Let's talk Cane Corsos

A majestic breed if there ever was one, the Cane Corso is a faithful companion and fearless protector. Always eager and devoted, the breed’s incredibly muscular body combined with a keen temperament makes them a superb watchdog - their name translates roughly from Latin as ‘bodyguard dog.’ And yes, they will always love you. Their nonchalant gaze transmits a cool confidence but make no mistake: Beneath that tough exterior lies a sweet sentimental sort.

Official name: Cane Corso

Other names: Cane Corso Italiano, Italian Court Dog

Origins: Italy

Black and white face on portrait of a Cane Corso
 Drooling tendencies

Warm weather? Medium
 Shedding level Medium
Suited to apartment living? 
 Energy Level (high, low, medium)* High Family Pet?* 
Very high
 Compatibility with other pets
Can stay alone?*

 * We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.
 
For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs).
 
Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.
 
Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.
 
All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company.  However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age.  Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

 
Inline Image 15
Illustration of a Cane Corso
Male
64 cm Height
45 - 50 kg Weight
Female
60 - 66 cm Height
40 - 45 kg Weight

 

 Baby age  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age  2 to 8 months
 Adult age  8 to 2 years
 Mature age  2 to 5 years
 Senior age  From 5 years

Sitting Cane Corso against a blue sky

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Get to know the Cane Corso

All you need to know about the breed

Despite their slightly intimidating presence, the Cane Corso is gentle to the bone. A hugely loyal companion who is incredibly eager to please, they are a mastiff type of breed - characterised by a substantial body, large feet, bulky head, and a brachycephalic front, which means a shortened muzzle and nose.

Developed for big-game sport and used to being assertive, Corsi - as they’re known in the plural - are quite intelligent, so will need a serious, assertive owner. Showing the breed who is in charge from early on is important. Large guardian dogs like the Cane Corso require socialisation with family and friends to achieve the most even temperament.

The breed is one to compete in tracking, agility, obedience, and protection sport. The Cane Corso’s admirable traits are plenty, and the need for exercise is chief among them. Two walks a day at minimum are best, a run even better if you are so inclined. This is not a dog that sits still! The breed thrives in a home with land or a large yard.

As wonderful a family dog as the Cane Corso is, they are not one to take to others so quickly. The dog is very devoted to their owners and hesitates when bonding with others. Get them used to family and friends early on to bring out the best traits of your Cane Corso.

Cane Corse splashing as it runs through a stream

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2 facts about Cane Corsos

1. Keep mealtime calm

Large breeds like the Cane Corso can have a condition called gastric dilatation and volvulus - GDV - or most commonly called bloat. The condition, often abrupt, can happen after a too-quick meal where the stomach turns and fills with gas. Seek medical attention right away if it does occur as it is treatable but can be fatal. Any swelling, restlessness, or sudden discomfort are signs of GDV. Regular vet visits and careful feeding are the best preventative.

2. Lives to work

A dog like the Cane Corso needs to be occupied during waking hours. They benefit tremendously from taking on needed tasks around the house - if in a more domestic situation - or guarding property or livestock if in a farming or agricultural one, as guardianship is second-nature to him. This is one dog who is highly loyal to their owners and to the homefront.

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History of the breed

The stunning Cane Corso has long been seen as a dignified breed, with roots in his home country of Italy enough to cement his sophistication. His history there dates to ancient Rome. He is a Molosus subcategory of working breed, thought to descend from the ancient Greek Molossi tribe which bred powerful, large mastiff-type dogs. When the Roman Empire reigned supreme over Greece, native Italians brought the dogs home to further develop them.

The Cane Corso’s ancestors - thought to be even bigger and fearless - were used mainly for battle. As Italy’s wartime endeavours faded, the Cane Corso was utilised over centuries to guard farms and for sport. With the onset of industrialisation, the Corsi’s numbers dwindled and by the mid-Twentieth Century, they were all but extinct.

Thanks to a group of enthusiastic fanciers, the Cane Corso breed survived, hitting U.S. shores in 1988 and recognised by the AKC in 2010.

Black and white front on portrait of a Cane Corso

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From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Cane Corsos

1. Ears

Ears set high and back, medium sized, at times cropped.

2. Head

Strong head, wide muzzle, fur wrinkled on forehead.

3. Body

Brawny body, substantial limbs, large bones.

4. Coat

Coarse, short, shiny coat.

5. Tail

Tail often cropped, naturally quite thin, slightly curved.

Close-up side profile of a Cane Corso

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Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Cane Corso
A black Cane Corso looking to the sky with a paw raised

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Caring for your Cane Corso

Grooming, training and exercise tips

Cane Corso grooming is simple given their short single coat; occasional brushing will keep them at their best. Cleaning their ears and trimming nails often is of course in the dog’s best interest. The Cane Corso needs lots of exercise. This is a powerful and strong dog bred for guarding so will flourish with constant challenges. Agility, tracking, and obedience training are all right up their alley - even dock diving! To bring out the best in your Cane Corso, thorough and consistent training is required. This is a willful breed with a strong mind and stronger spirit who thrives best when helped along by an experienced master. Make sure to maintain the upper hand though while providing the security the Cane Corso requires.

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All about Cane Corsos

The Cane Corso dog is a physically powerful breed. New owners should more than likely be experienced with dog ownership as well as handling a larger animal. Proper training is essential to bringing out the best in the Cane Corso breed.

Leave it to the Italians to invent another noble and sophisticated product, this time in the form of a canine. Although cross-bred over the years to develop their better characteristics, there are no two breeds that the Cane Corso draws upon. The dog hails originally from ancient Rome, used for war and security.

Other breeds that might interest you.

Sources

1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/