The Italian Mastiff, also known as the Cane Corso (pronounced KAH-nay COR-soh) or the Sicilian Branchiero, is the descendant of the Roman War Dogs (canis pugnax). The Roman War dogs were imported from Tibet in which they lived about a thousand years ago and where they were known as the Mastino dogs. In Tibet, they were used as guard dogs in the ancient monasteries. When brought to Rome, they served as warriors in Alexander Macedonian’s army and were used to perform in the coliseums fighting against lions. They were extremely powerful and courageous canines. Their skill set played a great role against wild boar, stag, bears and other animals.
|The Cane Corso is a close cousin of the Neapolitan Mastiff. They shared the same name until 1949. The Cane Corso far exceeds the speed and agility of the Neapolitan Mastiff. In 1137, the Cane Corso was used in the military (Monopli di Sabina, near Rome). But as time moved on, so did their role. An animal’s survival depends on their ability to work.
During the early days in Italy, hunting declined and so the survival of the Cane Corso became dependant on the Italian farmers. Cane Corsos have always been found in the south part of Italy, where you find agricultural farmlands. This is where a dog that is multi-talented would be able to thrive and used efficiently.
They were used as drovers while transporting animals to markets or slaughterhouses. Butchers would also use the assistance of Cane Corsos to trap animals when it came time for slaughtering. If a bull or an animal being slaughtered tried to escape or attack, the Cane Corso would be used to force the animal down by attacking its lips or nose. The Cane was also used as a protector of livestock and people. They were seen traveling alongside carts or stagecoaches to protect them and their contents from thieves.
|During World War II, there was a great decline in the Cane Corso due to the disappearance of wild game and the introduction of firearms.
Cane Corsos have always been found in the south part of Italy. This is where a dog that is multi-talented would be able to thrive and used efficiently. South of Italy is were you find agricultural farm lands. Cane’s are well balanced in character & disposition.
During the 70′s the Cane Corsos were closing in to the possibility of extinction. In 1976 an article was published in the Italian Kennel Club’s (ENCI) magazine that helped lead the way of rehabilitating the Cane Corso. Dr. Breber established a rescue foundation with enthusiasts that remained in touch with him since the article was published. The SACC (Societa Amatori Cane Corso) was established in October of 1983. By 1986 Dr. Breber left the association. The association was left in the hands of Stafan Gandolif, Ganantonio Sereni and Fernando Casolino.
The AICC remains in close contact with the CCAA formerly known as the ICCF. The Holland’s Cane Corso Club of the Netherlands (CCCN) is another organization dedicated to the breed.