Showsight Presents The Cane Corso

YES, SIZE DOES MATTER THE CANE CORSO

BY SHAUNA DEMOSS

I t doesn’t take much observation to see a significant size variation in the Cane Corso. It’s all over the place. From ringside to the sporting course, and the working field to the family couch, it is clear that the breed lacks consistency in this area. Some dogs are heavy-boned, void of muscle definition, and cumbersome. At the same time, others are wispy sprites that a good stiff wind could sway. Along with the dogs’ variance in stature, the community has variance in opinions too. How big should a Corso be? This is one of the age-old debates, and to be fair, the different sizes can be validated through histori- cal iconography, photographs, and accounts. It’s not hard to find evidence to justify one’s preference. Add the complication that just 50 years or so ago, the Corso was a “type” of dog—not a solidified breed—and the size fluctuation isn’t surprising. However, this is a trait of a breed in its infancy, and it’s time for breeders, owners, and judges to face the challenge, narrow the size gap, reach a balance, and achieve congruency in the Cane Corso. The best place to start is the very first line of the AKC Breed Standard: “Ancient Italian breed medium-large size Molossus Dog.” This one sentence contains the parameters that will resolve the variances. So what does this line of blueprint describe? First, “Ancient Italian breed” refers to the utilitarian tasks Corso-type dogs performed for centuries. This cluster of jobs makes clear that the Cor- so is balanced in his physique and abilities. Each task tells us something. In some regions, the Corso is a guardian of people and flocks. This indicates not only a specific temperament requirement, but it calls for a body built to run hills and valleys each day or hold his ground behind the garden gate. He is hardy enough to withstand the elements; not frail so the cold could penetrate nor flabby where the heat would exhaust. In addition, this guardian had significant athletic prowess, able to engage in tireless combat, defeating threatening foes whether man or beast.

SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, AUGUST 2021 | 201

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