Cane Corso

Also known as: Italian Corso, Italian Mastiff, Italian Corso Dog, Cane Corso Italiano
  • Cane Corso
  • Cane corso

General description

This type of dog is without a doubt fascinating, with an ancient history that could go be tracked all the way to the Romans. The Cane Corso is a powerful and large-sized breed created to work in farms and as a guard, basically a working and not a companion dog. Your Cane Corso needs to be very active and always stimulated. This breed must be trained with commitment and socialized often from a young age. A Cane Corso that is not properly exposed to other dogs and people can become aggressive and dangerous to them. A breed that is affectionate towards family and deeply bonded to its master, however not ideal for children nor inexperienced owners who would be unable to manage it.

Cane Corso in short

Aspect and attributes

Characteristics accepts by FCI:

  • Colors: red, fawn, sesame, white, grey, black, silver, mouse, seal
  • Hair: thick, short
  • Coats: masked, markings, solid, brindled

The Italian Corso Dog is a very large breed that can reach 50 kg in weight and 68 cm at the withers.

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Costs and maintenance

A Cane Corso puppy can cost anything starting from 700 euro, depending on the pedigree. Remember not to look for a bargain when purchasing such a powerful breed or you may find yourself with a puppy affected by behavioral issues. Except for the initial cost, the Cane Corso won't require high maintenance expenses and does not need professional grooming. Obviously, your expenditures will increase if you choose to have your pet trained by a professional.

A breed with an average maintenance cost

Characteristics Summary


Suitability to apartment life

The Cane Corso is a working type of dog that is said to have actually been created by the Romans as a fighting, hunting, guard and sheep dog. Basically, a versatile and powerful breed that is absolutely not suitable to live in a unit. This type of dog requires living space as well as activity and cannot adjust well within the four walls of a house.

A breed that is absolutely not suitable for apartment life

Tolerance for solitude

The Cane Corso breed requires sound training in order to become a good pet and restrain its naturally dominant nature. Part of such training must include the ability to be on its own. Once again, this type of dog needs good coaching and, when it is taught so a Cane Corso will patiently wait for the owner on its own. Otherwise it will suffer and become anxious in a solitary condition.

The Cane Corso can tolerate solitude when adequately trained

Suitable as first pet

We said it already but we'll stress it once again: a Cane Corso cannot be adopted if there is no intention to seriously and consistently train it. Otherwise, this large-sized and not so tame breed can become aggressive and dangerous. The Cane Corso is absolutely unsuitable for inexperienced owners who are incapable of managing such a strong breed with this temperament.

Not suitable for first time owners


As many other dog breeds of similar temperament, the Cane Corso is quite sensitive. The Cane Corso needs a strong leader who can be affectionate yet firm, and whom this type of dog can trust and relax with. A Cane Corso does not appreciate screams (and physical punishment is absolutely inadvisable) however it is very responsive to the tone of voice and body language. These factors must be taken into account during training and generally in this breed's daily life.

A fairly sensitive dog breed that wants a strong but loving master

Tolerance for cold temperatures

The fur of a Cane Corso is short and dense with little undercoat. This enables the Cane Corso to live outdoors throughout the year however it should have access to a warm shelter in the coldest months. This breed doesn't have enough fur to live out in the open which is anyway an unwise condition for any type of dog.

Quite tolerant to cold weather but still requires shelter in winter

Tolerance for high temperatures

Despite being part of the molossoid family and the large size, the Cane Corso is quite resistant to heat. Summertime doesn't represent an issue for this breed which is not usually subject to heat strokes. Obviously, your Cane Corso should have access to shade, cool air and sufficient water.

Quite tolerant towards heat

Friendliness and sociability

Affection towards family

The Cane Corso lives for its family and, even though it is not excessively loving it clearly displays affection. This breed loves to be patted and being around loved ones who it protects at any cost. Sadly, the love a Cane Corso has for its family tends to be exclusive to the point where, if not adequately trained, it will try to push strangers and other dogs away.

A breed that displays affection towards its family

Friendly towards children

The Cane Corso will always want to have everything under control and has the bad habit of taking on the role of chief. This is why, a Cane Corso doesn't naturally adjust to being around children unless it is exposed to deal with "human puppies" starting at a young age. On top of this, the fact that many kids may be scared of a Cane Corso doesn't help.

A breed that is not very suitable to live with children

Relationship with strangers

Being a tireless guard that is always alert, the Cane Corso is naturally suspicious of strangers. The level of importance of such mistrust and, therefore the degree of aggressiveness towards strangers is connected to how the Cane Corso is socialized as a puppy. A Cane Corso dog that was not adequately exposed to different people will bark furiously at every stranger approaching its territory and may even attack.

Naturally wary of strangers

Friendliness towards other dogs

As it is with humans, the Cane Corso is also suspicious of other dogs. These giant dogs with somewhat of an arrogant nature will always want to be the boss, especially if the owner is unable to act as pack leader. An inadequately socialized Cane Corso can be a menace to other dogs and try to attack them.

Not very friendly towards other dogs

Care and health

Coat care and shedding

The Cane Corso has a short yet dense coat that sheds twice a year. If your Cane Corso lives outdoors, hair loss won't be an issue and brushing it once a week will be enough to keep the situation under control. However, if your pet lives in the house you risk having fur balls rolling in all corners during moulting season.

This breed moults twice a year

Salivation and drooling restraint level

This type of dog will drool quite heavily, especially when it barks and is excited. Generally, the Cane Corso is not ideal if you're planning on having an indoor pet both due to cleanliness issues and, mostly because of the behavioral traits and exercise as well as working requirements which are typical of this powerful breed.

A type of dog that tends to dribble quite copiously

Easiness to clean

A Cane Corso that lives outdoor can basically keep itself clean. Hair shedding will occur naturally without causing any fuss in the house, and the short coat will make it easy for this breed to stay naturally quite clean. In case you plan to wash your Cane Corso, get it accustomed as a puppy and associate the bath with a positive experience. Bathing a 50 kg dog that does not want to be washed is an impossible task.

Keeping the Italian Mastiff clean is very simple

Health and diseases

Despite its large size, the average lifespan of the Cane Corso is similar to that of other medium-sized breeds. This type of dog will generally be healthy, if we exclude the typical issues affecting very large breeds such as hip dysplasia and stomach torsion. As almost all molossoid breeds, the Cane Corso can be subject to eye and eyelid conditions.

The Cane Corso is generally a healthy breed

Tendency to gain weight

This working breed needs to exercise a lot and apply to a task in order to be 100% fit, both mentally and physically. A Cane Corso that lives an overly inactive lifestyle can easily gain weight. The amount of food must be proportional to an Cane Corso's lifestyle, size and age. Furthermore, it is recommended to feed your Cane Corso twice per day in order to avoid the risk of stomach torsion.

A breed that can easily gain weight if it doesn't get enough exercise

Learning skills

Intelligence and training

Cane Corso dogs are very intelligent and can learn a large number of commands. As already mentioned, this type of dog needs to be trained or it will become dominant and aggressive. You should stay away from violent training methods (to which a Cane Corso can react badly) but still be firm and consistent without fearing any "leadership test" thrown at you by your pet.

Very smart and quick at learning but also dominant

Loyalty and inclination to escape

In case you keep your Cane Corso outside, ensure the fence around the property is sturdy enough. A dedicated guard dog by nature such as the Cane Corso will hardly get away however it could be tempted to chase an unfortunate pedestrian, dog or cat. Be mindful of this breed's digging skills.

Best to have a robust fence

Inclination to bite

A well trained and good-natured Cane Corso should not bite unless there is a real threat. Nevertheless, there are occasions in which some individuals may be too aggressive or suspicious and not adequately trained. These Cane Corso dogs may therefore bite and unfortunately become very dangerous.

The Cane Corso can bite if inadequately trained

Hunt drive

An Italian Corso Dog should never be off-lead: neither in the city amongst kids and other dogs, nor in the countryside or woods where this powerful breed once used to hunt could rekindle with its predator drive and escape from your control, to the expenses of some chicken.

This type of dog has a well developed predator instinct

Inclination to bark or howl

The Cane Corso has a strong inclination to bark or howl when it communicates, however only while protecting its home and family from what it considers a threat. Very suspicious dog breeds will however consider anyone as a menace from the postman to a passer-by and are capable of barking constantly.

A Cane Corso will bark when guarding

Exercise requirements

Energy level

As they were born to work, Cane Corso dogs have plenty of energy and the strength of a fighter. This breed needs to have a duty or it will find one for itself which usually involves guarding the property and defending it from any stranger in the vicinity. The Cane Corso shouldn't be kept indoors and requires plenty of exercise.

A breed that features energy in abundance


An Italian Corso Dog that is trained with uncertainty or insufficiently can become difficult to manage in any situation. This type of dog can try to guard excessively by furiously barking at any cyclist or pedestrian near what it considers its territory, pull on the lead and so on. And, a 50 kg pet that pulls on the leash can drag the owner anywhere it wants.

A very strong and powerful breed

Exercise requirements

It should be clear by now that the Cane Corso is a demanding breed that requires a lot of time and consistency. Specifically, the Cane Corso requires plenty of exercise and, therefore it is not suitable for those looking to own a calm pet companion. A Cane Corso needs to work and keep busy or it can become anxious and focus on destructive activities such as constant barking or hole digging.

A breed that needs to be active and exercise abundantly

Tendency to play

Despite the strong need to move, the Cane Corso is fairly serious in its activities. This type of dog is not really fond of games and definitely prefers working. If your Cane Corso Dog is guarding and under the impression it needs to defend the family, it will hardly be distracted by a tennis ball. This is a tireless worker, a workaholic that won't provide much satisfaction to those looking for a playful pet.

The Cane Corso is not really fond of games

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