Cane Corso History


cane corso


The correct Italian Pronunciation Cane (Kah-nay) Corso (kor-so) , English translation = BODY GUARD


The Cane Corso’s geneology can be traced back to the Canis Pugnax,  the Roman War dog of the first century.
They would accompany their handler onto the battlefields where they would act as an unprecedented guardian.  The tenaciousness of this dog was so extreme they were used in the arenas to fight against lions, bears, and other wild animals.

The Romans were not the first, but may very well have used war dogs the most effectively.  The Roman Army had whole companies composed entirely of dogs.  They wore spiked collars around their neck and ankles, made more dangerous by the large curved knives protruding from its ring.  Sometimes they were starved before battle, then unleashed on an unsuspecting enemy.  Their dog of choice was the great Molossian dogs of Epirus, specifically trained for battle.  These dogs, halved starved and ferocious, helped spread the Roman Empire across the ancient world.  The Corso was also used as an “auxiliary warrior” in battles for the Romans.

For years he has been a companion and worker of the Italian people.  His job was to protect property and cattle, work as a cattle drover, and for large game hunting.  Their power, courage, agility and tracking ability made them especially valuable with wild boar, stag and bear.  His name comes from the Latin word “Cohors” which means Guardian or Protector.

With the decline in big game hunting the cane corso found a home with Italian farmers.  They were often used as a driver, 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 homes and estates.  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 in procuring as many good subjects as possible.  Selective breeding began and the cane corso was given a new birth.

Since coming to America in the late 1980’s the cane corso is mainly recognized as family companions and guard dogs.  The cane corso bonds quickly to his family and becomes quite attached, especially to the children.  To the children they 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 house hold they are not overly energetic or spastic.  They are generally a quiet dog, only barking to alert in strange situations.  They are very animal friendly and will get along with any of your other pets.

The cane corso is instinctively a guard dog.  Having a strong sense of territory and desiring 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 to discern friend from foe.

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