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A BRIEF HISTORY

 

 

 

The Cane Corso is an ancient breed. Exactly when this breed was created is very difficult to tell. According to some theories, the Italian Cane Corso comes from the big molossian dogs common among middle east populations: Assyrian, Babylonians, Greeks of Epirus and was imported in Europe by the Phoenician people who used these dogs as guardians and as commodity. Pliny the Elder talks about this dog in his book, "Naturalis Historia" where he talks about the two big dogs that the King of Illyrians gave to Alexander the Great as a gift. 

The Romans had a very strong interest in fighting dogs (Canis Pugnax). During the Britain military campaign, the Romans created the special office of, "Procurator Cyneglii." This was a special kind of officer within the ranks who was responsible for choosing the most suitable dogs; first for warfare and then to crossbreed with other dogs for hunting big game and finally for circus where they would entertain crowds by fighting lions, tigers and bears (OH MY!). According to tales of that time, four dogs were able to kill a lion. The most important purpose of the dog, however, was war!

With the fall of the Roman Empire, the Cane Corso became a working dog helping the farmer with livestock. It became adept at cornering a bull or protecting other livestock such as beef cattle, sheep and other farm animals. It also proved to be a valuable protection dog and a hunting dog, which to this day hold true. 

In the last century and due to hardships caused by wars, the Italian Cane Corso declined in popularity and numbers to the point of nearly becoming extinct, but in 1946, during the first official dog show that took place in Napoli, the Italian Cane Corso was rediscovered by the writer/journalist, Piero Scanziani who became very interested in the dogs and with careful research and breeding the Cane Corso was saved from certain extinction. 

The Cane Corso of today still carries the DNA of its ancient Molossian and Pugnax ancestors and is still second to none as a guard dog and family protector. To this end, they have remained true to their rich and storied beginnings, but with careful, knowledgable breeding and proper socialization, they also make superior family companions. They are noted for being a very affectionate dog preferring to be close to their owners.

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THE CANIS PUGNAX TODAY

The Cane Corso is an ancient Italian breed. The direct ancestor of the Cane Corso is the "Canis Pugnax" (the old Roman Molossian) of which corsi are the 'light version' and were employed as "auxiliary warriors" in the Roman Wars. The 'heavy version' refers to what is now known as the Neapolitan Mastiff.

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THE MOLOSSER ORIGINS

The name “Molosser” derives from Molossia, a subregion of ancient Epirus, in North-West Ancient Greece. Molossers are sometimes called “mastiffs”. The proper noun “Mastiff”, however, is used to refer to the English Mastiff, a breed that originated in England over two thousand years ago.

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CANIS PUGNAX

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.

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