Cane Corso Italiano

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black, lead-grey, slate-grey, light grey, light fawn; stag red and dark fawn; brindle
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Good with kids:
Pros Cons

  • highly intelligent and loyal

  • perfect guardian and watcher

  • requires very standard maintenance

  • dominant

  • early and propper socialization and training is a must

  • doesn’t like strange people

  • requires a great deal of daily exercise


The Cane Corso Italiano is an ancient Italian canine variety that was created to guard homesteads and hunt ferocious animals such as wild boar. This dog has potential of becoming an excellent four-legged friend for an experienced dog owner who possesses a spacious and safely enclosed yard. Lately the breed obtained certain recognition in conformation ring as well as in different dog sports.


The Cane Corso Italiano is the member of the large Mastiff family, which was initially bred in Italia in the days of the Roman rule. It’s commonly believed that its direct forefathers were Roman war dogs. It has lighter constitution than its close relative, the Neapolitan Mastiff. Originally it was primary used to quarry large wild animals and to participate in battles. After the demise of the Roman domination the dog began to serve not only as a big game hunter, but also as a property and personal guardian and an all-purpose assistant of a farmer. For example, it was often responsible for rounding up livestock and driving it to the local market.

The word «cane» in its name literally means «dog» and originates from the Latin word «canis». The etymology of the word «corso» is rather disputable. According to one version it may have been derived from «cohors» that is translated as «bodyguard». However some experts think that it may come from «corsus», an old-fashioned Italian word meaning robust or sturdy.

Extensive industrialisation and technological progress bereaved the Cane Corso Italiano of majority of its duties so its population slipped into a steep decline. Moreover two World Wars almost led to its complete extinction. By the 70s of the XX century purebred specimens could be found only in distant villages of southern Italy.

Luckily enough, in 1973 the breed drew attention of a famous canine fancier Dr. Paolo Breber. He adopted several of these dogs and initiated his own breeding program in the hope to restore both its quality and quantity. After the Cane Corso Italiano was depicted in a magazine article other breeders demonstrated active interest in its revival. Their combined efforts resulted into recognition of the breed by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) in 1996.

The first Cane Corso Italianos were brought in the United States in 1988 but it wasn’t until 2010 when the breed achieved official acceptance of the American Kennel Club (AKC). Currently the fame of this dog as an intrepid guardian spread to other European countries. Despite its rather complex and bossy character it also acquired numerous followers in the role of a family pet.


The Cane Corso Italiano is commonly hard-headed with highly authoritative character. On the whole it resembles the majority of guarding dogs in terms of disposition but it’s considered as being somewhat less obstinate and more teachable than most of them. This breed is famous for its fierce devotion to its human family although it has certain propensity to become a one person canine. The well-socialised member will tolerate familiar kids and will compliantly accept a great deal of rough handling from them.

Being exceptionally protective over its humans and territory the Cane Corso Italiano manifests the outmost distrust towards all strangers. Absence of early and deep socialisation will almost surely lead to serious issues with aggressiveness in its maturity. On the other hand the breeds’ natural fierceness and readiness to aggressive actions makes it a very effective guardian. This dog always remains watchful and attentive to its surroundings so it has all necessary features to become a good watcher.

The Cane Corso Italiano is a breed that must be properly socialized and trained otherwise your dog will be quite belligerent towards other dogs. Because of its desire for domination and high territorial instinct it’s rather quick to put up a fight with other canines and usually comes out on top from any confrontation. That’s why it must be kept securely leashed and muzzled while being walked. This breed is also known for its incredibly strong prey drive so an unsocialized member will relentlessly chase any cat or other animal that was unlucky to catch its eye. There is a good possibility though that the dog will be kind with those individual pets with which it has been raised together since its puppyhood.

Health Problems

The most common problems for the breed include:

· gastric torsion;

· canine hip dysplasia;

· elbow dysplasia;

· arthritis;

· skeletal growth abnormalities;

· demodex mange;

· eye problems.


The Cane Corso Italiano is relatively unpretentious breed as far as it concerns grooming requirements. Its short and shiny coat should be brushed once a week with a natural bristle brush. Bathing is usually necessary every two to three months although it’s permissible to bathe the dog more frequently especially if it has romped in the dirt.

The rest care includes such elementary procedures as regular toenails clipping and weekly teeth brushing. Examine the ears of your pet on the systematic basis in order to timely detect such early signs of infection as redness and bad smell. This dog sheds heavily twice a year so it’s recommended to devote to its brushing more time during these periods.


The Cane Corso Italiano stands out for an average trainability. Its sharp mind makes it a quick learner although it’s willing to oblige only to that person whose superior position in a pack hierarchy it accepts. Make sure to hold constant control over the situation during lessons otherwise your dog will easily figure out your weakness and become absolutely unruly and stubborn.

Many experienced handlers give a high assessment to the breed’s talents in training. Unlike most guardian breeds this dog does well in agility and obedience competitions. However, it will never put up with harsh treatment during training sessions and will react to it with disobedience and even aggression. It’s much wiser to stimulate the dog’s interest with its favourite food and generous praise.


The Cane Corso Italiano is quite demanding to the level of its physical activity. Very long and vigorous walk is absolutely essential for good health of this dog although it will certainly prefer to have a daily opportunity to roam and play in a safely enclosed territory.

Its energetic nature and great toughness also makes it a wonderful companion for joggers and hikers. Remember that the Cane Corso Italiano that lacks chances to let off steam on a regular basis will most likely develop problems with aggressiveness, destructiveness and excessive barking.