The cane corso originated from the old Roman War dog, Canis Pugnax, a similar origin to the Neapolitan Mastiff. The larger loose skinned descendants from Canis Pugnax evolved into the Neopolitan Mastiff, and the lighter tight skinned mesomorphic type evolved into the cane corso.



Powerful auxiliary warrior



There is early evidence that documents the cane corso being used for Military purposes during 1137 in Monopoli di Sabina, near Rome. There are paintings, statues and art that also depict the cane corso from this early time and through the middle ages. In early days this powerful and fearless dog was used for catching wild boar, bear and stag, and was even used as a gladiator. As the centuries moved on and civilization changed, so did the purpose of the cane corso and his adaptation. When the corso was not required for war anymore he became a useful utility dog and protector of livestock at farms and a fierce protector of properties, explaining his name being derived from the Latin cohors, which means protector, guardian of the farmyard. As farms began to evolve with modern and industrial equipment, the need for the cane corso was not required to the extent it used to be, and as a result numbers started to recede. By the 1970s there was fear that this impressive breed was near extinction.



Valuable utility dog



There were some unsuccessful efforts to recover the breed in the early 1970s, but it was only until Dr.Breber captured the interest of people in 1976 with an article in the Italian Kennel Clubs magazine that the recovery got some momentum. Dr.Breber and some enthusiasts got together and began the rescue efforts. In October 1983 SACC - Society Amatori Cane Corso was formed. For reasons unknown, Dr. Breber left the SACC three years later. Dr. Antonio Morisiani drafted the cane corso standard which was ratified by the ENCI - Italian Kennel Club in 1987. After many dogs being evaluated, an impressive and outstanding cane corso named Basir was selected as the model for the standard, he is son of Dauno and Tipsi.



BASIR : The Model used for the official Cane Corso standard



In 1992 puppies began being recorded by the ENCI and these records were transferred to official records when the cane corso was officially recognised by the ENCI on 20th January 1994. In 1996 the FCI - Federation Cynologique Internationale recognised the cane corso internationally. In Australia the cane corso was formally recognised in 2003 by the Australian National Kennel Council - ANKC.


Thanks to many efforts of breeders around the world the impressive cane corso is not near extinction anymore. There has been a resurgence in the interest of the breed which is making the cane corso quite a popular dog. Currently the cane corso is still rare in Australia but numbers are continuing to increase with the worldwide trend. It has been noticed that the overall quality of the cane corso has declined and quality breeders are focussing on trying to regress this trend.


Composed : October 2014