Cane Corso Dog History, Health And Care

Introduction Of Cane Corso Dog

The Cane Corso, also known as the Cane Corso Italiano, Cane Corso Mastiff, Italian Corso Dog, Italian Mastiff and Italian Molosso, is an imposing, intelligent and often intimidating dog whose sheer size and overall appearance cause one to sit up and take notice. It gets its name from the Latin word cohors, which means “guardian” or “protector.” This is one of two Italian mastiff-type breeds that descend from the Roman Canis Pugnax, also called the Canis Pugnases or Roman Molossian. The Cane Corso is not a common breed in the United States. However, it is gaining in popularity. The Corso originated in Italy, where for centuries it served as the guardian and powerful protector of people, possessions and property. The breed also was used to hunt large, difficult, dangerous game, such as wild boar. The Cane Corso was accepted for full registration status by the American Kennel Club effective in 2010. It is a member of the AKC’s Working Group.

Cane Corso Dog Breed Quick Facts

Cane Corso – Appearance & Grooming


The Cain Corso is noble, majestic and muscular in appearance. This is a powerful, big-boned breed with a large, wide head, broad skull and prominent cheekbones. Its high-set ears may be left natural or cropped; if cropped to stand erect in small triangles. Their tails may or may not be docked (surgically shortened) shortly after they are born. The entire body of the Cane Corso is solid and thick, exuding its obvious strength. While they are not especially tall, their overall appearance is one of size and power. Despite this, they move with considerable elegance. Cane Corsos are imposing and can be intimidating to those not familiar with the breed. Some people find their appearance to be somewhat scary or even ferocious.

Size and Weight

Male Corsos typically are between 24 and 28 inches in height, measured at the top of the shoulder, and weigh between 95 and 110 pounds. Females range from 23 to 26 inches in height and usually weigh between 85 and 100 pounds. In a correctly built Corso, their weight is in proportion to their height. Many people seeing a Cane Corso up close and personal for the first time will swear that they are taller and heavier than they actually are.

Coat and Color

Cane Corsos have a dense, double coat. The undercoat is light and soft, but it becomes thicker in cold weather. The outercoat is short, shiny and coarse. The breed comes in a range of colors, including various shades of black, gray, fawn, red, brindle, blue and chestnut. Some white markings are allowed on the chest, throat, chin, back of the pasterns and toes. Solid fawns and reds, including in lighter and darker shades, should have a black or gray facial mask that does not extend above their eyes.

Grooming Needs

Cane Corsos are low-maintenance dogs in terms of their grooming requirements. They are light shedders, which make maintaining their coat simple. Usually, a quick wipe-down with a damp cloth and an occasional once-over with a soft brush is all the coat-care that they need. Owners should start trimming their Corso’s toenails at a very young age, so that the routine becomes familiar to the animal before it approaches its owner’s size. Regular dental care for this breed is no different from that for any other large-breed dog.

Cane Corso – History and Health


For centuries, Cane Corsos were only found in especially remote pockets of rural Italy, where they were used as hunting dogs, watchdogs and guard dogs. Even then, they were considered to be extremely rare. For a period of time, it was thought that the breed had become extinct. However, in the 1980s, a group of Cane Corso fanciers reestablished the breed in southern Italy, where it flourishes today. The breed has spread in popularity to other parts of Europe, as well as to the United States, where it continues to perform its traditional roles of guardians and protectors. However, it is increasingly being seen in the conformation show ring and in other competitive canine activities. Cane Corsos are also finding their place as watchful family companions.

Health Characteristics

The average life span of a Cane Corso is somewhere between 10 and 14 years. Breed health concerns include allergies, gastric dilatation and volvulous (bloat), ectropion, entropion, elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, epilepsy and heart conditions.

Cane Corso – Temperament & Personality


Aficionados of Cane Corsos find them to be wonderful with children and members of their immediate human family. They are described as being docile, devoted, affectionate, loyal companions and terrific watchdogs. When well-bred and conscientiously trained, Cane Corsos can be stable, reliable pets. However, they are naturally possessive, territorial, dominant, and distrustful of strangers. The Corso’s instinctive protectiveness is said to be unparalleled among domestic dogs, although fanciers of some other breeds might beg to disagree. This breed is sensitive to even the tiniest suggestion of danger, disruption or distress in its household. It would be foolish for a stranger to challenge a Cane Corso or to threaten to harm its owner in any way. With proper handling and training, the Cane Corso usually knows when to be in full protective mode and when to back down. However, you would not want to be on the mouth-end of one with an unreliable disposition.

Activity Requirements

Despite their bulk, Corsos are energetic, athletic animals that thrive on regular exercise. However, they certainly do not need the amount of activity that a Border Collie or Australian Shepherd requires. Cane Corsos actually get quite a bit of exercise simply from patrolling their home and yard, which comes naturally to them and which they seem to enjoy.


The Cane Corso is an intelligent, willing breed. They usually are eager to please their owners, which makes them quite trainable. Nevertheless, Corsos require a loving but firm hand and a stable living environment, together with conscientious training and discipline, to become reliable family members. It is important for owners of this breed to establish themselves as the unquestioned leaders of the household pack, both human and canine, early-on in their relationship, so that there is absolutely no question or confusion about who is in charge. This should be regularly reinforced with kindness, firmness and clear direction. Consistency is critical when raising a dog with the naturally strong disposition and size of a Cane Corso. They should be socialized from early puppyhood and throughout their lives, to give them the best chance of growing into safe, trustworthy companions.

Behavioral Traits

The Cane Corso is not known to be a noisy breed. They usually are quite and calm around the house, unless and until they sense that something is amiss. They tend to patrol the indoor and outdoor premises on the lookout for anything out-of-the-ordinary. When a Corso becomes alarmed or senses trouble, it transforms from a placid pet into a protective and potentially dangerous animal that any intruder or person threatening its owner would be wise to respect. Cane Corsos are not particularly good with other pets and are instinctively territorial and dominant toward other dogs.

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