Cane Corso

At first glance, the Cane Corso is a large and intimidating breed. Natural guardians, this is their first warning to intruders that they are barking up the wrong tree, but underneath their imposing build is an intensely loyal and affectionate dog.

Intelligent, alert, and fearless, this breed can make a wonderful companion for those that have experience handling such a big and independent breed. But with consistent training and lots of love, this dog will be your constant and always faithful companion. Read on to learn more about the Cane Corso.

Description of the Cane Corso

This is a regal-looking dog that takes his duties and responsibilities seriously. But this breed also loves his family, and can be a truly affectionate and playful dog with those he is close with.

A member of the molloser group of working dogs, the Cane Corso is a tough mastiff-type dog. With short fur that highlights his thickly-muscled body, these dogs are strong and athletic, excelling at hunting and guarding.

If their appearance isn’t enough to tell you how tough these dogs are, their name actually translates from Latin to “bodyguard dog.” The exact origin of the Cane Corso is fuzzy, but they hail from Italy and have ancestry even further back from ancient Greece.

From its pointed ears, large and strong jaw, and alert eyes, the Cane Corso is the true picture of a watchdog. This dog’s short fur comes in a range of colors from black, gray, fawn, and red. They can also be brindled in these colors, or have various different combinations.

Life Expectancy and Size

The Cane Corso is a large breed that lives an average of 9 – 12 years. This is a respectable lifespan for such a large breed, but it is important to understand that these dogs can have health issues that may affect their lifespan. Always work with a reputable breeder to ensure the stock of your puppy.

The males stand 25 – 27.5 inches tall, and females stand 23.5 – 26 inches tall. Their weight is dependent on their height, but most Cane Corso tip the scales at a minimum of 100 pounds.

Protective Ability

Protective instinct is as natural to this dog as eating and breathing. Bred as guardians of home, and tough fighters, these dogs understand how to deal with a threat. They are intensely loyal to their families, and will do anything to keep them safe. You can expect an exceptionally devoted and protective dog in the Cane Corso.


Smart and eager to learn, the Cane Corso is a quick study and easy to train. Their natural affection towards their family means they are excited to work with you. Despite this dog’s intimidating appearance, the Cane Corso is a loving dog and responds best when given lots of positive training.

Treats are a great tool to use with this breed. They love a job and working for something will motivate them to try even harder. Rewards-based training is the best way to train these dogs.

As natural guardians, it is absolutely essential to begin socializing your dog early so that they grow into well-mannered and open dogs. Canine sports are also a great option for training your dog. This will provide them with ample exercise and mental stimulation, both of which are a must for this breed.

Energy Level

While the Cane Corso often displays an air of calm capability, this breed needs to move and can be very playful. Giving them a job is a great way to work out their energy, whether this is through actual labor or canine sports. If they become bored, they will likely assign themselves a job, which could be digging massive holes, or barking at anything that moves. A busy Cane Corso is a happy Cane Corso.

These dogs are not for the faint of heart, and will do best in a home with an owner that has experience with such a large guardian breed. They need lots of exercise and mental stimulation, and will not do well in a home that cannot provide this.

What Living with a Cane Corso is Like

This is a majestic breed.

These dogs are fiercely loyal and affectionate with their families, but this love often ends there. They are aloof and wary of strangers and other dogs, but without being timid or shy. They prefer to spend time with their loved ones, and do best when they are given a job. The Cane Corso has a natural love for duty and shines when he has responsibility.

Expect a family-oriented dog in your Corso. This dog needs an experienced owner that can dedicate plenty of time to him, which means they are not the best breed for sedentary or novice owners.

Care of the Cane Corso

The Cane Corso needs lots of exercise, mental stimulation, and family time. They do best in a home where they can have a job or participate in canine sports. Be prepared to spend plenty of time with your dog and give him the love and respect he needs.

Environmental Needs

Bred in Italy, these dogs are no stranger to the heat, and their short coats help keep them cool on hot days. They can adapt to cooler climates, but are not suited to extremely cold places. Be sure to provide them with a jacket, and keep time outside to a minimum when it is really cold.

Exercise Needs

This breed needs to move, and requires lots of daily exercise to stay happy and healthy. Expect to dedicate at least an hour every day to your dog’s exercise. This could be multiple long walks, backyard playtime, or canine sports. A Cane Corso that gets plenty of exercise will be a calm and happy dog.

Shedding and Grooming

The Cane Corso has short fur, but it is a double coat and will require weekly brushing. These dogs shed seasonally, so will need daily brushing during this time of the year, which is usually spring.

This breed sheds moderately.

Always keep you dog’s nails trimmed, as long nails can cause discomfort for your dog when he is walking.

Ideal Home Environment

While these dogs are excellent with their families, and can be great with kids, they are not a good choice for novice owners. This breed does better with an experienced owner who understands how to train and manage such a large breed.

This dog in an excellent choice for a guard dog, and will protect his family with his life. This dog also loves to have a job, so be prepared to keep your dog busy or he will find his own way to stay occupied, and your furniture or yard will probably not like his methods.

The Cane Corso can have health problems that may impact both of your lives.

Health Concerns

Though often hardy, the Cane Corso can be susceptible to certain health conditions. These include hip dysplasia, idiopathic epilepsy, demodex mange, eyelid abnormalities, ear infections, and bloat. Regular check-ups can help manage your dog’s health and prevent or treat health issues.

Behavior Problems

As a natural guardian, it is important to begin socializing your puppy early so that he is able to deal with any situation that may arise. A well-adjusted Cane Corso will be aloof but still open.

The Cane Corso is also a working dog that needs a job. If he doesn’t have something to do he may start chewing your things or digging holes. Keeping your dog busy is the best way to redirect his energy and natural desire to work into something productive.