Master the 3 new “official” dog breeds: What Cane Corso means

Today the AKC (American Kennel Club), the main organization for dog breeders in the United States, recognized three new dog breeds: the Icelandic Sheepdog, the Leonberger, and the Cane Corso. This means that breeders of these three types of canine gain access to the reputation, licensing and support of the powerful AKC. For us it’s an opportunity to explore the evocative words associated with each unusual example of man’s best friend.

The Icelandic sheepdog (pictured) travelled with the Vikings and is a member of the spitz family of canines, which means Chow Chows and Pomeranians are relatives.

A Leonberger is a massive dog (up to 170 pounds) with a thick coat and a sweet disposition. They are named after the German city of Leonberg and were supposedly bred to look like the lions on the town crest. Originally, the breed was supposedly a cross between a Newfoundland and a St. Bernard. The rarest of the three new breeds is the Cane Corso, an Italian type of mastiff lacking the comical folds of skin the Neopolitan Mastiff (from Naples) carries around. Cane is Italian for dog, and Corso relates to the Latin cohors, “guardian.” Cane Corsos were so rare that they faced extinction until the breed was revived by enthusiasts in 1980s.

In honor of these fabulous breeds, we present a brief canine quiz:

When did “bow wow” originate?

What’s the ancient root word for bark?

What part of a dog is called the withers?


  1. wolf tamer and coal miner -  February 12, 2014 - 3:57 am

    That Icelandic sheepdog looks a bit like a fox. Cute, though.

    My favorite breeds of dogs are Border collies and Samoyeds (I had one – the sweetest dog you’d ever meet).

    My first word was “bark.” Weird.

  2. Tammy D -  January 1, 2011 - 5:44 am

    Somebody said the Icelandic Sheepdog looks like a small fox. It does, and it’s very orange, but actually it’s about as big as a Border Collie.

    • RedLeafRenegade -  October 22, 2015 - 10:17 am

      Yea, it looks like a fox on steroids
      Horse – strength steroids :) :) :) :) :)

  3. juli fowler -  July 2, 2010 - 9:39 am

    Hotword is a great way to build skill.

    Does anyone have ideas for classroom use?

  4. marda -  July 1, 2010 - 10:46 pm

    Not all dogs go woof you know.
    I have this dog next door that goes ‘Yi Yi Yi’ when you go near the fence!
    Little mongrel…

  5. Cheerio -  July 1, 2010 - 3:22 am

    to james…. well aren’t you lucky:)
    I wish I had a dog!!

  6. james -  June 30, 2010 - 10:04 pm

    I have three dogs.

  7. Stacey -  June 30, 2010 - 10:03 pm

    to AJS:
    Have you been to Argentina to hear the dogs?

  8. Ian Colley -  June 30, 2010 - 10:30 am

    Note the name…….Woof woof.

  9. Bowser -  June 30, 2010 - 10:19 am

    Dogs communicate with tone, pitch, volume and stance. It is the qualities of the sound that offers the clues as to what is being communicated.

  10. dakra -  June 30, 2010 - 8:38 am

    GuYs… dOnT ArGuE…
    DoG Is A mAn’S BeStFrIeNdS RyT???…
    i HavE pItBuLl,
    lUcKiLlY, hEs CutE…

  11. A Dog -  June 30, 2010 - 8:24 am

    In answer to AJS’s question; while generally regarded as a failure amongst humans, dogs in the late 19th century took very well to the Esperanto movement. Thus, while thier masters continued to struggle with language barriers, canines were able to overcome this stumbling block, and standardized barking the world over. Accents and regional inflections became a thing of dog past, and an age of harmony was ushered in. That is why today, without regard to breed, size, or fur color, the worldwide brotherhood of dogs can bark (and lick) with a common tounge. You, as humans, have something to learn from us pooches.

  12. ALA -  June 30, 2010 - 6:52 am

    Pictures of the other two new breeds would be helpful.

  13. Cindi -  June 30, 2010 - 6:08 am

    WOW this is a great day for our canine friends. Especially the Cane Corso which was nearly extinct. Good job for bringing these animals back! As for the quiz:
    Bow-Wow originated somewhere in the 1800′s and is the imitation of a dog bark.
    Ancient root word for bark is “to break”.
    Why do dogs bark: because they are trying to tell you something, a form of communication or warning. It is the only way they know how to communicate and there are several forms of barking; a bark to play, a bark to warn, just compare it to a baby cry-its the only way they can communicate.

  14. DrKevin -  June 30, 2010 - 5:45 am


    A popular name for the royal dog was traditionally, Bowser.
    A popular knock-knock joke among the peasantry was as folows:

    “Knock-knock” > “Who’s there?”
    “Bowser” > “Bowswer who?”
    “Bow, sir, the king’s dog just broke wind.”

    Wow… Walsh Foundation CEO, KevinWalsh

  15. s) -  June 30, 2010 - 1:23 am

    The islandic sheepdog is beautiful, more like a small fox. Calm and friendly. Would be great if you could show a few pictures of the other rases represented as new “official” dog breed.

  16. Angela G -  June 30, 2010 - 12:20 am

    …The Cane Corso and Leonberg aren’t new dog species, they’ve existed for quite some time now. It’s not because the Americans just recognized them that they weren’t official before. And the Cane Corso isn’t rare, you can buy it pretty much anywhere in Europe. Me and my dad thought about getting one for a while a few years back.

  17. mas -  June 30, 2010 - 12:00 am

    For AJS. The basic instinct changes very slowly that’s y the American dogs and Australian dogs sound alike. Human also have same instincts but they have developed the languages according to their own environments cuz of their enlarged brain capacity.

  18. Doggie -  June 29, 2010 - 11:30 pm

    are u sure???–I never realised that Dogs are dogs!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. i am a nerd -  June 29, 2010 - 9:56 pm

    way cool heaps much mad infor…..

  20. m) -  June 29, 2010 - 9:00 pm

    because they bark

  21. harvey -  June 29, 2010 - 7:47 pm

    because dogs are dogs, thats why.

  22. ASH -  June 29, 2010 - 7:44 pm

    they dont, the barks of the dogs in Argie haqve a an accent.

  23. goofygumballls -  June 29, 2010 - 7:24 pm

    dogs are dogs, thats why.

  24. lilypen -  June 29, 2010 - 7:21 pm

    Dogs are cool! Imagine a dog breed like the Icelandic sheepdog surviving such harsh conditioons with such small numbers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! these dog breeds were bred over a thousand years ago!!!!!!!!!!!! Rock on, dogs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. AJS -  June 29, 2010 - 6:28 pm

    Why do dogs in Argentina sound the same than dogs in Australia and the native tongue for the people are different? (Latin Spanish – English)


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