The roots of the Sardinian Molosser, the Cani Pertiatzu, or dogo sardo in italian, are still mysterious. We know for sure that during the nuragic civilization of 1.800 – 1.100 B.C, that Sardinians used to have middle-sized/big dogs with big heads and a short muzzle. Over the centuries lots of different kind of Molossers arrived in Sardinia from all over Europe, especially from Spain, since Sardinia was a part of Spanish Empire for four centuries.
We find information on the Cani Pertiatzu in ancient documents; in the Carta de Logu, the Sardinian Carta Magna written, in the sardinian language, in the thirteen century, in the thirtieth chapter (de cani – meaning about dogs) we find it named giàgaru and still in this chapter we understand it was a very important dog that if someone has stolen one of these dogs, they would be punished with a big fine. In the same chapter, we find another name, the cani de loru, we can translate this to the dog with a chain, and we can think that there were, as today, 2 breed lines, one which had the perfect use of a watch dog. The de cani de loru was the perfect guard dog in the homes of the rich, castles and large country houses. The typical hunting molosser, was an all purpose molosser, the giàgaru, a more light dog was perfect to hunt big animals, such as wild boars and deer and in helping humans herd semi-wild cows and bulls. Also the breed was used as a war dog against the French troops during the invasion of Sardinia in the end of the eighteenth century. This breed has been appreciated for its strong-mind and courage in many poems of the end of the nineteenth century. As well as in the beginning of twentieth century, when the Italian army decided to employ various types of this breed as a war dog during the Italian invasion of Libia.
The breed was almost forgotten in the second half of the twentieth century, but the breed has thankfully been rediscovered by the end of twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century. This is due to the large amount of research done by Roberto Balia. The author of the only book written about the Sardinian dog breeds, Canis Gherradoris (Fighter Dogs).
Nowadays, this breed is not an endangered specie, and there are now many good bloodlines.
The cani pertiatzu is a typical European middle sized molosser, that look like a villano de Las Encartaciones, a few bloodlines of alano espanol or a rustic cane corso.
The head is strong and huge, therefore the skull is large. The jaw mussles are strong, protruding and well developed and Length of muzzle is in proportion of 1 to 2 to length of skull. The bite is always orthognath (prognathism is refused by breeders).
The height of the whiters, the dogs are typically from 58cm to 68cm and the bitches from 55cm to 65cm. The weight of dogs ranges from 30kg to 45kg, and the weight of bitches ranges from 25kg to 40kg.
Since it is a working dog, we cannot find a big omogenity in size and phenotype, and there are lots of differences between the different bloodlines.
The hair on the coat of the dog is short and rough to the touch, and the colour can be fawn, dark fawn, black, grey and everyone of this colour can be brindle or have white patches in the chest or feet.
Even though it is forbidden by the Italian law, many breeders still crop ears and tail to their puppies.
As previously said, the all purpose molosser is couragous and brave. In the last decades, the economy situation in the countryside has changed. The cattle does not survive in the woods anymore, but inside the stables. Also, the old style of hunting has changed. The wild boars and deers are not killed by knife anymore, after the dogs have caught them, has it is now forbidden. Thus, just a few dogs still do this work, therefore, these days most of the canis pertiatzus work as good watchdogs for countryside properties.