Cane Corso – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Cane Corso is a large size dog of territorial personality. They are powerful, a bit independent, and true pack leaders. Read on to discover more about this famous Italian breed.
Dog Breed Group:
Working Dogs
1 foot, 11 inches to 2 feet, 3 inches tall at the shoulder
90 to 120 pounds
Life Span:
10 to 12 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

Cane Corso is an Italian breed of mastiff, which many describe as a breed that looks like Boxer.

This is a large size dog, which is why you should know what you are stepping in when taking this breed home.

Cane Corso will demand extra care, time, and exercise needs. In the past, they were used for hunting large game and herding cattle. Today, they are mostly full-time pets.

Cane Corso is an old Italian purebred who is very powerful and athletic. They are best suited to experienced dog parents who have large space and well-fenced yards.

They love to be busy, so giving them a task is a must. Otherwise, you may have to deal with a large dog who is bored.

Just like any other breed of dog of any other size destructive behavior is present when they experience boredom.

This breed can be your perfect companion only if you can provide proper nutrition, plenty of space, exercise, and training.

It’s crucial to mention that this breed is overall healthy, but may experience some health issues throughout their lives.

This is why it’s important to deal with responsible breeders only – they will always screen dog parents and puppies for common health conditions, such as hip dysplasia, idiopathic epilepsy, Demodex mange, and eyelid abnormalities.

As a large breed, Cane Corso is susceptible to bloat, a life-threatening stomach condition.

You should learn the signs of this condition and know what to do in this situation. Still thinking about getting this breed? Read on.

Quick Facts

Real name: Cane Corso
Other names: Cane Corso Italiano
Origin: Italy
Breed type: Working Dogs
Weight: 90 to 120 pounds
Height: 1 foot, 11 inches to 2 feet, 3 inches tall at the shoulder
Lifespan: 10 to 12 years
Litter Size: 4 – 6 puppies
Color: Black, light gray, fawn, and red
Coat: Short and stiff coat

Cane Corso History

Cane Corso is a member of Mastiff-type dogs. Originally from Italy, this breed was linked with ancient Roman war dogs.

They may appear similar to the Neapolitan Mastiff dog breed, but they are in fact very different.

The Cane is much lightly built opposite to Neapolitan Mastiff.

All in all, Cane Corso was bred to be an all-around farm dog. Their primary duties included rounding up pigs and cattle.

When mechanization started the need for working dogs started declining. In fact, the need for these powerful dogs was so low that at one moment they were almost extinct.

Luckily, dog lovers and responsible breeders joined in their forces and decided to save this breed.

As result, massive efforts were conducted during the 1970s to save this breed.

In 1983, the Society Amatori Cane Corso, and in 1996 the Federation Cynologique Internationale recognized the breed.

As for the States and the breed’s popularity – first Corso arrived in the States in 1988. American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 2010.

Cane Corso Physical Appearance

Cane Corso is a large size dog. As such, they are not recommended for first time dog owners, nor for those who cannot physically handle walking this powerful dog.

They are ready to meet any challenge, and if you miss providing proper training, you may expect additional challenges.

As expected, males are slightly bigger than females are. Males can weigh up to 120 pounds, while females are slightly smaller in size.

As for the height, they can have between 23 and 26 inches.

Cane Corso Personality

Cane Corso may be a large size dog, which makes him a bit intimidating. However, this muscular dog has a huge and soft heart.

They are powerful, active, and ready to meet any challenge, no matter how big or small it might be. They are also very confident and thrive with an experienced dog owner.

They are great family dogs who love to guard, as long as they are introduced to the family the right way.

In the wrong hands, this breed can become aggressive, which is why a harsh training method should never be used.

Always use positive reinforcement training methods and use treats to reward good behavior. They should be great with children, especially older ones.

Toddlers tend to see dogs as moving toys which is why they might pull their ears and tails.

Make sure that your children know how to behave around dogs. Housedog rules are a must, and probably the best tool you can use to keep peace in your home.

As a highly intelligent breed, Cane Corso will try to outsmart you and it’s up to you to show him that you are a leader.

Whenever he does something good, reward him with a treat. This breed will always respond well to rewards and praise.

Cane Corso Training

Like every dog, Cane Corso needs proper training and socialization. This breed will thrive on well-structured training wits rewards.

They need training that is consistent, functional, short, and fun. Add to that a hand of treats as a reward.

Early socialization and training are what make a dog a good canine citizen. Socialization should help make your Cane Corso a well-rounded dog who is great with children, confident, unafraid of strangers and new areas.

If you miss delivering this, you can expect your Cane Corso to become fearful and even destructive.

Destructive behavior is something that you don’t want to see in small size dogs like Pomeranian, and let alone in large size dogs such as Cane Corso is.

This is a very protective breed, so make sure that whatever you do you keep on socializing him.

Don’t forget that dogs are capable of learning basic commands as of eight weeks of age.

As such they are eager to explore and learn as puppies whatever you place in front of them.

Cane Corso Grooming

Cane Corso is an owner of a short and stiff coat that comes with a light undercoat. Their coat comes in many different colors, including red, fawn, grey, or black.

This giant dog will shed heavily twice a year, during the shedding season. Make sure that you have a vacuum cleaner on hand during spring and autumn when shedding is the strongest.

Bathe only when needed. Dogs have different skin than humans do, and they don’t need as frequent bathing.

If your veterinarian recommends it, perform teeth cleaning. Make sure that you are using only dog-friendly toothpaste.

The rest is basic care:

  • Trim or grind nails once a month
  • Clean ears when needed – learn here how to clean dog’s ears
  • Check skin for any sign of flea or skin infection
  • Provide regular vaccination
  • Brush weekly

Brushing is your biggest obligation when it comes to grooming. Time-wise it might feel overwhelming, but in reality, brushing is a very straightforward step if you have the right grooming tools on hand.

Make grooming a positive experience. Start grooming your Cane from day one, while he is still a puppy.

Don’t forget to provide a treat once brushing is done. This way he will associate grooming and being handled with a positive experience.

Brushing is also a lot about connection and making a stronger bond with your Fido.

Dogs use body language to communicate with people, so for them brushing will always be seen as a positive experience – like a mutual fun time.

Cane Corso Health

Corsos are commonly described as healthy dogs. They are strong, powerful, and active.

As such, they need proper nutrition, training schedule, and exercise time to keep them both healthy and fit.

Due to various conditions and factors, they may develop certain conditions during their lifetime, but most of them are manageable.

As a large size dog, Cane Corse is commonly prone to hip dysplasia and bloat.

Cane Corso is often described not only as a large size dog but as a large Pit bull-like dog, although they usually do not share health issues.

As a life-threatening condition, bloat is really a condition that you should be well aware of and how you can prevent it.

The very basic step here is to provide a proper dog bowl. After that, talk to your veterinarian to learn how much you should feed your Cane and how often.

Larger size dogs usually need more frequent and smaller in size meals to avoid bloat. Also, avoid feeding your Cane Corso after a walk or any type of intense exercise.

Once you get a dog, of any size, you are directly responsible for his weight.

Obesity in dogs is on the rise across the States and you want to keep your dog far from that statistics.

If you have any concerns regarding your dog’s eating habits, feeding styles, and weight, talk to your veterinarian.

Is Cane Corso For You?

Getting a dog is always a serious decision.

However, when getting a dog you need to be honest about your lifestyle, you’d daily habits, and your daily obligations of caring for another living being.

  • Do you really have time for a dog?
  • Can you financially care of a large size dog?
  • Can you provide enough care and playtime on a daily level

Last, but not least is – Do you have experience as a dog owner of a larger breed? If the answer is no, this breed isn’t for you.

This breed is only for experienced dog owners, and for those who know how to handle large size dogs. Otherwise, you might think about a companion dog of a smaller size.

On the other hand, if you love large size dogs, have experience as a dog owner, and you know how much time, energy and other investment a large dog brings in, then Cane Corso might be for you.

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