The Cane Corso is an ancient Italian Molossian, which descend from the today extinct Canis pugnacis. People think that in earlier times this historical roman Molossian was the beginning of two very different breeds. On the one hand there was this massive/heavy dog, which is today well known as Mastino Neapolitano. On the other hand there was the bigger, lighter and more sportive Mastiff, which is today known as Cane Corso. The Cane Corso was used for big game hunting like wild boar, wolves and bears.
But during the years the Cane Corso was always used as guardian dog at often isolated yards and he helped the farmers to get the cattle to their pasture ground and back home. There the Cane Corso should protect the herd against wolves, bears and thieves. Furthermore the Cane Corso escorted the farmers to the markets, which were often far away.
By doing this job the Cane Corso should protect the farmers as well as the cattle against wild animals and thieves.
In the beginning the Cane Corso was most common in southern Italy, in the Kingdom of the two Sizilia. There the preservation of the breed was safe because of their usage.
During the 19th century and between both world wars the breed got more and more famous because of the increasing agri culture. But after the second world war most yards were modernized, which was the reason that less farmers used dogs like the Cane Corso. Because of this, the number of dogs of the breed Cane Corso declined more and more and the breed nearly became extinct. Luckily there were still a few Cani Corso in southern Italy, where the peole prefered tradional work. There the breed Cane Corso continued to exist. We have to thank those few families, that the ancestors of the Cane Corso survived.
In 1950 Prof. Giovanni Bonatti wrote about the Cane Corso in books and articles and he was sure that some Cani Corso survived in the region of Apulia.
In 1970/80 a group of Italians made the first steps to refound the breed and they created a breed standard. This group founded the "Societa Amatori Cane Corso" (SACC). In 1987 the leaders of SACC permitted the breed standard, which was composed by Dr. Morsiani.
In 1994 the ENCI (italian dog-governing organisation) accepted the Cane Corso Italiano as the 14th italian breed.
In 1996 the breed Cane Corso was officially acknowledged by the FCI.
Owners, breeder and people who know the breed very well, describe the Cane Corso as a very brave, smart, well trainable and very territorial dog.
Today the Cane Corso is still used very often as a guardian dog of the house and yards, as well as protection for humans and for trailing. Nevertheless the Cane Corso is today most often used as a family dog. There the Cane Corso becomes very fast a member of the human pack, but is always obvious. As a born guardian the Cane Corso very often only needs to show himself to solve a situation.
But because of the ancient function of a guardian dog, the drive to protection of this breed should never be underestimate. As soon as the Cane Corso becomes part of the pack, he would do anything to protect his pack/family. Because of this people should start working and training with the Cane Corso early enough, to discipline the drive to protection, when they will not work and use him as a guardian dog.
The Cane Corso is very often reluctant to strangers, but as soon as he likes someone he will always be faithful.
When it comes to education, you should always be aware of that the Cane Corso is on the one hand very willing to learn and to be trained, but at the same side he is very stubborn. That's the reason why a Cane Corso very often needs two or more times the same order till he will react. With loving consistency a Cane Corso is becoming a well trained dog. But never forget about how heavy an adult Cane Corso will be. Especially in unexpected situations you always need to have him under control.
Out of my own experiences I can tell, that the Cane Corso is an absolutley caring clumsy clot. Especially as a puppy or teenager they have massive problems to break and it can happen often that the owners get overrun.
With a good socialisation the Cane Corso is very good with other dogs. But especially the males often have some problems with other males. But of course each dog is different.
Last but not least, it's important to always have in mind, that the Cane Corso is totally grown up with around 3 years (this means the body as well as character). Because of this there are often more than one stages of teenage behavior. But when you stay consistent, you will have a faithful companion for the rest of your life. In my opinion the Cane Corso is not the best and easiest breed for starting having the first dog, because of the drive to protection and beeing stubborn. But all we owners and breeders have one thing in common - we all had our first Cane Corso. With your heart, clear mind, consistency and patience you will learn to understand the breed Cane Corso and then you will have a brave friend in your life.
The origianl "Bible" of the Cane Corso, which should be read by (future) owners, breeders and interested people is "Il Cane Corso" by Fernando Casolino/Stefano Gandolfi, which is originally written in italian language. Luckily since last year there is an english translation of this book "Il Cane Corso" (R.Carosio).