The Cane Corso is a very rare and ancient Italian molosser that has been derived from the now extinct “Canis Pugnax”. It is believed that, in ancient times, this historic Roman Molosser gave rise to two very different breeds of dog. One dog was massive and became known as the Neapolitan Mastiff, the other was a taller, lighter more agile mastiff which has become known as the Cane Corso.
Over the years, the Cane Corso was used by farmers to herd cattle, protect the livestock and as a guard for the family home. It was the important job of the Cane Corso to ensure that the cattle and the farmer could go about there journey without coming to any harm. After World War II, farms became increasingly modernised and there was little need for farmers to rely on Cane Corsos thus breed numbers decreased and the breed almost became extinct. Luckily, there were a few specimens which existed in isolated parts of Southern Italy where traditional activities were carried out.
In the 1950s Prof. Giovanni Bonatti wrote about the Corso in books and in articles and was convinced that some Corsi had survived in the region of Puglia. In the 1970s and 80s, a small group of Italian enthusiasts took the first steps to re-establish the breed and create a breed standard. This group of people founded the Societa Amatori Cane Corso (SACC). In 1994, the ENCI accepted the Cane Corso Italiano as the fourteenth Italian Breed. In 1996, the Cane Corso also became a recognised breed of the FCI.
The breed does require a lot of attention and training and they do not like to be left alone for long periods of time often becoming bored and potentially destructive. The Cane Corso is also a very dominant breed and therefore not a dog for the first time dog owner who has no experience with large breeds.
We would always recommend that new owners of Cane Corsos socialise their dogs from day one with other people, animals and children so that the dog grows up to be accepted into society. The breed can be dominant towards other dogs and therefore must be socialised from a very young age. Many training clubs have puppy socialisation classes which are a great way for puppies to meet other dogs and interact with them. Training should continue on a permanent basis.
Corsos are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they’re prone to certain health conditions. Not all Corsos will get any or all of these diseases, but it’s important to be aware of them if you’re considering this breed. The Corso can be prone to hip and elbow dyplasia, eyelid abnormalities such as entropion, ectropion, and cherry eye, demodectic mange (which can be heritable) and gastric torsion, also known as bloat.