Showsight Presents The Cane Corso

CORSO CANE

Let’s Talk Breed Education!

Cane Corso CANE CORSO ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA BREED EDUCATION T he lack of consistency continues to be a major problem in the Cane Corso. We believe the lack of

CORRECT MUZZLE LENGTH: IT’S NOT WHAT YOU THINK! Th e standard calls for a 1:3 ratio, yes. But this measurement is often misinter- preted as the “Midpoint.” Th at is incorrect. Th e 1:3 is a boundary measurement put in place to guard against excessively short muzzles. If the muzzle is shorter than 1:3, it changes expression, causes the convergence to be extreme, and is associated with excessive undershot, round/bulging eyes, and pinched nares. In a nutshell, a muzzle that is too short fundamentally changes the head type; and this head type, however popular or common, is not correct. Th is concept is clear when we review our breed history. During the recovery, many examples of Corso farm dogs were measured and cataloged. As a result, a dog named Basir was determined to have the ideal muzzle. His muzzle measured 38% of his overall head length. Th at is 5% longer than the boundary in the standard. So, as you evaluate muzzle length, remember history; 33 to nearly 40% is correct Corso type. Anything shorter will typically lack correct breed head type. ANTERIOR FACE OF THE MUZZLE IS FLAT: NOTHING SHOULD BE STICKING OUT! Th ere is always a lot of talk about which bite is correct for the Corso. Almost always a muzzle with the correct front will always accompany a functional bite. Here’s the trick; when viewed from the side, the line from the nose down to the chin is per- pendicular. Th e de fi nition is critical here. Perpendicular lines are de fi ned as two lines that meet or intersect each other at right angles (90°). So, the nose appears as the top “corner” for front of the muzzle and the horizontal line of the bridge of the muzzle. Th e chin is the bottom “corner” for the muzzle front and the horizontal jawline. Th e nose should not stick out over the chin and the chin should not jut out beyond the point of the nose; neither is prominent. SLIGHT CONVERGENCE: NO DOME FOREHEADS OR SKI SLOPES, PLEASE. education and the misunderstanding of breed traits is a signi fi cate factor. Th erefore, the Breed Educa- tion department of the CCAA has put together some points that may help judges and the fancy sort out problems areas. 1 2 3 Th e parameters de fi ning the space between the stop and occiput (little bump at the back of the skull between the ears) may be one of the breed’s most misunderstood. Over the years, and with the shortening of the muzzle, we have seen a radical change in the shape and incline of the forehead. A change that has made correct convergence uncommon. We must retrain our eyes. When viewed from the side, the skull gradu- ally fl ows back from the pronounced brow and slightly inclines toward the back skull. Th e forehead does not ascend directly up from the brow. Th e forehead’s side pro fi le should not bulge or be rounded, like a football helmet. If the slope of the forehead is steep and is at an angle suitable for skiing, this is a clear sign of outside breed in fl u- ence. *Note: no convergence will exhibit parallel planes, which is also unacceptable. >

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CANE CORSO

“THERE IS NOTHING ABOUT THE BREED THAT SAYS FINE BONE OR SLOPPY COUCH POTATO.”

WELL-DEFINED STOP. PUT YOUR THUMB IN IT. Corso eyes are wide-set. Th ey have a pronounced brow that serves as a protection for the slightly inset eye. From the side, the stop looks kind of like a step

length; creating moderate angulation. We often see long thighs and short hocks in the Corso. Th is incorrect framework places a tre- mendous amount of weight on the knee. A correct, moderate hock bears the brunt of quick direction change. Moderate angulation, along with a moderate pelvis tilt and balanced rear, is critical to the breed’s ability to function. Properly built, the massive rear end is less susceptible to knee and hip injuries.

from the horizontal muzzle bridge to the forehead that slopes gradually back from the brow. When viewed from the front, there is a distinct depression between the wide-set eyes. Th is well-de fi ned depression should be wide and deep enough for your thumb to easily rest down into it.

ELONGATED TROT/EXTENDED REACH AND DRIVE—HIGH HEADED, PRANCING PONIES NEED NOT APPLY. Envision rippling muscle and substance, covering

DISTINCTLY RECTANGULAR IN PRO- PORTION. IF YOU THINK IT MIGHT BE TOO SQUARE…IT IS! Correct length of body is a critical component to function in the breed. When the front and rear

signi fi cant ground with an e ff ortless, elongated trot. He carries his massive head down and forward as he glides; topline rigid and level. He takes long, clean strides, utilizing his energy e ffi ciently. His movement is smooth, aerodynamic and almost surprising consider- ing his mass. Short, delicate steps and head held high may be fl ashy, but it’s not correct for a Corso. SIZE AND SUBSTANCE.

assembly are put together correctly, the Corso is capable of extended reach and drive, allowing it to cover ground most e ffi - ciently. Short backed Corso often take shorter steps or are forced to turn their bodies sideways to move correctly. Ten percent body length is a boundary measurement to protect the breed from becoming too “square.” Most Corso that travel in an elon- gated trot are longer and certainly fall within the parameters of correct breed type.

Th e Corso is a perfect blend of bone, substance, stark muscle de fi nition and athletic ability. Static, he gives the impression of mass and power. In motion, he

moves with e ffi ciency. He is never sloppy or cumbersome. When asked what size a Corso should be, the answer should be something like this: “Athletic enough to run tirelessly after large, formidable game; substantial enough to dispatch it once he arrives.” Th ere is nothing about the breed that says fi ne bone or sloppy couch potato. HIS PRESENCE—A NOTE TO JUDGES.

ELBOWS SIT DIRECTLY UNDER THE WITHERS. SHORT UPPER ARMS BE- LONG TO A T-REX, NOT A CORSO. Th e correct con fi guration of the Corso’s front

end is exceedingly essential. Th e weight of the large head, pow- erful neck, and muscular chest account for over 60% of the total mass of the dog. Th at mass bears down on the front, and if that weight is not evenly distributed, injury is likely, and per- formance is a ff ected. Short upper arms and straight shoulders are becoming commonplace in our breed. Th is poor structure places tremendous strain on elbows and shoulders and pasterns. It restricts reach and often creates a pinched, narrow chest. Cor- so shoulders are well laid back, the upper arm is of comparable length to the scapula and that elbow sits directly beneath those withers. When viewed from the side, the correct front assembly creates a vertical, even line of weight distribution from the with- ers down to the elbow, down the leg, pastern and rests squarely on the pads of the foot, not the toes! BALANCED REARS—ALL THINGS BEING EQUAL.

Powerful and imposing? Truly distinct char- acteristics of a Cane Corso stacked and waiting

for examination. A judge that wishes to see the dog at his full poten- tial should remember the least amount of intrusion by a stranger accomplishes this best. Here are a few helpful tips: 1. Always approach from the front, avoiding imposing stares into the dog’s eyes. 2. A judge should not expect a mature Corso to be a “wag and greet” kind of dog. An obedient, stoic participant is more than acceptable from this Guardian breed. However, stoic should not be confused with “asleep at the wheel”. A Corso should be alert and watchful at all times. His expression should be distinctly intelligent. Fearfulness or aggression is not acceptable. 3. Greet the handler fi rst and ask them to show the bite when the time comes. Limit extensive, heavy-handed exams. If a puppy seems apprehensive, make it fun. 4. Th e Corso is very sensitive to his surroundings and is quick to pick up on unsettling situations. Anyone who is apprehensive about the breed should not judge them.

Just as the front end of the Corso should be built to distribute weight evenly, the muscular rear is

con fi gured for correct weight placement, and is capable of pow- erful drive and quick direction changes. Th is is accomplished when the bones, the pelvis, both thighs and hocks, are of similar

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CANE CORSO THE

1. Where do you live? What is your occupation? How many years in dogs? 2. Do you have any hobbies or interests apart from breeding and showing dogs? 3. How did you first become aware of the Cane Corso? 4. Is it fair to say the breed is more athletic than its Molosser cousins? 5. Can you speak to the Cane Corso’s size and proportion? 6. What are the most important head characteristics of the breed? 7. How important is coat color? Pigment? Eye color? 8. Are Cane Corsos particularly trainable? 9. What should novice owners know about the breed before getting one? 10. Do you have a funny story you can share about your life with the Cane Corso? 11. Is there anything else you’ d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. SUZETTE BOEHMS We live in Middle

We decided to get another to be with me on the farm. In February 2016, Sebec came to live with us and has changed our lives. Now we have three bitches with him. Under the mentorship of our co-own- ers, we desire to help preserve the integrity of this majestic breed. In our spare time, we are with our dogs. We participate in UpDog events, conformation, dock diving, scent training and play- ing in the creek. How did I first become aware of the Cane Corso? In 2004, when I got my first Corso. Is it fair to say my breed is more athletic than its Molosser cous- ins? Yes! These guys are super intelligent with the athleticism to boot. They must have a job for mental stimulation. Can I speak to the Cane Corso’s size and proportion? As with any breed, there are outliers in the gene pool. More important than size is proportion. Form to function is an absolute must. This is a Working breed and must be able to carry out their function. What are the most important head characteristics of the breed? There are more important pieces to the dog than the head. How- ever, they must not have small nares and a short muzzle. Eyes need to be almond-shaped, not round. Here again, they must be able to work. How important is coat color, pigment and eye color? Structure and function are much more important than coat color. Are Cane Corsos particularly trainable? Corsos are the most intelligent of the canines that I have been around. They are very trainable with a knowledgable trainer. What should novice owners know about my breed before getting one? Corsos require a job. They must have daily mental stimulation and not be allowed to get bored. In addition, the owners must be hyperaware of their energy level. If the owner’s energy drops, the Corsos’ energy will increase. My Corsos force me to maintain my energy, which they respect. I am the boss all the time. It is a respect and love relationship. Respect is paramount. A funny story I can share about my life with the Cane Corso? When Sebec was participating in Barn Hunt (which he loved), he was so intense. When he would find a rat I would hold him for the rat wranglers to remove the tube. Those around the ring would comment on his intensity. When he was going into the ring, he would have lots of spectators. He was a course-buster with his art of flying around the ring in search of his arch enemy, the rat. I’d also like to share that I will always have Corsos. >

Tennessee. I am a Food Safety and Quality Man- ager for Agrana Fruit US, and John is the Regional Manager of Operations, Entergy Fleet of Day & Zimmermann Inc. I have had dogs all my life. John and I raised stock dogs for many years. I got my first Corso in 2004. I found her in an advertisement in a news- paper. She was the runt and was four months old. The first couple of

nights I wondered what in the world I had done. She and I bonded immediately and she became part of my soul. I lost her to osteosar- coma in September 2015. She was the best $500 I had ever spent.

Corsos are the most intelligent of the canines that I have been around. They are very trainable with a knowledgable trainer.

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CANE CORSO Q&A

These are impressive dogs, but this is not a breed for everyone. I would strongly recommend that anyone who is considering getting a Corso interact with the breed first. See if they can handle such a powerful, intelligent dog.

AYALLA RUVIO

and 27 ½ inches and females should be between 23 ½ and 26 inches. There is no weight restriction for the Cane Corso in the standard, but it needs to be proportionate to its height. What are the most important head characteristics of the breed? There isn’t one most important head characteristic of the breed, in my view. All of the elements of the head should work together to construct the look that is indicative of the breed. A Corso should look like a Corso; not like a Boxer, Bullmastiff or a Presa. Too short or too long of a muzzle, too many wrinkles, incorrect angulations of the head, incorrect stop, incorrect eye shape and color, and small nostrils will all result in a look that deviates from what the breed should look like. That said, the expression of the Corso is extremely important as well. It needs to be fierce, impressive and noble. How important is coat color, pigment and eye color? They are very important, as well as the length of the coat, the shape of the eyes, and any other characteristic of the breed. These are not ran- dom features. Historically, they served a purpose. They were sup- posed to help the Cane Corso perform as best it could. Are Cane Corsos particularly trainable? Cane Corso are extremely trainable. These are Working dogs. They are waiting for us to tell them what to do and they will happily do it. The more you work and train them, the happier they will be. Training addresses their psychological needs, which are as important as the physical ones. Corsos are very versatile in their abilities. Our dogs do many things, including therapy, protection, showing, obedience, track- ing and much more. Training a Corso should not be harsh. There is no need to break the spirit of the Corso to get an obedient dog. Training needs to be constructive, consistent, and fun for both the owner and the dog. If you can do this, you will have the best dog you’ve ever owned. What should novice owners know about my breed before get- ting one? The first thing I would recommend a novice owner to know is how to pronounce the name of the breed correctly. This is not a Kane Corso, or a King Corso; it’s a Cane Corso. Cane is not an English word; it’s an Italian word that means “dog.” Substan- tively, I would say that owners need to think long and hard about whether this is the right breed for them. These are impressive dogs, but this is not a breed for everyone. I would strongly recommend that anyone who is considering getting a Corso interact with the breed first. See if they can handle such a powerful, intelligent dog. Do they have the time and resources to commit to the well-being of the puppy? Does everyone in the family feel comfortable with hav- ing such big dogs? Owners need to remember that if they rush out to get a Corso, it will be the puppy that will pay the price of their rushed decision. A funny story about my life with the Cane Corso? I once got a phone call from a woman asking me if I was a Kane Corso breeder. I told her, “No. I am a Cane Corso breeder.” Her response was, “Sorry. I dialed the wrong number,” and she hung up.

I am a marketing professor at the Broad College of Business, Michigan State Uni- versity. Go Green! My family and I are originally from Israel, and today we live in Williamston, which is a beautiful, small

town in Michigan. I have been a breeder for 15 years. I had my first Corsos, Puma and Zarina, in Israel before we moved to the United States in 2008. We got them from Lazar Gerassi (Gerassi Corso) and brought them with us when we moved. Zarina was our foun- dation female, a true Corso and an amazing dog. She was my soul mate, and I miss her every day. Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from breeding and showing dogs? Who has time? With a full-time job, taking care of the six Corsos that we have (and, of course, some family time) there is very little time for anything else. We do spend a lot of time train- ing and showing our dogs, and we actively participate in different dog-related sports such as lure coursing, obedience, and protection. Our dogs are also therapy dogs and we volunteer in different places such as schools, nursing homes and MSU. How did I first become aware of the Cane Corso? I think my journey to the breed was similar to that of many others. Years back, we lost our adopted German Shepherd at the amazing age of 17 years old. We were looking to get another German Shepherd, but then, when I was looking online, I saw an advertisement for a Cane Corso. I’d never heard about such a breed until then. I was curious to know more about it. So, I started researching it. There wasn’t much about it back then, and there was only one Cane Corso breed- er in Israel. We drove three hours to meet him. I remember him opening the door and this amazing, huge dog came out. His name was Zeus and it was love at first sight. Since that moment, my heart has belonged to this incredible breed. It is accurate to say that the Cane Corso should be more athletic than its Molosser cousins. The Corso should be an athletic, agile and physically fit dog in accordance with its original purpose as a Working dog. The Cane Corso standard indicates that the Corso needs to “move with considerable ease and elegance.” Unfortunate- ly, there is a trend in our breed to produce bigger and bigger dogs at the expense of their athletic ability. According to the AKC standard, the Cane Corso should be a medium-large size dog. Its length should be about 10% greater than its height. A Cane Corso body should have a rectangular, not square, structure. The height of a male Corso should be between 25

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THE CANE CORSO

MASSIMO INZOLI I live in Sicily and I am general manag- er of a hotel located in the middle of the island. I was a child when I first entered the dog world. My first dogs were a York- shire Terrier and a German Shepherd; then we had Sheepdogs, Neapolitan Mas- tiffs and a Great Dane. I began exhibiting in the early 90s and then I started training in 2000 as a show judge. My first qualifica- tion was in 2004 for the Dogo Argentino. JIMMY STANCIO

up the process and have immediate positive results. In due time these errors are paid for. Now they see Cane Corso reminiscent of Bullmastiffs, Boxers, etc. The Cane Corso is a Molossoid breed with type that consists of both average substance and overall elegance. The head is its focal point. It must have skull and muzzle angles slightly converging. It must be of good length and with as few wrinkles as possible. It is important that it doesn’t have rotund lines and that it is angular with straight lines. The jaw should be powerful and wide with a full muzzle and body should be developed in width and height. It must have good substance and backbone and not lose the qualities that distinguished the breed at the beginning of its recognition. JS: Correct head type which is a major problem right now and solid structure necessary for the working heritage of this breed. 4. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? MI: There have been many exaggerations in the breed in recent years. The search for wider skulls has led to an increasingly evident shortening of same. We have very large heads and faces. In addition, the heads are short- ened too much and have wrinkles and excess skin. In becoming shorter, the heads have also become rounded. Many subjects are prognathic with lower jaws too similar to a Bullmastiff. The heads must be powerful with good length and as few wrinkles as possible. The lines of the skull must remain straight. JS: Size, size and size. The breed is currently suffering from a bigger is better mentality. Many of the dogs are too big and too bulky to perform the historical tasks of a versatile Italian farm dog capable of performing whatever tasks were required by the farmer. Some of these tasks are herding and protecting livestock, hunting small game such as Badger and Porcupine and the catching and hold- ing of large game such as wild boar. Most importantly they had to be able to do this in the hot climate of south- ern Italy for extended periods of time during the day, day after day week after week. I see dogs that are champions and grand champions that far exceed the max height in the standard of 27.5 for a male and 26 for a female. In addition we have no reference for weight in the AKC standard. The Italian kennel club standard has the same exact height values plus a weight of 110 pounds for males and 100 pounds for females. Even with that the dogs in Italy and Europe do exceeded these weights on a regular basis which is OK to a degree. However it is even harder here in the US to maintain a correct and realistic weight without an actual weight reference. Fortunately the AKC standard does start with a description that states

I have homes in both south Alabama and central Florida. I have owned various automotive repair facilities over the years mostly transmission shops. I sold the last one in 2008 and semi-retired as I remain active in the industry as a technical and operations consultant. I have been active- ly involved with dogs all of my life. I have been showing for almost 20 years now

and became a breeder judge for the Cane Corso by way of the adjunct systemwhen the breed moved into working group the summer of 2010. 1. Number of years owning and/or showing the Cane Corso? What attracted you to the breed? RH: I have 16 years in the breed—I got my first Cane Corso, Saxon, in 1999. I began showing my girl Nani in 2005. After growing up with Rottweilers, I decided to seek a different breed. My primary target was Neapolitan Mas- tiffs, but as I did more and more research, I found more info about the Corso. The combination of sturdiness and agility made it a good fit. The striking appearance was icing on the cake.

2. Describe the Cane Corso in three words: MI: Versatile, athletic and reliable.

JS: A real eye catcher with a very distinctive presence. Intelligent and capable of any task. And Historical as the Corso is the closest modern day breed to the ancient Roman Molossian. 3. What are your “must have” traits in this breed? MI: I would first say what they should not have: it should not be a copy of the related breeds! The Cane Corso is a breed of recent recognition and in some cases there have been mating with related breeds. This is done to speed

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“EVERY IMPORTANT BREED SPECIFIC TRAIT SUCH AS A RELATIVELY SHORT MUZZLE, SKULL CONVERGENCE, STOP AND UNDERSHOT BITE SHOULD BE PRESENT BUT NEVER EXCESSIVE.”

“Medium large dog” not large or giant and that is a good thing but unfortunately it does not seem to be helping much. 5. Do you think the dogs you see in this breed are bet- ter now than they were when you first started judg- ing? Why or why not? MI: The breed has increased in numbers, but necessarily in quality. Some people have bred well from the begin- ning and continue to have good dogs. Other people approached the breed only for commercial purposes and thus, have produced quantity, but not quality. Many years ago, the average quality in the judging ring was perhaps better. There were fewer examples with exaggerated type; and even if some dogs were unrefined, there was maybe more evenness. Now you can see everything in the ring, with judges rewarding these inconsistent dogs. JS: The dogs now are far better then the dogs of the past but we still have a very long way to go. There are a number of reasons for this but the biggest is the simple fact that this is a new breed in the sense of a modern day pure bred dog. Although the breeds origins are ancient and can be traced all the way back to the days of Rome the Cane Corso did not become an official registered breed in Italy until 1994. 6. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? MI: The thing that is difficult to understand for any breed is expression, which is created from the balance in the skull and snout with the correct shape, color and posi- tion of the eyes. Without all this, the breed’s expression is lost. This is not only difficult for new judges, but for judges at all levels. Thus, judges’ education must address this to truly understand the breed, as I’ve seen required in many parts of the world. A solid knowledge base ensures the breed’s welfare and improvement of judging standards and selections, and I hope in some ways, I’ve contributed to that learning. JS: Type is for sure the most misunderstood. And we have a wide range of type in this breed right now not making it any easier for judges not familiar with the Cane Corso. There are a couple main reasons for this. As I previously stated the breed was developed from a wide range of dogs scattered all over southern Italy that shared certain traits yet were also quite diverse. Many people do not know that both the modern day Cane Corso and Nea- politan Mastiff were both derived from the same basic

types of Mollosian dogs found in Southern Italy. The names even interchanged back then depending on who you talked to. Another major factor was the influence of other pure breeds by overzealous and inpatient breeders both in Italy and the US. Boxer, Bullmastiff, Rottweiler and Mastiff were some of the more common breeds put into the mix with the original rustic specimens. When any other obvious breed influence is present it should be faulted. A judge needs to really study type in order to do a good job judging this breed. A correct Cane Corso has very a distinct type. I always try and explain it in these simple terms. The Cane Corso is a brachycephalic breed but in moderation. Every important breed specific trait such as a relatively short muzzle, skull convergence, stop and undershot bite should be present but never exces- sive. It should also never ever have any mesaticephalic type. In addition the Corso should have very slight little wrinkle or dewlap. 7. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. MI: I would simply remember that the Cane Corso is not only a breed that is black with cropped ears. I’ve seen dogs win, albeit controversially, in the ring by the mere fact that they were black with cropped ears. Since there are no related breeds with these characteristics, it becomes convenient for the judge to base his or her deci- sion on these simplistic factors. The characteristics of the breed to watch for should not be just the color. The same dog, maybe with intact ears and a fawn color, fades into the background, although he may possess correct type. While popular, remember black is just a color and all colors should have their place in the breed. Chasing the black color will lead to a less genetically sound breed. JS: I am so passionate about the breed that I could consume the entire magazine answering that question. I will just say that the Cane Corso is a perfect combination of many things true to its heritage as a versatile and neces- sary aid and companion to the rural Italian farmers and their families. 8. What is your funniest experience at a dog show? MI: While I was judging a dog in the ring, like I always do, I asked the exhibitor, “How old?” She answered 52. Of course, I was referring to the dog, not the lady! JS: I have seen so many things of that nature it would be impossible to pick one. After all dog shows should be fun also right.

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HELLO CANE CORSO by ALEXIA RODRIGUEZ

T he question most often asked about the majestic Cane Corso is how to pronounce the breed name. Cane Corso is pronounced Kah-Nay Kor-So . Some- times the breed name is shortened to Corso as well. The Cane Corso hails from Southern Italy. Before 1988, the Cane Corso was only found on rural farms and was considered an extreme- ly rare breed of dog. The dogs were used as all-purpose farm dogs, a drov- er, herder and protector of livestock and the farmer’s home. In addition to farm work, the Corso was also used to hunt difficult game, such a wild boar and bears. CANE CORSO AND THE US The first litter of Cane Corsos was brought to the United States by Michael Sottile, Sr. in 1988. Sottile, Sr. brought another litter to the US a few years later, it was a repeat breeding of the first lit- ter. This was the start of the Cane Corso

in America. Since then, many American breeders have brought Cane Corsos from Italy and other parts of the world into the US breeding pool. An official breed club was formed in 1993, as well as a registry, in order to serve as a Par- ent Breed Club and start documenting the dogs in the US. In 2003 the club’s membership voted to seek AKC rec- ognition. By 2007, Cane Corsos were approved to compete in the AKC Mis- cellaneous Class and the breed received full recognition in the Working group in July 2010. PERFORMANCE AND THE CANE CORSO As evidenced by its original uses on the farm, the Cane Corso is a versatile and intelligent working dog. They are the smallest of the Mastiff breeds and some would argue, the most athletic. In addition to possessing a typical tem- perament that shows endless devotion to their people, the Cane Corso is easily

trained to do many tasks. Cane Corsos thrive when they are allowed to prob- lem solve. These traits make for excel- lent competitors in Obedience, Rally, Agility, Tracking, Barn Hunt, Carting, Weight Pull and Protection Sports. While the number of Cane Corsos competing in Conformation events continues to increase, the number of Cane Corsos titling in AKC perfor- mance Events and non-AKC perfor- mance events is also increasing. In 2016 more than 80 AKC performance event titles were awarded to Cane Corsos. Compare the 2016 number to the num- ber of AKC performance titles award- ed in 2011 where only 42 titles were awarded to Cane Corsos. We have dou- bled the number of Corsos competing and titling in Performance events. The Cane Corso Association of Amer- ica, AKC’s parent breed club, offers many Club titles to members whose Cane Corsos have titled in Performance events both non-AKC and AKC events.

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Each year the number of Club titles awarded is steadily increasing as well. BUT WHAT ARE THEY REALLY LIKE? As puppies, Cane Corsos are full of energy and love to explore new things. Like mentioned earlier, they thrive when they are learning and as puppies when trained with a solid foundation of reward based training, they do tend to retain all that they’ve learned rather well. Young Cane Cor- sos do require extensive socialization to new people, places and things. You cannot over socialize this breed! Once a Corso reaches sexual maturity they may behave like teenagers--unruly, headstrong and defiant. If their foun- dation in training and socialization is solid and they have thoroughly bonded to their people, they will comply with their owners’ requests, eventually. It is this period of time where the notion of needing an experienced and confident owner takes precedence. ARE THEY FRIENDLY? As a breed, the Cane Corso tends to only want to socialize with peo- ple it knows. While some Corsos are very outgoing and friendly with new people, this is not typical for the breed. The Cane Corso should never be aggres- sive unless provoked, instead they tend to just ignore a new person. I try to describe them as a dog that likes to play hard to get. If a stranger ignores them while chatting with their owner, after a minute or two, the Corso will gently nudge the strangers’ hand to be petted. However, if the stranger wants to go right up to them and start petting, a Corso will typically just turn her head away and act disinterested.

Cane Corsos feel the same way about new people as they do about new dogs. They prefer to ignore dogs that aren’t in their immediate pack. Generally speak- ing, the Cane Corso is not suited to dog park or doggy daycare types of places. As its historical use implies, the Cane Corso still makes an excellent guard dog. They will bark at a fence to alert that there may be intruders, even if it is just the mailman. They notice when something is different in their home and they will investigate it thoroughly, like a new car parked in the driveway or new furniture in the house. The breed does love children. They tend to have a natural instinct to be calm and gentle with children and the elderly. This trait is what can make them exceptional therapy dogs. Many Cane Corsos have been successful par- ticipants in the Reading with Rover Pro- gram. Reading with Rover is a program that some schools offer where children can read books to the dogs to help improve their reading skills. All in all, the Corso makes a wonder- ful companion for someone who has training experience and enjoys includ- ing their dog in all their daily activities. This stunning and imposing breed of dog is a big teddy bear with its people but can be a fierce protector if called upon to dispel a threat. They are truly a jack-of-all-trades breed! ABOUT THE AUTHOR Mrs. Rodriguez has been competing in AKC events since 1990 with various breeds. She and her husband Gabriel breed Cane Corsos and Löwchen using the kennel name Potrero. They have titled dogs in conformation, agility, rally and IPO.

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Breed SurveyS: CANE CORSO

MASSIMO INZOLI I live in Sicily and I am general manager of a hotel located in the middle of the island. I was a child when I first entered the dog world. My first dogs were a Yorkshire Ter- rier and a German Shepherd; then we had Sheepdogs, Neapolitan Mastiffs and a Great Dane. I began

Cane Corso reminiscent of Bullmastiffs, Boxers, etc. The Cane Corso is a Molossoid breed with type that consists of both average substance and overall elegance. The head is its focal point. It must have skull and muzzle angles slightly converging. It must be of good length and with as few wrinkles as possible. It is important that it doesn’t have rotund lines and that it is angular with straight lines. The jaw should be powerful and wide with a full muzzle and body should be developed in width and height. It must have good substance and backbone and not lose the qualities that distinguished the breed at the beginning of its recognition. JS: Correct head type which is a major problem right now and solid structure necessary for the working heritage of this breed. 3. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? MI: There have been many exaggerations in the breed in recent years. The search for wider skulls has led to an increasingly evident shortening of same. We have very large heads and faces. In addition, the heads are short- ened too much and have wrinkles and excess skin. In becoming shorter, the heads have also become rounded. Many subjects are prognathic with lower jaws too similar to a Bullmastiff. The heads must be powerful with good length and as few wrinkles as possible. The lines of the skull must remain straight. JS: Size, size and size. The breed is currently suffering from a bigger is better mentality. Many of the dogs are too big and too bulky to perform the historical tasks of a versatile Italian farm dog capable of performing whatever tasks were required by the farmer. Some of these tasks are herding and protecting livestock, hunting small game such as Badger and Porcupine and the catching and hold- ing of large game such as wild boar. Most importantly they had to be able to do this in the hot climate of south- ern Italy for extended periods of time during the day, day after day week after week. I see dogs that are champions and grand champions that far exceed the max height in the standard of 27.5 for a male and 26 for a female. In addition we have no reference for weight in the AKC standard. The Italian kennel club standard has the same exact height values plus a weight of 110 pounds for males and 100 pounds for females. Even with that the dogs in Italy and Europe do exceeded these weights on a regular basis which is OK to a degree. However it is even harder here in the US to maintain a correct and realistic weight without an actual weight reference.

exhibiting in the early 90s and then I started training in 2000 as a show judge. My first qualification was in 2004 for the Dogo Argentino. JIMMY

STANCIO I have homes in both south Ala- bama and central Florida. I have owned various automotive repair facilities over the years mostly transmission shops. I sold the last one in 2008 and semi-retired as I remain active in the industry as a technical and operations consul-

(Photo © Perry Phillips)

tant. I have been actively involved with dogs all of my life. I have been showing for almost 20 years now and became a breeder judge for the Cane Corso by way of the adjunct system when the breed moved into working group the summer of 2010.

1. Describe the Cane Corso breed. MI: Versatile, athletic and reliable.

JS: A real eye catcher with a very distinctive presence. Intelligent and capable of any task. And Historical as the Corso is the closest modern day breed to the ancient Roman Molossian. 2. What are your “must have” traits in this breed? MI: I would first say what they should not have: it should not be a copy of the related breeds! The Cane Corso is a breed of recent recognition and in some cases there have been mating with related breeds. This is done to speed up the process and have immediate positive results. In due time these errors are paid for. Now they see

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cane corso Q&A

WIth MaSSIMo InzoLI & JIMMy StancIo

Fortunately the AKC standard does start with a descrip- tion that states “Medium large dog” not large or giant and that is a good thing but unfortunately it does not seem to be helping much. 4. Do you think the dogs you see in this breed are better now than they were when you first started judging? Why or why not? MI: The breed has increased in numbers, but necessarily in quality. Some people have bred well from the begin- ning and continue to have good dogs. Other people approached the breed only for commercial purposes and thus, have produced quantity, but not quality. Many years ago, the average quality in the judging ring was perhaps better. There were fewer examples with exaggerated type; and even if some dogs were unrefined, there was maybe more evenness. Now you can see everything in the ring, with judges rewarding these inconsistent dogs. JS: The dogs now are far better then the dogs of the past but we still have a very long way to go. There are a number of reasons for this but the biggest is the simple fact that this is a new breed in the sense of a modern day pure bred dog. Although the breeds origins are ancient and can be traced all the way back to the days of Rome the Cane Corso did not become an official registered breed in Italy until 1994. 5. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? MI: The thing that is difficult to understand for any breed is expression, which is created from the balance in the skull and snout with the correct shape, color and posi- tion of the eyes. Without all this, the breed’s expression is lost. This is not only difficult for new judges, but for judges at all levels. Thus, judges’ education must address this to truly understand the breed, as I’ve seen required in many parts of the world. A solid knowledge base ensures the breed’s welfare and improvement of judging standards and selections, and I hope in some ways, I’ve contributed to that learning. JS: Type is for sure the most misunderstood. And we have a wide range of type in this breed right now not making it any easier for judges not familiar with the Cane Corso. There are a couple main reasons for this. As I previously stated the breed was developed from a wide range of dogs scattered all over southern Italy that shared certain traits yet were also quite diverse. Many people do not know that both the modern day Cane Corso and Neapoli- tan Mastiff were both derived from the same basic types of Mollosian dogs found in Southern Italy. The names even interchanged back then depending on who you talked to. Another major factor was the influence of other pure breeds by overzealous and inpatient breeders both in Italy and the US. Boxer, Bullmastiff, Rottweiler and Mas- tiff were some of the more common breeds put into the

Left: Jimmy Stancio right: Massimo Inzoli

mix with the original rustic specimens. When any other obvious breed influence is present it should be faulted. A judge needs to really study type in order to do a good job judging this breed. A correct Cane Corso has very a distinct type. I always try and explain it in these simple terms. The Cane Corso is a brachycephalic breed but in moderation. Every important breed specific trait such as a relatively short muzzle, skull convergence, stop and undershot bite should be present but never excessive. It should also never ever have any mesaticephalic type. In addition the Corso should have very slight little wrinkle or dewlap. 6. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. MI: I would simply remember that the Cane Corso is not only a breed that is black with cropped ears. I’ve seen dogs win, albeit controversially, in the ring by the mere fact that they were black with cropped ears. Since there are no related breeds with these characteristics, it becomes convenient for the judge to base his or her deci- sion on these simplistic factors. The characteristics of the breed to watch for should not be just the color. The same dog, maybe with intact ears and a fawn color, fades into the background, although he may possess correct type. While popular, remember black is just a color and all colors should have their place in the breed. Chasing the black color will lead to a less genetically sound breed. JS: I am so passionate about the breed that I could consume the entire magazine answering that question. I will just say that the Cane Corso is a perfect combination of many things true to its heritage as a versatile and necessary aid and companion to the rural Italian farmers and their families. 7. And, for a bit of humor: what’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? MI: While I was judging a dog in the ring, like I always do, I asked the exhibitor, “How old?” She answered 52. Of course, I was referring to the dog, not the lady! JS: I have seen so many things of that nature it would be impossible to pick one. After all dog shows should be fun also right.

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JUDGING THE CANE CORSO KNOWLEDGE & CRITICALITIES

by RENZO CAROSIO

J udging for all breeds of dog is a very sensitive topic, in the Cane Corso even more so, therefore this requires a large premise. DIFFERENT STANDARD The breed standard is the description of the somatic characteristics of a breed. In earlier times there was complete liberty to describe the ethnic characteristics of a breed. In more recent times there exist two schools of thought with regard to stan- dards; synthetic or analytical evaluation. The first focuses on more than synthetic regulation and leaves greater discretion to the evaluating judge. In this type of stan- dard many adjectives and adverbs are used (moderately, somewhat, a little). The ana- lytical type offers a detailed standard, con- structed with precise dog measurements (measurements, relationships between dif- ferent parts, degrees, etc.). It is quite evi- dent that the analytical standard is based more on evidence and scientific rigor. On a practical level it requires much more effort in its application. With time, international dog experts decided to adopt outlines for preparing standards that were more adapted for the purpose of consulting (one imagines for judges). This decision, understandable from an organizational perspective, has created many practical problems in its implementation, especially for the revision of the existing standard. In this context, it is not surprising that the major adaptations have been based on standards put together in an analyti- cal way. Bad practical implementation then followed this controversial decision. Indeed, the changes have not been made by the writer of the original standard,

but by others. Therefore, with the neces- sity to sum up, cut and translate, often they have created authentic zootechnical havoc. The Cane Corso breed is a good example of this. The first iteration of the Cane Corso standard was officially recognized in Italy in 1987. The author was Dr. Antonio Mor- siani, a world renowned student of canine zoology. The document consisted of 19 typed pages. Now the FCI and AKC stan- dards have only 3 pages respectively. Unfortunately, there are also some additions, generally not for the better. For example, in the AKC standard it is indicated there is a tolerance for up to two missing teeth, without the indication which teeth (the importance of the teeth is not the same and the missing of some teeth cannot be absolutely accepted). I think that the tolerance of missing teeth must be only for P1, P2 and M3 (which presents itself only in the lower jaw). In the interest of intellectual honesty, I want to be precise that in any case the biggest responsibility of the Cane Corso’s problems come from the country of origin, where some serious errors were made. For example, the pressure for premature inter- national recognition, the lack of solid base of breeding and/or a zootechnical pro- gram. However, it is impossible to breed and/or to judge correctly without a correct and precise standard. Continuing on the topic of the stan- dard, I can say that the use of a synthetic standard is always dangerous because it leads to subjective judgments. This may be a problem for every breed, even in those that are more fixed in type and selec- tion. In the case of the Cane Corso it can become a true disaster. This is one of the

most important clarifications because after 20 years the Cane Corso has so few homogeneous examples. Now let us identify some of the most important aspects that define type in Cane Corso. They are derived from the original breed standard and from the general prin- Cane Corso is a trotter. Therefore, he needs to have a rectangular construction, 11% longer than the height at the withers. Here is an important footnote. In the AKC standard it states “to measure the height at the shoulder, from the highest point of the shoulder to the ground.” This is very strange because all animals are measured from height of the withers to the ground. The AKC standard also indicates the mea- sure of the head with regard to its rapport with the measure of height at the withers. In the FCI, the measure of height is indi- cated traditionally at the withers. I think it’s useful to explain that this diction is also not precise, because the measurements are from a reference point to a reference point and the withers are not a point, but it is a region. In fact the correct measure must be made from the 4 vertebra of the withers to the ground tangent the elbow. Size: medium-large size Molossus Dog. This is on the basis of Pierre Megnin clas- sifications. In fact, the Cane Corso belongs with breeds marked by sexual dimor- phism, in which the subjects exhibit two “size ranges”--medium size in females and large in males. ciples of classical canine zoology. GENERAL APPEARANCE Another important (and current) part is the evaluation with respect to the habi- tus (habitus=meaning general constitu- tion, especially bodily build) using the

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Figure 1: Duerst’s Classification Habitus respiratory predominates aspect respiratory: rib cage, limbs and neck are long Habitus muscular predominates muscular aspect, harmony of forms. It’s the intermediate type between the respiratory and digestive Habitus digestive Abomen very developed, wide thorax, short neck, limbs ar short and robust

Figure 2: Hyper-Type & Type

Left: a subject that is hyper-typical (construction too heavy, lowered ventral line, axes skull/facial too convergent, short muzzle, nose backlog); Right: Cane Corso in type.

retracted

moderately retracted VENTRAL PROFILES

straight/rectilinear

basis of the Duerst classification (see Fig. 1), the Cane Corso must have muscular a habitus, he would be the intermediate type between respiratory (Greyhound) and digestive (Neapolitan Mastiff). Morsiani, regarding this part notes “with an almost imperceptible tendency to the respiratory habitus” Why did Morsiani feel the need to specify this, when he wrote “imper- ceptible”? The meaning can only be: if an example of Cane Corso, may move a bit from the central desired position in the muscular habitus, the tendency cannot be in the direction of digestive habitus. This topic is bit complex, but it’s important that it is explained well, because it is one of the inherent problems of the breed. To do so I am forced into a digression of canine zoog- nostic. Essentially the increase in the mass can be obtained in two ways: with the change of classification or with the change of the habitus. We find a good example of different classification in the Schnauzer breed. They have three formats or classifications; min- iature, standard and giant (Riesenschnau- zer), in this situation we are in front of an enlargement (like a photo). The range in the size fixed in the standard follows this approach. Completely different is the case of change to habitus, the mass increases, and the consequences result in changes

in the construction of the dog. One of the biggest mistakes committed by the breeder (and often not penalized by the judges) is to use this wrong way to increase the bone structure and the mass. They not only cre- ate the hyper-type (incorrect over typey Cane Corsos, see Fig. 2), but in this man- ner they also warp other characteristic of breed. In the end I have serious doubts whether to consider them poor examples of a Cane Corso or another breed entirely). In fact, the brilliant insights of Duerst were recently borne out by studies of constitu- tionalists. Digestive situations connected to Habitus can occur, penalizing from a functional point of view the endocrine system to which the subjects are hypo- oxidative and hypo-thyroid. These situa- tions have the consequence of less capabil- ity to utilize the muscular energy and less reactivity—vivacity. In fact Morsiani also there refers to normal build (“or slightly hyper-oxidative”). The increase in mass, which seems the fancy of many Cane Corso lovers, has other drawbacks related to the functional nature of a working dog. In animal mechanics; canines includ- ed, there are passive organs of move- ment (skeleton and viscera) and active ones (muscles). Since the latter are linked to the external body; as size increases,

their growth in proportion to body weight is lower. This means that dogs of a smaller size (in proportion) are faster and have more resistance than larger breeds. There is a brilliant demonstration of this by Professor Giuseppe Solaro in his book (see Fig. 3). For those that are not convinced, here is another clarifying example in the case of attack of a man or another animal-the force of impact, the kinetic energy (Ec) expressed in kilogram- meters causes the subject to be influ- enced more by the speed than the weight. This is calculated using the formula for kinetic energy Ec: • Ec = ½ W x S ² x 9,81 • Ec = kinetic energy, S = speed in m/ sec, W = weight in kg, • 9.81 = conversion coefficient J ( Joule) to kgm (kilogram-meter) With reference to the formula we can deduce that a subject weighing 50kg launched at a speed of 40 km/h (equal to m/s 11,111) will have an impact force equal to 314 Kgm (kilogram-meters), whereas a subject with a weight of 40 kg and a speed of 50 km (equal to m/s 13.890) will have a higher impact force; equal to 393 Kgm. The extreme example would be that of the bullet, its devastating strength comes from its impact velocity; its weight is in fact a few grams.

Figure 3: Solaro’s Cubes

Superimposing the 8 small cubes you will get a larger cube equal weight of 8 kg, but with a surface area lower than the sum of the individual small cubes, because only half (3) of the faces are external. Whereby:

8 small cubes of 1 kg weight, they have the side 1 cm, each with 6 faces. Each face is 1 cm, for which each cube has a surface area of 6 cm 2 . Whereby:

B = surface 48 cm 2 (the sum of the areas 8 cubes x 6 cm 2 )

B = total weight of 8 kg (8 cubes x 1 kg) unvaried

A = 8 kg (the total weight 8 cubes x 1 kg)

A = surface 24 cm 2 (8 cubes x 3 cm 2 )

+ mass = – liveliness and speed

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