Cane Corso Breed History And Origin

With their size, Cane Corsos are excellent protectors and guard dogs. The descendant of fighting dogs, the modern Cane Corso exudes a natural grandeur and strength. They appear severe and even frightening, but in reality, they develop genuine friendships with their masters and stay close to them for the rest of their lives.

The Cane Corso, the 14th breed developed in Italy, is its national treasure and source of pride. The active nature of the Italian people was also mirrored in this guard dog, which combined the loyalty of the shepherds and the bravery of the fighting breeds.

Italian Cane Corso dogs are unsurpassed guardians because of their sensitivity and intuition. They stand ready to defend the owner as well as his family members at all times and in any circumstance. Alarm systems are not necessary in case this breed of dog resides in your home.

They vary from other security dogs in that they will aggressively greet a robber who has broken into the residence, and the intruder will regret meeting them. So, before you bring a Cane Corso dog at home, let’s learn about the breed’s origin and history in this article below:

Absolutely! Here’s a detailed breakdown of the Cane Corso’s origins, their fascinating history, and key takeaways for understanding this captivating breed:

Cane Corso Breed History And Origin : The Cane Corso: Ancient Roots and Modern Revival

  • Roman War Dogs to Farm Guardians: The Cane Corso lineage dates back to massive Molossus war dogs of ancient Greece and Rome. Upon conquering Greece, the Romans bred these dogs with Italian breeds, creating the Cane Corso, a versatile working dog used for guarding, hunting, and even fighting in arenas.
  • Decline and Resurgence: After World Wars I and II, the breed nearly went extinct. Thanks to dedicated enthusiasts in the 1970s, the Cane Corso was revived and their unique qualities preserved.
  • Official Recognition: Their efforts led to the Cane Corso gaining recognition by major kennel clubs:
    • 1994: Ente Nazionale Cinofilia Italiana (Italy)
    • 1996: Fédération Cynologique Internationale (International)
    • 2010: American Kennel Club

Historical Milestones

This timeline highlights key points in the Cane Corso’s rich history:

  • 1137 B.C. (approx): The Molossus, the Cane Corso’s ancestor, emerges in Greece.
  • Roman Era: Romans bring Molossi to Italy, crossbreeding for the powerful, agile Cane Corso.
  • Middle Ages to 20th Century: Cane Corsos become valued farm and hunting dogs in Southern Italy.
  • World Wars I and II: Breed numbers dwindle drastically.
  • 1970s: Resurgence of interest among breed enthusiasts in Italy.
  • 1983: Society Amorati Cane Corso (SACC) is founded to promote the breed.
  • 1988: The first Cane Corsos are imported to the United States.
  • 1994: ENCI officially recognizes the Cane Corso.

Key Takeaways

  • Legacy of Strength and Loyalty: The Cane Corso’s history is intertwined with war, protection, and resilience. Modern-day Corsos still embody these traits.
  • Importance of Responsible Breeding: The Cane Corso’s near-extinction highlights ethical breeding practices for preserving breed health and temperament.
  • Not Just a Pretty Face: Understanding the working dog roots of the Cane Corso offers insights into their exercise needs and guarding instincts.
  • A Breed in Progress: The Cane Corso continues to evolve, with dedicated breeders working to refine the breed’s best qualities.

The Cane Corso’s history is a story of survival and a testament to the passion of those who admire this distinctive breed. Their journey from gladiatorial combat to beloved family companions is a remarkable one.

Origin Story Of Cane Corsos

Although the Cane Corso dog breed has been around for a while, it wasn’t given official recognition until 1994. The breed’s origins date back to the Roman era. Several experts and Cane Corso enthusiasts have concluded that combat dogs that were actively produced in Carthage and Macedonia are present in this breed.

These canines are courageous bodyguards and guards because of their “fighting” origins. Even the word “Corso” denotes protection and guardianship.

Several sources have conflicting information: some claim that the aristocrats used these dogs to hunt bears, while others assert that they served as effective guard dogs for the owner’s deer, bears, and wild boar. According to some historians, dogs may have even participated in gladiator battles.

Cane Corsos were used to amuse the general audience by engaging in combat with lions. The breed was particularly well-liked in ancient times and frequently mentioned in folktales and proverbs. These are courageous war dogs of the Romans. These bodyguard-dog breeds were formerly thought of as wild beasts, yet today they are among the finest household dogs for Cane Corso lovers.

They have been working on selecting dogs for the previous 10 to 20 years to restore their bravery and protective instinct. They are no longer on the same level as their gladiator forebears, yet they’re still superb guardians and dependable allies.

The very first Italian Mastiff entered the US in 1980. Since then, the ENCI (Ente Nazionale Cinofilia Italiana), the FCI (International Kennel Club), and the AKC (American Kennel Club) have all recognized the Il Cane Corso dog breed as a legitimate canine variety.

Start your search through the Cane Corso Association of America, which we established for fans of the breed.

Cane Corso: History And Historical milestones:

Let’s learn in detail about Cane Corso’s history. This history of the Cane Corso dog will let you know everything about these large breed dogs.

This war dog was originally bred in Southern Italy by the Green Molossi tribe in around 1137 A.D. As soon as the Roman Empire intruded on the Greek islands, they took a few of these dog breeds back to Italy to breed cross-breeds with native Italian breeds of dogs. The 2 breeds that appeared were Cane Corso as well as its larger cousin the Neapolitan Mastiff. So, here is the historical milestone of Cane Corso.

1957: The first article was published by Professor Giovanni Bonatti that mentioned that we should save the Cane Corso dogs.

The 1970s: Cane Corso’s recovery started

1980: The Cane Corso went almost extinct after World War II. However, experienced a rejuvenation in the 1970s in Italy, and was carried to the US in the 1980s. The two World Wars destroyed the best dogs in Italy.

1983: The Society Amorati Cane Corso or Società Amatori Cane Corso – The SACC, is initiated by Dr. Breber and 5 others. This good dog breed measure is published in “Il Cano Corso”. a book by Dr. Giovanni Ventura.

1984: The Society Amorati Cane Corso contacts ENCI (Ente Nazionale Cinofilia Italiana) to initiate the procedure of recognizing Cane Corso’s big dogs.

1986: Ente Nazionale Cinofilia Italiana allocates Dr. Antonio Morsiani to prepare a prototype for this powerful dog.

1987: The official benchmark of the Cane Corso dog is backed by ENCI (Ente Nazionale Cinofilia Italiana).

1988: Over 50 Cane Corsos from various regions of Italy were surveyed to gauge how closely they resembled the recently developed standard. The outcomes were then presented to ENCI.

1988: A breeder of Neapolitan Mastiffs from the United States named Mike Sottile Sr. brings a litter of six puppies in Sicily from a farmer that he refers to as the endangered “Sicilian Branchiero.” Later that year, he creates the Sicilian Branchiero breed standard on his own and registers all of his imports with his privately-owned registry, the Federation of International Canines (FIC).

1990: Adults who adhere to the standard are eligible for Open Book Certification under ENCI. Judges accredited by ENCI certified 561 Cane Corsos in total. The canines had to pass 2 judges who were certified by ENCI to be accepted. Any progeny born from these dogs, as well as puppies born from two recognized parents, were permitted to register in Open Book.

1988 – 1990: Sicilian Branchieros are still being imported by Mike Sottile Sr. The dogs he bought and enrolled as Sicilian Branchiero had their name changed to Cane Corso at some point during these years.

1992/1993: The International Cane Corso Federation is based in the US and was founded by Mark and Tracy Wilson as well as Ed and Kristie Hodas. The ICCF Registry is established by The Wilsons & The Hodas as a privately held, for-profit registration for Cane Corsos.

1994: Ente Nazionale Cinofilia Italiana acknowledges the Cane Corso dog breed as the fourteenth breed from Italy.

1994: Mike Sottile’s former wife Nancy gained control of the FIC register.

1995: Mark Wilson tried to get the ICCF certification as the recognized American breed club by meeting S.A.C.C.

1996: The Cane Corso, which has gained international recognition, is given to FCI. Please take note that although FIC is a subsidiary registered in the United States, FCI is a globally renowned registry. Mark Wilson quits the ICCF in the late 1990s for private reasons. The ICCF registry and club are different entities. The ICCF Register becomes the property of the Hodas family (Bel Monte).

1997: Because the ICCF has not complied with SACC regulations, the SACC has no interest in recognizing the ICCF for the Cane Corso as an American breed club.

1999: SACC is no longer recognized by ENCI as the official Cane Corso breed group. Italy does not currently have a Cane Corso breed club that is recognized by the government.

2000: This Cane Corso Italiano measure from the ICCF was updated to more closely mirror the FCI standard.

2003/2004: Ente Nazionale Cinofilia Italiana rejects the AICC and once more accepts SACC as the Cane Corso breed’s official breed club.

2010: The Cane Corso is recognized by AKC.

July 2015: The AKC no longer recognizes Cane Corsos with ICCF registration.


Hope you get your answer on Cane Corso’s origin and history. If this article was helpful, keep reading our other articles on Cane Corso. However, since it is a hunting dog breed, this is certainly not for first-time dog owners.

Aapt Dubey
Aapt Dubey

Aapt Dubey, a devoted canine enthusiast and experienced dog Owner, brings boundless passion to our team. With a heart full of love for our four-legged friends, Aapt is dedicated to sharing insights on dog care, behavior, and training to make every pup's life happier and healthier at

Know More

Recommended For You