|Other names||Italian Mastiff|
|Country of origin||Italy|
|Dog (Canis lupus familiaris)|
The Cane Corso is a large Italian Molosser, which is closely related to the Neapolitan Mastiff. In name and form the Cane Corso predates its cousin the Neapolitan Mastiff. It is well muscled and less bulky than most other Mastiff breeds. The breed is known as a true and quite possibly the last of the coursing Mastiffs. The official Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) standard expects ideal dogs to stand 62–72 cm (24–28 in) at the withers, with females in the lower range and males in the higher. Weight should be in keeping with the size and stature of these dogs, ranging from 50 to 60 kg (110 to 130 lb). The overall impression should be of power, balanced with athleticism. A Corso should be moderately tight skinned; however, some dewlap on the neck is normal, and the bottom of the jawline should be defined by the hanging lip.
The head of the Cane Corso is arguably its most important feature. It is large and imposing. In general, it gives the appearance of regality. The forehead should be flat and convergent to the muzzle. The muzzle is flat, rectangular (when viewed from above), and generally as wide as it is long approximately 33% the total length of the skull (a ratio of 2:1). The eyes are almond in shape, set straight and when viewed from the front, set slightly above the line of the muzzle. Darker eyes are preferred, however, the color of the eyes tends to emulate the shade of brindling in the coat. Traditionally the ears are cropped in equilateral triangles that stand erect, however the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) opposes ear cropping and tail docking of dogs when done solely for cosmetic purposes. (The AVMA encourages the elimination of ear cropping and tail docking from breed standards ).
Cane Corso appear in two basic coat colours: black and fawn. This is further modified by genetic pigment dilution to create grey (from black) and frumentino or formentino (from fawn) colours. Brindling of varying intensity is common on both basic coat colours as well, creating tigrato (black brindle), and Grigio Tigrato (grey brindle). White markings are common on the chest, tips of toes, the chin, and the bridge of the nose. Large white patches are not desirable.
The average life expectancy is 10 to 12 years.
The Cane Corso is not recommended for novice dog owners. As a puppy, it requires strong leadership and consistent training. Its natural instinct is to be suspicious of strangers and for this reason it is highly encouraged to begin socialization as soon as possible. Ideally the Cane Corso should be indifferent when approached and should only react in a protective manner when a real threat is present.
The Cane Corso is a descendant of the canis pugnax, dogs used by the Romans in warfare. Its name derives from cane da corso, an old term for those catch dogs used in rural activities (for cattle and swine; boar hunting, and bear fighting) as distinct from cane da camera which indicates the catch dog kept as a bodyguard. In the recent past, its distribution was limited to some districts of Southern Italy, especially in Basilicata, Campania and Puglia.
The Cane Corso is a catch dog used with cattle and swine, and also in wild boar hunts. Cane Corso were used to guard property, livestock and families and some continue to be used for this purpose today. Historically it has also been used by night watchmen, keepers, and, in the past, by carters as a drover. In the more distant past this breed was common all over Italy as an ample iconography and historiography testify.
The American Kennel Club first recognized the Cane Corso in 2010. The popularity of the breed continues to grow, ranking in 50th place in the United States in 2013, a jump from 60th place in 2012.