Cane Corso is an Italian breed of dog valued as a companion, guardian and hunter.
It is a large Italian Molosser, closely related to the Neapolitan Mastiff. It is well muscled and less bulky than most of the Mastiffs. This breed is known as true and might be the last of the coursing Mastiffs. The official FCI standard demands ideal dogs to stand 62-72 cm (24-28 in), with the females in the lower range and males in higher. Their weight should be in accordance with their size and should range from 50 to 60 kg (110 to 130 lb). A Corso should be tight-skinned except for the dewlap on neck and its bottom of the jawline is defined by the hanging lip.
The head of the Corso is the most important feature of its body. It is large, imposing and gives the appearance of regality. The forehead should be flat and convergent to the flat, rectangular and wide muzzle. The eyes are almond in shape, set straight and when viewed from the front, are set above the line of muzzle. Darker eyes are preferred and ears are cropped generally in equilateral triangles that stand erect.
This breed occurs in two basic coat colours: black an fawn. This is further modified by doing genetic changes to create grey (from black) and frumentino or formentino (from fawn) colours. Brindling of varying intensity is common on both basic coat colours, creating tigrato (black brindle) and grigio tigrato (grey brindle). White markings are found on the chest, tips of toes, the chin and the bridge of the nose. Large white patches are undesirable. The average life expectancy is 10 to 12 years.
The Cane Corso is the descendant of the canis pugnax, dogs used by the Romans in warfare. Its name derives from the cane da corso, an old term used for the catch dogs in rural activities (for cattle and swine, boar hunting and bear fighting) as distinct from the cane da camera which indicates the catch dog kept as a bodyguard. It was found in some districts of Southern Italy, especially in Basilicata, Campania and Puglia.
The Cane Corso is a catch dog used with cattle and swine, in wild boar hunts and also to guard property, livestock and families. Some of them are still used for the same purposes. It was also used by the night watchmen, keepers and also by the carters to drive their cart.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) first recognized it in 2010. the popularity of the breed continues to grow, ranking 50th in the United States in 2013, a jump from 60th place in 2012.