Cane corso: Dog breed characteristics & care (2023)

Cane corso: Dog breed characteristics & care (1)

Table of Contents

  • Cane corso fun facts
  • Temperament and characteristics
  • Common health problems
  • History
  • Caring for your cane corso
  • Training
  • Similar breeds
  • Frequently asked questions

Breed overview

  • Breed group — Working group (American Kennel Club)
  • Height — 22-29 inches
  • Weight — 85-115 pounds
  • Coat length & texture — Thick and coarse short-length coat.
  • Coat color — Black, fawn, gray, chocolate, chestnut brindle, black brindle, deep red. There won’t generally be color variation between adult and puppy cane corsos.
  • Exercise needs — High
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — When necessary
  • Life span — 10-12 years
  • Temperament — Loyal, sweet, and intelligent best friends
  • Hypoallergenic —No
  • Origin — Italy

👉 No dog breed is 100% hypoallergenic, but some are better than others for allergy sufferers.

Cane corso fun facts

  • Some pet enthusiasts can mistake the cane corso’s name for the “king” corso breed, which doesn’t exist!
  • Cane corsos have a rich history of loyal guard dogs, and they are happy to protect their owners.
  • The Romans used cane corsos as war dogs and fighters, and served as hunters, guard dogs and farming animals after wartime ended.
(Video) Cane Corso Dog Breed, 7 facts Why Is The King For Your Protection

Cane corso temperament and characteristics

Cane corso puppies are enthusiastic and loyal. They generally require extra attention, and enjoy challenges that require them to leverage their above-average intelligence. This means that they may enjoy activities where they solve problems and burn some energy, connecting directly with their owner and playmate(s). They’re exceptionally eager-to-please and able to learn, making them trainable and versatile pups. They enjoy socialization and any time spent together with their pack.

The outgoing, friendly and defensive nature of cane corsos generally make the breed an excellent choice for homes with children and other family members. If properly socialized, they can get along well with other humans or furry friends.

Cane corso: Dog breed characteristics & care (2)

Common cane corso health problems

Cane corsos are generally considered to be healthy breeds. However, they can be subject to certain conditions through genetic predisposition. Understanding the range and severity of these potential health problems can help owners to support their cane corso before problems arise, keeping them as healthy and happy as possible. Here are some common genetic health problems to keep a lookout for in your cane corso pup.

  • Idiopathic epilepsy. This condition is relatively common in many dog breeds, including the cane corso. It can be medically defined as seizures with no known cause.
  • Cherry eye. Caused by inflammation of a pup’s tear gland, this condition occurs when the swollen gland prolapses, which can be itchy and irritating.
  • Hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia occurs when a dog’s femur (also known as the long leg bone) is unstable in the hip joint. This can stress the ligament(s) and cause pain if untreated.
  • Demodex mange. This type of mange is caused by parasites (either Demodex canis or Demodex injal, respectively) and can cause scaly red skin or hair loss

Cost of caring for cane corsos

Cane corsos aren’t considered to be more expensive than most other mid- to large-sized dog breeds. However, because they are exceptionally playful (and have a pretty big appetite), related expenses for food, treats, and toys should be taken into account. Preventative medicine and health-related costs should also be planned for wherever possible, as the breed has several predispositions for certain genetic conditions.

If you’re looking for a way to reduce your out-of-pocket expenditures, you may want to think about pet health insurance. You might even score extra savings if you sign up your pets early on! You can also consider a pet savings account, giving you a flexible spending option to turn to in case any unexpected costs come up.

(Video) All About the CANE CORSO - Traits and Training!

Cane corso: Dog breed characteristics & care (3)

History of the cane corso

The cane corso is a historical dog, with documented use and popularity as far back as the dawn of the Roman Empire. They were used for watch, war and general companionship, as well as hunting —all of which was possible due to their high intelligence and sharp wit. The breed became increasingly popular into the 1970s, serving as a popular household pet across Europe. They entered the United States in the mid-1980s and have been a loyal favorite ever since.

Caring for your cane corso

New to being a puppy parent? It’s easy to feel overwhelmed! Not to worry though — we’ve put together everything you need to successfully book your first trip to the vet, and schedule your dog’s vaccinations. We have also put together resources to help you puppy-proof your home and prepare for teething.

Our top tip to you is to consider investing in a FidoAlert for your furry friend —keeping them local and safe through the free Fido ID and tag so you’re prepared for any situation.

Ready to get started? Here are other tips to know to help your cane corso have the best experience possible.


Cane corsos are incredibly energetic and need a lot of playtime to stay busy! While they can thrive in any loving home, it’s best to give them as much outside time as possible, which can be accomplished with a backyard, green belt, or local community dog park. Cane corsos are smart and love their humans even more than their favorite toy, and thrive when they are given as much attention as possible. If you plan to welcome a cane corso into your home, be sure to book in lots of one-on-one facetime with your furry friend.

Cane corso: Dog breed characteristics & care (4)
(Video) Cane Corso Breed Information & Characteristics


Cane corsos may have short, coarse hair, but continuous upkeep is generally best to keep your pup’s coat as healthy as possible. We recommend establishing a routine for coat care early on, ranging from weekly baths to once every four weeks depending on how dirty your dog tends to get. Cane corsos are not considered to be “single-coated,” meaning that you can expect some seasonal shedding year-round. Frequent biweekly brushing can keep excessive shedding at bay, and your dog’s coat as healthy as possible.

Nail trimming, ear cleaning and teeth brushing are all important to maintain as well, and can be helpful indicators of your dog’s overall health. While you can do nail trimming and ear cleaning about once per month, teeth brushing should be done at least every other day.

Need a distraction? Cane corsos love to be stimulated and challenged. Try investing in a few special bath time toys or a lick mat lined with a favorite treat. You’ll be able to bathe your corso in peace, and give them a special treat!

Diet and nutrition

Cane corsos need a robust diet to fuel their brains and bodies. The American Kennel Club recommends high quality dog food for your pup, which can be given multiple times a day. On average, many cane corsos consume about 4 cups of dog food per day —but it’s always best to connect with your vet for personalized food portioning and type recommendations.

It’s important to note that this number of cups or scoops may change due to other factors as well, such as the cane corso’s stage of development, or any pre-existing health conditions that may affect their appetite.

Training your cane corso

Cane corsos are smart and active, making them excellent candidates for ongoing training. You can start in puppyhood and advance to more complex levels of training, moving on from basic etiquette to impressive tricks.

(Video) 8 Things You Must Never Do to Your Cane Corso

Reinforcement-based training is especially effective for these pups according to the American Kennel Club —giving them a special treat to look forward to as they practice their very best behavior.

Although they are intelligent, they can get bored with repetitious training and become less responsive over time. To avoid this, you might consider keeping sessions short and enjoyable, ending on a positive note with a treat, toy, or plenty of love and affection. This isn’t just an important skill for outside time or trips to the dog park, either —it can also be very helpful for smooth vet visits.

Cane corso: Dog breed characteristics & care (5)

Breeds similar to the cane corso

Not quite sure that a cane corso is right for you? Even if you are, it’s worth taking the time to research and consider other similar breeds. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Presa canario. This special breed is very similar to the cane corso and is considered to be a bit larger than their cane corso counterparts. They are very defensive and dominant, and are considered leaders and loyalists.
  • Rottweilers. Known for their affection and devotion, rottweilers are protective, loyal, and family-friendly. Like cane corsos, they are highly intelligent and love any attention they can get!
  • Boxers. These special dogs are sweet, playful, and silly. Boxers are trainable and enjoy impressing owners with displays of skill and athleticism —and are as intelligent and stubborn as cane corsos can be.

Frequently asked questions

Are cane corsos good with kids?

Cane corsos are protective and loyal. They socialize well and can fit right in with human and fellow pet-siblings. Pet parents should take size and weight into account, however, as a full-size cane corso can present a potential risk for infants and small children.

Is a cane corso aggressive?

Cane corsos, while intimidating, are not aggressive by nature. They protect the people and things they love, and are primarily defensive. They can further differentiate between offensive and defensive behavior with proper training and support from pet parents and experts.

(Video) Cane Corso 101! Everything You Must Know About Owning a Cane Corso Puppy

Is a cane corso good for a first-time pet owner?

While cane corsos can be a good choice of pet for a first-time pet parent, we do recommend that all cane corso owners look into the amount of attention and training this specific breed thrives with. Any owner, both new or seasoned, can give a cane corso a great home with the proper support and care.

Can a cane corso be left alone all day?

Cane corsos love attention, exercise, and fun. While owners may be called away for some of the day (such as a part-time or full-time work shift), this should be accounted for and built into a pup’s routine gradually. They can be left alone for up to 8 hours with the proper exercise and affection given both before and after the departure.

What age do cane corsos become protective?

Cane corsos are protective by nature. You may start to see this behavior form in early puppyhood and last through their senior years. With this in mind, it’s important to consider puppy training as early as possible to refine and support the healthy manifestation of this doggy behavior.


What are the qualities of a Cane Corso? ›

Corsi are intelligent, loyal, eager to please, versatile, and intensely loyal to their humans, but are also assertive and willful, and can end up owning an unwitting owner. As with any other big guardian dog, responsible breeding and early socialization with people and other dogs is vital.

Is a Cane Corso a good house dog? ›

With proper socialization, Cane Corsi can be good family dogs, as they are bred to be protective. The Cane Corso is best suited to a family with older children, due to its large size and the nature of its behavior.

Are Cane Corsos hard to take care of? ›

Cane Corsos are a challenging breed and are not generally a good fit for inexperienced dog owners. “They are not for first-time pet [owners],” says Russell Hartstein, dog trainer and behaviorist and owner of Los Angeles-based Fun Paw Care.

Is Cane Corso a high maintenance dog? ›

Cane Corsos are low maintenance when it comes to grooming. Thanks to their short, dense coat, a quick brush once a week will suffice. You should only need to bathe your Cane Corso when they get muddy. They are known to drool more than other breeds, so bear this in mind if you are worried about marking furniture.

What problems do Cane Corsos have? ›

The Cane Corso has some health conditions that can be a concern, especially if you aren't cautious about whom you buy from. They include hip dysplasia, eye problems such as entropion or ectropion, demodectic mange and a tendency toward gastric torsion, also known as bloat.

What are the pros and cons of a Cane Corso? ›

Owning a Cane Corso: 3 Pros and Cons
Good family dog: As long as they are in a home with a strong and consistent leader, these dogs can make excellent family dogs.Large: Cane Corsos are a very large breed and could accidentally injure a small child.
2 more rows
Nov 11, 2022

Can you leave a Cane Corso alone? ›

As with any dog, you should never leave your Cane Corso alone for longer than four hours. You'll need to train them that it's OK to be alone from a young age to make sure they are comfortable with being left.

Do Cane Corsos bark a lot? ›

Do Cane Corso Bark a Lot? In general, the cane corso (sometimes referred to as an Italian mastiff) barks less than most breeds; however, they can and do have issues with incessant barking and howling.

Do Cane Corsos get along with other dogs? ›

The Cane Corso may do well with other dogs, but they may be aggressive with dogs of the same sex. Early socialization with other dogs is important to prevent territorial behaviors while walking or at the dog park.

Do Cane Corsos bite? ›

The Cane Corso has a bite force of a massive 700 PSI. this PSI surpasses a lion (691 PSI) which is insane! This dog comes from Italy and is considered part of the mastiff family. Although they may be intimidating, these dogs are loyal and affectionate to their families.

Are Cane Corso good for first time owners? ›

Cane Corsos are not particularly good for first-time owners because they require more work and care than other dogs and might be overwhelming for you. Because they are large and active, they don't do well in a small house or apartment. They are also stubborn and need a firm hand to guide them.

What dog is tougher than a Cane Corso? ›

The Kangal and the Cane Corso are both massive dogs. But the Kangal is bigger, at a maximum of 145 pounds compared to the Cane Corso's max of 110.

Are Cane Corsos good with strangers? ›

The Cane Corso Temperament

These are the traits that make Cane Corsos a superior breed… A great guard dog as well as the perfect gentle companion. Careful with strangers. By nature, Cane Corsos are a bit reserved when seeing a stranger for the first time.

Which guard dog is best for first time owner? ›

Because of their temperament, a German Shepherd is the best guard dog for a first-time owner. Their high intelligence makes them easy to train, but they will require supervision at all times because of their protective nature.

How often do you bathe a Cane Corso? ›

Cane Corso's benefit from routine bathing and grooming. This powerful dog can be bathed weekly up to every six to eight weeks depending on his lifestyle. The Cane Corso has a short coat, but it is not a single coated breed. The undercoat will shed throughout the year.

What age do Cane Corsos calm down? ›

When Will My Cane Corso Calm Down? With dogs, the larger the breed, the longer it takes them to mature fully. Cane Corsos tend to take 2.5 to 3 years to fully mature physically, and their energy levels usually won't begin to settle until then, either.

Does a Cane Corso need a yard? ›

Because of their size, need for exercise, and desire to guard their property you must have a large, fenced in yard for this dog. Fenced in is necessary in case they misinterpret danger and become aggressive. To keep your Cane Corso safe and happy you really must have a decent sized space for them.

Do Cane Corso have separation anxiety? ›

Do Cane Corso's Have Separation Anxiety? Yes, these large dogs can experience separation anxiety which can manifest in several ways. He may start barking nonstop, destroy items around the house, go to the bathroom indoors, or attempt to run away.

Do Cane Corsos train easily? ›

Young CANE CORSO puppies are relatively easy to train: they are eager to please, intelligent and calm-natured, with a relatively good attention span. Once a CANE CORSO has learned something, he tends to retain it well.

How good are Cane Corsos good family dogs? ›

The Cane Corso is very loyal and affectionate…with their own people. This is not a dog that becomes the best friend of everyone they meet. In fact, they're indifferent to other dogs and people not in their family. But they are intensely loyal and protective of their own family.

What dog is close to a Cane Corso? ›

Both the Presa Canario and the Cane Corso are big dogs, and they have quite a bit in common. The Cane Corso is a descendant of the Presa Canario and the mastiff breed and is also referred to as an Italian Mastiff.

How many years does a Cane Corso live? ›

Why does my Cane Corso follow me everywhere? ›

But there may be days when we wonder, “Why does my dog follow me everywhere?” The answer has to do with your dog's animal instinct, pack mentality, and a few other variables. Canine companions that follow their humans everywhere are often referred to as “velcro dogs” because of their desire to be attached to your side.

What dog is closest to a wolf? ›

The Siberian Husky, originally and still used for sledding, is very similar to wolves. Overtime not only has the resemblance to wolves stayed similar, but the genetic composition has as well.

Are Cane Corsos violent? ›

Cane Corsos can be aggressive or even dangerous if not properly socialized or if abused by their owner. Although all dogs can become this way regardless of breed, this dog has the mass/size to do serious damage. Corsi requires obedience training and special care to lessen this tendency.

Has a Cane Corso ever attacked a child? ›

A Cane Corso fatal dog attack in New York tragically took the life four-year-old boy in May, 2011. This incident along with other reported severe dog bite attacks by individuals of the Cane Corso breed reinforces the belief that some Cane corsos can be extremely dangerous.

How smart are Cane Corsos? ›

Corsos are extremely intelligent and need consistent, lifelong training from an owner who will be clear about expectations. If they aren't given direction, they will act on instinct, which is to treat anything outside of their family unit and property as a potential threat.

What color Cane Corso is best? ›

Black is among the most sought-after and frequently occurring colors in the Cane Corso breed. The solid black color is produced by a pigment known as melanin and is genetically dominant in the Cane Corso.

Who bites harder pitbull or Cane Corso? ›

A Pit Bull has a bite force of 235 pounds per square inch (psi) which is more than a human bite force of 162 psi. But the Cane Corso is far stronger with a bite force of 700 psi which is higher than that of a lion! So does that mean you need to be wary of either of them? Yes and no.

Which dog is best Rottweiler or Cane Corso? ›

If you have other pets and children, it's best to go with the Rottweiler. Because of its low prey drive and bubbly personality, the Rottweiler is not only going to get along with the members of the family but enjoy them. In contrast, Cane Corsos are best for active families with older children or no children at all.

What is the calmest guard dog? ›

Staffordshire Bull Terriers are descended from the fighters in England's dog fighting pits, and they still have that fighting spirit! This ancient dog is called the "guardian dog supreme" by the AKC. They're known for being quiet and gentle around the house, despite their massive size.

Are Cane Corsos lazy dogs? ›

If you're looking for a lazy dog that's happy to snooze the day away, then the Cane Corso is probably not the dog for you. Cane Corsos tend to be fairly active; at the very least, you'll need to take it for a daily walk or jog.

Are Cane Corso good for beginners? ›

The Cane Corso is not a dog for beginners, as they require a firm hand, positive reinforcement training, and frequent and ongoing socialization. However, a Corso is attentive to its owner and more responsive to positive training than other mastiffs.

Why are Cane Corsos so protective? ›

Cane Corsos, or Cani Corsi, are an ultra protective dog breed. This breed dates back to the height of the Roman Empire where they were used as guard dogs and protection dogs. Their bite force, size, intimidation factor and personality make them perfect candidates for protection work.

Do Cane Corsos have dog aggression? ›

In fact, the Corso is often described as being calm, loving, and gentle. However, like any other breed of dog, a Cane Corso can be prone to aggression if they're not adequately trained and socialized. Without the proper training and socialization, a Corso may become aggressive towards people or other animals.

How often do you walk a Cane Corso? ›

Your Cane Corso will need around two hours' exercise every day. This should include a couple of longer, brisk walks (or even a jog) with time to play off-lead somewhere secure. On top of this, they'll love the chance to do lots of short training sessions throughout the day.

Do Cane Corsos get separation anxiety? ›

There are many forms of anxiety that your cane corso may be suffering from. Typical causes of anxiety in cane corso's might be: Separation anxiety – Fear of being separated from their owner. This often manifests itself by your cane corso pacing, drooling, biting, or being destructive while you're away.

Can a Cane Corso be left alone all day? ›

Alone Time

They may be left alone for four to eight during the day if plenty of attention and exercise are provided each day. The Cane Corso requires plenty of exercise throughout the day and may become destructive or display unwanted behaviors without enough physical and mental stimulation.

How long does it take to potty train a Cane Corso? ›

While accidents are going to happen in the early weeks, by the time your pup is around 6 months of age, he should no longer be leaving you those little surprises all over the carpet.

Will a Cane Corso protect you without training? ›

Cane Corsos make excellent protection and guard dogs, but you need to train and socialize them to fill that role. Because of their instinctual drive to protect, Cane Corsos could hurt unassuming strangers in their attempts to "protect.” With strong leadership, Cane Corsos make great home defenders.


1. Cane Corso Dog Breed Profile
(Pet Fix)
2. Cane Corso: The Pros & Cons of Owning One
(Animal Insider)
3. 10 Questions for a Cane Corso Owner
4. 🐶 THE MIGHTY CANE CORSO: The 7 Characteristics That Make It UNIQUE!
(Thunder Dogs)
(American Standard Dog Training)
6. The Cane Corso Guide: History, Personality, Care
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Terence Hammes MD

Last Updated: 06/04/2023

Views: 6518

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (69 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Terence Hammes MD

Birthday: 1992-04-11

Address: Suite 408 9446 Mercy Mews, West Roxie, CT 04904

Phone: +50312511349175

Job: Product Consulting Liaison

Hobby: Jogging, Motor sports, Nordic skating, Jigsaw puzzles, Bird watching, Nordic skating, Sculpting

Introduction: My name is Terence Hammes MD, I am a inexpensive, energetic, jolly, faithful, cheerful, proud, rich person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.