Branchiero, is a Large Working Breed Which is one of Two Breeds that Stem Directly from the Roman War Dogs (Canis Pugnax). In Ancient Times, this Historic Molossus Gave Rise to Two Quite Different Breeds, One Dog was Very Massive, and Heavily Built, and Became the Progenitor of The Neopolitan Mastff. The Other was a Taller, Lighter, and More Athletic Dog, Known for its Quickness and Agility. From this very Athletic Molossus Sprang Today's Cane Corso. The Cane Corso Remains a Close Cousin of the Neapolitan Mastiff, and they even shared the Same Name until 1949.
These Ancient Roman War Dogs Were Originally Imported from Tibet in which they Lived About a Thousand Years ago, and Where they were Known as Mastino Dogs. In Tibet, they were used as Guard Dogs in the Ancient Monastaries. When Brought to Rome, they were First used as Warriors in Alexander Macedonian's Army, and were Sometimes Pitted Against Lions, and Other Wild Beasts in Roman Arenas. In 1137, The Cane Corso Was Used in the Military (Monopli di Sabina, near Rome). But as Time Moved on, So did Their Role.
An Animal's Survival Depends on its Ability to Work. Throughout the Breeds Existence, the Cane Corso has been a Companion and Worker of the Italian People. His Job was to Protect Property, and Cattle, Work as a Cattle-drover, and They Were also Used as Big Game Hunters. Their Power, Courage, Agility, and Tracking Ability Made them Especially Valuable with Wild Boar, Stag, and Bear. During the Early days in Italy, when Big Game Hunting Started to Decline, the Survival of the Cane Corso Became Dependant on the Italian Farmers. They were Often Used as Drivers, Moving Animals to the Market and to the Slaughter Houses. On the Farms, They Protected the Livestock From Both Human Thieves, and Animal Predators, also Doubling as a Guard Dog for the Homes, and Estates. Cane Corso's Have Always been Found in the Southern Parts of Italy where you Find Agricultural Farmlands. This is Where a dog that is Multi-talented would be able to Thrive, and be Used Efficiently. But, with the Transformation of the Agricultural Structure, in many Regions of Italy, This Majestic Dog was in Danger of Extinction. However, with the Help of some Skillful, and Caring Dog Lovers in the mid-1970's, Success was Made, The Outcry was the Salvation of the Breed, Selective Breeding Began, and the Cane Corso was Given a New Birth!!
In 1988, and 1989, a Man Named Michael Sottile, Who's Family had Formerly Immigrated from Italy to Settle in the United States, Imported Two Litters of Cane Corso Pups from their Native Homeland of Italy and Organized the First Cane Corso Club in America, which then Subsequently developed the very First Physical Conformation Standard ever Written for the Breed, as Italy yet had No WRITTEN Standard !! At that Point in Time, Interest in the Breed in it's Native Country was with the Exception of very Few People, Limited to those who had Developed and Worked the Breed for Centuries: the Rural Italian Folk - People who weren't Interested in Dog Shows and Clubs - People who's Only Real Interest was in the Cane Corso's Usefulness and Workability around the farm as Gaurdians, Cattle Catchers, and Hunters of Large game. This is WHAT the Breed had Been Developed for, This is HOW they had been Bred, and Developed. It is HOW the Cane Corso Existed For Centuries, and it is what Michael Sottile Brought to us in America in 1988. - Not some Watered -Down, Genetically Shot, Fragile, Superficial, Pretty, but Weak dog, Developed and Produced in the Kennels of Popular Conformation Show Types (Typical Modern Day Breeders), Who are Only Interested in Superficial Championships, or "Prettiness" !....The Cane Corso which Sottile Imported had Been Plucked Directly from the Very Tree they had Spent Centuries Ripening on. They Were the Real Thing ! They were some of the Best Dogs Italy had to Offer, and they set the Standard for the Breed - a Standard that, is Very hard to beat, or Improve on !!
Since Coming to America in the Late 1980's, the Cane Corso is Mainy Recognized as Companions, and Guard Dogs. The Cane Corso Bonds Quickly with His Family and Becomes Quite Attached Especially to the Children. To the Children thay are Playful, Protective, Yet Gentle, Always Aware of a Child's Helplessness and Innocence. They Enjoy Being Included in the Family Activities. Their Athletic Ability Lends itself to Include Such Activities as Hiking, Jogging, Long Walks, Swimming, Bike Riding, or Just Playing Fetch. In the Household they are not Overly Energetic or Spasmatic. They are Generally a Quiet Dog Only Barking to Alert in Strange Situations.
The Cane Corso is Instinctively a Guard Dog. Having a Strong Sense of Territory, and Desire to Be With His Family, the Corso Generally Stays on His Grounds. With Strangers, they are Quite Aloof, and Will be Suspicious Until the Person is Welcomed by The Family. These Dogs Don't Need Any Encouragement to Be Aggressive, They Know Specifically When, and When Not, to be Protective. They Should be Socialized Starting at Young Ages. The Cane Corso are Able to Judge Character Without Exception, Always Discern Friend, from Foe !!