Cane Corso: Fearless Protectors With Golden Hearts

Meet Italy’s most prized possession and the guardian of the Roman Empire.

The Cane Corso gained an honorable reputation quickly in Italy because of their intimidating appearance and unwavering bravery.

These giants will happily jump into battle or snuggle up with you on the couch (they are incredibly versatile).

Despite being courageous protectors these dogs can be divas to take care of. Their fur needs to be brushed daily, they demand lots of exercise and they eat more food than anyone could ever imagine.

In this article we will explain everything you need to know about the intimidating, yet snuggly Cane Corso…

Cane Corso Lying Down

What is a Cane Corso? (Overview)

The serious and formidable Cane Corso is a purebred dog that has deep Italian roots.

These confident and fearless pups have been used as war weapons, farm helpers and now are being invited into homes as loving companions.

Despite their intimidating appearance Cane Corsos are intensely loyal to their families and have a very affectionate nature with the people they love and trust. Their protective instincts can make them wary of strangers and other animals.

They are focused and do not have a desire to play. Instead these dogs would much rather be trained to do a job. They excel in anything you are willing to teach them, so get creative.

These majestic giants are quite expensive but you will have a faithful and loving addition to your family.

  • Overview: Purebred.
  • Purpose: Working Dog.
  • Weight: 90-120 pounds.
  • Size: 20-28 inches.
  • Temperament: Protective, loyal and serious.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Fiercely protective of family.
  • Easy to train because.
  • Very calm demeanour.
  • Few health concerns associated with breed.
  • Excels in various jobs.

Cons:

  • Will not socialize well with other people or animals.
  • Needs lots of exercise every day.
  • Prone to developing separation anxiety.
  • Needs a large yard and home.
  • Will dig or chew if bored.

Cane Corso Appearance

Cane Corso Portrait

The Cane Corso’s appearance is very intimidating to many people.

Their serious facial expressions and muscular bodies are a bit too frightening for some. Do not be surprised if other dog owners avoid you and your pup when you are out walking.

These dogs are large in every way. They have thick, muscular legs and broad chests to carry their big heads high in the air. Some of these warriors have their ears cropped while others have endearing floppy ears.

Height and Weight

These dogs are massive and typically weigh between 90-120 lbs.

They can be 20-28 inches tall which further accentuates their daunting appearance.

Breed Colors and Coat

Typically these dogs are either black or gray. Some Cane Corsos may be red or fawn, but these colors are less common. If your pup is red or fawn, they may have a black or gray mask on their face.

They may also inherit a brindle pattern but the majority of these pups are a solid color. The only variation their coat colors really have is whether they will have a light or dark shaded coat.

These dogs have a short, straight, coarse coat that lies tightly against their skin. This lets them move gracefully and with ease without any impairment from heavy fur that can get tangled.

Their coat is also waterproof so Cane Corsos are prepared for any task they are given.

Although they may not be soft and silky when you are petting them like other dog breeds, they will not require expensive trips to the groomer.

6 Fun Facts About The Cane Corso

  1. This breed’s history dates all the way back to the Roman Empire where these dogs were valued as dogs of conquest.
  2. Cane Corso is Latin for bodyguard dog.
  3. After the Roman Empire fell this breed was used for farming (herding but especially guarding) and wild boar hunting.
  4. When Italy began to struggle financially and farming became more mechanized, the Cane Corso breed almost became extinct and only survived due to the tireless efforts of the Society Amorati Cane Corso.
  5. The original Cane Cors dogs were even larger than they are now.
  6. Before 1988 Cane Corso dogs lived solely in Italy and could not be found anywhere else in the world.

Cane Corso Personality and Temperament

Cane Corso Dog

If you are looking for a playful pup the Cane Corso is not the dog breed for you.

These dogs are very serious and hardworking animals that do not mess around.

You will never see them goofing off – they are constantly on alert and ready to protect their families at all times. Any fooling around would distract them from their very important job.

If they do not have some sort of purpose (guarding, dog sports, or helping herd/protect livestock) they will quickly get bored and become destructive. Their busy minds need to be kept occupied or they will dig massive holes in your backyard and tear up your favorite shoes.

Because these dogs are so hardworking they have a very cool, calm and collected demeanor.

They are often called professional bodyguards because nothing really phases them.

These dogs have a confident aura about them that will amaze everyone they meet. Despite all the energy their large bodies contain, they are able to keep themselves controlled and act regal at all times.

Like any good watch dog Cane Corsos have a powerful and mighty bark. They do not use their frightening bark unless necessary, but they do make a lot of small vocalizations like snorting or howling.

Although they are very concentrated on watching over the people they love, these dogs also do have an affectionate side with their family members. At the end of a long day these dogs love to be pet and loved on by their family members.

When their protective duties are up for the night they become big babies that want to be cuddled.

Their extreme love for their families can result in them developing separation anxiety. They may become very stressed when left alone and may chew or dig as a result. It is important to catch this behavior from an early age in order to correct it.

These dogs are very loving with their families but they struggle to warm up to strangers or other animals. Their strong protective instincts lead them to believe that any outsider to the family is a threat and they may act aggressively towards newcomers.

Early socialization is vital with this breed.

Is The Cane Corso A Good Family Dog?

The Cane Corso can be a good family dog but they need lots of socialization to get along well with young children.

If your pup grows up alongside your children they will likely form very close bonds and will be very protective.

Caring for a Cane Corso

Cane Corso Sunbathing

The Cane Corso is not for first time owners.

These loveable giants require more care than the typical breed because of their size, exercise requirements and temperament.

Experienced dog owners are much better suited to take on the responsibility of welcoming one of these pups into their home.

Exercise Requirements

Cane Corsos need lots of exercise each day so be prepared to have an active lifestyle.

These dogs were bred to work, hunt and protect so they have an unfailing endurance and seemingly unlimited energy.

Daily brisk walks will be a good start – but just these fast-paced walks will not cut it alone.

Hikes, bike rides and runs are all great additions.

They also benefit from having a job (typically livestock related) or completing agility courses. No matter what form of exercise you and your large dog want to participate in just make sure this is daily to prevent bad behavior.

  • Number of Walks Per Day: 2+.
  • Total Exercise Needed Per Day: 60+ minutes.

Grooming and Shedding

Grooming a Cane Corso is probably the easiest aspect of caring for one of these giants.

They will need to be brushed 2-3 times per week to minimize shedding. During shedding seasons you will most likely want to brush them daily.

When it comes to bathing them, a bath once a month will be enough.

In addition to their coat care they need their teeth brushed 2-3 times per week. Their ears need checking weekly for wax buildup and their nails need clipping every month.

Cane Corso From Behind

Feeding and Diet

These dogs have appetites as big as their massive bodies.

They typically eat 3-4 cups of food each day.

When selecting food look for a food low in fat and fillers and high in protein. As the Cane Corso is prone to developing obesity, it is important that you select a nutritious food for them. Foods that are high in calories and protein will help support your active pup’s lifestyle.

Spread out their food over 2-3 meals each day to minimize the risk of bloat.

Calories Per Day: Cups of Kibble Per Day:
1200-1500 3-4

Known Health Problems

Overall the Cane Corso is a fairly healthy breed. They have a few health conditions that may plague them but their strong personalities seem to fight off most health problems.

  • Hip dysplasia is common among this breed as a result of their active lifestyles. They run around a lot and put a lot of strain on their sturdy bodies, so be vigilant in looking out for any signs of pain or discomfort.
  • Their droopy eyes also cause them to develop abnormalities with their eyelids. Check their eyes often and alert your veterinarian if anything seems unusual.
  • Finally you need to pay attention to bloat. Feeding your dog meals that are spaced out throughout the day can help combat this.

How Long Does A Cane Corso Live?

You can expect a Cane Corso to live for 9-12 years.

How Much Does A Cane Corso Cost?

Puppies will cost anywhere from $2,500 to $4,000.

Also remember that this is not a cheap dog to keep – to feed them will also cost you quite a bit of money.

How to Train a Cane Corso

Two Cane Corsos

This breed is both intelligent and eager to please (two incredible qualities that makes for easy training).

They are extremely smart and will quickly pick up on anything you ask them to do.

If you are training one of these geniuses it is important that you always appear confident. These powerful dogs do not want to take orders from someone who is unsure of themselves, they need a powerful leader to keep their bossy personality in check.

Positive reinforcement is the best way to train these pups.

Because they are so intelligent Cane Corsos need to be kept busy. Having a job is the best way to keep them mentally stimulated. Many owners of this breed train their dog for agility courses, obedience trials, dock diving and scent tracking.

If you have livestock of any sorts these dogs will be happy to help you in any way possible. These dogs need a job to feel a sense of worth and accomplishment.

In addition you can use puzzle toys or food mazes to keep them entertained.

Socializing one of these dogs is the most important part of their training. Their protective instincts can cause them to be wary of strangers and other dogs. It is vital that you introduce your new Cane Corso pup to as many people of different ages as possible and also let them to meet other dogs.

Training them to be alone is also really important for a Cane Corso. These pups easily develop separation anxiety, so you need to show them from an early age that they will be ok if they are left alone and that you will come back.

These softies just want to keep you safe and get stressed when they do not have the opportunity to do that.

Quick Breed Summary Table

Breed Characteristics
Size: 20-28 inches.
Weight: 90-120lb.
Lifespan: 9-12 years.
Coat: Short and rough waterproof coat.
Color: Black, gray, fawn, red and brindle (rare).
Do They Shed: Yes.
Temperament: Loyal, protective, hardworking and family orientated.
Intelligence: High.
Socialization: Needs to be socialized early on.
Destructive Behavior: Will chew or dig if left alone for long periods of time.
People Skills: Can be aggressive or temperamental with strangers or other animals if not socialized from an early age.
Good with Children: Yes.
Activity Levels: Very active.

Summary

A Cane Corso requires a lot caring.

They need plenty of exercise, socialization and will eat massive amounts of food each day.

These pricey pups demand high quality care, but they will make sure to repay you with their devoted loyalty and unwavering protection. You will never have to feel afraid with a Cane Corso in your home because they would willingly lay down their life to keep you safe.

Although they may look intimidating Cane Corsos have a very affectionate personality that only reveals itself to close family members.

Do you have any questions about these fearless protectors? Let us know in the comments section below…

Thomas Woods Face Portrait
Thomas has been a dog lover since he was 6 years old when his parents got him a rescue Labrador. Since then his love for dogs has lead him to study Animal Behavior & Welfare. He now keeps a six year old English Bullmastiff and educates pet parents through his online publication Perfect Dog Breeds.

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