The Cane Corso, an introduction.
The Cane Corso is an all purpose farm dog that descended from medieval hunting seizers. A seizer was a dog that people used in relays to hunt big game. It was the seizer's job to be released after the boar or other quarrelsome prey stopped running and turned to fight the bay dogs that ran it down. Seeing the combativeness of the prey caused the Cane Corso to spring into action, using its physical prowess and iron grip to subdue the animal until the hunter could kill it or otherwise handle the animal.
The mental ability to grab dangerous animals and the strength required to do-so easily found its way to the farms of the common folk who handled the dogs for the upper classes. The Cane Corso was put to work for the pig farmers, goat herders, sheep herders and for farmers with cows and horses regularly. As such, he was fine tuned on farms and homesteads by people surviving by any means necessary and making the most out of what they had, much like the modern homesteading movement, for hundreds of years.
It is said that the Cane Corso was a jack of all trades and people will use this as a reason to excuse a wide variation of size, types and temperaments but the truth is much more complex. The Cane Corso was almost named the Dogo di Puglia by the man largely responsible for its popularity today. This was to signify that the dog was the dog of Puglia, a small, rural area of Southern Italy. Being the Dogo di Puglia prescribed a certain necessary skill set and drive set conducive to the breed's survival in that area, and that area alone.
Today we find that, when bred for qualities that would have been important to the farmers and homesteaders of Puglia, the Cane Corso is an unparalleled dog for small farmers and homesteaders alike. He gives peace to goats, chickens, pigs and sheep alike. The Cane Corso should be a dog that is turned on by the fight, and not by the flight, meaning prey drive in the breed is absolutely minimal. The Cane Corso recognizes and defends weakness, often breaking up fights between roosters, keeping order among bucks in rut, putting animals back in their pen when they escape and most importantly, lending a hand to the farmer in almost every task.
Above all else, the Cane Corso is a guardian breed. It sees its master and family as its most prized possession and will defend them above all others. This means that unlike traditional flock guardian dogs that bond with the flock, the Cane Corso puts its master first. This is very handy when dealing with dangerous stock such as bulls and hogs. It is also beneficial when dealing with unsavory characters. The Cane Corso is distrusting of strangers and should never work for someone else, making it hard to be led away and resistant to taking food or treats from others.