A mastiff-type breed that originated in Southern Italy, the Cane Corso, also known as the Cane de Macellaio or the Italian Mastiff, was bred to be used as a guardian and working dog. The breed's name comes from the Latin word cohors meaning "protector" or "guardian." The Roman Molossian, an ancestor of the Cane Corso and Neapolitan Mastiff, was used to catch wild hogs, herd cattle, and even participated in the deadly sport of bull-baiting throughout Italy for centuries, giving their descendants strength and versatility. After the fall of the Roman Empire, these large dogs were seen mostly as guardians of henhouses and farmsteads. Due to industrialization and decreased popularity in Italy, they faced near-extinction if it were not for the dedication of Italian breeders during the 1980s. Today, the Cane Corso is one of the most popular molossoid breeds in the United States.
At a glance, the Cane Corso can seem very intimidating, which attests to their use as a guard dog and the first line of defense against unwanted intruders. Even though these dogs are known for their massive size, they move with elegance and ease. Able to tip the scales at over 110 pounds, Cane Corsi have a large head, heavy rectangular body, and a short, dense, and shiny coat that comes in a variety of different solid and brindle colors. Their medium-sized eyes and triangular-shaped ears, commonly seen cropped, give the breed an alert expression and imposing appearance. They have a broad, square-shaped muzzle with a black or self-colored nose depending on the coat in diluted colors such as gray or gray brindle. The Corso's natural tail is of medium length but is commonly seen docked.
Originally bred to be a protector and hunter, the Cane Corso definitely earned their nickname the "bodyguard dog." Regardless of their imposing appearance and standoff-ish attitude towards strangers, they can be quite affectionate and fiercely devoted to their family, especially with children. Cane Corsi exude confidence and intelligence, allowing for easy training with a firm owner, always willing to learn new disciplines and tasks with eagerness. These massive dogs are not an appropriate choice for first-time or inexperienced dog owners due to their dominant personalities but require an owner who understands pack mentality and can take charge of this strong-willed breed. As with many large guardian dogs, early obedience training and socialization are very important for them to understand what is considered a threat and to avoid unwanted aggressive behavior with new people or animals. They take their job of protecting their family from unwanted strangers seriously, making them an incredible guard and watchdog. The Cane Corso is better suited for a family with older children rather than babies or toddlers due to their large size and the closely supervised interactions that will be needed for small children. Great in a household with an assertive owner who can give them the appropriate amount of outdoor exercise, the Cane Corso can make a wonderful companion that will always protect you from harm.