He Cane Corso Italian Mastiff is a Magnificent Style, Sleek Muscular Lines, Tremendous Drive Fierce Protector and more. The Cane Corso strikes the perfect balance between Family Companion & Protection. All this, in a Compact Powerful body with the heart of a lion, and the gentleness to watch over a child.
“The disposition of noble dogs is to be gentle with people they know
and the opposite with those they don’t know...” – Plato
This rare breed, the Cane Corso Italiano, is, as Italian fanciers of the breed are proud to say, “the only coursing Mastiff”. Bred to run, “Cane Corso” translates in Italian to “run dog”. Cane Corsos are fast, sleek, athletic, beautiful, and impressive. The Corso is a very protective dominant breed, and makes an excellent guard dog. However, his qualities don’t stop there. Corsos are also highly valued as companions, and adore a family and children to watch over. A stable balanced temperament completes the package making a Cane Corso the ideal dog for family companionship and protection.
The Cane Corso is an unparalleled working dog, versatile and adaptable. The breed has a rich history that mirrors that of the Italian peoples. His forefathers were present in the arena and circus; He was an auxiliary to the Roman legions and aided the feudal lords during the hunt. He was an indispensable tool in agri-pastoral activities such as incapacitation of a bull destined for castration; he guarded the flocks as a soldier in the war with the Italian wolf and was an invaluable aid in hunting large game such as stag, boar or bear. He was the escort of the Italian cowboys as they drove the buffalo during the murge. He was fearless in the face of the ferocious badger, tireless and faithful as a vineyard guardian and even served dutifully as a beast of burden when the farmer needed a cart pulled. The Corso truly was “all things to all people” in rural areas of southern Italy.
~Excerpt from ‘Beyond the Standard – An In Depth Look‘, CCAA
Tracing its origins back to Italy, descended from the Roman canis Pugnaces, and recognized by the AKC into the working group in 2010, the Cane Corso is making its presence known here in the US.
The Cane Corso is an incredible dog; however, this breed is not for everyone. While it is possible to develop the skills and assertive attitude to happily co-exist with a large strong-willed dog, for the most part you either have what it takes, or you don’t. The Cane Corso is a large, dominant, and powerful breed. As such, the responsibility of owning a Cane Corso must be taken seriously. Behind the adorable eyes of a Cane Corso puppy, or the arresting looks of a Cane Corso adult, smolders a fire and tenacity that has been passed down through the bloodlines of a far away time when these dogs were more than just a striking dog with eye-catching looks. The Cane Corso Italiano is not just a ‘cool looking dog’ to have in your yard, or an ego-boosting piece of arm candy on the end of your leash. They are a demanding breed, requiring a commitment invested for time and training, but they are also a breed who will give you devotion and dedication much deeper and much more meaningful than you can imagine in return. The Cane Corso possesses a spirit that is shrouded in mystic, which to the delight of true enthusiasts, seems always to be just out of reach. To their family, the Cane Corso will devote their heart without reservation and will love as intensely as they will protect. A worthy owner will understand this, and will fully commit themselves to providing their Cane Corso with the needed training, and socialization, that their dog deserves and requires.
“What the Lion is to the Cat the Mastiff is to the Dog, the noblest of the family; he stands alone, and all others sinking before him”.
His courage does not exceed its temper and generosity and in attachment he equals the kindest of his race. His docility is perfect; the teasing of the smaller kinds will hardly provoke him to resent, and I have seen him down with his paw the Terrier or cur that has bit him, without offering further injury. In a family he will permit the children to play with him and will suffer all their little pranks without offence. The blind ferocity of the bulldog will often wound the hand of the master who assists him to combat, but the Mastiff distinguishes perfectly, enters the field with temper, and engages the attack as if confident of success: if he overpowers, or is beaten, his master may take him immediately in his arms and fear nothing. This ancient and faithful domestic … uniting the useful, the brave and the docile, though sought by foreign nations and perpetuated on the continent, is nearly extinct where he was probably an aborigine, or is bastardized by numberless crosses, everyone of which degenerate from the invaluable character of the parent, who was deemed worthy to enter the Roman amphitheater and in the presence of the masters of the world, encounter the pard and assail even the lord of the savage tribes, whose courage was sublimed by torrid suns, and found none gallant enough to oppose him…”
~Edwards, S. (1800), wrote in the Cynographia Britannica, London: C. Whittingham
The Cane Corso – Behind the Name
There are many patterns of thoughts and opinions regarding the origins of the Cane Corso name. Some are based on historical information, some taken from the breed’s functionality, and many vary based on region. Many opinions, even when they differ, carry similar and consistent undertones.
The fact that different meanings and interpretations will have originated from different regions and periods must be considered when looking for “the right” interpretation.
Perhaps there is not one single “correct” interpretation, as the breed has held and progressed thru various places in its history.
We have compiled some interpretations and thoughts to share below on the Cane Corso – what is behind the name.
The Cane Corso: “The Dog of the Main Courtyard”
In old times in Italy, an entire town would be built around one main street. The family that was most well off (similar to a town mayor today) always lived in the largest house located in the courtyard at the end of the Main Street – the Corso. This main house was home to the family in the town that was best suited to raise and breed the dogs that were dispersed thru the village as family guardians and flock protectors. Cane translates to Dog, and Corso translates to Main Courtyard, thus the Dog of the Main Courtyard became known as the “Cane Corso”.
The Cane Corso: “The Dog Guarding Enclosed Estates”
Corso has been translated to mean “belonging to fence, yard” – thereby reflecting on the primary function of this breed. Cane Corso, translated from Latin to mean “guard of the courtyard”, or “the dog guarding enclosed estates”, portrays the function of an eager and brave guard of homes and estates.
The Cane Corso, “Coursing Dog” Bred to run, “Cane Corso” translates in Italian to “run dog”.
The word corso has been found in written sources since the beginning of the sixteenth (XVI) century. From the earliest notations it is closely associated with the meanings for hunting and protection.
Theofilo Folengo (1491-1544), used the word corso to describe a Cane Corso in deadly fight with a bear or with a lion wounded by a hunter. In this use Cane Corso was compared in an interesting manner with Molosso, “canes inter seu corsos sive molossus”, which translates from Latin as dog – either Corso or Molosso).
Meaning can be found using the Latin noun “cohors”, Roman “coorte”, or Praetorian “cohort”, to show evidence of the ancient function of a bodyguard, one of the primary functions (among others) this breed was entrusted with. “Guardian” and “Protector” are meanings derived from the Latin “Cohors”.
Some cynologists say the name corso should be connected with the ancient Celt or Provencal matrix. The word corso, meaning in this interpretation, “strong”, as it is similar to the English adjective “coarse”. (The word coarse being used in this instance with the meaning of rough, or unrefined.)