Brief historical summary
Its direct ancestor is the "canis
pugnax' (the old Roman Molossian) of which he is the light
version employed in the hunting of large wild animals and also
as an 'auxiliary warrior' in battles. For years he has been a
precious companion of the Italic populations. Employed as
property, cattle and personal guard dog and used for hunting
purposes too. In the past this breed was common all over Italy
as an ample iconography and historiography testify. In the
recent past he has found a excellent preservation area in
Southern Italy, especially in Puglia, Lucania and Sannio. His
name derives from the Latin 'cohors' which means 'guardian',
Medium-big size dog, strongly built but elegant, with powerful
and long muscles, very distinguished, he expresses strength,
agility and endurance. The general conformation is that of a
mesomorphic animal whose body is longer than the height at the
withers, harmonious as regards the form and disharmonious as
regards the profile.
The length of the body is about 11% over the height at the
withers. The total length of the head reaches 3,6/10 of the
height at the withers. The length of the muzzle is equal to
3,4/10 of the total length at the withers and it is equal to the
height of the limb at the elbows.
Behaviour and temperament
Intelligent, active and even-minded, he is an unequalled watch
and protection dog. Docile and affectionate with the owner,
loving with children and with the family, if necessary he
becomes a terrible and brave protector of people, house and
property. He is easily trained.
Brachycephalic. Its total length reaches 3,6/10 of the height at
the withers. The bizygomatic width, which is equal to the length
of the skull, is more than half the total height of the head,
reaching 6,6/10. The upper longitudinal axes of the skull and of
the muzzle are slightly convergent. The perimeter of the head,
measured at the cheek-bones, is more than twice the total length
of the head even in the females. The head is moderately
sculptured with zygomatic arches stretched outwards. The skin is
firm and sticking to the tissues underneath, it is smooth and
Skull - Seen from the front it is wide and slightly curved,
seen from the side it draws an irregular curve that, accentuated
in the sub region of the forehead, befomes flat along the
external saggital crest. Seen from the top, it looks square
because of the outstretching of the zygomatic arches and the
powerful muscles swathing it. Frontal sinuses well developed and
stetched forward, deep forehead hollow and visible median
furrow. Occipital crest not much developed. Supraorbital fossae
Stop - Very marked because of the very developed and bulging
frontal and because of the prominent superciliary arches.
Nose - It is on the same line as the nose pipe. Seen from
the side it mustn't stick out from the front vertical margin of
the lips but be, with its front, on the same vertical line as
the front of the muzzle. It has to be voluminous, rather flat on
top, with wide nostrils, opened and mobile, wet and cool. The
pigmentation is black.
Muzzle - Very broad and deep. The width of the muzzle must
be almost equal to its length, which reaches 3,4/10 of the total
length of the head. Its depth is more than 50% the length of the
muzzle. Due to the parallels of the muzzle sides and to the
fullness and the width of the whole jaw, the anterior face of
the muzzle is flat and square. The nasal bridge has a
rectilinear profile and it is rather flat. The lower side
profile of the muzzle is determined by the upper lips, the
suborbital region shows a very slight chisel.
Lips - Rather firm. Seen from the front, the upper lips form
at their disjunction an upside down "U" and, seen from the side,
hang moderately. The commisure is rightly evident and it always
represents the lowest point of the lower side profile of the
muzzle. The pigmentation is black.
Jaws - Very wide, strong and thick, with a very slight
shortening of the upper jaw with a subsequent light prognathism
(undershot mouth). The branches of the lower jaw are very strong
and, seen from the side, are quite curved, the body of the lower
jaw, well accentuated forward, points out well the marked chin.
The incisors are firmly placed on a straight line.
Cheeks - The masseter region is full and evident, but not hypertrophic.
Teeth - White, big, complete in growth and number. The lower
jaw incisors pass only slightly (about 1/2 cm) their
correspondent ones on the upper arch, so the bite is slightly
Eyes - Of medium size compared to the size of the dog, in a
sub-frontal position, well spaced. Rima palpebrarum nearly oval,
eyeballs slightly protruding, adherent eyelids with the borders
pigmented with black, the eye mustn't let the sclera be seen.
Third eyelid strongly pigmented. Iris as dark as possible
according to the colour of the coat. Look intelligent and
Ears - Of medium size in relation to the volume of the head
and to the size of the dog; covered with short hair, of
triangular shape, with rather pointed apex and thick cartilage,
in a high position, much above the zygomatic arch, with a wide
bottom, hanging, they stick to the cheeks without coming down to
the throat. Quite outstretched and slightly protruding at the
joint, they become semi-erect when the dog is watchful. They
usually get amputated in a equilateral-triangular shape.
Top line - Slightly arched.
Length - 3,6/10 of the height at the withers, that is equal
to the total length of the head.
Shape - Of oval section, strong, very muscular, with a
marked disjunction form at the nape. The perimeter, at half
length of the neck, is about 8/10 of the height at the withers.
Harmoniously joined with the withers, shoulder and chest, the
neck has its ideal direction at 45ƒ from the ground and at right
angle with the shoulder.
Skin - The lower margin of the neck is practically without
Compact, strong and very muscular. Its length is 11% over the
height at the withers, with allowance of ±1%.
Top line - The back region is rectilinear with a slightly lombar convexity.
Withers - They clearly rise on the dorsal line and over the
rump level, are high, long, wide. They are lean and joint
harmoniously to the neck and to the back.
Back - It is wide, very muscular as the whole upper line of
the trunk, slightly climbing from the back to the front and with
a strictly rectilinear profile. Its length is approx. 32% of the
height at the withers.
Loins - The lumbar region has to be short, wide, well joined
to the backand to the back and to the rump, very muscular, very
solid and, seen from the side, slightly convex. Its length,
slightly higher than its width, is equal to 20% of the height at
Croup - It is long, wide, quite round due to the
considerable growth of the muscles. The length, measured from
the ridge of the hip to the ridge of the nates is equal to 32%
of the height at the withers. Its average width is equal to 23%
of the height at the withers, its inclination on the horizontal
line, on the basis of the ilium-ischiatic line is of 28º/30º, on
the basis of the line from the ridge of the hip to the insertion
of the tail is of 15º/16º. Therefore the rump is slightly
Chest - Wide, well inclined and open, with well grown
muscles. Its width, in close relation with the width of the
thorax, reaches 35% of the height to the withers, the
breast-bone is at the same height as the tip of the shoulders.
Seen from the side, the chest is outstretched forward between
the fore legs and slightly convex.
Thorax - It has to be well grown in the three dimensions
with long, oblique, wide and well hoped ribs with wide intercostal spaces. The 4 false ribs are long, oblique and open.
The thorax reaches down at the elbow and its height is equal to
half the height at the withers. Its width, measured at half of
its height, is equal to 35% of the height at the withers and
decreases slightly towards the sternum region without forming a
carina. The depth (saggital diameter) is equal to 55% the height
at the withers. Its perimeter is over 35% the height at the
Underline and belly - The sternum region is lean, long, wide
and seen from the side it outlines a semicircle with a wide
radius which caudally goes up smoothly to the abdomen. The
abdomen region is neither hollowed nor relaxed and, seen from
the side, rises up from the sternum edge to the groins with a
smooth curve. The hollow on the side is not very marked. Tail -
It is inserted quite high on the rump line, it's thick at the
root and not too tapering at the tip, and if stretched is not
too much over the hock. When not in action is low. Otherwise is
horizontal or slightly higher than the back, it must never be
bent to form a ring or in a vertical position. It gets amputated
at the 4th rib.
FOREQUARTERS - Perpendicular, seen
from the front or in profile. The height of the limbs at the
elbows is equal to 50% of the height at the withers. Well
proportioned to the size of the dog. Strong and powerful.
Shoulder - Long, oblique, strong, equipped with long,
powerful and well divided muscles, is adherent to the thorax but
free in the movements. Its length, from the top of the withers
to the ridge of the shoulder, is equal to 30% of the height at
the withers and its inclination on the horizontal line is
between 48º/50º. In relation to
the median plane of the body the ridges of the shoulder-blades
are slightly swerved.
Arm - It is slightly longer than the shoulder, strong, with
very well grown bones and muscles, well joined to the trunk in
its top 2/3, measured from the ridge of the shoulder to the tip
of the elbow, it has a length equal to 31/32% of the height at
the withers and an inclination with the horizontal line of
approx 58º/60º. Its longitudinal direction is parallel to the
median plane of the body. The angle between the shoulder-blades
and the humerus is between 106º and 110º.
Elbows - The elbows, long and protruding, adherent but not
too close to the ribcage, covered with lean skin, must be like
the humeri, on a strictly parallel plane to the sagittal plane
of the trunk. The tip of the elbow (olecranon epiphysis) is
located on the vertical line lowered from the caudal (or back)
angle of the shoulder-blade to the ground.
Forearm - It is perfectly vertical, oval section, with
several muscles, in particular in the top-third, with a very
strong and compact bone structure. Its length, from the tip of
the elbow to the one of the arm is equal to 32/33% of the height
at the withers. Its perimeter, measured straight underneath the
elbow, is equal to 39% of the height at the withers, the carpus-cubital groove is quite marked.
Carpal joint - Seen from the front, it follows the straight
vertical line of the forearm; it is lean, wide, mobile, thick.
Its perimeter reaches 26% of height at the withers, at its top
margin the pisiform bone is strongly projected backwards.
Pastern - It is quite smaller than the forearm, is very
strong, lean, elastic, slightly flexed (it forms with the ground
an angle of approx. 75º). Its length must not be over one sixth
of the height of the forelimb at the elbow. Seen from the front,
it follows the perpendicular line of the forearm and of the carpus.
Forfeet - They have a round shape, with very arcuated and
gathered toes (cat's foot). Lean and hard soles. The nails are
strong, curved and pigmented, there is a good pigmentation also
in the plantar and digital pads.
Perpendicular, seen from the front or in profile. Well
proportioned to the size of the dog, strong and powerful.
Thigh - It is long and wide, with prominent muscles,
therefore the nate ridge is well marked. Its length is over 33%
of the height at the withers and the width is never lower than
25% of such height. The thigh-bone axis, quite oblique from the
top to the bottom and from the back to the front, has an
inclination of 70º
on the horizontal line and forms with the coxal axis an angle wich is slightly more than right (coxo-femural
Second thigh - It is long, lean, with a strong bone and
muscle structure, has a well marked muscular groove. Its length
is equal to 32% of the height at the withers and its inclination
from the top to the bottom and from the front to the back is of
approx. 50º on the horizontal line.
Stifle - The angle of the stifle joint, is of approx. 120º.
Its direction is parallel to the median plane of the body.
Hock joint - It is wide, thick, clean, with well marked
bone. The protruding hock ridge shows clearly the continuation
of the leg groove. The distance from the ridge of the hock to
the sole of the foot (to the ground) shouldn't be over 26% of
the height at the withers. Its direction, in relation to the
median plane of the body is parallel. The tibio-metatarsal angle
is of approx 140º.
Hock (Metatarsus) - It is very thick, lean, rather short,
cylindrical, and is always perpendicular to the ground, seen
from the side and from the back, its length is equal to approx
15% of the height at the withers (tarsus and foot excluded). Its
internal side has to present itself without spur.
Hind feet - They have a slightly more oval shape than the
fore ones and a less arched toes.
Long steps, stretched trot, some steps of gallop, but with
inclination to stretched trot.
It is, rather thick, has limited subcutaneous connective tissue
and therefore is adherent everywhere to the layers underneath.
The neck is practically without dewlap. The head mustn't have
wrinkles. The pigment of the mucous membranes is black. The
pigment of the soles and the nails must be dark.
Hair - Short hair but not smooth, with vitreous texture,
shiny, adherent, stiff, very dense, with a light layer that
becomes thicker in winter (but never crops up on the covering
hair). Its average length is approx. 2/2,5 cm. On the withers,
the rump, the back margin of the thighs and on the tail it
reaches approx. 3 cm without creating fringes. On the muzzle the
hair is very short, smooth, adherent and is not more than 1/1,5
Colour - Black, plumb-grey, slate, light grey, light fawn,
deer fawn, dark fawn and tubby (very well marked stripes on
different shades of fawn and grey). In the fawny and tubby
subjects there is a black or grey mask only on the muzzle and
shouldn't go beyond the eye line. A small white patch on the
chest, on the feet tips and on the nose bridge is accepted.
HEIGHT AND WEIGHT
Height at the withers - For males from 64 cm. to 68 cm. For
females from 60 cm. to 64 cm. With allowance of ± 2 cm.
Weight - Males from 45 to 50 Kg. ratio weight/size
O.710(Kg/cm). Females from 40 to 45 Kg. ratio weight/size 0.680
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered
a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be
regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and
Head - Accentuated parallelism of the axes of the skull and
the muzzle very marked converging axes of the skull and the
muzzle, converging side lines of the muzzle, scissors bite,
pronounced and disturbing undershot mouth.
Nose - Partial depigmentation.
Tail - Forming a ring or in a vertical position.
Size - Oversize or undersize.
Gait/movement - Continued amble.
Head - Diverging axes of the skull and the muzzle, overshot
mouth nose bridge resolutely hollow or ram-like.
Nose - Total depigmentation.
Eyes - Partial and bilateral palpebral depigmentation,
wall-eye, bilateral strabismus.
Sexual organs - Monorchidism, cryptorchidism, obvious
incomplete growth of one or both testicles.
Tail - Tailless, short-tail, artificial or congenital.
Hair - Semi-long, smooth, fringed.
Colours - All colours not prescribed, white patches too
- Males should have two apparently normal testicles fully
descended into the scrotum.