Country of Origin: Italy
  • Activity Level: high
  • Grooming Level: low
  • Trainability: low
  • Adaptability: moderate
  • Kid/Pet Friendly: sometimes
  • Average Size: Large
  • Average Lifespan: 9-12 years
  • Prey Drive: low
  • Watchdog: chill

Cane Corso Breed Profile

  • Overview
  • Temperament
  • Adaptability
  • Health
  • Owner Experience
  • Grooming
  • Activity Level
  • Size
  • Life Span

The Cane Corso, also referred to as an Italian Mastiff, is a large dog breed that originated in Italy. It is a descendant of dogs the Romans used in warfare and was commonly used as a guard dog and to hunt big game. The AKC recognized the Cane Corso in 2010 as part of the working group.

Cane Corsos are quiet, loving, and very caring for their family. They are intelligent, very loyal, and protective, which makes them wary of strangers and excellent watchdogs. They are a “family-only” type of dog and are not interested in animals or people outside of their family unit. Early socialization can curb suspicious tendencies and overprotectiveness, but this dog will always be loyal and protective of its family.

The Cane Corso is more adaptable to temperature than they are to space. They do well in moderate climates and can handle cooler or warmer weather. As with all dogs, excessive heat or cold should be avoided. They are not well-suited to apartment living and are a better fit for a home with a large fenced in yard.

This is a relatively healthy dog breed, but there are some breed-specific health issues to be aware of such as hip dysplasia, cherry eye, entropion, ectropion, and gastric torsion. Checking the genetic history of the parents and seeing health clearances can reduce several of these concerns.

Training is a must with this dog breed. If left untrained as puppies, Cane Corsos can become aggressive in their protectiveness. They are best-suited to experienced dog owners who are able to socialize, train, and confidently handle a large dog. They also have a stubborn streak and a tendency to test boundaries, so good leadership and persistent, consistent training are a must. Cane Corsos are sensitive to your tone of voice, so calm, self-assured verbal cues help them respond well to both praise and firm correction.

Their coat is short, shiny, and dense due to a light undercoat. Common coat colors include black, light and dark gray, light and dark fawn, and red with a brindle variation able to show up in any of the colors. They need minimal grooming to maintain a healthy coat. However, they will have seasonal heavy shedding twice a year, so be prepared to brush them more frequently.

You can get away with bathing your Cane Corso as needed, but if you plan on bathing them regularly, you’ll want to get them used to it early. Brushing your dog’s teeth is important to remove tartar buildup and maintain proper dental hygiene. Daily brushing would be the best, but two or three times a week would be sufficient.

The Cane Corso is an active dog breed that requires regular exercise and also makes an excellent jogging partner. They are a working dog and need plenty of exercise to expend energy and maintain healthy muscle tone. In addition to long walks, you can also take your dog on a hike, a run, or even with you on bicycle rides.

They do get bored easily, so it’s important to keep this dog active and give them a job to do. Without a specified job or enough work, they will find their own, which can result in destructive or undesired behaviors. If you don’t have livestock your Cane Corso can help you with, dog sports like agility training, obedience, tracking, or dock diving are great options.

The Cane Corso typically stands between 22 to 28 inches at the shoulder and weighs between 80 to 120 pounds.

Cane Corsos generally live between 9 and 12 years.