THE CANE CORSO: YES, SIZE DOES MATTER
Other regions and eras called for the Corso to be a mighty hunter of boar and bear. This required them to run with the hounds or follow behind the horses, all day, through dense brush and miles of deep forest. Once the Corso arrived on the scene to engage the fierce beast, he must have the power and size to subdue it until the master arrived, holding on until it was dispatched. At times, the Corso earned his keep as a beast of burden, carrying loads or pulling carts. He could catch and hold a bull, root out a ferocious badger, and work as a general farm dog. This long list of abilities defines the structure and mass of our breed. The Cane Corso is physically fit, has substan- tial muscle mass, and is powerful. He is capable of feats of endurance, is impervious to environmental hardships, and is simultaneously sturdy and nimble. (This kind of sounds like The Three Bears nursery rhyme: “Not too big, not too small, but juuuuust right.”) Now, let’s talk about the second part of the sentence, “…medium-large size Molossus Dog.” Unknowingly, many have misread these words and determined that the Corso is supposed to be a medium/large breed. This is not correct! The Standard states, “medium-large…Molossus!” There is a vast difference. The AKC generally defines a “medium” breed as being between 45 and 75 pounds. The Cane Corso is not a medium-sized breed and should not be in this size range. So, if the Corso is a medium-large Molos- sus, what does that mean? The simple English definition of Molossus is “Mastiff-like.” Molossus traits include larger heads and stature, wide chests, and muscle mass. They are dogs of ancient origin that were bred, generally, to protect, defend, and fight. The Breed Standard calls for the Cane Corso to be a Medium-Large “Mastiff-type” dog. When we combine the description of the jobs the Corso was bred to do and the correct categorization as a Mastiff- type, a clear picture presents itself regarding size. The defi- nition is not determined by a scale or even by the wicket, but by the ability to function at peak performance while still within the parameters of the Molossus categorization. So, what size matters? A Cane Corso should be athletic enough to pursue foe or prey without tiring AND be large and powerful enough to subdue it once he arrives. As with all things Corso, balance is always the answer.
© Laura Essenmacher
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Fiercely, Hopelessly, Eternally Devoted to the Cane Corso Since 1995. Shauna DeMoss is the first AKC Cane Corso Breeder- Judge. She’s been a member of the Cane Corso Association of America (National Breed Club) since 1997 and a member of the CCAA Board of Directors for 16 years. Most of her tenure was as Director of Breed Education and Standard revisions. Shauna is the author of Breed Education materials and breed articles published in five countries, and she’s an AKC Cane Corso breed mentor and National Breed club seminar presenter. Shauna is the Breeder of 74 AKC Champions, 35 AKC Grand Champions, 38 AKC Companion and Sport-titled dogs, AKC Best in Show Winner, AKC RBIS Winners, CCAA Breeder of the Year 2011, 2017 & 2020.
202 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, AUGUST 2021
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