ARES. We named him after the ancient Greek god of war, who was known as “Mars” by the Romans – their guardian deity.
The Italian Mastiff (Cane Corso) breed almost disappeared in World War 2-ravaged Italy, but persisted in some isolated villages and has gradually made a comeback. Ares’ ancestors guarded Roman villas and served in legions.
The Cane Corso is the only coursing mastiff, and Ares loves to play Chase with other dogs. This breed does not drool a lot like other mastiffs are famous for…although the area around the water bowl can get quite messy by the time Ares is done with having a drink!
We found a breeder at a ranch near Houston. His breeding program was founded on imported Italian dogs. Ares was the runt and not for sale since he was half the size of his litter-mates.
Amid the ranch’s busy kennel operation (which contained different working breeds – for police, guard and military purposes), I squatted and held my car keys out, jingling them in front of the pups. The other little ones shied away but Ares came right up and sniffed the keys, wagging his tail so forcefully the entire back half of his body wagged too. We convinced the breeder to let us have Ares – perhaps saving his life.
He’s got a big happy personality to go along with his hefty 100 pounds. All muscle. He may not get much bigger (the sire was 135). He’s social, independent, eager to please…and still a puppy who ducks behind me when a mountain biker is barreling down a rocky path towards us. Oh, and he thinks my neck is a salt lick.