Cane Corso: Pet Breed Info and Pictures

About the Breed

Despite being powerful and intimidating to those not familiar with him, Cane Corso is a gentle giant with his family. He is one of two Italian Mastiff breeds having descended from an ancient Roman warrior dog. The other is the Neopolitan Mastiff.

Romans utilized these mastiff dogs as entertainment in the Arena and warfare as the dogs were highly combative with one another and against people. With the fall of the Roman empire, he found his way onto the farm and served as a multi-purpose farm dog and protector, and guardian.

He was charged with keeping the homestead safe as well as the livestock. He also was given the job of assisting ranch hands in moving livestock such as cattle which he did by grabbing hold of the bull and pulling him.

He was an agile and fierce hunter, and many eagerly used him in wild animal hunts through the years. He was fearless and capable of incapacitating wild boars, large game, and even being used against wolves.

Through the years and several wars, such as the World Wars, the breed almost became extinct. Luckily, in the 1970s, breed enthusiasts set about to resurrect the breed and save him from being lost.

Physical Characteristics

The Cane Corso is an impressive, large, and well-muscled breed of dog that stands 24-27 inches tall at the shoulder. He can weigh on average between 70-110 pounds, with males weighing more than females. He is large-boned and imposing appearing. His expression should be of an air of confidence and fearlessness.

The breed’s head is large and impressive, with his muzzle being a third of the whole skull in size. His muzzle is about as long as it is wide, which gives him a powerful bite pressure.

The Cane Corso has a very short, tight coat that lies close to the body.  It comes in two main color variations: fawn and black. These two colors range in hue from lighter to darker. The breed can also have brindle markings and sometimes has small white markings.

In the United States, his ears are often cropped, but overseas where favor has fallen for such practices; his ears will fall downward in their natural state.  Additionally, he is seen with a docked tail.


The Cane Corso is a devoted family dog who bonds loyally and tightly to his person. In a family of many, he is likely to attach to one person the most.  He is gentle and does well with children, but because the breed is very suspicious of new people, it can be problematic to have many of your children’s friends over.

Additionally, children need to engage in play that doesn’t appear to be roughhousing or where the dog could misinterpret ‘his kid’ as being injured.

The dogs must be balanced mentally so that he is not belligerent but instead is vigilant and watchful. The Cane Corso is always watching and taking note of his environment.

He notices new changes within his environment. He will bark at anything he feels threatened by, which is why a ton of socialization and training is required to keep him well-rounded.

He can accept new animals, but caution must be used as he doesn’t always get along with other dogs. He is likely to do best with an opposite-sex dog, but his personality depends on the individual. Some do well, and others are combative.

The Cane Corso can be trained well, and he aims to please his owner. He does require a strong human in his life that is respectful but maintains a leadership role in his life.


The Cane Corso is not a breed for the first-time dog owner. While he is responsive to his owner and trains well, he can be strong-willed and stubborn. Additionally, he is a large, powerful dog that is territorial and more dominant.

He is very protective of his family and home. Without essential training and leadership, this can quickly become a problem in inexperienced hands.

The breed requires a lot of early and ongoing socialization. The Cane Corso is wary and distrustful of anything new or different, which can be translated into new people, dogs, and animals.

Early and ongoing socialization helps the young dog understand various experiences to prepare him for later life better. Without socialization, he may feel threatened by many situations he shouldn’t.

He is responsive to training and learns easily, but training must be consistent, respectful, and demonstrate human leadership.

Shedding & Grooming

The Cane Corso is not considered a heavy shedding breed, but he does shed his short hairs so that weekly brushing will keep loose hairs to a minimum. He is a pretty wash and wears kind of breed, so frequent baths aren’t necessary. Bath wipes or a moist towel can easily do minor cleanups in between baths.

Because he is a large breed of dog, early training should be done to be comfortable with both nail trims and toothbrushing. Both of these should be done regularly.

If your Cane Corso has natural ears, it is very important to routinely inspect them for any debris, reddening, or odor to ensure that they don’t develop an infection and keep them clean.

Health & Life Expectancy

The Cane Corso can be expected to live about 10-11 years of age. The breed does have a few health issues to be aware of, and the Cane Corso Association of America highlights these are most common:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Demodex mange
  • Eyelid abnormalities such as cherry eye, entropion, and ectropion
  • Gastric Dilatation Volvulus

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