Cane Corso: Your Guide To A Burly, Beautiful Beast

Cane Corso: Your Guide To A Burly, Beautiful Beast
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Developed as a guard dog and a hunter of big game-like wild boar, the Cane Corso is a magnificent breed that is much more than its exquisite personality and strong physique.


The Cane Corso is a working dog, popular for its incredible strength and athleticism. The Cane Corso is a large and dignified breed with plenty of affection for their owners. Because of their size, they need access to a large fenced yard to run around outside. The Cane Corso is perfect for any family who enjoys being outdoors and going on adventures.


Let's take a closer look at the majestic Cane Corso, its personality, breed history, nutrition, and much more.



Cane Corso Characteristics 

The Cane Corso is a medium to large dog breed known for its sturdy and strong skeleton. The Cane Corso breed is muscular and has a proportionate body that allows for elegant movement and agility. Cane Corsos are designed to be guard dogs with their giant exterior and solid features.


The Cane's head is large and reaches about one-third the height at the withers. The ears are sometimes cropped, while their eyes are small and almond-shaped — usually a dark brown color— and the nose is large, flush with a muzzle, and is either black or gray.


In addition to its very alert facial features, the Corso has a robust physique. The neck is slightly arched and flows smoothly into the broad shoulders. The back, forequarters, and hindquarters are all muscular and well-proportioned to the rest of the body allowing for harmonious movement. The tail is docked and is a medium length.



Cane Corso Dog Breed Size

Cane Corsos are a large and muscular dog breed that can be a bit overwhelming as a first-dog owner. A male Corso may stand at 25 to 28 inches at the withers, and females between 23 and 26 inches. A Cane Corso can fluctuate in weight due to its variance in height, but they typically range anywhere from 90 to 120 pounds.



Cane Corso Personality

The Cane Corso has a tough physique, but they are known for having a vigorous temperament. However, an owner with great confidence and leadership should do fine with a Cane Corso as a pet.


Typically, the Cane Corso is an excellent family dog who is never showing aggression towards his kin. But when confronted with strangers, the Corso can be standoffish and territorial. It is best to train and socialize a Cane Corso puppy to get used to seeing new people avoid being hostile. Otherwise, when new people come over, your Corso dog may act rough and unfriendly towards your guests. Especially being such a large dog, it is best to monitor their behavior to avoid any issues.


Other than being a tough cookie, Cane Corsos are extremely intelligent and enjoy learning new tasks. They are incredibly hard-working and attempt to show their dominance in the house. As an owner, you must show firm leadership, so your Cane Corso knows their place in the home. More so, since this breed is so large and powerful, and the Cane Corso temperament can be unpredictable, you must show dominance over your dog before they overpower you.


You can show this leadership by instilling easy commands such as "sit" or "down" and demonstrating praise or rewards when your Corso has done something good. This can also help with your Corso building their confidence and independence when you're not at home. Sometimes the Cane Corso may experience moments of separation anxiety, but with training and plenty of space to roam around like a large fenced-in yard, they should do fine.



dog against black background



Cane Corso Dog Breed Exercise

As a larger dog with plenty of energy, the Cane Corso needs a decent amount of exercise to stay happy and healthy. Cane Corsos are incredibly hard-working and enjoy completing tasks, whether they're hiking or performing some other type of physical stimulation.


A Cane Corso enjoys going on long walks and long playtimes of fetch or tug-of-war. Having access to a large fenced-in yard is recommended for having a Cane Corso, but taking them to a dog park where they can socialize with other dogs is also great.


Cane Corsos follow orders, making them excellent for obedience training, agility exercises, dock diving, tracking events, and other dog sports. More than anything, the Cane Corso needs an owner who will provide them enough exercise to build up their muscle strength and stamina. If they do not have enough exercise, a Cane Corso can get restless or bored quite easily and may show signs of aggression or be destructive around the house.



Cane Corso Training 

One of the most important things for any Cane Corso dog is to start their training as a puppy. This allows plenty of time for them to get used to certain behaviors and expectations you set for them. Because this breed is so large, the Cane Corso can easily overpower their owner, so it is essential to keep their behavior under control from an early age.


Early socialization is also crucial between other dogs and strangers. The Cane Corso can develop aggressive behavior attempting to demonstrate their dominance, so it is important to introduce your Corso to other people and puppies when they are young. This will help develop a healthy rapport with strangers and show your Corso that there is no need to be protective or hostile towards new people or dogs.


Related: How to Socialize an Aggressive Dog: #1 Guide with Proven Tips & Tricks


The good thing about training a Cane Corso is that they are innately intelligent and quickly pick up on new skills and tricks. When training your dog, it is best to use positive reinforcement and rewards when they do a good job. Corsos can become harsh or restless if they can't learn a task quickly to turn their aggression out on you. As long as you are patient and have training sessions within chunks of time, your Corso will be fine.



Cane Corso Dog Breed History

The Cane Corso breed is related to the Mastiff-type of dogs and was developed in Italy. The Corso is a descendent of Roman war dogs and was bred to hunt game, guard property, and help out around the farmland. They would herd the pigs and cattle on the land and help bring them into the market.


The "cane" portion of the dog's name derives from the Latin term for a dog, "canis." And the "Corso" portion comes from the term "cohors," which means bodyguard. The term could also come from the Italian word "corsus," which means sturdy or robust.


As the years went on, Cane Corsos were being used less and less for farming purposes and almost became extinct. However, in the 1970s, dog breeders wanted to rebuild the Corso breed. In Italy, the Society Amatori Cane Corso was formed in 1983, and the Federation Cynologique Internationale of Belgium recognized the Cane Corso in 1996.


In the United States, the first litter of Cane Corsos was imported in 1988 by Michael Sottile. By this time, the breed was the "tamer" and more tame version of the Corso that we know today. In 1993, the International Cane Corso Association was formed, eventually recognizing the breed in the American Kennel Club in 2010. The Cane Corso Association of America now governs the Cane Corso dog breed.



Common Health Problems Found in the Cane Corso

As with any dog breed, several potential health issues can arise. Especially with a larger dog such as the Cane Corso and having a relatively short life span, there are health concerns that you may want to be aware of. Recognizing that these can eventually be an issue is the first step to handling the situation if any concerns arise.



It is crucial to keep your dog on a healthy and consistent diet along with daily exercise, or else they can experience signs of obesity. Especially for a dog the size of a Cane Corso, adding extra weight can strain their joints. This, when left untreated, may lead to pain and mobility issues. To avoid these issues, make sure you are carefully planning out each meal, holding back on the treats and table food, and providing enough time in the day for your Cane Corso to exercise.


Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is a skeletal condition in a large breed of dogs that causes the hip joints to deteriorate with age. This condition is painful, able to affect how your Cane Corso moves around and their overall quality of life. This condition is often genetically passed down, so screening your dog for hip dysplasia, especially for a larger breed.


To avoid ailments like Hip Dysplasia or prevent this condition from worsening, it is best to monitor your dog's diet and ensure that they are exercising regularly. However, if the condition worsens, emergency surgery may need to be done.



Bloat, also known as gastric dilation-volvulus (GDV) complex, is a condition in which the stomach rotates and twists on itself. This is a common condition that affects large, deep-chested dogs such as the Cane Corso. Bloat is a potentially deadly condition that fills the stomach with air, building up pressure and stopping blood from reaching the hind legs and abdomen from returning to the heart. When the blood flow throughout the body is reduced, this can send your Corso into shock.


Bloat is treatable through surgery when the stomach becomes deflated and returns to its proper positioning. Another procedure called gastropexy will tack the stomach to the abdominal wall, which will help prevent it from twisting.


The best way to avoid bloat is to monitor your dog's eating habits. Only feed your pup two or three meals throughout the day. Using a slow feeder bowl will also help ensure your dog doesn't eat too quickly, leading to bloat symptoms.


Idiopathic Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a neurological condition in which a dog experiences seizures or an involuntary disturbance of brain functions. This usually takes the shape of a dog shaking or uncontrollable muscle activity.


While there is no cure for epilepsy, medication available can help keep this condition at bay. Cane Corso dogs can still live a long and fulfilling life even though they may have this condition.


Eye Problems

The Cane Corso dog breed is also prone to eye problems such as ectropion, entropion, or cherry eye. Many of the eye problems pertain to the eyelid and how it folds. Cherry eye occurs when the pink, fleshy part of the eye becomes swollen and protrudes outward.


Demodectic Mange

Demodectic mange is a parasitic skin condition usually caused by mites. This can cause several issues such as hair loss, skin redness, and skin irritation. Mange is treatable with special shampoos and deep cleaning of your pup's skin.



How to Care for a Cane Corso

As a working dog breed, the Cane Corso needs plenty of physical activity to stay healthy and happy. Taking your dog on a brisk walk or jog for at least 30 minutes a day should keep your Corso satisfied. You can also take your dog on a bike ride as they run alongside you and see them smiling the entire time.


With Cane Corso puppy dogs, you should allow for their musculoskeletal system to fully develop before any extraneous physical activity. Usually, after 18 months, your Cane Corso should be old enough to go on longer walks, hikes, and other adventures.


Cane Corsos need plenty of mental stimulation to be happy. Provide plenty of opportunities for your dog to learn new tricks, practice their obedience skills, and participate in different dog sports. Spending about 20 minutes a day on these activities will help keep your Corso's mind sharp. If you don't provide much mental stimulation, your Corso may get bored and find other ways to entertain himself, such as being destructive around the house.


Having a large dog comes with bigger expenses such as more dog food, possible surgeries, medication, and much more that may be more pricey than having a small dog. With that being said, having a life span of around 10 to 12 years with such a charismatic and energetic dog will surely be worth it.



Nutrition and Feeding for a Cane Corso

As with any dog, the serving size and type of food should be determined by the size of your dog, weight, physical activity level, and metabolism. Since the Cane Corso is a larger dog breed, you should closely monitor their diet and food intake because they are prone to health conditions such as bloat and obesity.


Generally, an adult Cane Corso should receive about 4 to 5 cups of dry dog food per day. Divide this amount of food into two meals throughout the day to ensure your dog does not overeat or eat too quickly. It's always best to give your dog high-quality food, whether it be commercially manufactured or home-prepared. Still unsure what food you should give your Corso? Check-in with your veterinarian to see what they recommend.



corso with big tongue behind tree



Coat Color And Grooming

The Cane Corso has a short, stiff coat with a lighter undercoat for protection. Their coat coloring can range from black, gray, fawn, or may have a brindle pattern. A Cane Corso's coat typically sheds twice a year. Having a good vacuum cleaner on deck is essential with this breed around the house.


As with any dog, it is important to bathe them regularly. If your Corso is prone to playing outside and getting dirty, you may want to bathe them more often. However, bathing your Corso about once every month or two should be enough to keep the natural oils on the skin flourishing.


Other essential grooming rituals include brushing your Corso's teeth and trimming their nails. Brush your Corso's teeth about two or three times a week to remove any tartar buildup and to keep their breath smelling fresh. Similarly, trim your Corso's nails about once or twice a month to avoid any clacking on the floor when they get too long.


When grooming, it is also important to check for any rashes, infections, or pests that may be roaming around your dog's skin. You should also regularly check your dog's ears to see if any infections or redness are occurring. Grooming is an important time to check for all these issues before they become significant health problems in the future.



Children And Other Pets

Cane Corsos are typically wonderful family pets and are extremely protective of children. Corsos can sometimes be territorial and aggressive towards strangers. So it is important to train and socialize them as a puppy to avoid these issues when they are older.


Especially since Corsos are such a heavy and strong breed, they can easily knock someone over or do some damage. Although this would usually happen with strangers, it is important to always watch when your dog is playing. Any children are prone to be easily overpowered by this breed.


In addition to training your dog to treat others, you should also teach your children how to approach and treat dogs. Always supervise them and ensure that they are not aggravating your dog or harassing them in any way. No matter how loving or friendly your dog is, your children should never try to pull on their tails or any other behavior that could annoy them.


As for other animals, Corsos generally gets along with other pets, such as dogs or cats. However, if they are introduced to any new animals, your Corso may pounce on them. This also requires training from an early age to ensure they know how to treat other pets and ensure that they are not enemies.



Cane Corso Dog Rescue Groups

Are you are ready to begin your journey with the beautiful Cane Corso dog breed? Here are several amazing rescue groups to help bring that dream to fruition.


Cane Corso Rescue Inc. brings rescued Corso dogs to a "forever" loving home. The Cane Corso Rescue Inc. cares for the well-being of every Corso dog they find and makes sure they follow a rigorous vetting process to ensure that they are finding the best home for each pup.


Must Love Corsos Rescue is another fabulous non-profit organization that finds great homes for Corsos in need. Incorporated in 2018, the MLCR  has had over 97 years of experience rescuing animals amongst the organization's volunteers. Although residing in Ohio, the Must Love Corsos Rescue has dogs available to adopt from all over the United States.



Cane Corso Dog Breed Organizations

The main breed organization for the Cane Corso breed is the Cane Corso Association of America. As of 2010, the American Kennel Club recognized the Cane Corso breed, marking the CCAA as the official breed organization. The CCAA's mission is to preserve the functional ability of the Corso dog breed. This keeps the breed standard at its purest form.


With the Cane Corso Association of America, plenty of information regarding the breed, performance and working, breeders, and events revolving around the Corso breed. A CCAA Hall of Fame also displays the many winners from different competitions dating back to 2010.


There is a one-time fee of $70.05 for regular membership. And another $108.68 for a family membership to become a member of the CCAA.



More About the Cane Corso Dog Breed

Corsos may not be the dog for you if you are looking for a chill and lazy friend to have at home. However, if you are extremely active and enjoy being outdoors, then consider adopting Corso the Cane.

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