Cane Corsos breed pair

Cane Corso

Cane Corso (The Italian Mastiff) is the direct descendant of the ancient Roman Molosser dogs. In the past, the Cane Corso dog breed was common throughout Italy but is now found in the provinces of Foggia and Bari.

Cane Corso Italian Mastiff with puppy
Lovely photo of a Cane Corso Italian Mastiff with her puppy

Cane Corso FAQ Frequently Asked Questions:

Let us seek some answers related to the Cane Corso dog breed. Do they bark a lot? Are they good guard dogs? Are Italian Mastiffs good family dogs? Good with children? and many more questions a potential Cane Corso owner may be concerned about.

Cane Corso image
Cane Corso pair – Brindle and lead-gray

What was the Cane Corso bred for? Which dog breeds were involved in developing the Cane Corso breed?

Cane Corso’s name is derived from the Latin cohors, which means protector, guardian of the farms, courtyards and enclosed property. The Cane Corso breed first appeared in the sixteenth century and was bred for hunting and guard duties.

The Cane Corso is closely related to the Neapolitan Mastiff. In name and form, the Cane Corso predates its cousin the Neapolitan Mastiff. It is well muscled and less bulky than most other Mastiff breeds. This breed is known as a true and quite possibly the last of the coursing Mastiff breeds.

What is a coursing Mastiff? Why is the Italian Mastiff (Cane Corso) a coursing mastiff breed?

Coursing is the pursuit of game or other animals by dogs. You may have heard of the Cane Corso Italian Mastiff referred to as the coursing mastiff. This is because the Cane Corso can exceed other mastiff breeds in terms of athleticism, agility, speed, energy level, and sense of adventure.

Big dog breeds Cane Corso

Is Cane Corso an aggressive dog breed? Is it a good guard dog?

The Cane Corso is an excellent natural guard dog.

Cane Corso was not originally bred for dogfighting. Therefore, they are not genetically aggressive towards other dogs and humans. However, they are a dominating breed, protective in a mastiff way and will defend their territory from intruders. The Cane Corso will intimidate strangers by its aloofness, pose and looks.

Cane Corso natural guard dog
Cane Corso is an excellent natural guard dog

The Cane Corso is naturally protective of their owners and property. They can become very suspicious of strangers unless you spend time socializing them, both with other dogs and other humans.

Also, the Cane Corso is a large muscular breed. Any fear or cautious reaction from a dog or human can be misunderstood as aggression soliciting a response from the dog.

Cane Corso Italian Mastiff dog breed info
Cane Corso Italian Mastiff on guard dog duty

Will the Cane Corso attack other humans and dogs?

A properly socialized Cane Corso will not attack without reason. However, Cane Corsos will dominate other dogs and is capable of attacking other dogs and humans if not well socialized.

Cane Corsos are intensely loyal, protective, sensitive, serious dogs and are naturally aloof and indifferent to other people and dogs and very protective of their family and home. They will not love everyone they meet.

Italian Mastiff with her puppy
Cane Corso with her puppy

Is this breed a good choice as a family dog? Are they good with kids?

Cane Corso breed is a good choice as a family dog if you have the time and space. Cane Corsos are protective of their owner’s family and kids in the family. They are good with children they have been raised with. However, they will assume the leader’s role in the pack and need a responsible master in the family who they look up to like their boss. They may jump and be rough at times.

Does the Cane Corso breed shed? Are they hypoallergenic?

Cane Corsos do not shed all the time. However, they will shed (blow) their coat two times every year. Their coats do not need much grooming or maintenance. A bath with a special shampoo for a black coat will make them shine. They are not hypoallergenic. If you have allergies, here is a list of large hypoallergenic dogs.

Do Cane Corso dogs slobber and drool?

The Cane Corso breed drools less compared to other mastiff breeds and large dogs. They are lean, clean and more energetic.

Cane Corso photo
Cane Corso with a shiny black coat

Cane Corso

Ok, so you love the Cane Corso. So do we! and have decided to find yourself a cane Corso puppy as your next family member. How will you choose the one best cane Corso puppy to bring home? Let us look at some standard characteristics of the cane Corso breed which will help select the right puppy for yourself, keep reading.

Cane Corsos Italian Mastiffs
Cane Corsos look intimidating

Choosing a good Cane Corso puppy

The definition of the best Cane Corso puppy depends on your requirements. Your expectations from an adult Cane Corso can be broadly categorized as follows: Confirmation for show or dog breeding; obedience; smart guard dog; reliable companion dog; therapy dog.

Although it is tempting to look for all these qualities in the one Cane Corso puppy you are planning to buy, it is almost never possible to find all qualities in a single pup.

If you want your Cane Corso puppy to grow up to be a champion, you should look for confirmation to Cane Corso dog breed standards. Physical construction, head, proportions, bite, etc are all a priority over temperament. Look for the following characteristics while choosing a show-quality Cane Corso puppy.

Cane Corso Temperament

Guardian of property, family, and livestock; extremely agile and responsive. In the past, it has been used for herding cattle and hunting big game.

Cane Corso dog
Cane Corso dogs

Cane Corso Size. How big is the Cane Corso?

Height: Height at the withers, Males from 24 to 27 inches (62 to 68 cm) and Females from 23 to 25 inches (58 to 64 cm). Tolerance of inch (2 cm) more or less. Weight: Males from 92.6 to 110.2 lbs (42 to 50 kg) and Females 83.8 to 99.2 lbs (38 to 45 kg). Important Proportions: The length of the head reaches 36% of the height at withers. The dog is somewhat longer than high.

Brindle colored Cane Corso

Corso Coat: The coat should be short (not smooth), shiny, very thick with a light undercoat.

Cane Corso Colors

Black, lead-gray, slate, light fawn (yellowish), stag red, brindle; black mask is present in fawn-colored dogs.

Cane Corso dogs
Black & Slate-colored Cane Corso dogs

Cane Corso’s General Appearance

Medium to large-sized dog. Robust and sturdy, nevertheless elegant. Lean, with powerful long muscles.

Italian Mastiff Cane Corso
Cane Corso’s Head

Cane Corso’s Head

Large and typically Molossoid. The upper longitudinal axes of the skull and muzzle converge slightly. Skull: wide; at the zygomatic arch its width is equal to or greater than its length. Convex in front, it becomes fairly flat behind the forehead as far as the occiput. Stop: marked.

Cane Corso’s Nose

Black and large with ample, open nostrils on the same line as the nasal bridge. Muzzle: Noticeably shorter than the skull (ratio: skull 62%-64%, muzzle 36-38%), strong, extremely square, with a flat front face and parallel nearly as wide as long lateral surfaces. The profile of the nasal bridge is rectilinear.

Cane Corsos
Brindle and Solid colored Cane Corsos

Cane Corso’s Lips

The upper lips hang moderately and cover the mandible so that the lower profile of the muzzle is determined by the lips.

Cane Corso’s Jaw and Teeth

Jaw very large, thick and curved. Lightly undershot. Level and scissors bite acceptable.

Cane Corso’s Eyes

Medium-sized, ovoid, looking directly forward, slightly protruding. Eyelids are close-fitting. The color of the iris as dark as possible, depending on the color of the coat. Expression keen and attentive. Ears: triangular, drooping, with a large set on high above the zygomatic arch. Almost always cropped in the shape of an equilateral triangle.

Cane corso pic

Cane Corso’s Neck

Strong, fairly thin, muscular, as long as the head.

Cane Corso’s Forequarters

Shoulder: Long, oblique, very muscular. Upper arm: strong. Forearm: straight, very strong. Carpal joint and pasterns: elastic. Forefeet: Cat feet.

Cane Corso’s Body

The body is somewhat longer than the height at the withers. Sturdily built, but not squat. Withers: pronounced, rising above the level of the croup. Back: rectilinear, very muscular and firm. Loins: short and solid. Croup: long, wide, slightly inclined. Chest: Well developed in three dimensions, reaches to the elbow.

Cane Corso’s Hindquarters

Upper thigh: long, wide, posteriorly convex. Lower thigh: thin, strong. Hocks: moderately angulated. Metatarsals: thick and narrow. Hind feet: Slightly less compact than the forefeet. Tail: Set on of the tail fairly high; very thick at the root. The tail is docked at the fourth vertebra. In action carried high, but never curled nor erect.

Cane Corso puppy

Cane Corso puppy

Faults observed in the Cane Corso dog breed

Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree. Accentuated parallelism or very marked converging of the axes of the muzzle and the skull; converging side lines of the muzzle. Pronounced and disturbing undershot mouth. Nose: partial depigmentation. Tail: ring-tail, tail in a vertical position. Size: over or undersize. Movement: continuously ambling.

Disqualification: Axes of the muzzle and the skull diverging. Overshot mouth. Bridge of nose resolutely hollow, ram’s nose. Nose: total depigmentation. Eyes: partial and bilateral palpebral depigmentation, walleye, bilateral strabismus. Tail: tailless, short tail (artificial or congenital). Hair: semi-long, smooth, fringed. Colour: all colors not indicated in the standard; white patches too large.

Cane Corso puppies

Cane Corso puppies

Black Cane Corso

How much does a Cane Corso puppy cost? Maintenance costs?

How much is a Cane Corso pup? You can find them for $500 in newspaper ads. From a breeder that researchers pedigrees, does health testing, shows, and ensures temperament the price will cost anywhere between $1,000 to $2,500.
The cost of maintenance depends upon the size, age, sex and activity level of your dog. Consider food cost + Vet costs + miscellaneous. Generally, they will eat between 5 and 10 pounds of quality kibble a week. That would generally be between 4 and 8 cups of kibble divided into two feedings each day.
Will the Cane Corso be a good companion dog?
Yes, this dog breed can be an excellent companion or therapy dog.

Cane Corso Videos

5 thoughts on “Cane Corso”

  1. When evaluating the Cane Corso, the character must also come into the equation. The Cane Corso should never be fearful. If a Corso is afraid, how can he effectively perform his duties as a guard dog? A timid character should be severely faulted.

    This breed’s history predicates a somewhat belligerent attitude toward other dogs, particularly dogs of the same sex, so a Cane Corso that shows this should not be faulted (as long as he poses no threat to others). He should never be overly agitated or fidgety; he is always reserved and confident. The Cane Corso should be territorial; he should be in tune and aware of his surroundings and show a keen interest in them. The Cane Corso should never be afraid to meet any challenge.

    Do not mistake indifference or standoffish behavior with fear or aggression. Most Cane Corsos are not likely to look at you and wag their tail; some, yes, but in most cases, this will not be so. A mastiff should not be outwardly aggressive toward you; he must be under control at all times. The Cane Corso should be a very balanced animal mentally as well as physically; he should be confident, secure, and vigilant. The firmness of his nerves represents the true mental strength of the breed.

    The Cane Corso should be still; meaning he is just there. He is not acting aggressively, posing a threat for no reason. He is not shy or hiding behind his owner’s leg. He’s just there, ready to act if necessary, and with only the appropriate level of deterrent. This breed has a profound attachment to his owners; they are his sun and moon. He suffers if left alone or stuck in a yard; he needs social interaction with his family.

  2. In an effort to help you make an informed decision on a Cane Corso dog breed, we have compiled a list of Cane Corso dog breed-specific Frequently asked questions… FAQs and responses. Our goal is to provide you with a basic understanding of the breed so you can determine if this is the breed a good fit for you and your family.

    What are some characteristics of a Cane Corso?

    A Cane Corso is one of the most intelligent dogs you will encounter; they love to learn and love to please their people. For these reasons, a Corsos mental stimulation is just as important as her/his physical stimulation. They truly enjoy learning to be obedient and receiving approval from their human. They thrive in environments where boundaries are established and consistently reinforced. A few strategies that have proven successful for addressing the intelligence and people pleasing tendencies of the Corso are: Basic and Advanced Obedience Courses, Agility Training, and Therapy Dog Certification.

    Since most Cane Corsos have protective instincts toward strangers. They need extensive exposure to friendly people so they learn to recognize the normal behaviors of “good guys.” Then they can recognize the difference when someone acts abnormally. Without careful and purposeful socialization, they may be suspicious of everyone. Training, such as the three mentioned previously, helps socialize the Corso as does structured walks and visits to local animal-based stores.

    Cane Corsos bond strongly with their family members and are often referred to as ‘velcro dogs’. Corsos have a strong desire to be with their humans, so if you are in the bathroom expect company; if you are cooking in the kitchen expect a helper; and if you are indoors and your Corso is outside, expect two eyes peering at you through the window with an occasional ‘stink eye’. It is a rarity that a Cane Corso’s human has privacy.

    Expect to hear snorts, grunts, and loud snoring. While the sounds are endearing to some, they can be nerve-wracking to others. Expect Cane Corsos with heavy jaws to drool and slobber. While those with “tighter” lips tend to drool and slobber less, expect to experience this phenomenon to some degree.

    Expect gassiness (flatulence) that can send you running for cover. Fortunately, Cane Corsos who are fed a natural (raw) diet of real meat and other fresh foods have much less trouble with gassiness.

    What is the proper balance of exercise for a Cane Corso?

    Younger Cane Corsos need enough exercise to keep them lean and healthy, but not so much that their soft growing bones, joints, and ligaments become over-stressed and damaged. Since you have to minimize their exercise, young Cane Corsos can be very rambunctious. They will romp with uncoordinated gawkiness all over your house. While adult Cane Corsos need more exercise to keep them in shape, most senior Corsos benefit from daily structured walks with their human. Regardless of age, humans must be mindful of exercising a Corso in hot or humid weather for fear of overheating, which can result in heatstroke.

    What age of a Cane Corso would be best for my family?

    Before you add a Cane Corso to your family, you must decide if you want a puppy, adolescent, adult, or a gray muzzle. Puppies are a huge commitment (and a rarity in rescue), you will need to spend many months training a puppy, and will need to endure the extra energy and mischievousness a puppy will grace you with. If a puppy is too daunting, consider an older Corso.

    Many wonderful Corsos are available through Must Love Corsos Rescue. Corsos frequently find themselves in rescue through no fault of their own: they are often the product of a divorce, a result of an illness or death of an owner, a consequence of a family’s financial hardship, such as, homelessness, and a statistic of impulsive decisions based on immediate gratifications rather than long-term consideration of responsibility and possible changes in circumstance. These Corsos CAN and DO make wonderful companions in the proper environment.

    How are Cane Corsos with children?

    In general, Cane Corsos do very well with children. They have a high pain tolerance, and are not likely to snap in reaction to a pulled tail or tugged ear. It is imperative, however, that Cane Corsos be taught to respect children, and that children be taught to respect a Cane Corso. Remember that these are large dogs, and what is meant to be a playful swat with a paw could knock a small child over easily. Never leave a child unattended with your Cane Corso, or any dog. A Cane Corso’s size should certainly be considered when children are involved. Accidents can and do happen. A Cane Corso simply turning their head quickly to one side can produce a fall or damage to a small child. It is also important to keep in mind that all dogs are individuals, and no blanket statement applies to all Cane Corsos. Raise your Corso appropriately, and use common sense. A Cane Corso is not a Golden Retriever or a Beagle. You cannot allow them to raise themselves. They are pack animals and will find their natural place in the pack if left to natural processes. That place may be at the top of the pecking order instead of below younger family members if left unchecked.

    How are Cane Corso’s with other animals?

    Some Cane Corsos cannot share a home with small animals because of a high prey drive and an inability to lose the temptation to give chase. In most cases, males and females will get along, but a Cane Corso with another dog of the same gender (any size/breed of dog) can be troublesome. If you share your home with a Cane Corso and another dog of the same gender, you must be prepared to possibly deal with a fight breaking out among them. Because of this we typically recommend bringing a dog of the opposite sex into your home.

    What is the best living environment for a Cane Corso?

    Cane Corso’s are best as family companions who live indoors with their loved ones. Despite their large size and tough-guy good looks, a Cane Corso breed can have a very soft temperament where loved ones are concerned. They are happiest when they are spending time with their family, and are best suited as indoor pets. Cane Corsos should never be allowed to roam the neighborhood or surrounding areas unattended. They are guardian dogs and as their territory expands so will their commitment to protecting that area from other dogs and people.

    What are the grooming requirements of a Cane Corso?

    It is often said that the cane Corso is a “wash and wear” breed. Their short coats don’t require a lot of care, though they will certainly benefit from a quick daily brushing to remove dead hair and keep their coats shiny. Like all dogs, their ears and teeth must be cleaned regularly, and their toenails should be kept short.

    What is the expected health and longevity of the Cane Corso?

    The average life expectancy of a Cane Corso is 10 to 11 years. All dogs are subject to health problems, and Cane Corsos are no exception. Common health issues are cancer, hip, and elbow dysplasia, torn anterior cruciate ligaments, bloat, skin and coat problems, thyroid problems and entropion.
    Must Love Corsos Rescue recommends Glucosamine Joint Supplement, such as TerraMax Pro Hip Joint Supplement or Nutramax Dasuquin with MSM.

    What is the approximate cost associated with a Cane Corso?

    When you are thinking of adding a Cane Corso to your family, please take into consideration not only the initial cost of adoption but also the cost of health care for a Cane Corso. Remember that all dogs need annual veterinary visits and that even routine medication, such as those to prevent fleas and ticks, are expensive for a large dog breed.

  3. Though quite dominant and strong-willed, he will respect an owner who is confident and consistent. Cane Corsos have tighter skin than other mastiffs and drool less. Some love to dig holes, and most enjoy splashing in the water, whether it be a pond or a mudhole, the lawn sprinkler or their water bowl.

  4. Most people compare the Bullmastiff and Neapolitan Mastiff with the Cane Corso. Well the are all mastiffs but the Cane Corso is a bit smaller, leaner, less drooling, coursing (more athletic) than the Neapolitan or the Bullmastiff. All three are amazing guard dogs but the Bullmastiff is the best guard dog IMO with a sixth sense for guarding. The Cane Corso looks the best with a gray shiny coat. It’s tough choosing one over the other!

  5. The Italian mastiff, better known as the Cane Corso, first came to the attention of many when a pair of vicious Cane Corsos fatally attacked a jogger in Michigan in 2014. Like most other mastiffs, Cane Corsos are huge (a fully developed adult male weighs about 160 lbs.). The Cane corso dog breed was initially developed for guarding and protection. Cane Corsos have been implicated in several other fatal dog attacks in the United States. Not surprisingly, the breed has gained a reputation for being inherently dangerous. However, unlike other mastiff dogs, such as the Dogo argentino and Presa canario, the Cane Corso has been subjected to very little breed specific legislation.

    Another vicious but fortunately non-fatal dog attacked by two Italian mastiffs nearly took the life of a lady in Richmond, Virginia on April 8, 2016. Fifty-eight year old Teresa Key was lucky to survive. She was hospitalized after losing part of her scalp and she sustained dog bite injuries to her arms, legs, back and ears.

    Details of how this harrowing attack started are sketchy but it occurred during her walk to work. According to one online news report, a man in his car try to stop the attack by honking this horn. This technique did not work. Animal control authorities arrived shortly thereafter and the dogs became aggressive with them. One dog was shot and killed and the other dog captured. It is likely that the dogs lived nearby given that their reaction was probably territorial in nature. I note that the same scenario unfolded in another incident in which I was retained as a dog bite expert. In this lawsuit, two Cane Corsos escaped from the yard in which they were kept and mauled an elderly lady walking on the sidewalk. This lady was lucky to survive. Neighbors who came to her aid also had trouble in stopping the attack. In this lawsuit action was filed against Orange County Animal Control in southern California for negligence. Plaintiff’s counsel believed that animal control knew about the dangerous nature of these Cane Corso dogs but failed to take appropriate action to protect public safety.

    Are Cane Corsos inherently dangerous?

    I believe some Cane Corsos have fallen into the hands of owners desiring large, powerful, protective dog with aggressive tendencies. Some of the Cane Corso treated in my animal behavior therapy practice in Los Angeles have been manageable and good with family members including children. On the other hand, I have had cases where some individuals, mostly intact and insufficiently socialized males, have been vicious. In most cases, the vicious tendencies of these dogs were directed to strangers near the dog’s territory and not family members. I believe the vast majority of Cane Corsos have the potential to make great family pets. Cane corsos have the potential to become a welcomed member to any community. Nonetheless, when placed in the hands of an irresponsible owner, an individual can easily become ruined. Individuals must be properly nurtured and responsibly managed. It is also important that individuals be obtained from a reputable Cane Corso breeder. Generally, dogs belonging to this breed should only be placed in the hands of a responsible and experienced dog owner.

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