According to the game's character designer, Hiroyuki Nara, the model for Dante was repurposed data for Trish from Devil May Cry 2.

"The characters' speed in the backup data was completely different from how it was in the retail release. The final motions had also been programmed in separately by the software guys, so in order to replicate them, I had to place a television running the original game next to my work monitor and eyeball it. (laughs) So the Dante in "DMC 3" was actually made using Trish's data from "DMC 2". (laughs) We had all sorts of problems with that damn backup data from "DMC 1"... "
Contributed by DrakeVagabond