~ a little more history ~

by Randall C. Todd


Whenever someone refers to "the Mastiff", I have to ask the question, "But WHICH Mastiff?"...
There are more breeds called "Mastiff" than the "Old English"! And if the Mastiff breeds are all "molossers"-- descendants of the ancient, now extinct, giant Roman Molossus- and if we were to choose the mastiff most closely related to the old Roman Molossus to be tagged with the name "THE Mastiff", it would most certainly be the Mastino Neapolitano or "Neapolitan Mastiff" of Italy. Also known as the "Italian Mastiff" and commonly referred to as "the Neo", the Neapolitan's closest relative is another Italian breed called the Cane Corso (formerly known in the southern-most part of Italy as Branchiero Siciliano).

Nice dog!!! My all time favorite!
The similarity to the Boxer & other mastiff types (large square head & jaw and very muscular build) comes from their common molosser background- their relationship to the giant (now extinct) Roman Molossus- war-dog of ancient Rome, from which sprang the various, now living mastiff breeds of Europe--

The similarity of the Boxer and Cane Corso end with the similarities in head type, temperment, and athleticism though, the biggest difference being the difference in size: male Boxers averaging 60-80 lbs. verses the average male Corso's weight of 125-140 lbs. A couple of other differences are the shorter more 'pug' muzzle of the Boxer and the Boxer's undershot (protruding) lower jaw... Although the Corso has a short muzzle, it isn't as 'pug' as a Boxer's is. And many lines of Cane Corso have a more scissor bite rather than undershot. A couple of other breeds with roots going back to the war-dog of the ancient Roman Empire are the Rottweiler, St. Bernard, and Greater Swiss Mountain Dog of Europe, and the Anotolian Shepherd of Turkey (these breeds resulted from the crossing of the Roman Molossus with the local shepherd types of each particular region as the Roman Armies- and their Molossus- moved west across Europe, and east into Asia, conquering & occupying the world around them. There are many breeds of this type of cross found throughout Europe and Western Asia). Those Romans sure got around!... When they went out and conquered the world, they brought their "big dog" along to help. They decked him out in armor and turned him loose on the opposing army. I'm glad I wasn't there... on the wrong side. I like to think that if it wasn't for the strength and ability of my dog's ancestors -that if the Romans had had only the strength of their man-made weapons and the men that wielded them -had there been no dog-- no great Molossus to fight beside them -they might not have gotten out of Italy and the world wouldn't have been as 'Roman' as it was then (-: ...Actually, when they injected the Molossus with a bit of coursing hound to come up with the Cane Corso, it became a much less 'serious' dog. Generally speaking, they are very much like a Boxer in these areas of their temperament: energetic, friendly, & happy-go-lucky. But they are still very discriminating & capable guardians of the Todd Family Empire!

___________________________1996 Randall C. Todd___________________________