Cane Corso Dog Breed

Cane Corso (Italian Mastiff) with a curled tail standing on yellow sand.An Italian breed in a not regular color.
@Hans Surfer/Moment Open/Getty Images

The Cane Corso is a large-boned and muscular working dog with a noble and confident disposition. This fearless and vigilant breed is not right for everyone. For those who like the idea of a large dog that is protective and athletic, the Cane Corso is one to consider.

Caring for Your Cane Corso

The Cane Corso has a short, coarse coat and is typically a light shedder. Grooming needs are very basic: occasional brushing and nail trims, bathing as needed.

The ears of the Cane Corso are often cropped into an equilateral triangle, but this is not a requirement according to the breed standard. The tail is typically docked at the fourth vertebra.

A true working breed, the Cane Corso is active and driven. Daily exercise will help keep your Cane Corso physically and mentally fit. Proper training and socialization are essential for all Cane Corsos. With a natural aversion to strangers and a tendency to be territorial, you must be diligent and consistent while training. This is also crucial because of the dog's giant size; careful attention should be placed upon prevention of jumping, leaning, and leash-pulling. The Cane Corso is intelligent and hard-working, so it should not be difficult for this breed to learn.

Cane Corso History

The Cane Corso originated in Italy and can be traced back to ancient times. The Molossus, a now extinct mastiff-type dog, is an ancestor of the Cane Corso and other similar mastiff-type dogs.

Throughout its early history, the Cane Corso acted as a guard dog, a war dog, and a skilled hunter of various game (including very large game). Its name is derived from the Italian word for dog, cane, and the Latin term cohors, which means "protector" or "guardian."

A significant decline if the Cane Corso breed was brought on by World Wars I and II, but small numbers of the dogs still existed.

In the 1970s, Cane Corso enthusiasts sparked a revival of the breed. The first Cane Corso dogs arrived in the U.S. in 1988. The breed was admitted to the AKC miscellaneous class in 2007 and received full recognition into the AKC working group in 2010.

Cane Corso Information

Group: Working


Weight: Proportionate to height, typically 80 to 120 pounds

Height: 23.5 to 27.5 inches at shoulder

Colors: Black, gray, fawn and red; brindle possible in all colors; may have black or gray mask; may have small patches of white.

Cane Corso Health Problems

Responsible breeders strive to maintain the highest breed standards as established by kennel clubs like the AKC. Dogs bred by these standards are less likely to inherit health conditions. However, some hereditary health problems can occur in the breed. The following are some conditions to be aware of:

Living With a Cane Corso

Despite its appearance, which some might find intimidating, the Cane Corso can actually be affectionate and gentle. This breed will bond deeply with its family and act as a protector. With proper handling and socialization, the Cane Corso can get along well with children, even forming a close bond.

However, those children must also be taught how to behave around dogs and never left unsupervised. If you think the Cane Corso could be right for you, try to locate Cane Corso breeders and owners in your area so you can spend some time with the breed first. Also, consider searching for a Cane Corso rescue group to adopt one.

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