The Cane Corso (Corso) is a large working dog breed, initially used to guard property and hunt big game such as wild boar.
Male Corsos are typically about 25 to 27.5 inches (63.5 to 69.9 cm) and weigh 99 to 110 pounds (44.9 to 49.9 kg), while female Corsos are slightly smaller at 23.5 to 26 inches (59.7 to 66 cm) and weigh 85 to 99 pounds (38.6 to 44.9 kg).
Cane Corso puppies grow at a slow rate compared to smaller dog breeds.
They often reach their full-grown height around one year of age, but some Corsos may need up to 19 to 24 months to fill out their chest completely and reach their adult weight.
Corsos have that recognizable massive, boxy head with a heavy rectangular body. For coat color, the most frequent color of a Cane Corso breed is black.
Though other Corso colors can also be gray, red, or fawn and may or may not have a brindle pattern.
The Cane Corso is also well-known for its dedication to taking care of livestock and farms and serving as guards for their human owners. Being a large dog with a dignified and regal appearance makes Corsos a great guard dog.
Without extensive training at an early age, Corso dogs can be destructive and aggressive. This is why they’re not suitable for inexperienced dog owners.
With around 700 bite force PSI which is close to the bite force of a lion with 691 PSI, Cane Corso is a threat to someone that poses a danger. This has led to Corso being classified as a dangerous dog breed.
Despite their massive and muscular look, Cane Corsos are loyal and affectionate dogs and make great friends for the whole family.
Compared to other large dog breeds, Corso dogs bark rarely and only tend to bark if they feel threatened or they want your attention quickly.
Due to their high energy level, agility, and running speed of around 32 mph (51.4 kph), Cane Corso requires a protein-rich diet sourced from high-quality meat ingredients specifically for large breeds.
If you manage their most common health problems such as arthritis and weight management issues, Corsos have a lifespan of between 9 and 12 years.
Read on to discover more about Cane Corsos and learn how to keep them happy and healthy.
What is Cane Corso Dog Breed?
The Cane Corso is a large dog breed that originated in Italy. This Mastiff-type dog has been considered for being a capable bodyguard and watchdog.
They are often described as aggressive and dangerous but with the right owner, they can be very loving and affectionate dogs.
What is the Etymology of Cane Corso Dogs?
Cane Corso, the plural of which is Cani Corsi, is short for Cane Corso Italiano. They are also known as the Cane Di Macellaio, Cane Corz, Cane Corso Mastiff and lastly, “Dogo di Puglia”, which means “Dog of Puglia” – a region in Southern Italy.
Originating in Italy, the name “Cane Corso” can be translated using Italian and Latin. The Italian word “Cane”, or “Canis” in Latin, translates directly to “Dog” in English; however, “Corso” has two different meanings.
“Corso” refers to “Course” in Italian which loosely translates their name to “Running dog”.
Whereas, in Latin, the word “Cohors” translates to “Protector” or “Guardian” which was the intended meaning when the name was given.
What is the History of the Cane Corso?
The Cane Corso can be traced back to ancient Roman times. During the Roman Empire, the Romans developed a fondness for big-boned Greek war dogs.
These now-extinct dogs were referred to as Molossus and were Mastiff-like working dogs.
The Romans brought the Molossus back to Italy to breed with the Italian canines and this resulted in the creation of the Cane Corso, a guard-dog and skilled hunter.
They also became noble companions in Italy for decades with their competent and dignified demeanor.
This Italian Mastiff faced near-extinction after World War I and II where they were used as light artillery by fearlessly charging into enemy territory with buckets of flaming oil strapped to them.
Fortunately, there were a few survivors, and thanks to Doctor Paolo Breber who began a breeding program in 1974, the breed has been revived.
In 1983, the Society Amatori Cane Corso was formed. The first litter of Cani Corsi was imported to America by Michael Sottile a few years later in 1988 and the second litter in 1989.
The International Cane Corso Federation (ICCF) was formed in 1993 and the Federation Cynologique Internationale recognized the breed in 1996.
The ICCF began to seek recognition for The Cane Corso by The American Kennel Club (AKC) in 2003 and changed its name to The Cane Corso Association of America.
In 2007, the breed was admitted to the AKC miscellaneous class and received full recognition in the AKC working group in 2010. Recently, the Cane Corso has found preservation in Puglia, Lucania and Sannio.
How Many Cane Corsos Are There in the World?
It is difficult to say how many of the Cane Corsos (Italian Mastiffs) are around today, though, in the period between 2011 and 2019, the annual registrations in Italy were between 3,000 and 4,250.
Cane Corsi are difficult to locate due to their low numbers, but they are found mainly in America and Southern Italy.
The Italian Mastiff dogs are often bred by professional breeders and can be purchased for between $2,500 and $3,000 US Dollars.
Cane Corsos were ranked the 51st most popular breed among dogs registered by the American Kennel Club.
What are the Variants of Cane Corsos?
Cane Corsos have one official breed recognized by AKC however many Corso breeders and enthusiasts believe that there are two separate lineages for this breed and these are the Traditional Cane Corso and the Nontraditional Cane Corso.
- Traditional Cane Corso: This variant refers to the Corsos descended directly and exclusively from Italy and came to the United States. Also referred to as “All American Corsos”, these dogs are the true Corsos and are considered as the continuation of the old Italian bloodline.
- Nontraditional Cane Corso: Like “All American Corsos, this bloodline of Cane Corsos was also derived from the first Corsos that were brought to the United States from Italy. However, some Corso breeders decided to mix Corso with the other dog breeds, such as Great Danes and Boxers.
As a result of mixed breeding, nontraditional Cane Corsos produced a wider difference in height, weight, and temperament than traditional Corsos.
Nontraditional Corsos became taller, skinnier, and more active and agile than their traditional cousins.
What are the Characteristics of Cane Corso Italianos?
The strongest characteristics of the Cane Corso Italianos include the following.
- Intelligence: The Italian Mastiff is an incredibly smart dog breed and needs to maintain a busy mind at all times to prevent foul behavior.
- Prey-drive: This breed is extremely driven when it comes to catching their prey which is what makes them such great hunters, even with large games such as wild boar.
- Affection: The Cane Corso is highly affectionate towards their family. This does not necessarily mean that they are looking for cuddles, but rather that they do not like leaving their owner’s side. As a result, they have a terrible tolerance for being alone.
Cane Corso Dog Breed Characteristic Traits
The general characteristics of the Cane Corso dog breed can be found in the table below.
|Cane Corso Characteristics||Rating|
|Relation with family||5/5|
|Good with children||1/5|
|Friendly with strangers||2/5|
|Friendly with other dogs||2/5|
|Easy to Train||5/5|
|Mental Stimulation Needs||4/5|
What Does a Purebred Cane Corso Look Like?
The Cane Corso is a large breed of dog that measures around 28 inches (71 cm) at the shoulder and weighs upwards of 110 pounds (49.9 kg).
With a massive, flat, square head, a muscular physique, and a face with an alert expression, at first glance, Cani Corsi dogs are quite intimidating.
Why Do Cane Corsos Have their Cropped Ears?
Cane Corso’s ears were historically cropped due to their history as working and guardian dogs. This was to provide them some level of protection against wolves. However, this practice is becoming less and less common.
If left uncropped, the triangular-shaped ears drop down, framing the face and providing a much softer appearance to the square face of these dogs. Cani Corsi have extremely sensitive ears but are otherwise impervious to pain.
Why Do Cane Corsos Have Their Tails Docked?
The tails of Cane Corsos are docked to prevent injury, specifically when doing farm work or other hard labor.
The Cane Corso has a long straight tail that is typically docked when a puppy is between two and five years old.
The breed standard says that the tail should be docked to a third of the overall length or at the fourth vertebrae, and so it is this practice that is adopted by many breeders.
How big is a full-grown Cane Corso?
A fully grown Cane Corso is a large-sized dog. Male Cane Corsos are typically bigger than females of this breed, standing between 25 and 27.5 inches (6.5 to 69.9 cm) at the withers, while female Corsos reach between 23.5 and 26 inches (59.7 to 66 cm).
The below table will give you more insight into the physical features of the Cane Corso breed.
|Height||25 to 27.5 inches (6.5 to 69.9 cm)||23.5 to 26 inches (59.7 to 66 cm)|
|Weight||99 to 110 pounds (44.9 to 49.9 kg)||85 to 99 pounds (38.6 to 44.9 kg)|
How long does a Cane Corso grow?
The Cane Corso is a big dog, whose body is typically longer than the height. The broad and deep muzzle is typically reaching 3.4/10 of the total length of the head of this dog and the width should be almost equal to the length.
When do Cane Corso dogs stop growing?
Cane Corso dogs reach their full size at around one year old. The Cane Corso’s musculoskeletal system becomes fully developed at the young age of only 18 months.
Before this age, only short and slow walks should be used to help the puppy burn off its energy.
The Cane Corso Mastiff’s mind develops at a very young age. By the time the puppy turns eight weeks old, he is already capable of learning what you are willing and able to teach him.
What is the average weight of a Cane Corso?
Most Cane Corsos measure in between 85 and 110 pounds.
Their weight is in proportion to their height, with female Corsos being between 85 and 99 pounds (38.6 to 44.9 kg), with male Corso slightly heavier between 99 and 110 pounds (44.9 to 49.9 kg).
Your dog should be kept at an appropriate weight to extend its lifespan.
It is important to monitor and assess your dog’s weight to ensure that they are not getting overweight. If your dog gains weight in excess, you should notify your vet and receive
guidance as to how to adjust your dog’s food and/or exercise routine. Obesity can lead to a variety of health and joint problems in these big dogs.
What’s the Average Life Expectancy of a Cane Corso?
Cani Corsi can live up to the age of 12 years but have an expectancy of anything between 9 and 12 years. The median lifespan of a male Cane Corso is 9.25 years, while female Corso lives on average 9.33 years.
Three main diseases may cause a shorter Cane Corsi’s lifespan, namely:
- Hip dysplasia: This is an inherited condition that can lead to lameness and arthritis
- Gastric dilatation-volvulus: Which is bloating after consuming food or water too quickly, causing the stomach to twist and cut off the blood supply
- Ectropion: A common health issue in which the lower eyelids droop or roll out
It is also good to take your dog for tests on occasion to catch any problems before they become life-threatening.
What Kind of Coat Does a Cane Corso Have?
A Cane Corso has a short, coarse coat. This is a double-layered coat that becomes thicker during the winter season.
What is the Cane Corso dog’s coat like?
The texture of the Cane Corso’s coat can be described as dense. It is occasionally compared to that of a cow, however, the hair on the Corso dog’s muzzle is shorter, soft, and smooth.
How long is Cane Corso’s coat?
The Cane Corso’s coat has an average hair length of approximately 2 – 2.5cm. On the withers, the rump, the thighs, and the tail, the hair can reach 3cm in length.
In contrast, the hair around the muzzle is generally shorter, reaching no more than 1- 1.5cm.
The Mastiff’s undercoat will vary in length depending on the climate in which the dog lives, helping it to adjust to its environment.
How is Cane Corso’s coat density?
The Cane Corso has a short, stiff overcoat that covers a lighter undercoat. While the coat is short, it is not smooth. It has a short, coarse texture and tends to become thicker in the winter to provide your dog with extra insulation.
Do the Cane Corso dogs shed?
Yes, Cane Corso dogs shed moderately all year round. This breed sheds heavily twice a year, once during the Spring season to get rid of their Winter coat and the other with the changing of the season from Summer to Autumn.
How to Groom a Cane Corso?
You should brush your Cane Corso’s sleek coat once a week, with a recommended daily brush during the Spring shedding season. A natural soft bristle brush or mitten is advised to remove the dead hair.
The Italian Mastiff should be bathed once every three months or when dirty using a mild shampoo and a coat conditioner or polish to brighten the sheen.
Their nails will naturally wear down but should be checked regularly as an occasional trim might be needed.
Cane Corso’s ears should also be checked every week and cleaned if needed to prevent wax build-up and ear infections.
The ears can be cleaned by wiping them out with a cotton ball, dampened with an ear cleaner. Lastly, the teeth should be cleaned regularly with a soft toothbrush.
Do Cane Corsos like water?
Yes, Cane Corsos do like water. However, these big dogs are not considered to be good swimmers as they are too heavy.
It is fine to let your Cane Corso splash around in shallow water but if it tends to venture out into the deeper water then you may want to consider investing in a doggie life jacket.
What Weather Do Cane Corsos Like?
A Cane Corso can live in hot or cold weather but prefers the heat. Originating in Italy, which is known as a warm country in the Summer months, these dogs are prepared for hot weather.
Also, its thin coat is better geared towards warmer water. Cani Corsi kept in cold climates may develop a thicker coat.
However, extremely hot temperatures like 33 to 40 degrees Celsius can cause overheating for Cane Corso dogs as they have short muzzles making it harder to stay cool.
Cane Corsos also don’t like extremely cold weather like below 0°C as they may suffer hypothermia.
What are the Colors of Cane Corso Italiano Dogs?
Cane Corso Italiano dogs may have black, grey, fawn, or red fur. You also get Cani Corsi dogs in plum-gray, slate, light gray, blue/gray, light fawn, deer fawn, dark fawn, and tubby.
Tubby refers to a fawn or gray dog with well-marked stripes.
Brindle Cane Corsos also exist which means their fur has streaks of another color. This brindle coloring is possible in all of the coat colors.
What Markings Do Cane Corso Dogs Have?
It is common to find white patches on the Cane Corso dog’s chest, feet, and/or the bridge of the nose. Fawn and tubby-colored Cani Corsi may also have a black or gray mask.
This mask should be only on the muzzle and not extend past the line of the eyes.
What is the Temperament of a Cane Corso Like?
A Cane Corso is a typical mastiff in every sense: protective, affectionate, and loyal to their dog owners. It tends to have an easy-going temperament when given jobs to do such as to guard property and their family.
Though it’s quite dominant and stubborn, he will respect his strong owner who can guide him with consistency.
Are Cane Corsos good with other dogs?
No, the Cane Corso dog is not the best pet to get if you have other dogs. Without the right training, their strong hunting instincts could lead them to treat other pets or small animals as prey too.
That said, the Cane Corso when trained properly and socialized from a young age can be considered friendly to adults and other pets.
Are Cane Corsos friendly with other people?
Yes, Cane Corsos are friendly but mainly only with their owners. The Italian Mastiff can be playful at times with his family but is a sensitive breed.
Despite seeming like an aggressive animal, the Cane Corso is soft-hearted towards their loved ones.
These dogs have social needs that a good owner should fulfill with companionship, love, and playfulness.
Can Cane Corso dogs get along well with strangers?
The Cane Corso can be sensitive and serious and are not fond of strangers or being surprised by fast, unexpected movements, whether it be by a small animal, pet, or child.
They can be aggressive when encountering strangers and must be taught which actions require them to respond protectively.
How do Cane Corsos get along with young children?
Due to the large size of these dogs, Cane Corsos are not well suited to homes with infants and small kids. They can however adapt well to homes with older kids if they are properly trained.
An obedient Cane Corso should have a relaxed, reserved, and calm temperament around all family members.
Can Cane Corsos Adapt Easily?
Yes, the Cane Corso can adapt well to a range of environments and climates although they shouldn’t live in areas where the temperature is too extreme.
If it is very cold, you may need to put a doggie jacket on your dog, especially if he lives outdoors.
What is the ideal environment for Cane Corsos?
Cane Corsos are one dog that prefers to live outdoors, provided he has proper shelter. They can also live indoors provided you don’t mind the shedding and provide them with plenty of exercises.
Corsos are not apartment dogs, they need a large yard where they can run, or preferably a farm or small holding.
Are Cane Corso Dogs Aggressive?
Cane Corso dogs are considered to be calm, friendly, affectionate, and loving with their owners and only become aggressive when feeling threatened or protective over their family.
All family members must maintain the same rules with Cane Corso to ensure that it doesn’t see itself as a leader to anyone.
Like most large breed dogs such as Rottweiler and Doberman Pinscher, a Cane Corso can be a highly aggressive dog if it has not been trained properly or if it has been raised by an inexperienced dog owner
Do Cane Corsos turn on their owners?
Occasionally, Cane Corsos have turned on their owners, but this normally happens when the owner cannot properly control their dog. Although the Cane Corso are loving, affectionate and eager to please, he will try to take the lead.
You must be prepared for this when raising a puppy by remaining confident, setting boundaries, and using quick, decisive action to assert authority.
Are Cane Corsos dangerous dogs?
Cane Corsos can be dangerous dogs, in the wrong hands. The Italian Mastiff has a powerful natural tendency to take control and test how far he can go.
As the owner, you should show Corso that you are the leader of the pack and you control his behavior to avoid this strong dog becoming a danger to other humans and animals.
How strong is the bite force of a Cane Corso?
Cane Corsos have a bite force of 700psi, putting this breed in the top three strongest dog breeds. Unfortunately, Corso dogs can bite and attacks have increased in recent years.
This is often due to these dogs being owned by novice pet owners that don’t know how to properly train and control their dog.
Unfortunately, this has led to the Cane Corso being banned in several states and countries around the world.
Are Cane Corso Protective Dogs?
Yes, the Cane Corso is an incredible protector of its family and guardian of its home. With a stable and even temperament, Corso makes unequalled watch and protection dogs.
Although excellent guard dogs, they are still docile and gentle with their masters and tend not to wander from the home.
Is the Cane Corso a Social Dog?
A Cane Corso is social with people he trusts but not other animals or strangers. With any dog, socializing at a young age is of importance, but this is essential when it comes to the Cane Corso.
They need to be exposed to different people, sights, sounds, and experiences, ideally before the age of four months.
Socialization helps to teach the Corso puppy what normal behavior is and to ensure that your puppy grows up to not fear strangers, children, other animals, or being alone.
Are Cane Corso Dogs Easy to Train?
Yes, Cane Corso dogs are considered to be one of the most easily trainable and responsive of the Mastiff family. These dignified dogs find pleasure in learning.
The Cane Corso’s trainability level is high as they find it easy to learn, but it is recommended that the training is consistent and starts at a young age.
Cani Corsi are eager to please their owners with their constant effort in learning. They are intelligent and at their happiest when their minds are enriched with knowledge.
Proper training and positive reinforcement are essential with the Cane Corso. Important factors to focus on for the hardworking Cane Corso breed is the prevention of jumping, leaning, and leash-pulling.
It is also recommended that these dogs be sent for obedience training.
A Cane Corso puppy should join a kindergarten and/or socializing class at the age of 10-12 weeks to start training before he becomes too headstrong, which is likely to start at around the age of six months.
How do you discipline a Cane Corso?
The Cane Corso should be disciplined to prevent him from seeing himself as superior to humans.
The dog should not be hit, this sends the wrong message and can also be dangerous with a big, powerful dog. This breed is sensitive and can understand the tone of voice.
Cani Corsi respond well to praise and rewards for good behavior and firm, decisive rule enforcement. You should be calm and confident. Consistency allows the dog to relax and acknowledge your leadership.
Can Cane Corsos be used as a working dog?
Yes, after the wars, Cane Corsos were used as all-around farm hands and they make excellent working dogs. These strong-willed dogs live to work and they are often put to work on farms to assist in gathering and hunting.
Are Cane Corsos a good guard dog?
Yes, Cane Corso dogs make excellent bodyguards. They are devoted to their masters and will do anything to protect their wonder from a threat.
For this reason, they are often out to work in the police force as a part of the team catching criminals.
Do Cane Corso Dogs Bark A lot?
Cane Corsos are dogs not prone to barking. They usually only feel the need to bark when
alerting their family of an issue or intruder, but are also known to bark at strangers when
How does a Cane Corso bark?
Though it is rare for Cane Corso dogs to bark, if they are bored and have not been provided with a job by their owner, they will find work for themselves and this could mean running the fence and barking at anyone or anything passing by.
For this reason, it is important to keep your Cane Corso busy to avoid barking and to teach them when a stranger should be considered a threat rather than a passer-by.
Do Cane Corsos Have High Energy levels?
Yes, Cane Corsos are dog breeds that have a high level of energy. They want to move and won’t be satisfied laying around without doing anything.
Corsi also require a lot of exercise and therefore need a large, secure area like fenced yards to exercise in.
Are the Cane Corso Active Dogs?
The Cane Corso is very athletic and hard-working, they require daily walks from a young age and can escalate to running from 18 months and older to help rid their energy.
An adult Cane Corso requires about two hours of exercise every day. Along with walks or jogs, this can also include off-lead play somewhere secure and some form of dog sports or training.
Do Cane Corso Dogs Like to Play?
Although an active breed, Cane Corso dogs are not big players. The Cane Corso is highly effective in hunting large game and would thoroughly enjoy living on a farm, being able to train in agility and skills.
These jobs require not only their energy but also put their high intelligence to good use.
What exercises do Cane Corso dogs need?
Cane Corsos are a working dog breed and require a job to keep their mind enriched and body busy. They excel in working as a farmhand, gathering cattle.
Cani Corsi enjoy an outdoor environment and would be best suited in a place where they could go on daily walks with their owners and be able to keep a distance from other animals and small children.
Do Cane Corsos drool a lot?
Yes, Cane Corsos can drool a lot. The summer heat in particular can cause the Cane Corso to start slobbering or to slobber more than they would in the cold. They also drool quite a bit and make a mess when getting a drink of water.
What is the Family Life of Cane Corso Dogs Like?
If raised correctly, the Cane Corso should be affectionate and gentle with his family.
That said, all family members need to show strong discipline with this dog so that he knows the rules and is submissive to all members of the family.
What Kind of Food Do Cane Corso Dogs Prefer?
The Cane Corso should be fed high-quality dry dog food. As this Mastiff is such a large breed, they require 4 to 5 cups of food per day.
It is best to separate their daily food into two meals rather than leaving the food out all day.
This helps to prevent the risk of bloating and twisting the stomach which in this event, could lead to a medical emergency and put your Corso dog’s life at risk.
What are the Best Cane Corso Dog Foods?
Corsi need good quality food that supplies them with adequate protein to build strong, lean muscles and support the brain. Some of our favorite dog foods for these large dog breeds include the following:
- Blue Buffalo Wilderness
- Wellness CORE Grain-Free
- Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream
- Ziwi Peak Beef Grain-Free Dried Dog Food
- NUTRO Ultra Adult Dry Food
What Other Dog Breeds Look Like Cane Corsos?
Cane Corsos are sometimes confused with other big, powerful dog breeds. Here are some breeds that look similar to the Cane Corso:
- Neapolitan Mastiff: These dogs also originate from Italy where they too were bred as working dogs. As another Mastiff breed, these dogs share many traits with the Cane Corso.
- Bullmastiff: This is another hardworking Mastiff breed with a muscular body and square-shaped head.
- Rottweiler: Rottweilers are also large, working dogs, however, they differ from Cane Corsos in their softer face shape and characteristic black and brown coloring.
Is the Cane Corso the Right Breed For You?
The Cane Corso is a distinctive large breed of dog with specific needs. These powerful dogs are not well suited to first-time pet owners and need a firm, confident and consistent owner that can handle their dominant personalities.
With the right owner and on a spacious property these big dogs can be great protectors of your homestead. They are also extremely loyal and devoted to their masters.
Do you have a Cane Corso at home? We’d love to hear more about him and why you chose this breed in the comments below.