Cane Corso Dogs

Italian Import Wows American Families

With its large, athletic build and massive head, the Cane Corso is an impressive looking dog that may conjure up fear in those who have never met the Italian breed.

Alas, while the Cane Corso was originally bred to be a guard dog, the breed today is well known as a lovable family companion. In fact, due to its increasing popularity, the American Kennel Club recently welcomed the breed to join its registry.

Cane Corso

The Cane Corso, whose name, translated from the Latin word "cohors," means "guardian" or "protector," is an ancestor of the ancient Greek Molossus dog, who is also the ancestor of the mastiff breed.

While some historians believe that the Molussus was bred to fight men, tigers and lions among other wild beasts in battle, there are others who contend the breed was a hunting companion and was used to herd sheep.

The Molossus eventually migrated to Italy, where it became a valued family companion and livestock guardian. The Italians also gave the Molossus a new name: Cane Corso (Kah-neh-Kor-soh). The breed flourished particularly in Southern Italy, until it became nearly extinct in the early 1970s when the country's agricultural structure changed and the dog became less in demand.

However, dog enthusiasts took it upon themselves to carefully and selectively breed the Cane Corso back to life — and popularity. In the late-80s, the dog was introduced to Americans and quickly became a constant companion to many nationwide.

Cane Corsos enjoy being part of family activities and various forms of exercise, including swimming and playing fetch. 

Due in part to their long line of breeding, the Cane Corso responds well to training. Instinctively a guard dog, the Cane Corso tends to loyally attach itself to its family, particularly children.

Cane Corsos enjoy being part of family activities and various forms of exercise, including swimming and playing fetch. Not typically an overly energetic dog, the Cane Corso is generally quiet unless alerting to a suspicious noise. This dog breed is known to get along with other dogs; however, it is recommended that you accompany your Cane Corso to socialization and obedience classes at a young age to curb any potential aggression.

Since the Cane Corso is classified as a working dog, yours would benefit highly from daily exercise, even if limited to walks through the neighborhood.

Cane Corsos are also vocal: they are known to snort, grunt, and snore loudly. Those born with heavy jowls will also slobber.

Cane Corso

Considered to have the same ancestor as the mastiff, the Cane Corso favors a similar build, although theirs is a more muscular and athletically defined. Unlike the mastiff, the Cane Corso is agile on its feet, able to move quickly and possesses an impressive amount of endurance.

The average Cane Corso may weigh between 88 and 110 pounds, with the females weighing in the lower range.

The Cane Corso's head is one of its primary and most notable features — standard protocol says that the dog's muzzle should be as wide as it is long, and while some breeders choose to crop them, the dog's ears naturally drop forward. The Cane Corso also is born with a tail, but breeders tend to crop that as well.

The dog breed has two standard colors: black and fawn. Variations of these colors are documented, most notably the brindle: mainly black and blue.

Cane Corsos can suffer from a variety of health conditions. While these may be common medical conditions, your Cane Corso will not necessarily develop them.

Cane Corso
  • Hip dysplasia, a malformation of the hip joints that causes arthritis. The conditions is especially crippling in large breeds of dogs.
  • Stomach bloat or torsion (also known as gastric dilatation and volvulus or GDV) is very serious and often deadly condition where the stomach becomes painfully distended, either due to food, water or gas. The distended stomach then has a tendency to rotate twisting off its own blood supply and the only exit routes for the gas inside.
  • Demodectic mange, also called Demodex, is caused by a mite (Demodex canis) that is a normal resident of the skin. It is transmitted from the mother to puppies during suckling. Genetic factors and immunologic response play a role in the development of the disease. The disease is treatable and not considered contagious.
  • Cherry eye is when the gland of the dog’s third eyelid slips out of place. Unlike people, dogs have a 'third eyelid' that contains a tear gland and is located in the corner of each eye. Under normal circumstances, this gland is not visible and aids in the production of tears. When the gland of the third eyelid prolapses or comes out of its normal position, it swells creating the condition known as cherry eye.
  • Entropion, inward curling of the lower eyelid or ectropion, rolling out of the eyelid, is fairly common in the breed. The condition should be corrected surgically to prevent damage to the cornea of the eye.
As with any pet, be sure to regularly consult a veterinarian for routine care and medical advice for your four-legged friend.