Cane Corso An Ancient Breed

About its Origins

Cane corso is a dog breed of the molossoid family. It has ancient Italian origins; it is a direct descendant of the so-called Roman 'canis pugnax', which, as mentioned elsewhere, was no doubt one of the factors in the supremacy of ancient Rome.

About the Name: 'Cane Corso'

On the origin of its name, some claim that the word derives from the Latin 'cohors', which means protector, guard.
Other researchers believe that it derives from the Greek word 'kortos', which would denote the 'courtyard', the 'fence' of the property, from which the word 'cohors' itself would originate, to indicate the protection of the garden of the house. This hypothesis would date the origin of the cane corso from the East and Magna Graecia.
Furthermore, another hypothesis would trace the name 'Corso' back to an ancient Celtic-Proven├žal term, meaning 'strong', 'powerful'. And this assumption seems reasonable, if we consider that even today we find the same element in terms such as 'corsiero' (a war horse belonging to the Middle Ages), or, again, in words like 'corso', meaning tough, proud in some Southern Italian dialects.

Physical Characteristics

In physical terms, the cane corso is a medium to large sized Molossian with a very developed musculature. The head, whilst sizeable, is well proportioned to the body; the gaze is proud, expressive, sometimes enigmatic, never treacherous; the dental closure is slightly prominent due to a powerful jaw marginally arched upwards and a slightly shorter jaw.
The neck is massive and the chest is well open and sloping.

Height and Weight


The coat is short but not shaved, despite being very robust and very dense (cow hair), so as to guarantee perfect waterproofing; an essential feature is the presence of an undercoat which, especially in winter, gets very thick.

Further information can be consulted in the ENCI FCI document describing the breed standards:

Cane corso standard (PDF - ~220 KB)