Italian Cane Corso

Cane Corso (Italian: Cane corso italiano, English Cane Corso) is a large breed of dog, the heir to the fighting dogs of the ancient Romans. For centuries, they served the peasants of southern Italy on the hunt, in the field, and guarded houses. They are considered one of the most intelligent and obedient members of the mastiff group.


  • This is a working dog and today they are often used as watchmen.
  • This dog needs physical and mental activity.
  • This is a dominant breed that tries to lead the pack.
  • It is not recommended for those who first decided to get a dog, as they are dominant and domineering.
  • This is one of the healthiest breeds among large dogs.
  • They are aggressive towards other dogs and animals.

Breed history

Although the breed is ancient, those dogs that we know today were formed in the 190-80s. Originally used to describe the type of dogs rather than a single breed, Italian words meant: 'cane' (dog) and 'corso' (powerful or strong).

There are documents of 1137, where the term Cane Corso is used as a description of small mastiffs. Yes, the dogs themselves come from a group of molossians or mastiffs. There are many dogs in this group and all its large-sized members are powerful, traditionally used as guard and guard dogs.

Molossians were widely used in the Roman army, and with its help they got to other countries, giving rise to many modern breeds. Of course, they were popular in the countries that are now in the territory of modern Italy.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, many different types of mastiffs formed (English mastiff, bullmastiff, Neapolitan mastiff), one of which by 1137 was called the Cane Corso. It was a large and harsh dog used to guard homes and lands. In addition, they were one of the few breeds capable of handling wolves.

If Northern Italy was a developed and densely populated part, then Southern was not much different from what it was under the Romans. There were farms and vast fields that needed large, angry dogs to guard them from wolves and wild boars. Southern Italy becomes the center of breed development, and the Cane Corso is associated with provinces such as Calabria, Sicily and Apulia, where they had many local names.
Technological and social changes slowly penetrated this part of the country, and dogs remained an unchanged part of peasants' life until the end of the 18th century. But industrialization also came there, which began to supplant the old methods and dogs at the same time.

Predators disappeared before the onset of the city and modernization, but the peasants continued to keep the dog they loved, despite the fact that it was large and the need for such a size had already disappeared. By the start of World War I, the breed was becoming rare, but still found in southern Italy.

But war inflicts a serious blow on the population. Many peasants are leaving for the army, the number of farms is declining, the economy is falling and they can no longer afford such large dogs.

But military action barely touched this part of the country, and post-war growth has kept the population.
But the Second World War inflicts a crushing blow to the breed. Once again, men are leaving for the army, the region’s economy has been destroyed and dog breeding has almost stopped. Worst of all, hostilities take place all over the country and are especially strong in southern Italy. A significant part of the dogs perishes, as they protect their home and family.

Considered obsolete, by 1970 the Cane Corso almost died out, found only in the most remote areas of southern Italy. Most owners of these dogs are old people, remembering them in their youth and not allowing the breed to sink into oblivion.

One of these people was Giovanni Bonnetti, he realized that without popularization and organization of clubs, the breed would be forgotten.

In 1973, he learns about Dr. Paolo Breber, a dog lover and expert. Bonnetti warns him that an old type of Italian mastiff (not a Neapolitan mastiff) still exists in southern Italy.

Dr. Breber begins to collect documents and pictures, historical sources about these dogs. He publishes articles in canine magazines and gathers like-minded people around him.

By 1983, the threat of extinction had passed and there were already enough owners and breeders to create the first club - the Society of Cane-Copco Dog Lovers (Societa Amatori Cane Corso - SACC), which continues to work in order to recognize the breed as large cynological organizations.

The club allowed to register dogs without pedigrees, only similar in appearance and character to the Cane Corso. This made it possible to significantly expand the gene pool and improve the quality of dogs.

Although they have been peasants' assistants for centuries, modern cane corso dogs are guard and guard dogs. In 1994, the breed was fully recognized by the Italian Cynological Club, and in 1996 by the International Cynological Federation.

Since the 1990s, dogs have been transported around the world, where they are known as excellent watchdogs. Unfortunately, they also have a negative reputation and in some countries they are banned.

It is interesting that the ban is based on rumors, sometimes representatives of the breed are not even in the country where it is banned.

Interestingly, the Cane Corso are considered one of the best guards, since they are controlled more than other types of mastiffs, but at the same time retain their size and strength. In 2008, the United Kennel Club (UKC) recognized the breed as Cane Corso Italiano and classified it as a guard dog.

Unlike many modern breeds, Cane Corso is still widely used for protective purposes. They stopped hunting wolves and wild boars, but most of them guard houses and private property, although some are simply companions. They were adapted for life in the city, but only if the owner trains and loads them.

Breed description

Cane Corso is similar to other representatives of the Molossian group, but more elegant and athletic. These are large dogs, bitches at the withers reach 58-66 cm and weigh 40-45 kg, males 62-70 cm and weigh 45-50 kg. Large males can reach 75 cm at the withers and weigh 60 kg.

This breed is muscular and powerful, but not as squat and massive as other mastiffs. The dog should look able to cope with the attacker, but also an energetic dog that can hunt. The tail in dogs is traditionally docked, in the region of 4 vertebrae, a short stump is left.

However, this practice is out of fashion, and in European countries is also prohibited by law. Natural tail is very thick, medium length, holds high.

The head and muzzle are powerful, located on a thick neck, the head itself is large relative to the body, but does not cause an imbalance. The transition to the muzzle is pronounced, but those are as obvious as in other mastiffs.

The muzzle itself is long for molosses, but short relative to other dog breeds. It is very wide and almost square.

The lips are thick, sagging, form bryl. Initially, most Cane Corso was born with a scissor bite, but now many have a light snack.
The eyes are medium sized, slightly arched with a dark iris.

The ears most often stop in the shape of an equilateral triangle, after which it looks like the ears of the dog are completely gone.

As with the tail, this practice goes out of fashion and is sometimes prohibited. Natural ears are triangular in shape, hanging. The general impression of the dog: attentiveness, swiftness and strength.

Wool with a short, soft undercoat and a rough top shirt. The coat is short, thick and shiny.

Its color is diverse: black, lead gray, slate gray, light gray, light red, murugi, dark red, brindle. Dogs of tiger and red colors have a black or gray mask on their faces, but they should not go beyond the line of the eyes.

Some have black color on their ears, but not in all standards it is acceptable. Many dogs have small white spots on the chest, legs and back of the nose that are acceptable by the standard.


The character is similar to the characters of other guard breeds, but they are more manageable and not so stubborn. They are popular for their loyalty, they are endlessly devoted to the family and without hesitation they will give their lives for it. When a puppy grows up in a family circle, he is attached to everyone equally.

If he is raised by one person, then his dog loves him. Corso loves to be with their family, but they themselves are independent and can spend most of their time in the yard, if there is where to run.

With proper upbringing and socialization, they are quite calm about strangers, but remain aloof. They ignore the approach of strangers, especially if in company with the owner.

However, training and socialization is extremely important for this breed, as their ancestors were guard dogs for hundreds of years. They can be aggressive, including to humans.

Some breeders and owners consider the Cane Corso the best guard dog in the world. They have not only a strong protective instinct, both in relation to the family and territorial, but also the strength to readily defeat any opponent. She can scare potential offenders with one look, as she is incredibly frightening.

Dogs that grew up in a family with children usually calmly perceive and get along with them. However, they can incorrectly assess their games as aggression and rush to defend their own. Despite the high pain threshold and tolerance of rudeness from children, they have a limit point and it is not necessary to cross it. In general, they are good with children, but only with the right socialization and the concepts that the dog is in pain.

One aspect of the relationship between Cane Corso and people needs to be emphasized. This is a very dominant breed, each representative will regularly try to take the place of leader in the pack and will take at the slightest concessions.

It is imperative that each member of the family takes a dominant position over this dog. Otherwise, it will become domineering. Such a dog does not respect its owner and can behave provocatively. For this reason, the breed is not recommended for inexperienced owners who did not have dogs before.

They usually do not tolerate other animals. They endure other dogs until they cross paths and there is no restraining leash. Most representatives of the breed do not like other dogs and their company, especially of the same sex.

Now imagine the size of this dog and how it rushes to another. They are so strong and large that they can kill another dog almost effortlessly, and their high pain threshold makes back attacks almost useless.

Yes, there are problems with other dogs, but with animals ... even bigger. One of the most dangerous hunters in Europe, Cane Corso has a powerful hunting instinct. They will chase after any animal, despite the size.

If you let the dog out for a walk on your own, then as a gift you will receive the carcass of a neighbor's cat and a statement to the police. Yes, they can live with a cat if they grow up together and perceive it as a member of the pack. But, this is a killer of cats that are not affected by the habit.

Unlike most mastiffs, who are very stubborn and unwilling to train, cane-corso are trained and smart. They are known for their desire to learn and execute new teams and learn from quickly. They can perform in various competitions, and are also used in hunting and police.
However, they are far from an ideal dog. Yes, they try to please, but do not live for it. This breed reacts for two reasons: if something gets in return and respects the owner.

This means that the positive reinforcement method works better than anyone, and that the owner must be firm and in control of the situation all the time. Cane Corso will not listen to those whom he considers below himself in the hierarchy.

However, with a skilled owner, they will be much more obedient and skillful than most guard dogs. Those owners who cannot cope with them will receive a dangerous and uncontrolled dog.

Unlike other mastiffs, they are very energetic and they need good workloads. At least long walks daily, but better running. They are well adapted for living in their own yard, but bad for dog walking areas, due to aggression.

If the dog does not find a way out of its energy, then the likelihood of developing problems with behavior is high. She can become destructive, aggressive or bark.
Given that this is a territorial dog, she has no strong desire to travel. This means that they will run away from the yard much less than other breeds. However, the fence must be reliable and safe. There are two reasons why a Cane Corso can escape: chasing another animal and driving a potential offender from its territory.

If you need an aristocratic dog, then this is not your option. These dogs love to dig the ground, play in the mud and the mud itself.

In addition, they can drool and flatulence occurs, although not in the same way as in other mastiffs. If you are clean or squeamish, then this group of dogs is not for you.


The requirements for care are low, it is enough to comb regularly. Most dogs do not molt very much, and with regular care, molting goes unnoticed.

Owners recommend accustoming the puppy to combing, bathing, and claw trimming as early as possible.


One of the healthiest, if not the healthiest of all large breeds. They were bred solely for practical purposes and genetic abnormalities were rejected.

Although the breed was on the verge of extinction, its gene pool remained wide, including due to crossbreeding. This does not mean that they do not get sick at all, but they do it less often than other breeds, especially giant ones.

The average life expectancy is 10-11 years, which is long enough for large dogs. With proper care and nutrition, they can live several years longer.

The most severe disaster that can happen is the inversion of the intestines in a dog. It is especially common among large dogs with a deep chest. Gut twisting is removed only by a veterinarian and urgently, and can lead to death.

Although it can not always be avoided, knowing the reasons reduces the chances by several times. The most common reason is exercise after feeding, you can’t walk the dogs immediately after feeding, or you need to divide portions into three or four, instead of two.

Watch the video: CANE CORSO: MAN'S BEST FRIEND (February 2020).

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