Cane Corso is a direct descendant of Canis Pugnax – the old Roman Molossian dog. This dog was used in wars and also for fighting with lions and bears in arenas. The breed didn’t disappear with the decline of the Roman Empire but it began to be used for different purposes – mainly for hunting and guarding properties. The ancestor of today´s Cane Corso guarded the fields and homes of medieval farmers and accompanied them on their way to the market.
After transformation and modernization of agriculture, the number of Cane Corso dogs decreased and the breed almost became extinct. A few dogs survived in Apulia (a southern province of Italy) and its surroundings.
In 1973, this breed caught the attention of professor Francesco Ballotta and doctor Antonio Morsiani. They managed to find 19 dogs of this breed and by 1978, 17 puppies were bred. Doctor Paolo Breber contacted the Italian kennel club (ENCI) and started the process of re-establishment of the Cane Corso breed. Giovanni Ventura, a veterinary and exterior judge, created the first standard of Cane Corso, which was still very brief as it was written on the basis of evaluation of few dogs. A detailed standard was created in 1987 when about 100 dogs of Cane Corso Italiano breed were registered.
The number of registered dogs steadily increased over time – in 1992, over 800 dogs were registered. The breed was officially recognized by ENCI in 1994. After two years, it was provisionally accepted by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) on the request of ENCI. Cane Corso was fully recognised by FCI in 2007. Nowadays, this breed is getting more and more popular not only in Italy, but also in other countries including the Czech Republic.