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Dogo Siciliano

Largely forgotten and considered extinct, the Dogo Siciliano is one of the working mastiffs belonging to the ancient Cane da Presa group of Italian Molossers. Closely related to the Cane Corso, Bucciriscu Calabrese, U Vucciriscu, Branchiero Siciliano and old Neapolitan Mastiffs, the Dogo Siciliano was never used for the duties these other Italian breeds were known for in the past, but was rather strictly a protection dog and property guardian. Because it was neither a hunter nor a livestock protector, its appeal was limited and the Dogo Siciliano was actually more common outside Sicily and by the first decade of the 20th century the breed has become very rare. Only a small number of specimens survived in northern Italy, where they were kept as estate guardians by a dedicated group of fanciers. After the 2nd World War, the Dogo Siciliano was proclaimed extinct, but some examples survived up until the 1960's, when they were reportedly used in the Mastino Napoletano revival programmes. It should be noted that the name Dogo Siciliano has often been used to describe any dogge from Sicily, creating a great deal of confusion, which resulted in this Molosser being a completely unknown breed presently, even in Italy.

Although it was very much a strain of the Cane da Presa Italiano population, the Dogo Siciliano's appearance was quite different in comparison to the Cane Corso and its relatives, even though white-coated Corsi did exist in the past and can still be found in small numbers if parts of Sicily. This was a wide-chested and straight-backed mastiff, with a strong neck and a fairly square head type, with high set semi-erect ears and large eyes. The muzzle was broad and short, with well-developed jaws, which gave the Dogo Siciliano's head its square appearance. Some believe that the imported Corsican Mastiffs, Spanish Alanos and a number of undisclosed working breeds from the Balkans played a role in its development, but there is very little historical data to support this theory. Abruzzo dogs have also been suggested as being partially responsible for the white colouring of this breed. There was no need to dock the tails, since the dogs were naturally born bobtailed.

Another interesting feature of the Dogo Siciliano was its coat and colouring, which separated it from other Sicilian and Italian breeds. Unlike the Cane Corso, this old bulldogge had no undercoat at all, but the coat itself was a bit longer, hard and flat. The breed's coat existed in only one colouring, which was uniform white, with a strongly pigmented muzzle. Average height for the Dogo Siciliano is 24 inches.

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