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Dog Breed Profile: Cane Corso

Learn more about this loyal, affectionate breed with high energy. Getting to know the Cane Corso

Dog Breed Profile: Cane Corso

Described by breed enthusiasts as affectionate, intelligent, and majestic, the Cane Corso is a member of the mastiff breed and shares many of their attributes. They are high energy, love the outdoors, are agile and speedy, and have a sense of adventure. Cane Corsi (plural of Cane Corso) requires, not only more than a fair amount of exercise but also companionship and continual socialization.

History of the Cane Corso

This working breed was originally bred in Greece as a guardian due to its imposing size and stature. From Greece, the Corso made its way to Italy (it is a relative of the larger Neapolitan Mastiff), where they were used to charge enemy lines with buckets of flaming oil strapped to their backs. Following their experience on the front lines, the breed moved into the role of guarding farms and henhouses.

A Cane Corso needs a job: socialization and training

To be clear, a Cane Corso is a working breed; he loves to have a job. If you don’t give him one, he will find his own and you might not be happy with what he comes up with! Left to his own devices, he may chew your furniture, your shoes, dig holes (either inside your home or out in the yard), and will spend many a happy hour barking incessantly at passersby. In other words, he may not make a great neighbor for apartment dwellers!

When you bring a Cane Corso puppy into your life, you want to make certain the puppy is friendly and trusting. From an early age, the Cane Corso should interact with other dogs. And with children in the house, deter any chasing behavior. It is also important that the children do not run or emit high-pitched noises around the Corso, so you may want to keep him confined when they are playing outside. One of the most beloved Cane Corso personality traits is that it can be docile and affectionate, even with children, but this is accomplished with proper positive reinforcement training and socialization.

This breed has different stages of development throughout its life which may affect its temperament and behavior. Smaller breeds reach maturity at a faster rate than larger ones, making the Cane Corso more likely to exhibit puppy behavior within the first two years. In the first couple months of life, Cane Corsi enter various transitional periods, developing their neurological and physical senses as well as establishing species identification skills and familiarity with humans. This breed is particularly nervous around strangers and is prone to “fear periods,” which require patience when and if it reacts fearfully toward new situations.

When it comes to Cane Corso training tips, prioritize early socialization, obedience training, and bite inhibition to prevent your dog from developing aggressive traits. Introduce it to new furry friends and humans to eliminate nervousness. Many trainers agree that one of the most important things to know about the Cane Corso temperament is that the sensitive socialization period, between puppyhood and adolescence, is crucial. Once it’s missed, the best time to teach and train your dog is usually finished.  

Also, Corsi tends to become aloof and more discerning of strangers as they get older. This could be problematic because, by its very nature, the Corso is a protector of its family. It’s an instinct that needs to be directed and nurtured to make him a good canine citizen.

The Cane Corso is not a dog for beginners, as they require a firm hand, positive reinforcement training, and frequent and ongoing socialization. However, a Corso is attentive to its owner and more responsive to positive training than other mastiffs. Never doubt that your Cane Corso will have a dominant and strong-willed personality—he will—but he will also respect an owner who is confident and consistent in training methods.

Living with a Cane Corso

If you fancy living in a neat, clean home you may not fancy living with a Cane Corso. Many a Cane Corso revel in digging holes, splashing in a pond, the lawn sprinkler, their water bowl, or even better—a mud puddle.

If you’re thinking of adopting a Cane Corso, consider the following:

  • They have a short coat.

  • They are powerful and massive.

  • They are usually even-tempered but may be self-assured and aloof around strangers.

  • They may resort to destruction when left alone.

  • They require a time investment to train and socialize to quell aggression.

  • They require an owner with a strong personality.

  • They may drool and snore and can be gassy.

  • They are a regal breed if you can look past the drool!

  • They may require special liability coverage on a homeowner’s/renter’s policy.

What to know about the Cane Corso and its characteristics

The Cane Corso stands between 23 and 25 inches and may weigh between ninety and one-hundred-twenty pounds. They live between ten and twelve years. One study found that the longevity of the Corsi may be influenced by hair color. The study found that grey, black, fawn, and grey Brindle Cane Corsi lived on average less than 10 years while Brindle and black Brindle Cane Corsi lived longer than 10 years. 

Cane Corsi are prone to particular health conditions, including:

  • Hip dysplasia

  • Eyelid abnormality

  • Mange (this could be hereditary)

  • Gastric torsion—aka bloat

If you’re getting your Corso from a breeder, ask for a health evaluation. Or look for a Cane Corso rescue group, as many are surrendered simply because owners didn’t know how to work with them.

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