Other names: Italian Mastiff, Can Corso Mastiff, Cane Corso Italiano, Italiano Molosso
Wamiz's Top Breed
Very attached to and protective of his social group while not being too clingy, the Cane Corso is an excellent watchdog. Calm and well-balanced, this Italian dog is the perfect companion. Both observant and intelligent, it takes quite a lot for this pet to feel at ease and he will need to take his time to judge the safety of a person or situation.
Key facts about the Cane Corso
Life expectancy :
Origins and history
The Cane Corso is a direct, slightly smaller, descendant of the Roman “Canis pugnax”. He was used in big-game hunting and also as support in the war. For centuries, he was held in high esteem by Italians who used him as a property and flock guardian, as well as for hunting and personal defence. Formerly widespread throughout the peninsula, as evidenced by many engravings and historical accounts, he is still very common in southern Italy. His Italian name "corso" actually has nothing to do with Corsica - the origin of his name probably comes from the Latin term "cohors", the Roman cohort of the Praetorian Guard, indicating the ancient history of this guard dog.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 2 - Pinscher and Schnauzer - Molossoid and Swiss Mountain and Cattledogs
Section 2 : Molossian type
Physical characteristics of the Cane Corso
Female : Between 23 and 25 in
Male : Between 24 and 27 in
Female : Between 88 and 99 lb
Male : Between 97 and 110 lb
The Cane Corso’s fur can be a variety of colours: black, steel grey, slate, light grey, light fawn, dark fawn or brindle (markings on fawn or grey).
Type of coat
The fur is short.
The Italian Mastiff’s coat is shiny, with a dense outer coat and light undercoat.
The eyes are generally aligned with his fur colour. They should always be very dark.
This Italian watchdog is very large in size, which makes him intimidating enough to scare off anyone with bad intentions. However, despite his robust and hardy appearance, this dog is actually very elegant and agile, sporting a lean and powerful stature.
Good to know
Many dogs with droopy eyes (Cane Corso, Bulldog, etc.) have problems relating to the Harderian gland (a lacrimal gland) as they’re growing up. This gland can swell up and get inflamed as it develops faster than the puppy’s head. It would then be necessary to go to see a vet, but this condition is still manageable.
As an excellent guard dog, the Cane Corso is very protective of and attached to his social group. While he may not display huge gestures of affection, he is an attentive and gentle dog nonetheless, especially with children.
This big dog loves spending time with his family and will happily join in with kids’ games, but won’t get too caught up in it. He can be playful if his masters encourage him, but he is a calm and reserved dog for the most part.
The Cane Corso is naturally a very calm dog, but he can become aggressive to protect his loved ones if he senses a threat.
He is naturally very intelligent and has the ability to quickly understand a situation and react accordingly. If he fails to see interest or coherence in his training, he might prove stubborn and reluctant to cooperate, but this is actually a sign of remarkable intelligence.
In his country of origin, this gentle giant was mainly used to guard properties and its occupants, but he would be equally capable of accompanying his owners on a hunt. Some people even continue to use the Cane Corso as a hunter, but this is quite rare.
Fearful / wary of strangers
As a protector, this dog is naturally wary of strangers, since his main objective is to scare them off. He doesn’t trust people easily and will take his time to analyse a person’s behaviour to work out if he/she represents a threat.
The Cane Corso is relatively independent, in the way that he can protect a property on his own and will always focus on completing a task. However, he still doesn’t like being left alone for long periods of time.
That being said, he doesn’t need to be in constant contact with members of his social group, nor will he instigate cuddles with his loved ones. But, he is nonetheless very attached to them.
Behaviour of the Cane Corso
Easy to train / obedience
A very intelligent dog, the Cane Corso can prove stubborn if he sees no interest in obeying. It is therefore very important that his owners provide him with coherent, fair and firm training to obtain the best results.
This calm and balanced dog isn’t a big barker. He will only raise his voice if it’s completely necessary. Therefore, this trait can prove very useful as if he barks, his owners will know that it’s with good reason.
Tendency to run away
Very attached to and protective of his social group, this Italian dog will never be too far away, and will always keep a watchful eye over those he wants to protect.