The American Pit Corso is a mixed breed, so they don’t have history as their own breed. Both parent breeds, however, are well known and loved. The dogs beginning the American Pit Bull Terrier breed were created in early 19th-century England for the spectator sports of bull- and bear-baiting. When those sports were rightfully deemed inhumane and became illegal 1835, dog-fighting sprung up in its place — and thus was the trait for dog aggression bred into the genetic line. But another part of this breed’s genetic makeup is an unwillingness to bite humans. Handlers reaching into the dog-fighting rings needed to be able to separate dogs without getting hurt. The breed developed a reputation as not only a strong, protective dog, but one also known for being gentle and family-friendly. In 1898 the UKC, Britain’s equivalent of the American Kennel Club, named these bull dogs the American Pit Bull Terrier. The AKC decided to recognize the breed in the early 1930s — but under a new name. Intending to separate the breed from their pit-fighting past, the AKC named the breed the American Staffordshire Terrier. Since then the American Staffordshire Terrier has been bred for AKC conformation, or dog shows, while the American Pit Bull Terrier has not.
The Cane Corso was developed in Italy, and is said to descend from Roman war dogs. They were bred to hunt large game (including powerful wild boars), guard property, and be an all-around farm hand. The breed declined as farming became more mechanized and came near to extinction, but starting in the 1970s dog fanciers worked to rebuild the Corso. The first litter of Corsos arrived in the United States in 1988, followed by a second litter in 1989. The International Cane Corso Association was formed in 1993. Eventually, the breed club sought recognition from the American Kennel Club, which was granted in 2010. The breed is now governed by the Cane Corso Association of America.