Cane Corso Breed Information

The Cane Corso is a large and powerful Italian dog breed known for its muscular build, devoted companionability, and exceptional skills as a guard dog.


About the Cane Corso

Group: Working

Handsome and hefty, the Cane Corso is a deep thinker with muscles. This Italian breed brings together the best of both worlds: power and affection. A well-trained Corso serves loyally as a guard dog, playmate, and snuggle buddy all rolled into one. They have a strong protective instinct, but their calm and trainable nature makes them a winsome addition to the family. Labs require plenty of exercise to stay happy and healthy, but where they really excel is in their loving and amiable temperament.

Not all is rosy, however. Training a Corso isn’t a walk in the park. These dogs are intelligent and stubborn – a tricky combination for a first-time dog owner. They may not cooperate if they sense a lack of confidence. Also, prospective owners should be prepared for a bit of slobber and drool, a small price to pay for their immense loyalty and companionship.

Physical information

Male Female
Average Height 25-27.5 inches 23.5-26 inches
Average Weight 99-110 lbs. 88-99 lbs.
Life Expectancy 9-12 years 9-12 years


Cane Corso Breed Standard

For an in-depth view of the Cane Corso breed, it’s important to refer to its breed standard provided by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

  • Acceptable Colors: According to the AKC, Cane Corsos may be black, lighter and darker shades of gray (blue), lighter and darker shades of fawn (from dark red to light fawn). Brindling is allowed on all of these colors.
  • Acceptable Markings: The standard permits black or gray mask, which should not go beyond the line of the eyes. A small white patch on the chest, on the tips of the feet and on the bridge of the nose is also acceptable.

Personality and Ownership Rankings

Friendliness 4 star
Good with kids 5 star
Shedding Level 3 star
Grooming Needs 2 star
Drool Level 5 star
Trainability 4 star
Energy Level 3 star


Breed Highlights

  • Loyalty: Canes Corsos are intensely loyal and will protect their family with their life.
  • Intelligence: This breed is known for its intelligence, enabling it to learn and follow commands easily.
  • Affectionate: Despite their imposing size, Canes Corsos are incredibly affectionate and love to be part of the family.
  • Energy: These dogs have high energy levels and need daily exercises to stay healthy and happy.
  • Trainability: With their intelligence and eagerness to please, Canes Corsos are easily trainable.

National Breed Clubs and Rescues

Clubs and Organizations

Rescue Organizations

Care Needs

Cane Corsos are generally healthy dogs, but like all breeds, they’re prone to certain health conditions. Pay particular attention to their eyes and joints, as they’re susceptible to conditions like hip dysplasia and entropion. Evidence suggests a well-balanced diet and regular vet visits can ensure your Corso lives a healthy, fulfilled life. For practical guidance on caring for this breed’s health, read this Cane Corso health care article.

Recommended Health Tests

  • Elbow Evaluation
  • Hip Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Cardiac Exam

Exercise Needs

Due to their athletic and muscular build, Cane Corsos need a significant amount of exercise to maintain their fitness and mental well-being. Adequate physical stimulation wards off likelihoods of destructive behavior and obesity. A variety of activities, from long walks to agility courses, can assist in meeting their exercise needs. Learn more about the importance and implementation of exercise in this breed’s routine.

Actionable Exercise Advice

  • Ensure at least two 30-minute or one 60-minute brisk walk or run per day.
  • Include mental stimulation activities like puzzle toys or hide-and-seek games.
  • Consider agility or obedience training as it also helps with exercise.

Training Needs

Training a Cane Corso requires consistent, positive reinforcement techniques. Early socialization and puppy training classes are recommended for this intelligent and eager-to-please breed. Their trainability paired with a calm and assertive handler can yield excellent results. A detailed study on the training needs can be found here.

Actionable Training Advice

  • Start training and socializing your Corso as early as possible.
  • Use positive reinforcement techniques such as treats, praises, or rewards.
  • Be consistent and patient with your commands and expectations.

Nutrition Needs

Proper nutrition for a Cane Corso, given its large size and high activity level, is crucial for its overall health and well-being. A diet rich in protein, with proper amounts of fats and carbohydrate, is essential for their development and maintenance. Portion control is also vital to prevent obesity, along with feeding them high-quality, breed-specific dog food. An in-depth guide to feeding a Cane Corso can be found here.

Actionable Nutrition Advice

  • Choose high-quality, large breed dog foods for your Cane Corso.
  • Ensure a balanced diet with appropriate quantities of protein, fats, and carbohydrates.
  • Control portions and avoid free-feeding to prevent obesity.
  • Provide fresh water at all times.

Cane Corso Breed History

The Cane Corso has a lineage that dates back to ancient Rome, serving as war dogs, used for guarding property and hunting in its early origins. They are descendants of the old Roman Molosser, the large, fearsome dogs that were pivotal in wars and battles.

Over the centuries, the Cane Corso’s development was influenced by the regional needs in Italy, growing into a reliable farm dog, displaying aptitude in guarding, herding and even in companionship. Despite their intimidating stature, they’ve been indispensable assets in many Italian homesteads, a valued sentinel and a beloved family dog.

Breed standardization was initiated by Dr. Paolo Breber in the late 20th century. It took a few decades of careful selection and preservation of the most representative and pure individuals for the breed to regain its historic characteristics. In 1994, it received recognition from the Societa Amatori Cane Corso, followed by Fédération Cynologique Internationale in 1996.

The journey of the Cane Corso’s recognition involves tireless efforts and challenges. By the mid 20th century, this breed was virtually extinct, a consequence of economic shifts and societal changes after World War II. Efforts led by Italian enthusiasts, notably by Dr. Paolo Breber, were instrumental in reviving the Cane Corso, rediscovering and selecting the finest specimens surviving in remote areas of southern Italy.

Today, this breed is highly popular and well-recognized, not only for its physical strength and protective nature, but for its ability to be a gentle and affectionate with its family members. Despite their formidable appearance, the Cane Corso is renowned for its temperamental balance, and renowned for its intelligence and ease of training.

Modern breed characteristics include a stout and athletic build, large head, and a short dense coat. Their expressive eyes reflect their intelligence, and they carry the weight of their history with a dignified and confident heart. To this day, they continue to inspire awe amongst dog lovers, not just with their physical prowess, but their steadfast loyalty and affectionate demeanor.

Cane Corso Fun Facts

  • Ancient Roots: Cane Corsos have a rich history, dating back to Roman times when they were used as war dogs.
  • Multi-talented: This breed was considered a “versatile farm dog” in Italy, capable of guarding property, herding, and hunting.
  • Rare Breed: The Cane Corso was nearly driven to extinction. It was only through the dedicated efforts of breed enthusiasts that this breed was revived.
  • Big Baby: Despite their intimidating size, Cane Corsos are actually known for being quite gentle and affectionate with their family.
  • Film Star: A Cane Corso named Sonny played the part of a hellhound in the 2009 movie, “Up in the Air.”
  • James Bond Connection: The high-profile villains in the James Bond movie, “Spectre,” were protected by a pair of Cane Corsos.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is the Cane Corso a good family dog?
Yes, despite their size and imposing appearance, Cane Corsos are known to be very protective of their family and are especially good with children.

2. How much exercise does a Cane Corso need?
Cane Corsos are an active and energetic breed. They require at least one hour of exercise per day, but more is always better.

3. Does the Cane Corso drool a lot?
Yes, the Cane Corso is a breed that tends to drool, especially after drinking water or during times of exercise.

4. Are Cane Corsos aggressive?
No, Cane Corsos are not naturally aggressive, but they are powerful dogs with protective instincts. Proper training and socialization is essential.

5. What is the lifespan of a Cane Corso?
The lifespan of a Cane Corso is generally between 9 to 12 years, but this can be influenced by factors like genetics, diet, and overall lifestyle.

Breeds Similar to the Cane Corso

  • Rottweiler: Much like the Cane Corso, Rottweilers are large, protective dogs that are loyal and affectionate with their family. They have a similar energy level and also require regular exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy.
  • Boxer: Boxers share the playful and energetic nature of the Cane Corso. They are intelligent dogs that are easy to train, and their protective nature makes them great family watchdogs.
  • Akita: Although not the most obvious choice, Akitas share many temperamental traits with the Cane Corso. Both breeds are extremely loyal, protective of their families, and require strong leadership and early socialization.
  • Belgian Malinois: Belgian Malinois are known for their strength, energy, and intelligence, much like the Cane Corso. Additionally, their strong protective instincts and loyalty make them a great alternative for those considering a Cane Corso.