Cane Corso Breed Information

Cane Corso Breed Information

If only two words could be used to describe the Cane Corso, most people would agree that “intelligent” and “noble” are the best ones. As part of the Working Dog category, Cane Corso are extremely intelligent and more than willing to do any job that is assigned to them; be it guarding, herding, or hunting.

While their lineage goes back to Roman dogs of war, today’s Cane Corso are a versatile mix of companion and guardian. Their size may be both intimidating and restricting for some dog owners, so unless you are experienced in handling extremely large mastiff-type dogs, a Cane Corso may not be the best choice for you.

However, if you are prepared to offer your Cane Corso a disciplined upbringing, proper socializing, and excellent healthcare, he can offer you 10-12 years of companionship like no other dog can. If you’re still considering adding this impressive dog to your family, here’s everything you need to know about the Cane Corso.





Space Needed

Large Garden

Life Span

Large Garden

Exercise Required

1 - 2 hours per day


1 - 2 hours per day


Before the fall of the Roman Empire, a variety of muscular mastiff-type dogs known as the Molosser were commonly used as family guardians and dogs of war throughout Italy. The Molosser is said to be the common ancestor used to create both the Cane Corso and Neapolitan Mastiff.

Once the Roman Empire fell, the need for these powerful dogs of war shifted to them being used as hunting dogs for wild boar, livestock guardians, and property guards. The Cane Corso, being lighter in build than the Neapolitan Mastiff, excelled in a wide range of tasks, especially those that revolved around farmwork where his bravery and intelligence was extremely valuable.

However, as the industrial age moved forward, the use of farm dogs fell to an all-time low and the Cane Corso started vanishing from the countryside of Italy. While seemingly lost to advances in the technology of that time, a few secluded groups of Cane Corso remained protected from this modern leap.

These dogs were used as the foundation to bring the breed back from the brink of extinction. Over time, through years of dedicated breeding, expensive importing, and focused individuals that loved the Cane Corso breed, the dog started making a very solid comeback in both Italy and the United States.

Historical Timeline

1973: After almost falling into extinction, a small group of dedicated breeders started working together to rebuild the Cane Corso numbers across Italy.

1983: The first breed society with a focus on maintaining lineage and confirmation was established; the Society Amatori Cane Corso.

1988: The first Cane Corso puppies were imported into the United States by dedicated breeder, Michael Sottile.

1989: Michael Sottile imported the second litter of unrelated puppies into the United States with the intention of breeding the dogs stateside.

1993: A new breed registry was established in the United States; the ICCF, or International Cane Corso Federation.

1996: The Cane Corso breed was recognized and accepted into the FCI, or Federation Cynologique Internationale.

2003: The International Cane Corso Federation changes their name to the Cane Corso Association of America and works to get the breed recognized by the AKC.

2010: The AKC, or American Kennel Club, finally recognized the Cane Corso as a unique and proper breed suitable for representation in AKC sanctioned shows.

Today: The Cane Corso continues to be a popular breed of guard dog, as well as a loyal family companion for people around the world.

Cane Corso are large and powerful dogs, weighing anywhere from 90 to 130 pounds on average. At the shoulder, the breed can easily reach 23 to 27 inches in height. As such, they are not normally recommended for inexperienced dog owners simply due to their size and potentially headstrong nature.

However, with the right firm yet fair handling, a Cane Corso can not only become a very valuable property guardian but can also be an incredibly well-adjusted family companion. Proper groundwork and fair discipline need to be started as soon as possible with Cane Corso puppies to ensure they grow up to be distinguished and well-behaved members of your family.

Cane Corso Temprement And Personality

Temperament & Personality

For anyone looking for Cane Corso breed information, they have probably heard that they are extremely intelligent and very eager and willing to work. They love having some kind of a task or job to do on a daily basis. This task can be as simple as letting them alert you to the mailman, or as advanced as having them perform trained guard jobs at your side. They are also extremely affectionate towards their human family and will go to the ends of the earth to protect them.

Aggression and Intimidating Looks

Even though Cane Corso looks intimidating and may terrify some individuals by their looks alone, they are not aggressive dogs by nature. In fact, many Cane Corso owners have said their dogs are extremely loving towards both familiar individuals as well as strangers and would rather lick you to death than do any harm whatsoever.

The breed is extremely loyal to their family, but proper socialization from a very early age will ensure your Cane Corso is also tolerant and accepting of strangers as well. Cane Corso can potentially become dangerous if they are left to their own devices and never given proper socialization or training, so this should always be your first priority when bringing home a new puppy.

Preventing Boredom

Due to their high level of intelligence, boredom is something every Cane Corso owner needs to be aware of. A bored dog can be a destructive dog. Cane Corso will deal with their boredom by digging, chewing, howling, or getting into areas of your home or yard that they should not have access to.

This is not restricted to just puppies either, in fact, adult Cane Corso may be even more prone to boredom than younger dogs. While the younger dogs may be spending most of their time sleeping, older dogs that have a more developed brain and body crave having something to do to stimulate their mind.

Ensuring Proper Supervision

Leaving your Cane Corso unsupervised and to his own devices can spell disaster in some cases, especially if that unsupervised time is extended. While this is normally more of a problem with puppies, especially those that are teething or going through the “put everything in my mouth” phase, older dogs can also develop unwanted behaviours when left unsupervised.

If you must leave your Cane Corso unsupervised, such as while you are at work or school, ensuring your dog has a safe and secure crate is a good option. This also provides a secure area for your dog to call his own and will help relieve stress when family visit for the holidays or during loud thunderstorms.

Being Around Children

Since a Cane Corso can reach 120 pounds or more, having them as a family pet around small children may seem like a bad idea. However, many Cane Corso owners have said their dogs are extremely delicate and very protective of their children, even toddlers. It will all come down to how the Cane Corso is socialized within that family.

In spite of their large size, Cane Corso can be extremely delicate and very tolerant of abuse from children. Tugging on ears, yanking tails, or climbing on a relaxing Cane Corso are all taken in stride from a well socialized and disciplined Cane Corso. In fact, once your Cane Corso has realized this small human is part of his pack, he will protect that child with his life if needed.

Bring Around Other Pets

While many Cane Corso that comes from strong working lines do have a high prey drive, there are many other bloodlines that have moved away from the working focus and are bred for pure companionship. These Cane Corso are extremely well adjusted around other family pets, including cats, birds, rabbits and other small animals.

However, if your Cane Corso comes from very strong working lines, or has been used for hunting or prey driven tasks, he may not be a good choice to have around small animals. Since all Cane Corso are individuals, it can come down to each dog as to how it may react around other pets. Always introduce your puppy to other pets in a slow and very supervised manner to let them know this animal is a part of the family too.

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Cane Corso Training


Intelligence and a headstrong nature can be a dangerous combination when it comes to dogs as large as the Cane Corso. The breed needs a confident “pack leader” that can let the dog know what behaviours are accepted, and which are not. You will be that pack leader, and as such you must have a firm but fair mentality when it comes to how you train your Cane Corso puppy.

Behaviours that are cute when your Cane Corso weighs 20 pounds will not be nearly as cute once he reaches 120. Unwanted behaviours, such as biting during play or chewing on furniture, definitely need to be handled as early as possible. Discipline should be firm yet fair, however, striking or beating your Cane Corso puppy should never be used as a form of discipline.

Puppy Training and Socialization

Puppy training classes are an excellent option for your Cane Corso youngster to be enrolled in. In fact, you can find training classes that not only help train your puppy but can train you as well. If you are not experienced with handling mastiff-type breeds, learning different tips and tricks from a licensed dog trainer can make your life with your Cane Corso puppy much more enjoyable.

Socialization right from the start is highly important. If you are purchasing your Cane Corso puppy from a reputable breeder, socialization will have started almost as soon as the puppy was born. This includes handling and petting, touching feet and ears, and getting the puppy used to hearing different types of voices, seeing people wearing large hats or coats, and more. Once brought home, proper socialization between your new puppy and family members or other pets should continue.

“Nothing in Life is Free”

Many trainers suggest teaching your Cane Corso that “nothing in life is free”. This method of training means that your Cane Corso should do for you before you do for them. For example, sitting obediently before being given his food bowl, or going to the door and waiting patiently for a few minutes before going on walks or being granted outside time.

The idea is that your puppy will learn both patience and discipline and that good or accepted behaviour that pleases you will get him something that pleases him; whether it is food, a favourite toy, or a walk on the leash makes no difference. Trainers that have worked with highly intelligent mastiff-type dogs, including the Cane Corso, have found this training method to have excellent results on overall behaviour.


If you are a very active outdoor-loving person, one that jogs for miles every morning loves taking a brisk bicycle ride around the block, or spends hours hiking every weekend, a Cane Corso would make an excellent exercising companion. Once mature and fully grown at around 2 years of age, a Cane Corso benefits heavily from regular exercise.

While young, exercise should be kept to a minimum. Until their 24th month of life, the musculoskeletal system of Cane Corso puppies is still growing and developing. Overexertion from rowdy play or heavy exercise can cause joint issues, early onset arthritis or other health problems relating to the development of bones, joints and muscles.

Dog Sports

Even if you aren’t as active as your Cane Corso wants to be, there are a variety of sports you can both benefit from. A large number of Cane Corso owners highly recommend agility as a sport for mature dogs and their owners. This is not only an excellent physical sport but can help with mental stimulation as well.

Tracking or protection sports are also a great way to help your Cane Corso burn off excess energy, though are normally more enjoyed by dogs that come from strong working lines. If your dog’s lineage leans more towards the laid back companion, he may not enjoy these sports as much as his working relatives.

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Food & Nutrition

There are countless options for proper and well-balanced diets on the market. Your Cane Corso should be fed a high-quality food that is appropriate for his age, be it a puppy, adult, or senior formula. Additionally, many Cane Corso owners say that mixing your own custom food is an excellent option as well, but should be done with recommendations and guidance from your veterinarian.

Cane Corso love to eat, and as a result, can be prone to obesity if given free choice to food. You should only feed your adult Cane Corso 4-5 cups of high-quality dry kibble per day, on average. This amount will vary for puppies, less active dogs, or those already overweight, so be sure to check with your vet if you have any questions about your individual dog’s diet.

Optional Supplements

Being such a large breed, there are a variety of vitamins and other supplements you may consider giving your dog in addition to a high quality and well-balanced diet. These vitamins and supplements may include:

Glucosamine: This is great for improving your dog’s hip and joint health. It can be used as a preventative or offered to senior dogs that are showing signs of joint degeneration.

Multivitamins: Normally offered to puppies to get them off on the right foot, chewable multivitamins include iron, zinc, copper, and plenty of protein.

Fish Oils: Commonly used as a way to improve coat and skin health, fish oil capsules are high in omega3 fatty acids and are also excellent for heart and joint health.

Before giving your Cane Corso of any age any supplements or vitamins, ask your veterinarian for suggestions or recommendations. Not all Cane Corso will benefit from vitamins or supplements, while some will. Your veterinarian will be better able to let you know if your four-legged friend needs any additions to his normal diet.

Health & Care

Overall, Cane Corso are not overly prone to diseases or illnesses. As long as your puppy came from a responsible breeder, steps will have been taken well in advance to ensure the highest levels of health in the litter. Reputable breeders do annual testing in their breeding adults for a variety of health conditions including idiopathic epilepsy, eyelid abnormalities and vision issues, hip dysplasia, and demodex mange. Any dogs found to be predisposed or genetically inclined to pass these issues down are not used for breeding purposes.

Breeders that simply say their dogs have passed a “vet check” are not fully tested for genetic problems. Reputable breeders that have had their dogs checked for hip dysplasia and eye abnormalities should be happy to show you their most recent test results for the adult dogs they are using for breeding purposes.

Gastric Torsion or Bloat

Being a deep-chested breed, the Cane Corso may be prone to bloat, also known as gastric torsion. This can be a sudden and potentially life-threatening condition in your dog’s stomach and intestinal tract. It involves the stomach being filled with air, and twisting or flipping which cuts off blood flow to vital organs.

While the exact cause of gastric torsion has not been pinpointed, many breeders and owners feel that it may be more prone to happen in dogs that eat large meals all at once, or those that have to reach down to a bowl on the floor to eat. Options to help reduce the chance of bloat happening may include feeding smaller meals multiple times per day, as well as raising the food bowl off the floor so the dog’s head can remain more level with his stomach while eating.

Hip Dysplasia

This disease is due to growth and can be seen in some Cane Corso or other large or fast-growing breeds. It is a deformity of the hip joints in which the thigh and pelvis grow at different rates, leading to severe joint issues that cause physical deformities, extreme pain, and long-term problems in dogs.

Treating severe hip dysplasia usually requires a very invasive surgery in which the entire hip joint is replaced. This can be both dangerous, due to the general nature of surgery and anaesthetic, as well as extremely costly. It’s far more effective to help ensure your Cane Corso is not predisposed to hip dysplasia by ensuring his lineage has been fully tested and his parents have no history of dysplasia in their family tree.

Cropped Ears

While somewhat controversial, and even banned in some countries, ear cropping is still practised by some breeders. There is no health reason that a dog would need their ears cropped, and the procedure is purely cosmetic. If you are purchasing a Cane Corso puppy, don’t ever feel pressured into getting the ears cropped if you are against it. It will not affect the health of the puppy either way and should entirely be your choice on whether or not it is done.

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Cane Corsos are short-haired dogs, so you may think that grooming is a breeze. While they are definitely easier to groom than long-haired or corded breeds, they are a double-coated breed which means their undercoat will shed during seasonal changes. Weekly brushing with a shedding rake or rubber grooming mitt can help remove the undercoat and prevent the hair from coating every piece of furniture in your home.


Cane Corso should be taught that a bath is nothing to be afraid of. Start bathing your puppy early and offering him treats throughout the process as a reward for behaving. While bathing is not required often, and too much bathing can ultimately dry out the skin and lead to health issues, it will be much easier if your dog is accepting of the process when it does need to happen. Additionally, if you plan on sending your Cane Corso to a groomer for a full pampering, the groomer will thank you later for having such a well behaved dog.

Tooth Care

Using a dog-specific toothpaste and brushing tool can be a great way to keep your Cane Corso’s teeth looking excellent. Daily brushing is a great way to remove tartar buildup and ensure gum disease is kept at bay. In addition, using the right toothpaste can help remove bacteria and leave your dog with a nice smelling breath.

Toenail Clipping

Toenails should be clipped on a regular basis. They will continue to grow and overgrown nails can potentially get caught in bedding or your dog’s crate leading to a broken nail and bloody mess. Since nails do have an active blood vessel inside, always be careful when clipping nails at home. Teaching your dog from an early age to sit still and allow his feet to be handled can make nail clipping much less stressful for both of you.

Ear Health

Ensuring your Cane Corso’s ears are clean and dry is important for preventing an ear infection. On a regular basis, and especially after a bath, use a cotton ball to ensure moisture has been removed from your dog’s ears. Additionally, you can use a dog-specific ear cleaning solution to flush the ears and help remove bacteria that could cause an infection.