Cane Corso History


Cane Corso History dates back well before B.C., and this majestic Canine has had a positive impact on the life of my ancestors in Italy over the Millennia.

Many scholars believe that in Italy there were two types of mastiffs, one heavy, and one light. The heavy Italian Mastiff was used in the war, in the circus games (Including the Collosseo)  and on homes and farms. This dog was the ancestor of the Neapolitan Mastiff. The lighter dog, was essentially dedicated to hunting dangerous game, running and guarding cattle, pigs and other livestock. This lighter dog was the ancestor of the modern Cane Corso, and is the one that resembles what we call the “Cane Corso” today.

cane corso history

Cane Corso History and the Canis Pugnax

The Cane Corso history has its origins from ancient Roman canis pugnax, this breed would accompany the Legionnaires in their campaigns of war, and for his courage and fidelity, was held in consideration not less than the soldier.

After centuries of selection due to the harsh life in rural southern Italy, many risked death because of the wars. Fortunately, some specimens were able to survive especially in the farms of Puglia where they were guarded and the best strains of blood kept intact along with behavioral characteristics of the breed from which these were taken to the recovery of this superb dog breed.


cane corso history
The Italian Mastiff has always been called Cane Corso as shown in a vast scientific literature. For those unfamiliar with the breed, your first assumption may be to relate this breed to the Italian Island of Corsica, however, there is no relation here.

The word Corso belongs exclusively to some dialects of southern Italy. In fact, Corsus, is an ancient Provencal adjective which in Italian means “Strong”, “rude, rustic”, and that even today, in the dialect of many areas of the south, it means the same thing.
There are those who think that its origin should be sought in the Latin word “Cohors” or “duri” and “short”, the tenth part of a legion, in the sense of dog of the cohorts of legionaries but “Cohors” also means the courtyard of the house, dog fence and then used to guard the farms.

Thanks to its versatility, the Cane Corso has been used in the past for a variety of uses. It was the custodian of the farms, cattleman, faithful companion of the carters, bodyguard, and hunter of big game (wild boar, bear, wolf, etc.)..



To describe the character of this dog is particularly interesting.  In the late nineteenth century,  the college textbook Braids, which devotes an entire chapter to the Italian mastiff, “It is fit to guard the herd, having the ability  to calm even the angry bull; its advantage is its favorable moment to bite on the mouth, and then leaves him, when he has the assurance that the enraged animal is calm.”



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