Cane Corso Breed Guide

Cane Corsos are muscular and large-boned dogs. They have a short, thick, coarse, and waterproof coat that comes in black, fawn, red, or gray, with brindle variations. Some have a gray or black mask. The coat is stiff and shiny, and the breed has a light undercoat that thickens during winter. Cane Corsos have almond-shaped eyes, an alert expression, a large nose and head, and a rectangular body. They measure 23.5 to 27.5 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh up to 120 pounds. With proper care, these dogs live up to 10 years.

Cane Corsos are happiest and behave best when given a job to do. Make them work for everything by performing commands before meals, treats, and play.

Cane Corsos are friendly and intelligent, but they are not the best choice for first-time dog owners. These dogs are big, active, stubborn, and powerful, and they can be difficult to manage without training and experience.

These dogs are fairly new to the United States, and this breed is one of the most recently recognized by the AKC.

Cane Corsos are intelligent, affectionate, and friendly dogs that love company and attention. They bond closely with their human family members and are especially good with older children. They do not do well with strangers or small animals, however, and are best suited for a household without other pets. Cane Corsos are not demanding for time or attention, but they definitely appreciate these things when offered.

These dogs are stable and dependable, and they stay close to their master when in or out of the home. They are very territorial and do well as guard dogs. Although they are not a good choice for apartments due to their large size and high exercise needs, they are generally calm and quiet and rarely make noise.

Athletic and active dogs, Cane Corsos need a lot of exercise. They benefit from daily walks and enjoy jogging and hiking. Regular exercise will keep these dogs healthy and happy and help them burn off excess energy that may otherwise be directed into misbehavior.

Cane Corsos are generally healthy dogs, but they are more prone to certain health conditions than some other dogs. This breed is at risk for several eyelid disorders, including cherry eye, entropion, and ectropion, and is susceptible to demodectic mange, a condition caused by a tiny mite that causes skin symptoms and hair loss. Cane Corsos are also prone to hip dysplasia, a skeletal disease that causes inflammation and laxity in the joints, leading to hip pain, loss of muscle mass, decreased range of motion, and a reluctance to jump, run, and climb. Without treatment, hip dysplasia can greatly affect mobility and quality of life.

One potentially fatal condition known to affect Cane Corsos is bloat. This condition develops suddenly and causes pacing, restlessness, retching, salivation, lethargy, and/or abdominal enlargement. Immediate veterinary care and surgery can prevent death. Feeding smaller meals throughout the day and limiting exercise and water consumption near meal times can help prevent bloat from developing.

Proper nutrition, regular exercise, timely vaccinations, and routine veterinary care help ensure Cane Corsos live a full life of up to 10 years.

Early socialization and training is extremely important to ensuring good behavior and social skills in Cane Corsos. These dogs are easily trained, especially when they are young. They respond best to positive reinforcement and need both firmness and consistency in training methods. Forceful or harsh training can backfire with these dogs.

Cane Corsos are happiest and behave best when given a job to do. Make them work for everything by performing commands before meals, treats, and play. This approach will minimize negative behaviors and the tendency of this breed to act as pack leader in the home. If allowed to take charge, these dogs will attempt to dominate the household and may boss their human family members around.

Although they are generally well behaved, Cane Corsos have a high prey drive. For this reason, it is essential to keep them inside a secure fence when outdoors. These dogs are also known to chew and become destructive when bored, and they tend to growl or snap when touched or when someone approaches their food or toys. These behaviors cannot be tolerated.

Cane Corsos don't require a lot of grooming. They are light shedders and benefit from an occasional brushing. Weekly brushings with a natural bristle brush or mitt is usually sufficient to remove dead hair and keep the skin healthy and the coat shiny.

Bathing is only necessary should the Cane Corso become dirty or sticky or roll around in something dangerous. A mild shampoo designed for use on dogs will prevent skin irritation and drying, and a coat conditioner will add shine.

The ears should be cleaned as needed and checked regularly for signs of wax accumulation or infection. The nails need trimming about once each month to prevent snagging. Cane Corsos require regular routine dental care and need their teeth brushed frequently with a soft toothbrush and canine toothpaste. Dental care is important to freshen their breath and prevent cavities and gum disease.

The Cane Corso is one of two native Italian mastiff dogs. These dogs descended from the Roman canis Pugnaces, which were war dogs. The Cane Corso was bred over many years to be smaller and gentler than its ancestors were, and it takes its name from the Latin "cohors," which means "guardian" or "protector."

Cane Corsos were primarily used as watchdogs of property, but they also hunted wild boar and other dangerous game. Additionally, they spent time as flock and family guardians. Cane Corsos were featured in numerous works of art throughout Italian history.

These dogs nearly became extinct during WWII due to industrialization, and only a few remained around the world by the end of the war. In 1973, Dr. Paolo Breber took an interest in the breed and started a breeding program, causing the breed's numbers to gradually increase. Several Cane Corsos were brought to the United States around this same time period. Before 1988, the breed was known only in the south of Italy and was considered a very rare breed.

The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Cane Corso breed in 2010.