Cane Corso – Everything You Need To Know

Cane Corsos are Italian dog breeds of the Mastiff clan. Loyal, affectionate, and protective, the Cane Corsos are purebred dogs used as guard dogs or companion canines. They are reserved and wary of other dogs and strangers; however, they love their family. 

Cane Corsos descended from the canines bred in ancient Rome for wars. Owing to their stature, these dogs were also used for herding cattle and hunting games. They are working dogs who love doing jobs. So be ready to share your routine with this people-pleasing companion!

Physically, the Cane Corsos are larger than the American Pit Bull Terrier. However, their temperaments are almost the same. Cane Corsos are not clingy dogs. Although they would like to spend some time with their owners, they would like to have space for themselves.

Cane Corso Overview

Cane Corso is a solid and athletic dog who pleases his owners. However, they do not suit novice owners. Large and secured fence yards are mandatory for Cane Corsos. In addition, these dogs need some tasks and humans to be with them to keep them from getting bored and avoid destructive behaviors. Thus, with ample space to play around, great exercise, and training, Cane Corsos can be a suitable choice for you.

Cane Corso Pros and Cons

Loyal and people pleasersHigh exercise needs
Highly energeticUnsuitable for amateur pet parents

Cane Corso Basic Information 

  • Name: Cane Corso
  • Origin: Italy
  • Group: Working
  • Size: Large
  • Height: Male: 24 – 28 inches Female: 23 – 26 inches
  • Weight: Male: 99 – 110 pounds Female: 88 – 99 pounds
  • Coat: Short, stiff, and light undercoat
  • Color: Dark to light gray, fawn, red, brindle, chestnut brindle, black and brindle, gray and brindle, and black
  • Energy: Medium to high
  • Activities: Guard dogs, companion dogs
  • Barking Level: Medium
  • Shedding Level: Medium
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Litter Size: 5 puppies
  • Other Names: Cane Corso Italiano, Bodyguard dog, Guard of the Estate, Coursing Dog
  • Breed’s Original Pastimes: Hunting and herding
  • Life Span: 9 – 12 years

History of Cane Corso

Cane Corsos belong to Mastiff lineage. They were developed in Italy and descended from Roman dogs used for battles. Cane Corsos are lighter built than the Neapolitan Mastiffs. These dogs were bred for herding cattle, guarding properties, and hunting games. 

“Cane” is derived from the Latin word “Canis,” meaning “dogs,” and “Corso” from the Italian word “Corusus,” meaning “robust” or “strong.” In 1988, Michael Sottile imported the first litter of Cane Corsos to the U.S. In 1983, the Society Amatori Cane Corso was formed, and the International Cane Corso Association was established in 1993. The FCI recognized these dogs in 1996. In addition, this breed sought recognition from the AKC in 2010. Finally, the Cane Corso Association of America currently governs the Cane Corso breeds.

Cane Corso Highlights

  • Cane Corsos are working dogs that would not need physical and mental stimulation.
  • Red Corsos and solid fawn Corsos bear gray or black masks.
  • Cane Corso’s ears can be cropped.
  • They are communicative to their owners.
  • He will also require plenty of training, exercise, and socialization.

Cane Corso Personality

Cane Corso’s almond eyes are deep set and leave an alert and attentive impression, making them better sighthounds than scent hounds. Their ears are triangular and are cropped or uncropped, and muzzles come in black and gray. Lips are firm. Cane Corsos bear white patches on the chin, chest, throat, and toes. The male Cane Corsos are 24 to 27 inches tall, while the females are 22 to 25 inches tall. The males weigh 99 to 110 pounds while the females weigh 88 to 99. Their tails are thick and are not tapering at the end. Their short coats vary and range from black to shades of gray, light and dark shades of red, fawn, and brindle. 

Friendliness Overview

Affection level Medium 
Family-friendly Medium to high
Kid-friendly Low to medium
Pet-friendly Medium
Stranger -friendly Low to medium

Adaptability Overview  

Good for apartment living Low
Good to new owners Low
Sensitivity level Medium 
Tolerates being alone Low 
Cold-tolerance Medium 
Heat-tolerance Medium to high 

Cane Corso Physical Features

Head: Cane Corso’s head is large, with a wrinkled forehead and broad skull. Their eyes are almond-shaped, with dark brown iris and black muzzles for coat colors that are fawn, black, red, and brindle; the iris is lighter shaded, and muzzles are gray for coats that are fawn, red, gray, and brindle. Ears are triangular and set well above the cheekbones, muzzles are broad and deep, and lips are firm.

Neck: Their neck is a little arched and flows smoothly on the shoulders with a tiny amount of dewlap.  

Bite: Teeth are slightly undershot (not more than ¼ inch). With the right head and muzzle parameters, scissor bite is accepted. The dentition is complete with incisors in a perfect line. Only up to two teeth can go missing. 

Topline: The topline is broad, sturdy, and robust. Shoulder blades are high and leveled above the back. Cane Corso’s loin is powerful and is joined perfectly to the back with their long and wide croup slightly sloping.  

Body: Ribs are long and spring well. Their chest is broad and muscular with a strong forefront.  

Tail: The tail is thick and not tapering, generally carried low and, when in action, carried high, reaching the hock. It is docked at the 4th vertebra.

Forequarters: The forelegs are strong and straight, proportionate to the dog’s size—well-arched toes with dewclaws.

Hindquarters: The hindlegs are equally strong, matching the forelegs. They have long, broad, and angulated thighs with widely set hocks.

Coat: Short, thick, shiny, and lighter coat that thickens during the winter season.

Color: Lighter and darker shades of gray, red, and fawn. Besides these, black colors and brindle are accepted with white patches across the chin, throat, chest, toes, and at the back of pasterns. 

Gait: Their gait is free with effortless movements and with solid reach.


  • More than two teeth missing
  • Distorted mouth
  • Undershot more than ¼ inch
  • Coat with tan markings, as seen in black and tan breeds.
  • An atrophied tail.
  • Knotted, deviated, or twisted tail.

Cane Corso Temperament

Cane Corsos are eager to please, gentler, loyal, and affectionate. They would not like to gel with children and dislike getting pestered by anybody. Cane Corsos want to be left independently and love to have their own space. Their reserved demeanor does not allow them to get along well with other dogs, pets, and strangers. Hence early socialization is mandatory for Cane Corsos. Apart from these, the Cane Corsos make unique sounds to communicate with their owners. Thus, they are an amalgamation of these qualities rolled into one:

  • Even-tempered
  • Calm
  • Affectionate
  • Guard dogs
  • Reserved
  • Loyal
  • Independent
  • Determined
  • People-pleasers
  • Gentle

Cane Corso Training

Cane Corsos require experienced pet owners to handle their training. Owing to their intelligence and territorial instincts, firmness and consistency are necessary to manage these canines. Since they have strong prey drives, training them on a leash is strongly recommended to keep their hunting and herding instincts in check. However, these canines can be excellent human and pet companions when trained and socialized early. Their training methods should include:

  • Leash training  
  • Crate training  
  • Potty training
  • Firm training and consistent training
  • Positive training method with rewards and treats
  • Training for obedience
  • Training for prey drive and mouthiness
  • Early socialization
  • Training for wanderlust tendencies

Here are a few dog interactive toys and products that you can use while training:

ASOCEA Dog Extendable Teaser Wand
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Dog Training Collar with Remote
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Ultra Tug & Toss Dog Toy
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Dog Puzzle Toys
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Trainability Overview 

Easy to train Medium to high 
Intelligence High
Mouthiness tendencies Low to medium 
Barking and Howling tendencies Medium 
Prey drive High
Wanderlust tendencies Low to medium

Cane Corso Exercise Needs

Cane Corsos are highly energetic canines and would need a secured high fence as they have excellent herding and hunting instincts. Cane Corsos would require daily walks to meet their exercise needs and can be your jogging and walking companions. An idle Cane Corso can end in exhibiting undesirable or destructive behavior. Therefore, engaging him physically and mentally is vital to keep him happy. Remember, the Cane Corsos would need a house with a large area and a strongly fenced backyard to play. If you live in an apartment, ensure you take him outdoors to exert his energy.

Exercising Cane Corsos is essential mainly for three reasons:

  • To keep the pet mentally and physically stimulated.
  • Avoid any other destructive behavior.
  • To keep the pet away from obesity.

Here are a few puzzles and dog toys to keep Cane Corsos engaged:

Nina Ottosson
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TOMAHAUK Snuffle Mat for Dogs
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TRIXIE Dog Activity
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LOOBANI Dog Food Puzzle
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Exercise Needs Overview

Energy level Medium to high
Exercise needs High
Intensity Medium
Playfulness Low to medium

Cane Corso Grooming

Cane Corso’s short, thick coat sheds moderately. They shed twice a year. Since their coat is short and rough textured, these dogs have relatively low chances of matting. Their grooming regime will include brushing them weekly. 

Trim their nails, check and clean their eyes and ears, and maintain their dental hygiene as a part of regular grooming. It is enough to bathe him once a week with a mild bath shampoo for dogs. Remember that excessive bathing can remove the natural oils from your canine’s skin. Ensure his wrinkles and folds are kept clean as dirt and bacteria may accumulate in these areas and cause infection. Some grooming product suggestions for your pet:

Grooming Kit
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Dog Shampoo
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WAHL Dry Skin & Itch Relief Pet Shampoo for Dogs
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Earth Rated Dog Wipes, Plant-Based and Compostable Wipes for Dogs
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Vet’s Best Enzymatic Dog Toothpaste
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Arm & Hammer for Pets Tartar Control Kit for Dogs
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Dudi Dog Nail Clippers and Trimmers
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Grooming Overview

Easy to groomHigh
Drooling tendency Medium to high
Amount of shedding Medium

Cane Corso Health

Cane Corsos are relatively healthy breeds. However, like any other breeds, they are prone to health conditions stemming from their lineage. Thus, to keep them healthy, it is vital to take your dog to the veterinarian for regular health checkups and ensure that he is updated with vaccinations. The lifespan of Cane Corso is 10 – 12 years. Some inherited health problems are listed below:

Health Overview

Overall health Medium
Weight gain tendencies Medium to high
Size Medium to high

Hip Dysplasia: A disorder that affects canines in their growing phase. It leads the hip joint to relax, resulting in discomfort and dysfunction. In addition, the cartilage and bones in the dog’s hip start to wear away as he develops. This leads to arthritis, muscular atrophy, and decreased mobility over time.

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus: A life-threatening condition that affects deep-chested dogs, especially if they have an overfed meal, eat rapidly, drink excessive amounts of water, or exercise vigorously after eating. Gastric Dilatation Volvulus leads to bloating in the stomach. Your dog cannot vomit to get rid of excess air in his stomach, and blood flow to the heart is prevented. Blood pressure lowers, and the dog goes into shock. Without immediate medical attention, the dog may die. Suspect bloat if your dog is drooling excessively and is not throwing up. He might be restless with rapid heartbeats. If you notice the above symptoms, take your furry friend to the vet as soon as possible.

Entropion: Entropion is when the eyelid rolls inward, irritating the eyeball from eyelashes rubbing on the surface. In critical cases, entropion can cause a corneal ulcer. The treatment for this disease is surgical.  

Ectropion: Ectropion is a condition in which the eyelid rolls outward, causing irritation, dryness, and damage to the eyeball and conjunctiva (the tissues surrounding the eye). The treatment for this disease is surgical. 

Cherry Eye: When the glands under your canine’s eyelid protrude, it appears like cherry and has to be removed surgically. 

Demodectic Mange: Another primary health concern in Cane Corso is the Demodectic mange. Due to a weakened immune system, the number of demodectic mites—a parasite usually present on the dog’s skin—grows out of control, causing mange. The Demodectic mange causes bald patches and uneven skin on the dog’s body. It commonly begins on the infected dog’s lips, head, and legs before spreading to other body areas. Demodectic mange isn’t contagious and may be treated with over-the-counter medications.

Obesity: Obesity is a common health disease in Cane Corsos. Excess weight can result in back pain, digestive disorders, joint problems, and heart diseases. The ideal way to control this disorder is by maintaining a healthy diet and routine exercise.  

Recommended Tests for the Cane Corso

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Eye Evaluation
  • Elbow Evaluation
  • Cardiac Evaluation

Cane Corso Diet and Nutrition

Cane Corso is a high-energy dog and requires four to five cups of high-quality dog food divided into two meals. Several commercial kibbles are high in proteins, but consider supplementing the kibbles with rich quality lean meat and canned dog food. Depending on his size, age, weight, and activities, consult your veterinarian and feed him the amount of food he will need. You can divide his meal time into two or three as per his veterinarian’s suggestions. Here are a few nutritious suggestions for your Cane Corso:

Blue Buffalo
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IAMS Minichunks
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Purina ONE
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Hill’s Science Diet Wet Dog Food
Buy at Amazon

Cane Corso Living Condition

The Cane Corso will require the following living conditions to lead a happy and healthy life:

  • A fenced yard and ample space to run around.
  • A regular exercise regime.
  • If you live in an apartment, you must ensure that you provide time for his physical exertion.
  • Experienced pet owners.

Did You Know?

  • Cane Corso’s bite force is 700 pounds per square inch, which is higher than a lion’s. 
  • Cane Corso’s ears are cropped to prevent injuries and ear infections.
  • Cane Corsos are featured in Bartolomeo Pinelli’s painting.
  • Ramsay Bolton owned Cane Corso in the HBO series, Game of Thrones

Cane Corso Breed Recognition

  • CCAA – Cane Corso Association of America
  • AKC – American Kennel Club
  • SACC – The Society Amatori Cane Corso
  • FCI – Federation Cynologique Internationale
  • ICCA – The International Cane Corso Association

Adding a Cane Corso to Your Family 

Adding Cane Corso to your family will need proper research about their parent breed, cost, breeders, health, and certificates. Then, get your Cane Corso from a reputable breeder who will provide you with vaccination and gene testing certificates. Also, ensure the health of the puppy’s parents.

Rescue Groups 

Cane Corso Videos


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