white cane corso

Standards are by nature about excluding people. Breeds start to tighten the type noose as they develop and stabilize. And occasionally, the written standard becomes the order of execution for specific qualities, such as a specific ear carriage, size, or color – typically something tied to another breed that was introduced during the foundation period. These traits that were eliminated may reappear years or decades later, confounding breeders and leading some enthusiasts to wonder why they were initially excluded. Here comes the Cane Corso “straw”.

Some breeders market these cream-colored pups, which can have either black or gray pigment, as “rare” and demand upwards of $5,000 for them. As this color unexpectedly appears in whelping boxes, the outcome is typically straw-colored Corsos have also started to show up in the show ring recently, at least on this side of the Atlantic, as awareness of a linebreeding grows.
Straw-colored Cane Coro puppy

Straw Cane Corsos may appear white

Breeders have differing views on straw Cane Corsos, with some saying it is just an extremely light shade of fawn and others saying it is an unacceptable departure from the norm. This is maybe not surprising , but they are not. Their true color is readily apparent against a backdrop of snow.
The straw Corso is said to be a return to a historical color that may have come from crossbreeding with the Maremma or Abruzzese Sheepdog, Italy’s equivalent of the Kuvasz of Hungary or the Great Pyrenees of France. This is what seems to be universally recognized. Whatever its lineage, the farmers of Italy’s meridionale were supposed to cherish this light-colored Cane Corso, also known as the “straw-stack dog” or “cane da pagliaio.”
Dr. Flavio Bruno stated in Il Cane Corso, his 1994 book on the breed, that “the straw stack was a functional unit of the farm in that, during winter .
Tan points, which are frequently found in Rottweilers or Dobermans, are the sole color in the AKC standard that disqualifies a dog. A color that is not otherwise specified in the specification is not disqualified.
Straw is particularly noted as one of the “non-standard” coat colors, along with chocolate, liver, and Isabella fawn (dilute liver), in a blog entry on the website of the Cane Corso Association of America authored by Robyn Salisbury. She describes straw as “a light yellow or cream color with no mask and the nose is most often a light yellow.” black or a faded brown tone.
The straw dogs are not all white, despite the fact that they are occasionally advertised as “white” Cane Corsos. They consequently do not experience any of the health problems caused with albinism, such as deafness or a lack of pigment.

Nevertheless, noted Cane Corso judge Massimo Inzoli of Sicily, who does not believe straw to be a real fawn, adds that “in my opinion, I think it’s accurate to say that straw is a controversial color,” Similar to the melogna, or badger color, which derives from the Neapolitan Mastiff, the hue was present in the breed. Every once in a while, some recessive gene can pop up: I remember the fuss in Brazil over a chocolate-colored Cane Corso that was entered in the champion class!”
Marcos Reta of Campione Cane Corsos in Miami produced a litter of puppies a couple of years ago, and he was startled to see that some of the nine puppies were straw-colored. Instead of speculating about their genetic make-up he gave a genetics lab a sample of his DNA.
The outcome? The “e” mutation, which exclusively permits the formation of yellow pigment and suppresses the production of black pigment in the coat, was present in the puppies in homozygous form. In other words, the puppies did not get fawn coloring from their parents, but rather the same genetic makeup as a yellow Labrador Retriever. (The “e/e” gene expresses differently in other breeds, such as the Irish Setter, producing a red coat color.

Straw Cane Corso (forefront) compared to a normally colored formentino, or fawn dilute.

Breeders who produce straw don’t all have the same sentiments. Slobodan Grujic of Kennel Spunk Gang in Vojka, Serbia, who unintentionally gave birth to straw puppies about five years ago, claims he does not purposefully breed or show the color because he does not think it is in the standard.
They cannot be displayed because they lack the necessary black mask or muzzle color.
In fact, images of straw-colored Corsos can be found by searching the Internet. of canines with either a black or gray nose and a partial mask, maybe with color on the front of the muzzle.
They are unable to, thus that is why.
Dr. Sheila M. Schmutz, an expert on canine coat colors and a professor at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada, states that it is genetically impossible for a dog of any breed carrying the e/e genotype to have a mask. True fawn dogs do not always wear masks, she observes, but “reddish e/e dogs never have a single black hair on them – not even a whisker.”

Light fawn Bullmastiff

Light fawn Bullmastiff

which explains why it is typically present on the front but absent from the sides. And it’s perhaps this lack of black fur that makes fanciers take a second look: While a true fawn Bullmastiff, for instance, might have a biscuit tone so light that it is almost as blonde as many straw Corsos, the absence of entire black on the ears and nose and frequently grizzling on the body neck, giving it a totally different appearance.
However, judges cannot simply presume that they can recognize the color based on the lack of a mask if they are unsure whether they have a straw Cane Corso in the ring. True fawns can, as Dr. Schmutz notes, also be devoid of disguising. Even while many Cane Corso judges, especially in Europe, are reluctant to criticize fawn or red dogs for lacking masking, this error is unquestionably significantly less severe than an abnormal color.

How however, can a diligent breeder, purchaser, or judge identify the difference?

The famous term of “hard-core pornography” by Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart may be used to identify a straw coat: If I see it, I recognize it. For those who are aware Even seasoned breeders struggle to describe what they see as a clearly wrong coat color because of the unusual effect the straw coat has on the breed.
According to Zoe DeVita of Italica Terrae Cane Corsos in Westchester County, New York, who has produced two straw puppies in a linebreeding with a gray-brindle father who has never given birth to a fawn, “It’s very hard to describe,” She kept both as house pets. She describes the straw color as being “brighter, lighter, and it has kind of an icy, cool tone to it.” It has hues that we don’t typically see in a fawn dog. It resembles a ghost.

Straw Cane Corso

Straw Cane Corso

Straw dogs can be of varying quality, much like Corsos of varied hues. Some have wonderful heads and are quite typey; others, not so much. In other words, it doesn’t appear that any other unusual characteristics follow the hue regularly.
The presence of black hair everywhere in the coat, including the whiskers and ticking on the body, is another sign that a dog is fawn and not straw. Black hairs that frequently naturally develop on the ear flaps and tail end are conspicuously absent in American Corsos because they are frequently trimmed and docked. DeVita adds that some fawn and formentino dogs can have a cast that resembles carbon across their heads and bodies. This is distinct from ticking and is black in fawn dogs and brown in formentino dogs. In Formentini, gray. (For an example of this, which the Italians refer to as carbonara, see Mike Ertaskiran’s great introduction on Cane Corso color.)
DeVita, who serves on the board of the Cane Corso Association of America, is an AKC delegate, and she is a member of the committee looking into a revision of the AKC standard. She believes that many breeders are simply unaware of the color genetics in the breed and need to accept the fact that straw is neither true fawn nor its diluted form, formentino.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top