The Cane Corso’s ancestors were the mastino dogs which lived in Tibet and were used as guards in the ancient monasteries. Some of these dogs were brought to Rome where they would fight lions in the Coliseums and served as “warriors” in Alexander Macedonian’s army. They were used as hunting, sherpherd dogs, watchdogs and guardians of everything from property to children. Those Cane Corso’s ancestors are known as Roman Molossian now. The appearance of the Cane Corso has changed little since that time. Now they have a little less weight, are less encumbered, but just as powerful.
During the First and Second World War the Cane Corso population decreased dramatically. But in the 1970’s and 80’s, a small group of Italian enthusiasts started to re-establish the breed and create a breed standard. The breed was recognized by ENCI in 1994 and by the FCI in 1996.
Today the Cane Corso is used mostly as pets and guardians. Some Cane Corsos still can be seen herding cattle in Southern Italy. The breed was recovered from near extinction and is now popular globally.