Breed GroupWorking Group
Life Span9-12 years
Height23.5 to 27.5 inches
Weight 90 to 120 pounds
OriginItaly
Best ForExperienced dog owners

Cane Corso Overview

Dog Breed:
Cane Corso
Breed Group:
Working Group
Characteristics:
Intelligent, intimidating, confident, loving, strong
Height:
Males=25 to 27.5 inches , Females=23.5 to 26 inches
Weight:
Should be proportionate to the height of the dog; typically ranging from 90 to 120 pounds
Life Span:
9-12 years
Coat Colors:
black, fawn, gray, red, black brindle, chestnut brindle, gray brindle. The dog may display a mask of either black or gray.
Area of Origin:
Italy
Best For:
Experienced dog owners

Cane Corso Characteristics

Friendliness
Intelligence
Good for First-Time Owners
Good with Children
Easy to Train
Exercise Requirements
Ease of Grooming
Amount of Shedding
Amount of Drooling
Tendency to Bark

About The Cane Corso

  • A large breed dog

  • Intended for protection work

  • A dog breed with both a very high drive and lots of energy

The Cane Corso is an impressive powerhouse of a dog. Considered to be large in size, the Cane Corso is easily recognized by its block-shaped head and deeply muscled frame. A breed intended to appear intimidating, the Cane Corso was bred to fulfil the role of a watchdog.  Its fierce-looking appearance is important to its function. 

The Cane Corso is a breed of high intelligence. The breed excels at a number of activities and is highly active, requiring an owner that is committed to regular exercise. A breed that bonds deeply to its family, the Cane Corso is loyal and loves to please its people. However, this dog breed requires a strong leader and can be stubborn and dominant if its owner lacks authority

A strong-willed breed that is also highly powerful, the Corso is not for the novice owner. Dog experience is necessary for this breed to thrive. Cane Corsi do not enjoy the company of strangers; preferring to reserve their affection and loyalty for their family only. The Cane Corso will not seek out the company of other animals or people. 

A high drive dog breed, the Cane Corso benefits from having a job to do. This breed will not be content in a lifestyle that is largely sedentary. If its mental and physical needs are not met daily, the Cane Corso will fall into nuisance behaviours such as digging, barking, and chewing. The Cane Corso’s intelligence and athleticism makes it well-suited to such sports as agility, nose work, obedience, tracking, and dock diving. 

Cane Corsi are not suited to apartment living due to their high energy requirements and size. 

Cane Corso Breed History

  • Originated in Italy

  • The result of careful breeding between Roman war dogs known as Molosser and Neapolitan Mastiffs

  • Intended to function as a guard dog and hunting companion

cane-corso-brown-italian

The Cane Corso is a direct descendant of a type of Mastiff known as the Molosser, a dog believed to be of Greek origins. The breed traces its heritage to Italy and is believed to have been the product of selective breeding between several dog types the Romans used in war. The Cane Corso bears some resemblance to the Neapolitan Mastiff but is smaller in size. This dog breed was originally intended to function as a guardian as well as to assist its owners on hunts

The earliest Cane Corsi assisted with jobs around the home and farm. Many were put to work driving cattle or herding pigs into a central location. 

The name Cane Corso is derived from two Latin roots. “Cane” translates to dog and is a derivative of the Latin term “canis.” The origins of the “corso” portion of the dog’s name are less clear. It is believed that this term may trace its roots to “cohors,” a word meaning protector or bodyguard. 

Equally plausible is the assertion that Corso is derived from “corsus.” Corsus is an ancient word of Italian origin which means hardy. 

In time, as machines were developed to assist with farm chores, the Corso was no longer needed as a working dog on farms. During this time, the breed became in danger of disappearing altogether. In the mid-20th century, aficionados of the breed made a concentrated effort to preserve it for future generations through careful and conscientious breeding practices. 

The breed achieved recognition with the FCI in 1996. Corsi were first brought to America in 1988 by a gentleman named Michael Sottile. Official breed status with the American Kennel Club followed in 2010. 

Cane Corso Size & Weight

  • Males stand between 25” and 27.5” at the shoulder

  • Females stand from 23.5” to 26”

  • Owners must be prepared to commit time to training this power breed

cane-corso-size

The adult male Cane Corso stands between 25” and 27.5” at the shoulder while females can reach from 23.5” to 26” in total height. Weights should be proportionate to the height of the dog but typically range between 80 to 100 pounds. 

A large breed dog that is immensely powerful, families must be prepared for the commitment of both financial resources and training required to own a Cane Corso. Large breed dogs equate to larger expenses for food, medications, toys, collars, leashes, beds, and more. 

Potential owners of this high drive breed must also be committed to providing the appropriate training to ensure their Corso possesses good canine manners. Failure to ensure correct training can lead to a dog that is a menace to society, and that could cause great harm to other animals and even people. The Cane Corso is not a breed for an inexperienced owner or weak leader.

Cane Corso Personality & Temperament

  • Loving and affectionate with family

  • A very strong personality which requires early socialization and savvy owner to manage

  • Extremely sensitive

cane-corso-personality

The Cane Corso is bold and tenacious by nature. The breed has a strong personality which must be carefully managed through thoughtful training. Under the leadership of an authoritative owner, the Corso is a confident, loving family companion. However, in inexperienced hands, this breed can easily fall into aggression and become a threat to the public at large. 

A Cane Corso with a correct temperament is gentle and loving towards those it loves most. The breed can be quite affectionate and patient with its family’s children. For the safety of both the child and the dog, all interactions should be carefully supervised. Corsi are best reserved for homes with older children due to their size and strength. 

The Corso is not a fan of foolish behaviour and will chase children that are acting too rowdy. A prey-driven breed, the Cane Corso may mistake squeals and screams for sounds made by game which could lead to the dog responding protectively towards the youngest members of its family. 

A powerful and intuitive breed, the Cane Corso is not well-suited to homes whose family members display fear or distaste for dogs in general. Because the Cane Corso is quite strong, the breed requires an owner with the physical capability to keep the dog under control. 

A breed that is renowned for its natural intellect, the Corso likes to be in charge. Without strong leadership in its home, the Corso will willingly usurp the authority of its owner. This breed is known to push its owner consistently to see how much it can get away with. Boundaries that are set then reinforced are important with this breed. 

The Cane Corso has a sensitive heart. This means that aversive training methods are not necessary to accomplish the desired result. A breed that thrives on pleasing its people, the Cane Corso is wounded by sharp words and is eager to learn for treats and praise. To set the Corso up for success, it is recommended that owners approach the dog with quiet assurance and never respond to poor behaviour with anger. 

Though Corsi crave time with their owners, spending some time on their own can be good for them. This allows the dog to explore its world and indulge its natural curiosity in a safe setting. Time spent alone helps the dog to feel secure and at ease when its owners need to leave the home on occasion. 

Early socialization is critical for the Cane Corso to grow up to be a well-adjusted adult dog. Care should be taken to introduce the dog to new people and experiences as often as possible within a safe setting. Should proper socialization not occur during the early months of the dog’s life, the Cane Corso may learn to respond to novel things with fear and aggression instead of curiosity and enthusiasm. 

The Italian breed standard states that the true Corso should be disinterested when greeted by new people. Aggression should only be seen if danger is detected. The Cane Corso was bred to be a working dog and is able to fulfil its role well when placed under duress. However, any dog that shows unpredictable behaviour is a danger to itself and others

Though it is possible for the Corso to learn to live peaceably with other pets, this is typically only achieved when the dog is raised with them from puppyhood. The breed will not view dogs or cats outside its home as potential friends, and thus, must be kept securely contained to prevent disaster from occurring. It is important to invest training time into teaching the Cane Corso to tolerate being around other dogs while maintaining a calm demeanour. 

Since Cane Corsi can be prone to same sex aggression, it is possible that the dog may never accept other pets in its home. For families wishing to have several pets in the home, it is recommended that they add a Corso of the opposite sex or go with an entirely different breed altogether. Since the Cane Corso will defend its home, all introductions should occur in a neutral setting. 

The Corso is friendly and affectionate with its family members but has no interest in strangers whatsoever. The breed may respond aggressively if forced to interact with new people

Cane Corsi are not designed to thrive in apartments. They are best suited to homes with securely fenced yards in which they can stretch their legs and enjoy a good run. 

A breed with a double coat that is quite short in length, the Corso will tolerate cold weather conditions but prefers a warm climate. This dog breed should be housed indoors with its family. 

Cane Corso Health & Grooming

  • Low grooming requirements

  • Sheds year-round

  • A known drooler

cane-corso-health

In general, Cane Corsi enjoy excellent health. However, as with all dog breeds, the Cane Corso can be predisposed to certain genetic health conditions. To ensure no inherited illness is passed from one generation to the next, all breeding stock should be carefully screened prior to mating. Among the illnesses which can befall the Cane Corso are entropion, ectropion, cherry eye, demodectic mange, and gastric torsion (bloat). 

The Cane Corso is a breed with exceptionally low grooming requirements. This dog has a double coat which is quite short in length. The coat will grow more depending on the climate of the dog’s residence. Corsi shed year-round with increased hair loss occurring each spring. 

To keep the Corso’s coat in good condition and to reduce shedding, the breed should be brushed at least once weekly. Bathing should be kept to a minimum and is best reserved for when the dog has rolled in something dirty or unpleasant. 

Nails should be trimmed at least once monthly to maintain good foot health. Regular ear cleaning and dental care also form an important part of keeping the Corso healthy and well.

The breed’s high activity needs mean the Cane Corso is unlikely to gain weight. However, all food intake should be monitored carefully and sufficient exercise should be provided to maintain an excellent body condition. 

The Cane Corso is a known drooler

Cane Corso Training

  • Learn new skills with ease

  • High prey drive

  • Can be vocal

cane-corso-training

Due to breed’s high drive and strength, the Cane Corso needs both early socialization and training. Since the Corso is a strong-willed dog with protective instincts, the breed needs to learn its place and to display proper canine manners. Their intelligence level means they can easily learn new skills, mastering the basic obedience commands in as little as two weeks if sufficiently motivated. 

Corsi are sensitive dogs. They respond best to training methods based in praise and rewards. They will shut down and may become aggressive if harsh techniques are employed. 

The Corso is not typically a mouthy breed. However, these dogs are immensely strong and must be taught to use their mouths appropriately. This can be achieved by a simple redirection to a toy, bone, or ball when the dog attempts to nip. In a breed as powerful as a Cane Corso, nipping should never be tolerated

The Corso is prey-driven and will chase small animals if given opportunity to do so. Since the end result of this game is the death of the animal, it cannot be overemphasized how important it is to keep this dog type safely contained. Because of the breed’s high drive, Cane Corsi are prone to wandering if the opportunity presents itself. 

The Corso can be quite vocal and should be taught a “no bark” command. 

Cane Corso Exercise Requirements

  • Learn new skills with ease

  • High prey drive

  • Can be vocal

cane-corso-exercise

Cane Corsi are a breed that require daily vigorous exercise at least twice daily to remain physically and emotionally content. This is not a dog for those that enjoy a more laidback lifestyle. The Cane Corso has very high activity requirements

The Corso is well suited to many different activities including walking, hiking, jogging, and biking. A breed that was intended to function as a working dog, the Cane Corso needs to be kept busy. If allowed to become bored, the Corso can and will become destructive. 

Corsi are natural athletes that excel at many sports including agility, dock diving, protection work, tracking, and obedience. 

The Cane Corso can be very playful and enjoys active pursuits with its family. 

Cane Corso Diet & Feeding

  • Puppies should be fed puppy food

  • Adults should eat adult food

  • Adjust meals to reflect activity level

cane-corso-feeding

To ensure the Cane Corso receives a diet that is best suited to its needs, it is always a good idea to consult with a veterinarian. In general, the Cane Corso will thrive when fed a high-quality diet that is nutritionally balanced to meet the dog’s unique needs. 

Puppies should always be fed an excellent quality puppy food to support their growing bodies. Adults should be fed a diet that is designed to meet their needs. 

To determine the correct portion size, the bag of food will offer suggestions. This is an excellent starting point but should be adjusted to reflect the activity level of the dog. The dog’s weight and appetite will serve as a helpful guide in determining proper portions. 

You may also be interested in:

Cane Corso Rescue Groups

cane-corso-on-top-of-a-rock

For more information about Cane Corsi available for adoption near you, we recommend the following comprehensive resources:

 

Cane Corso Rescue

https://www.canecorso.org/rescue.html 

 

Cane Corso Association of America

https://www.canecorso.org/

 

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