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Our History


Cane Corso Breed History Timeline


600 BC

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 as a “auxiliary warrior” in battles for the Romans.


Our Age

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 ane corso was given a new birth.

1957: Professor Giovanni Bonatti publishes the first article that mentioned the need to save the Cane Corso breed.

1970’s: The recovery of the Cane Corso breed begins.

1980: Public interest in the breed strengthen the the recovery process.

1983: The SACC – The Society Amatori Cane Corso, is formed by Dr. Breber and five others. The breed standard is published in Dr. Giovanni Ventura book -“Il Cano Corso”.

1984: The SACC contacts ENCI to start the process of recognizing the Cane Corso as a breed.

1986: ENCI assigns Dr. Antonio Morsiani to draft a standard for the Cane Corso.

Based on the evaluation of about 90 Corsos, Basir and his sister were used as the male and female prototypes for the standard.

1987: The official standard of the Cane Corso is approved by ENCI.

1988: A survey was done on more than 50 Corsos from several different locations throughout Italy to compare their resemblance to the newly proposed standard. ENCI was then presented with the results.

USA 1988: Mike Sottile Sr. (a Neapolitan Mastiff breeder from the US) imports a litter of 6 pups from a farmer in Sicily that he calls the rare “Sicilian Branchiero”. Later that same year, he drafts his own breed standard for the Sicilian Branchiero and registers all his imports with his privately owned registry – FIC (Federation of International Canines).

1990: ENCI allows Open Book Certification for adults that are consistent with the standard. A total of 561 Cane Corsos were certified by ENCI approved judges. In order to be approved, the dogs had to be inspected by two ENCI certified judges.  Pups born from two certified parents were eligible for registration in  Open Book as well as any offspring born from these dogs.

1988 – 1990: Mike Sottile Sr. continues to import Sicilian Branchieros. Somewhere within these years, the name of the dogs he imported and registered as Sicilian Branchiero was changed to Cane Corso.

1992/1993: Mark & Tracy Wilson and Ed & Kristie Hodas (Belmonte Kennels) form the International Cane Corso Federation in the United States. The Wilsons and The Hodas’ open and incorporate a privately owned, for profit, registry for the Cane Corso named the ICCF Registry.

1994: ENCI recognizes the Cane Corso as the 14th Italian breed.1994: Nancy Sottile, ex-wife of Mike Sottile Sr., took over the FIC registry.

1995: Mark Wilson & others travel to Italy on several occasions.  During one trip to Italy, Mark Wilson meets with S.A.C.C. in an attempt to obtain recognition for the ICCF as the approved American breed club.

1996: The Cane Corso is presented to FCI and is recognized on an international level. (Please note that FCI is an internationally known registry while FIC is a privately owned registry in the U.S.).

Late 1995-1996:  Mark Wilson leaves the ICCF for personal reasons.  The ICCF club and registry are separated.  The Hodas’ (Bel Monte) take ownership over the ICCF Registry.

1997: SACC sends a letter to ICCF stating they have no interest in recognizing the ICCF as the American breed club for the Cane Corso due to failures to meet SACC requirements.

1999: ENCI removes SACC as the official breed club for the Cane Corso. To date, there is no officially recognized breed club for the Cane Corso in Italy.

2000: ICCF revised its standard to more closely resemble that of the FCI standard for the Cane Corso Italiano.

2003/2004:  ENCI turns down the AICC and once again recognizes SACC as the official breed club for the Cane Corso

2010: AKC recognizes the Cane Corso.

July 2015: AKC no longer accepts ICCF registered Cane Corso.