The majestic Cane Garouf is an increasingly rare breed from the Italian Alps, most commonly associated with the north-western region of Piemonte close to the French border, but also found further up north, in Switzerland. There are various theories about this Molosser's origin, some claiming it is a result of crossing working dogs of the old Cane E Presa Italiano group with the mountain shepherds from France, while others believe that the Patua is an indegenous Italian breed descended from ancient Eastern mastiffs introduced to the region by Romans. Thought to be the key ancestor of the St.Bernard and some other European dogges and bully breeds, the Cane Garouf is a large and powerful flock guardian and property watchdog. Valued as a hard working wolf killer for centuries, this impressive Alpine breed is now out of work, due to the modernization of farms and lack of need for sheep herding and guarding duties. Although it is a very capable protector, the Patua is usually overlooked for the job in favor of today's more popular breeds. It is estimated that there was only a handful of pure specimens of the mighty Mastino Alpino Italiano left in existence in the late 1990's, but today the breed is reportedly no longer found in its home region and is considered extinct.
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