The Cane Corso is one of two native Italian “mastiff type" dogs that descend from the Roman the canis Pugnaces. Both the Cane Corso and Neapolitan Mastiff are the rightful heirs to this legendary war dog. The Cane Corso being the light version, adept at hunting game or a versatile farm hand. Sturdy, strong and athletic, equipped with a vigorous temper, ready to meet any challenge. The Neapolitan Mastiff, the heavy version, a stout, imposing and fearsome guard dog. The very sight of him would be enough to frighten away any with ill intent.
The term “Cane Corso” is historically as much an adjective as it is a noun. It describes a type of dog you need to perform certain tasks, historically associated with this type of dog. There is documentation to support that as early as 1137 A.D. this term was synonymous with the lighter variety of the molossian dog. While the etymology of this term is open to debate, there are many valid hypotheses to its employment. Cane in Italian, even today means dog, a derivative of the Latin canis. Also in Latin, Cohors- this would mean bodyguard. Corsus, would be an ancient Italian provincial adjective which translates to sturdy or robust. The term however does not mean that the dog originates in Corsica. In the past this breed had been known by names with provincial connotations such as Dogo di Puglia. Cane Corso, however is a broader term that encompasses the breed’s diffusion throughout all of Italy and Sicily. The Cane Corso was so prized and held in such high regard that there are several metaphors and antidotes associated with its name; "can corso, a man of proud aspect and attitude." "He bites worse than a cane Corso;" “je’nu cors, is what an elderly peasant would say to describe a young man who was the essence of moral and physical virtue”