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Cane Corso breed Info

The Cane Corso is an Italian dog breed of dog used mainly as a guard dog. It is of the the large molosser type. The name means "Corso Dog", and if abbreviated should be called a "Corso" as Cane (pronounced kah-nay) simply means "dog" in italian.

Breed standards are still developing internationally, and they vary somewhat among different breed clubs. For example, the FCI standard #343 calls for a height at the withers from 60 to 68 cm (23.6 to 26.7 inches), with bitches in the lower ranges and males in the higher ranges, whereas the AKC affiliated club (International Cane Corso Federation) calls for 24.4-26.8 inches (62 to 68 cm). Similarly, different organizations call for weights in various ranges from 36-63.5 kg (80 to 140 pounds).

Its ears are naturally dropped forward, but where legal, many breeders crop them short and close to the head so that the remaining stubs stand upright. Most Corsos have cropped tails as well. (the standard calls for cropping at the 4th vertebra, although many are cropped shorter)
24.4-26.8 inches (62 to 68 cm)
36-63.5 kg (80 to 140 pounds).
(below quoted from the Cane Corso Preservation Society website)

The most classical use of the Cane Corso was in the hunting of the dangerous game, especially the wild boar. The Segugi (bloodhounds) and the Bracchi (hunting dogs) had to rouse the wild one and therefore, after a pursuit, to force it to halt allowing the hunters to arrive. The Cane Corso was let loose so that they would hurl on the wild boar and to stop it by catching it by the ears and the snout. This allowed the hunters to draw near unharmed and to end the big prey with a well arranged hit.

It was this final fray, this bloody epilogue, that exalted the men and that brought them to celebrate the scene in a long series of artistic representations.

Very similar to this was the job that the Cane Corso had developed with the cattleman and that also that of the butcher's dog.

Up to many years ago, the meat cattle were raised to the wild state in the uncultivated zones and had to arrive to the slaughter house in the city by being lead from the pockmarks for distances of about ten kilometers.

Being born and grown to the wild state, the herds had the whole dangerousness of wild animals. In order to control the cattle it was imperative to remove the bull from the middle, using to such end the Cane Corso. They had to stop the bull by grabbing it on the nose with an iron grip. With the pain caused in this sensitive part, it completely immobilized the big animal.

Always as drover, the Corso had to defend the herds from the great predators, the bear or the wolf, also from the plague of the cattle rustlers.

A type of very particular hunting in which the Corso was specialized was that of the badger. This large muskrat, from the nighttime habits, was very appreciated both for the fur, and for the taste of the meat and even for the fat, that when melted, was used as a lenitive ointment. Hunting was practiced at night and required dogs particularly trained, because the dark prevented the hunter from employing fire weapons. The Corso had to therefore catch the badger and to kill it with a strong bite behind the nape, before the badger could get in an erect position defend itself with its long and sharp claws.

A very constructive job was as "rural guardians". When on the farms, the crops were harvested, the majority of the country was abandoned by everybody. For many long months, until the time of the seeding, the only the shepherd remained: with only his/her companion the Cane Corso, essential to help the shepherd to defend from the criminals that would from time to time wander around the abandoned lands.

In the many months spent together, man and Cane Corso had a reciprocal understanding and with this understanding it was established, that the Cane Corso possessed an amazing intelligence. Also the carters that transported their possessions and commodities in the daytime and the night, along the wild roads, in the deep country, they continually feared the assaults of the thieves; for great safety they traveled in convoy with the escort of the Cane Corso. The many facets of the breed was also appreciated by the great feudal and Renaissance Lords that employed them, not only for the hunting to the great game, but also to guard the fortifications and as an instrument of war.

To such end the Corsi were harnessed with leather vests hardened so that they protected the breast and the back. In addition, some of these Corsi also wore an additional harness that allowed them to transport special containers with lit flammable substances on their backs.

When harnessed these dogs, called "piriferis", were of great effectiveness against the cavalry. Besides frightening the horses, they gave them painful burns.

With such a rich and similar past in the history of man, this breed was unable to not leave trace in the historical testimonies.

The bibliography is innumerable. It will be enough to remember, Teofilo Folengo in the "Maccheronee " (1552), the famous naturalist Konrad von Gesner in the "De Quadrupedibus" (1551), Erasmo of Valvasone in the "Della Caccia" (1591), Min?alumbo in the "Mammiferi di Sicilia" (1868), and even Giovanni Verga in the "Malavoglia" (1881).

As for the iconography is so vast that is impossible to catalog it.

To quote only the most important testimonies, remember the paintings of the Palace of Caserta (Reggia di Caserta) and the prints of Bartholomew Pinelli to reach the frescos of the Palazzo The di Mantova.

Less glorious and recent history begins just after the end of the second World War, in which their were fast changes to the economic conditions, the abandonment of the breeding of the cattle in the wild state, lead to the neglect of this breed, that so reduced it to only a few examples and grazed extinction.

In the early eighties, some canine enthusiasts, among which it is rightful to remember the Prof. Giovanni Bonatti, the Prof. Fernando Casolino, Dr. Stefano Gandolfi, the Sig. Gianantonio Sereni and the brothers Giancarlo and Luciano Malavasi, have picked up the challenge that of the recovery of the breed. Set forth and founded the Societ? Amatori Cane Corso, (SACC).

Amongst the many difficulties, the first samples were retrieved on the farms of the shape and desired look based on the searches on the historiography and iconografia regarding the breed, with the purpose to reconstruct a historical context that allowed a correct selection of the subjects. The dogs produced within the group were entrusted to new passionates, that helped to enlarge the formation of the S.A.C.C.

The ENCI followed their progress with great interest from the beginning, since the project of recovery of the breed was given to Dr. Antonio Morsiani to compile the Standard of breed. During 1988, in the shows of Milano, Firenze and Bari, the judges Morsiani, Perricone and Vandoni have put into practice the important measurements more of 50 Corsi to the goal of verifying their adherence to the suitable characteristics in the project of Standard. In the same year the member/partner Vito Indiveri introduced the result of the census of the rustic (peasant) subjects to the ENCI with the recording of 57 dogs, equipped by 97 photos. Comforted by these positive developments, the Directive Suggestion of the ENCI decided to institute an Open Book, which to enroll the subjects, that were tattooed and had shown they conformed to the Standard. From 1989 to 1992, more than 500 samples were added to the Open Book and in January 1994 the breed was officially recognized by the ENCI.

Today the Cane Corso is living a second youth thanks to that ability of adaptation that has always distinguished him in centuries of history. The Cane Corso is a good guardian of the property that watches over it from near the house or the kennel, rarely approaching the fencing therefore avoiding the chance of a malicious act towards him to injure or release him to the outside.

Having a sense of being very rooted to their territory and their family, and given the bond and relationship it has with its family; the Corso is not a dog to wander off looking for trouble.

It is a very malleable dog, easily trained, but it will be never be a robot: its intelligence is alive, given to easily perform with a small amount of personal guidance the assignments and the services to which is asked of him.

With the family it is a docile and sociable dog, particularly tolerant towards children with which, aware of its strength, it is particularly delicate. The Corso has a strong character, it doesn't need lavish attention, but he adores the demonstrations of affection.

Given attention, it reciprocates with as much intensity and it comes to show a devotion to his master without equal.
The Cane Corso should be a confident dog, very devoted to its family, and not pose a threat to strangers welcomed into the home. He is easily trained and generally naturally protective of children. Since the breed is very smart and active, it is advised that owners find activities to stimulate the dog. If not, they may turn to your possessions in their boredom. They also often suffer from separation anxiety. A dog that is aggressive may be unstable but more probably is under-socialised. Early and consistent socialisation is a requirement for this breed. A well trained and socialised Corso is not only a good ambassador for the breed, but for canines in general.