Cane Corso General Breed Profile

Cane CorsoThe Cane Corso is a majestic and intimidating dog. Also known as the ‘Italian mastiff,’ this large breed boasts an imposing rectangular body, immense head, short coat and can weigh up to 120 pounds. It’s awe-inspiring physique has made this breed a popular subject for artists, such as Bartolomeo Pinelli.


Breed History

The Cane Corso originated in Italy, a descendant of the first century Roman war dogs ‘Canis Pugnax.’ With its enormous muscular frame, this dog was bred primarily as a guard dog for property and livestock, a big game hunter and a farm hand. Corsos’ ability to track as well as their powerful bodies and brave personalities made them excellent hunters of bear, deer and wild boar. They were also used by Italian farmers to herd and drive cattle and pigs to market. With the advent of modern farming machinery, the Corso was almost driven to extinction. During the 1970s, dog lovers worked to rebuild the population. In 1992, the International Cane Corso Association was established and in 2010, the American Kennel Club formally recognized the breed.


Body Dynamics

A strong and imposing dog, Corso’s shoulders typically span 25-27.5 inches for males and 23.5-26 for females. Their weight runs in proportion to height with an average ranging from 90 to 120 pounds. The Cane Corso body is not as bulky as seen in most breeds of Mastiff. The dog possesses a large head with ears that may be cropped, though that practice is losing its popularity.


Cane Corso Coats

The fur of the Corso is short, stiff and dense. This combination makes for great waterproofing. A thick undercoat grows in during the winter months to help keep the dog warm. Dogs may be solid colored or sport a brindle pattern. Common fur colors include dark gray, light gray, black, red, dark fawn and light fawn. It is also common for white markings to be present on the toes, chest, chin and nose. Coats are prone to shedding, so weekly brushings are necessary for healthy fur and skin.


Personality Traits

This breed of dog is very intelligent, exerts a great amount of confidence and can be trained with ease. Corsos are fiercely protective of their family members, but because of the seriousness with which they employ with their guard dog duties, do not expect them to be friendly with toward other people or animals. They are especially protective of child family members. An independant animal, this breed will want to be near those it loves, but will not need to be the center of attention. They are a quiet breed of dog and generally only bark at suspicious circumstances. Corso training takes a person who can firmly lead in a consistent manner without being mean or forceful to keep them from taking the alpha role. Because they are a headstrong and powerful breed, the Corso is not recommended for first-time dog owners or for those that have only dealt with softer breeds. Early and extensive training with social skills is recommended. Corsos will grow bored quickly, so it is important to give them tasks to perform. When left to their own devices, they will find ways to amuse themselves, usually by chewing furniture or digging holes.


Health and Fitness

The Cane Corso is a largely healthy breed, with a life expectancy of 9-12 years, but there are some conditions to watch out for. As with most large dogs, Corsos are susceptible to develop hip dysplasia. This condition occurs when the hip’s ball and socket joint does not develop correctly and can lead to pain and lameness. Eye problems such as cherry eye, ectropion and entropion can also occur. Corsos can may also suffer from bouts of bloat. An athletic working dog, it is imperative that Corsos receive lots of exercise. At a minimum, this breed needs to be walked a mile every day. They should also enjoy a half hour of daily training. Corso’s are athletes and love to hike, swim and play. This type of dog does not like to sit in a crate all day. A yard with a strong fence (never use and electric fence) is best to allow for unlimited run time. The Corso is easy to keep clean and only requires bathing, nail trimming and ear cleaning on as as-needed basis.