Piero Scanziani was searching the country side in 1946 looking for the Molosso, when he finally found it he called it Guaglione. He wrote : "It was called Guaglione. There were 8 hunting dogs in the first exhibition in Naples. Some were black, some were grey, but only one was bleu, Guaglione. I recognized it straight away. It was one of the hundred that Paolo Emilio the Macedonian brought to Rome on his triumph. It was the great dog of Epirus, son of the Assyrian, nepher of the Tibetan, it was Molossus. Guaglione was looking at me motionless with eyes neither aggressive nor gentle, the look which does not give or take. I moved back remembering D'Annunzio, molosso that would bite without barking. Everybody was looking at the 8 dogs with disgust. They where considered crossed race without any consistency in their heights and colors, incapable to even walk, beasts that only in the neapolitan immagination could be classified.I was insisting that Guaglione was the one, but all in vane. They were laughing me and the judge with the most authority said : There is no race, there is no dog. After that phrase I thought I have no hope but life told me to persist and Guaglione became the first of his dinasty". Read from "Il cane utile" of Piero Scanziani. You probabily asking yourself what has Scanziani got to do with Cane Corso? Well, the distinction between Neapolitan Mastiff and Cane Corso was only made in he last half century, when before the same dog was "can'e'presa" or "can'è corz" depending on the dialect.

.mastino_napoletano_guaglionemastino napoletano focato

Guaglione the first, forefather of "di Villanova" breeding by Scanziani

Photo is from the Expo in Rome on 19 and 20 May 1956 location Villa Borghese, which was also attended by the dogs immortalized in photos, including some highlighted with "special" colors today not accepted.


The catch dogs, Mastino or Corso, was used for every kind of job, even from criminals and the police. It was good for everythink. Then came the Kennel Club (British did not get angry with me for this) and two thousand years of tradition and history were forgotten. The Roman Molosso, who would go the battle fields, fight in the arenas and protect the rich one's properties (in such a successful way that having a statue of the dog in the garden would keep thieves away) all this was lost to the Anglo-Saxon ideas of Victorian Era. All the selections made in two thousand years of history which make us proud today to be the owner of the best and more efficient dog breeds in the world (all of our hunting dogs, the Abruzzese and Maremmano used to protect live stock, the Mastino and Corso used mainly as guard dogs, the Lagotto to sniff out truffles and much more), everything would have to be uniformed and filed to suit the fashion. More than half of century has gone by and only now we start learning from previous mistakes, and even then we needed foreign help to recognize our own faults. Our Abruzzese is used in America and Australia to protect live stocks from wild predators. The Mastino and Corso in America and Australia was classified as "best security dogs" and "best family dogs". Unfortunately introduced to overcome some diseases in dogs selected only for the Expo, a lot of these countries cross-breed with other breeds (first of all the Pitbull) to restore health and vigor, creating the Bandog. Why do they think they need to reinvigorate? Because the logic of the Expo has brought these two types of the same breed of molosso (well, here I say that, they are close relatives!) to be caricatures of themselves.


Neapolitan mastiff  has been know to have excess skin to the extent of not been able to see where it goes and also not been able to mate or give birth in a natural way (lucky things are changing, very slowly, and it looks like going back to the old way). On the contrary the Cane Corso was penalized in the 80's with a statement that declared "It is imperative that the Cane Corso must not resemble the Neapolitan Mastiff". The dog changes shape it was decided (but not officially) to make it smaller and with a prominent jaw. All of this to create a fashionable dog, wanted by everybody so that by breeding them it would create a lucrative business, with out taking in consideration interbreeding in the future generations. Now things are beginning to change; from the small breeder, the passionate from the very farmers, who from decade's breed to obtain dogsfor a specific job. Thanks to few specimen remained we manage to salvage the real unofficial Cane Corso race as recognised by officials as Dr. Flavio Bruno and Dr. Paolo Breber.
The truth is that the people they worked for choice on a few subjects, crossing in close inbreeding, operating with very tight deadlines dictated by political issues, that is, the fast recognition of the breed by 'ENCI. The reality was that the Cane Corso was very popular in the South, by private individuals, in numerous regions, first of all in Puglia, and still nowadays there are rustic subjects "uncontaminated" fruit of decades of selection by anonymous farmers, and these subjects did not and never will be officially recognized pedigree, so we will lose on the altar of the Kennel Club also these bloodlines. As we have already lost the genetic variability, synonymous with health within a breed, sacrificed and immolated excluding everything (colors and sizes) that it was decided at the table was not worthy to represent the Cane Corso. Another sacrificial altar has been linked to the problem of dysplasia but what we will discuss in the Health page. I conclude this monologue (hopefully interesting) presenting the type of dog that we seek: the farm dog, that is, the Cane Corso, from working bloodlines (not the one in training camp ... while respecting it as such ) with genetically predisposition for guarding and defense of property (as well as the family, which must be a full member!), able to live, living  together, with other dogs, cats, chickens and anything else you own, able to adapt to different situations that present themselves in front in time, able to think and react according to the gravity of the situations being, as they where call it in the South, a dog with "science and conscience."
Certainly, the Cane Corso is not a dog for everyone.
Certainly, the Cane Corso is a special dog, of which, once known, you can not do without.
Call it Canis Pugnax , Roman Molossian , Italian Molossian , Can'e'presa , Can'Corz , Cane Corso , call it what you will, but never forget that in his blood flowing two millennia of Italian history, to the disadvantage of those who declares that it is a " new breed " rediscovered and reinvented to save it from extinction. Even today in the South are whole lines of blood rustic , unspoiled , which are left to themselves because now so different from the "new " dogs lining the walkways of the expo .
Let's see pictures of dogs on this page ( and Nikla Basir ) , the progenitors of the race (according to SACC and ENCI ) in dogs you see something that today are referred to as typical representatives of the breed , as models to be copied ?

basir2 Nikla2DProf2DMORSIANIcol


Basir, born in 1980 from Dauno x Tipsi, brother of Alkè, Alioth 2°, Babak, Bulan, Bezerillo, was used from Morsiani as a template to draw the first drafts of the standard presented to ENCI.

Nikla, indicated by Dr. Morsiani as the most typical example of the Cane Corso.

If the answer is "yes" , please measure the proportions , the relationship skull - muzzle (which should be two thirds / one third) of the dogs at shows , then we invite you to check the type of dental closure that the same individuals present ; last ( but it is the hardest part ) check character and predispositions .
If the answer is "no" , please check on the Web (there are thousands of sites ! ) The story of the Cane Corso , the first subjects selected from litters of Dauno x Tipsi , subjects on which Malavasi brothers worked in very close inbreeding, for fix what they identified as the "type" ideal . Everything is recorded and documented. A beautiful movie , which is titled "Cane Corso : from Rustico to Doc ," is the first official movie SACC and explains step by step everything that was put into practice in order to obtain the recognition of the breed by ENCI and it presents a ' interesting roundup of rustic subjects of the time ( the 80s ) in the speakers at the first meeting of Foggia , in the movies at their owners, in carrying out their daily tasks. In the video you can see many people with colors today no longer accepted. They were, at the time, all subjects selected for character , utility and functionality .
Watching the movie spontaneous questions arise . If the presence of Cane Corso in Puglia ( the course was and is present also in other regions , but for now let the Puglia ) was not so limited ( though in part heterogeneous ) , why it was decided to select starting with very few subjects , using narrow consanguinity than ever livestock breeder would use so lightly. How come it was decided to eliminate from breeding a large number of colors " historically proven " but never included in the standard . Why it was decided to penalize the course by imposing (or " preferring " ) closing a tendency to prognathism . Why it was decided to penalize those with clear eyes preferring those with darker eyes . All this led only to a genetic impoverishment of the race, taking away the right absurdly genetic variability necessary and essential to ensure genetic health and reproductive force .


This is a letter of 1990, from Mr. Casolino to Mr. Morsiani :

Bologna, 30.03.1990
Dear Dr. Morsiani,Flavio Bruno, with this supplement of researches, I believe has completed for the most part, the card regarding the employment of the Cane Corso in the history of the agricultural/pastoral civilization of our south (meridione) with some transient brushstroke on the customs and the folcklore of those populations. It would therefore need to be to added to the other news that I have sent you after the Foggia show.As always, information originate from the lively voice of our people, from old breeders-farmers, from noble and ancient lineages where trace is found in some file; from Bishoprics, Parishes and Convents; from breeders, butchers, carrettieri, rural guards, tax collectors, guards and bandits.Speaking of these two last categories, with the decree of 30 nov. 1750, Charles III, the cops are now prohibited the use of the Cane Corso for the pursuit of the “wanted for serious crimes”.Only about twenty years ago these news, now harvested with so much work, overcoming some distrustand with patient interviews, were matter of fact, they were an integral part of the ways the dogs were utilized in our lands. The rapid social and economic transformations that almost suddenly and unexpectedly came upon us after the last war make them seem centuries old.Yet there are still areas, few actually, where the time almost stood still and the usesand the customs, the trials of the job and the activities continue with their traditional rhythm and the Cani Corsi are utilized for the same necessities, for the same demands, for the same "whims" of man. Can seem unbelievable!The fact, however, remains that, the prevailing utilization of the Cane Corso has always been and it is today still that of the watch dog and of the defense.The stalls and the modern breeding of the cattle have entirely almost abolished the pasture and the wild or semi-wild state of the herds, but the custody has always been necessary, because the crook is transformed and motorized but it still exists and in the farms of Puglia today it is said still that the stolen heads of livestock are no longer recoverable once gone beyond S. Ferdinando of Puglia.Here is where, after being chained up for an entire day, the Corso dogs are kept, especially at night, in the fenced areas, by the entrances of the police stations, vigilant and aggressive, The overseeing, the management of the pasture and the seasonal travel with the herds, are almost a memory.The meaning of the name, and without resorting to provincial roots, is to convey us really the idea of strong, athletic, sturdy, ready for action. After all, it is also a compliment for the person with these attributes that, often they also denote superior virility.Personally I am convinced and I have always defended the thesis of the Latin etymology as the simplest and rational: cohors, cors: escort, protector, guardian, defender.There is also in existence a very private and exclusive denomination that was especially due to the Jesuits and the Franciscan (monks) for the Corso guardian of convents in Lucania and in southern Campania (Irpinia): "Dogo Di Puglia" perhaps to distinguish it, for his qualities as a hunter as well as guardian, from the other “cane da presa”, the one more known in the Neapolitan area, the larger sized dog being referred to by the same name, Cane Corso. The late Count Bonatti made me read something on this matter, fruit of his searches in Neapolitan files. He would have even desired that the breed should be recognized/confirmed with this subtitle. We would have been out however of every consolidated tradition! In truth, before 1948 the denomination was unique both for the larger and for the lighter size: Cane Corso.
In the area around Naples it represented a local distinction: Cane e’ presa. After 1948, some would have wanted it called: Italian Mastiff. The experts decided to call it: Neapolitan Mastiff. After all the same GUAGLIONE of Villanova patriarch of the breeding of Scanziani was a Cane Corso of the heaviest type, very dry and with light dewlap. The present types of the Neapolitan Mastiff show the characters of an exasperated selection, different from the native morphological characteristics. I would not like to be condemned for heresy, nor to lack respect toward the history of one of affirmed and glorious Italian breed, even if the facts are these. I consider this monologue an amusing, pleasant humorous remark. Every other vague consideration in the historical-literary supposition and perhaps biological. I salute you and yours with much affectionate respect. 
Fernando CASOLINO

Standard mastino ritaglio