Why you should care

Because what becomes a canine legend most?

Sweat beads on his upper lip. An upper lip that trembles with righteous indignation. “With as many dogs as there are that need to be rescued, I can’t believe people are buying dogs anymore.” The scenario? A party in San Francisco’s tony Russian Hill. The occasion? An announcement that one of the attendees has spent $2,000 on a rottweiler.

“There are plenty of kids that need adopting too, and I can’t believe people are adopting dogs instead of kids.” Pro-buyer and anti-buyer glare at each other, until, driven by a mutual hatred and distrust, they move to different ends of the table. But to those in the know? The squabble seems sweet, quaint even, because in some circles, $2,000 for a dog is a bargain.

“Yeah, Logan cost a little more than that.” Six-year-old Logan pulls on his leash, all 147 pounds of him, and nuzzles crotches of those who have gathered to admire his heavily muscled frame. “How much more? Mmm …” Mark Sanchez, married, but with no kids, has some disposable income, though it’s always slightly dicey telling people exactly how much. Hence the pause. Which goes on for longer than is comfortable.

“Well, $6,500.” And, as if to mitigate this kind of spending, “But we had to go to Italy to get him.”

So the $6,500 included airfare for two? “Not really.”

And the dog that inspired this kind of irrational lust? A Cane Corso, or an Italian mastiff, a southern Italian working dog that, while almost totally extinct by the late 1970s, has a history that stretches back to ancient Rome. A history on full display when Logan begins licking his testicles.

It’s really not about the money. It’s about what constitutes your ideas of what beautiful is.

Salvatore Russo

“It makes a lot of economic sense,” Sanchez says. “I’ve more than made that money back in stud fees.” More than close to $10,000 in stud fees? If people are willing to pay $6,500 for the dog, I guess the math ends up making sense, and a dog that had been on the brink bounced back mightily, so people are buying in. Of course there are provisos. Lots of provisos. The Cane Corso is a big, willful dog that needs lots of attention, but it shouldn’t be exercised too much when young, which sort of makes it a rich person’s dog, since if you think it’s going to be cool with you working an eight-hour workday, then you need to think again.

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How much is that doggie in the window?

Source Shutterstock

“Sure, they’re good dogs, pretty big, active dogs,” says Mike Jones, CEO and founder of Primal Canine Dog Training. “And it kinda depends on what these people want the dog for — pet, show dog, breeding purposes, working dog/protection dog — but I don’t think they’re worth that kind of money.”

Logan is a textbook definition of regal. Though this could be a clear-cut case of nurture, as well as about $10,000 of nature. That is to say, you’d probably take pretty good care of something you’d spend that kind of money on.

“Yes, I spent $2,000 on my cat,” says Salvatore Russo, a San Francisco social worker who plies his trade in the public housing sector. He’s trying to explain his irrational exuberance for his feline. “But it’s really not about the money. It’s about what constitutes your ideas of what beautiful is. I just happen to think my beautiful cat is worth more than the $2,000 I spent on him.”

And the Cane Corso is a beautiful dog. Logan stands on his two hind legs and place his front paws on Sanchez’s chest, at which point a guy runs over and admonishes Logan for doing so. He turns out to be the dog trainer, and he whisks Logan off for a day of supervised, and paid for, fun. As Logan sashays across the parking lot, it is readily apparent that the dog is all of that. But the price tag stings. But the dog is so beautiful. But the money. But. But.

All things being equal, that is one hell of a phenomenal dog. But, bittersweetly, all things are not equal.

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