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All About the Cane Corso

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A Cane Corso dog lays in the grass.

If you're in search of a loyal and protective companion, look no further than the magnificent Cane Corso. With their striking appearance and unwavering devotion, these extra-large dogs are tough on the outside and soft on the inside, and they’ve captured the hearts of dog lovers worldwide.

About the Breed

Extra-large in size and in heart, Cane Corso dogs are known for their strong build and loyalty, making them great protectors. Despite their imposing look, these giant dogs are actually quiet, gentle, and affectionate pets. With the right training and socialization, they can be wonderful companions in a loving home.

Cane Corso dogs can adapt well to different living situations. However, it's important to give them mental stimulation and physical exercise to keep them happy and healthy. An ideal home for a Cane Corso includes enough space for them to move around, preferably in a house with a securely fenced yard.

Breed History

It’s said that these dogs were brought back by the Roman legions after conquering Greece. They were then bred with Italian Mastiffs to create the Cane Corso we know today. The Romans used these dogs in battles, and after the fall of the Roman Empire, they became guard dogs and skilled hunting companions. Unfortunately, the breed faced near extinction in the 20th century.

Efforts to bring the breed back started in the 1970s, leading to the formation of the first breed association in Italy—the Society Amorati Cane Corso—in the early '80s, and in 2010, the breed was officially recognized. Today's Cane Corso may look a bit sleeker than their ancestors, but they're still great at providing protection.


The Cane Corso, with its remarkable blend of intelligence, loyalty, and protective instincts, stands out as an exceptional breed. Although they may seem intimidating at first glance, these creatures actually have a heartwarming and gentle nature. They are incredibly sweet, sensitive, and loving, especially towards their favorite humans. These canines have a natural instinct to protect, making them both loving family members and loyal guardians.

How big is a Cane Corso?

The Cane Corso is a giant breed, with females generally weighing 88 to 99 pounds, and males weighing as much as 110 pounds or more. Standing tall at approximately 23.5 to 27.5 inches at the shoulders, these dogs are muscular but sleek, an impressive combination of power and grace.

What’s the lifespan of a Cane Corso?

The Cane Corso lifespan is approximately 9–12 years, which is a little longer than average for a giant-breed dog.

Is the Cane Corso a good dog for first-time dog parents?

Because of their relatively high energy, intelligence, and protective nature, the Cane Corso breed is suitable for experienced pet parents who are committed to providing extensive socialization, training, and exercise from early puppyhood. They're very intelligent and physically powerful dogs who can quickly become a handful if they're not properly stimulated and socialized.

Is the Cane Corse a good family dog?

hey can be excellent family pets when properly socialized and trained. These dogs are usually gentle and patient with kids, but supervision is essential, especially with younger children who may not understand how to interact with a large dog.


Known for their large, muscular stature, this breed has a broad, deep chest and a substantial, muscular body resembling that of other Mastiff breeds. Their head is notably large, featuring a distinctive wrinkled and furrowed brow that adds to their intense expression. Their ears are naturally floppy, although the controversial practice of cropping their ears is recognized as an official standard of the breed, and their tail is docked.

The Cane Corso breed has a short, stiff, double-layered coat. The coat may be black, gray, red or fawn, and either solid or brindled; red and fawn may also have a black or gray mask around the eyes.


These dogs are incredibly loyal companions, known for being gentle giants when they're with their loved ones. They exhibit a sweet and affectionate demeanor, especially towards children, and will go above and beyond to ensure the safety of their family. Because of their innate guarding instincts, the Cane Corso might be a bit cautious around strangers. It's important to socialize them early on so they can learn who's a friend and who's not.

A Cane Corso typically is not bubbly or outgoing, but calm and serious. They’re reserved, confident, and extremely attentive to their surroundings, and they tend to be quiet dogs. Even though they may seem tough on the outside, the Cane Corso can actually be quite sensitive and attuned to their human’s emotions. They thrive on positive reinforcement and can become stressed or anxious if treated harshly.


When it comes to teaching your dog, remember that each dog will learn at their own pace and in their own way. Cane Corso dogs are intelligent and eager to learn, but it’s essential to start early, be consistent, and establish yourself as the pack leader from day one. Getting your Cane Corso puppy on the right track with obedience training from an early age is important. These pups can be headstrong and independent, so it's crucial to establish boundaries and expectations.

Positive reinforcement is a very effective training technique that you can use to train your Cane Corso puppy. You may get your puppy to repeat the desired behavior by rewarding them with food, praise, and affection. It will make training enjoyable for both you and your dog.

As for all dogs, socialization is essential, but it’s especially important for giant and protective breeds like the Cane Corso. Thoroughly socializing your Cane Corso with other pets as well as introducing them to a variety of environments and many people from a young age can help ensure they develop into well-rounded and confident adults, reducing aggression and fear-based behaviors.


A dog's outer health is just as crucial as their inner health, so it’s important to keep up on grooming.

This breed’s coat is short but double-layered. The undercoat, which varies in length depending on the climate the dog lives in, sheds throughout the year, especially during shedding season in the spring. Their dense coat requires minimal grooming. Weekly brushing is recommended to remove loose hair and minimize shedding.

All other grooming for a Cane Corso is fairly routine. Typically, their teeth should be brushed several times a week, their ears should be examined and cleaned regularly, their nails should be trimmed when they begin clicking on the floor, and they should be bathed about once a month, or as needed. Chat with your veterinarian about a personalized grooming/hygiene for your Cane Corso.


In terms of their diet, Cane Corso dogs require a nutritious diet that is appropriate for their age. It is also important that you feed your dog the recommended amount per meal. By getting too much food, too many extra treats, and not enough exercise, dogs can be susceptible to weight gain and even obesity, a catalyst for many other health issues. If you are ever unsure about your pet’s diet, talk with your veterinarian about recommendations.

As a high-energy working breed, the Cane Corso needs one to two hours of daily, moderate physical activity. Activities such as brisk walks, hiking, and playing fetch are ideal for keeping your pooch engaged and healthy. The Cane Corso was bred to work and is happiest when given a job to do, and many compete in agility, obedience, dock diving, and tracking events.

They need mental as well as physical stimulation, or undesirable behavior will result. If they are not exercised and stimulated often, they may get themselves into trouble with bad behaviors such as digging, pawing, and jumping. The Cane Corso is not as toy-oriented as many other breeds, and many are not interested in retrieving. Instead, try playing mentally stimulating games with your dog, like find the toy or hide and seek, or give them puzzle games to keep their minds sharp.

Common Health Issues

These dogs are generally healthy. However, potential pet parents should always be aware of possible health issues.

According to our pet insurance claims data,** some of the most common issues that affect this breed are:

  1. Cranial cruciate ligament injuries
  2. Allergies
  3. Ear infections
  4. Seizures
  5. Non-specific lameness
  6. Cherry Eye

Although these are the common conditions for this breed, there is no guarantee that your dog will develop any or all the ones listed above.

In order to stay a step ahead of any major health problems, it is vital to schedule regular visits with your veterinarian. These appointments will allow your veterinarian to become familiar with your dog’s overall health and increase the chances of catching a health problem early on.

**Internal Claims Data, 2018-2022

The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.

An ASPCA® Pet Health Insurance plan can help you with eligible costs for covered conditions like surgery expenses for accidents and help provide peace of mind that your pet can receive the care they need. Check out our online resources to learn more about your insurance options and get a free quote today . The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.

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