Picture of a Cane Corso

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The Cane Corso is a large, intelligent, and affectionate dog descended from an ancient mastiff breed. They are naturally protective and are known to be willful but fairly easy to train. Cane Corsos may seem intimidating because of their size, but they're fiercely loyal, gentle giants. However, they're not ideal pets for everyone.

If you're searching for a large, protective, loyal, and obedient dog, consider the Cane Corso. Of course, caring for a dog of their size isn't for everyone, so it's essential to learn more about them to determine if this breed is right for you and your family. Keep reading to learn more about the Cane Corso, including its origin, behavioral characteristics, and health needs.

History & Origin Of Cane Corsos

The Cane Corso is descended from ancient dogs of Rome called Molassian war dogs and were eventually bred in Italy as farm dogs and guardians.1 "Cane Corso" translates from Latin as "bodyguard dog," and for good reason.2 These dogs are large, with muscles beneath their short coat that can seem intimidating to strangers.

Unfortunately, the breed was almost eradicated during the World Wars, and these dogs were considered rare until the 1970s, during which time there was an effort to breed them.1

Average size and life expectancy of Cane Corsos

Physical Attributes Of Cane Corsos

  • Height: 23.5-27.5 inches
  • Weight: Over 90-110 lbs, proportionate to height
  • Life expectancy: 9-12 years2

The Cane Corso's size sets it apart from other large breeds. While tall, it's also muscular with a large, wide head.1

How big is a Cane Corso? These dogs can weigh anywhere from 90-110 pounds or more, with females being slightly shorter than males.1 They have a short coat that's black, gray, fawn, or red with a thick tail that's traditionally docked and cropped ears.1

Behavioral characteristics of the Cane Corso

Behavioral Characteristics of Cane Corsos

Cane Corsos can be described as intelligent, loyal, and eager to please. However, they can be assertive and willful, so training is crucial. With proper training and socialization when young, the Cane Corso breed is affectionate with family and does well with young children.2 However, because of their size, they can play a little rough, so you should always monitor them around children and ensure children know how to play with a dog.

Additionally, Cane Corsos can be good with other dogs, but it largely depends on socialization from a young age.2 They likely won't go out of their way to make friends because of their protective nature, but they can tolerate other pets.

Remember, the Cane Corso breed is a natural protector, so they're not open to strangers. With proper training and socialization from a young age, they can learn how to behave around strangers, but they won't want to make everyone their friend.2 They have an incredibly protective nature, and many people describe the Cane Corso breed as a personal bodyguard because of their calm, watchdog personality.2

Cane Corsos aren't as playful as some other dog breeds but they will engage in play for mental and physical stimulation. That said, they're not lazy dogs. Instead, they do best when they have a job, such as sitting in front of a window to guard the house.2 These dogs are easy to train but can be willful at times, and they're not very vocal, so barking shouldn't be a major issue.

It's important to note that while the Cane Corso breed can be gentle, they're not the best dogs for first-time owners because they require extensive training to teach them how to behave so they don't accidentally knock anyone over or play too aggressively with people and other animals. Their size can be an issue in small homes or homes without yards, and since they have high energy levels, they need more space to run around. They're not one of the most active dog breeds, but they're muscular, so it's crucial to get enough exercise daily to prevent undesirable behavior.

Cane Corso Care & Health

The Cane Corso lifespan is anywhere from 9 to 12 years. However, every dog is different. The best thing you can do to ensure the health and wellness of your dog is to take proper care of their health and overall wellness.


Cane Corso training and socialization at a young age help them learn to behave around people and other pets. Because they're so large, they can seem intimidating to others, and they don't know their own strength. Socializing your Cane Corso early on will give them confidence when meeting new people or dogs to prevent fear that can cause dangerous situations.

Luckily, they're easy to train and eager to please, but the earlier you start training them, the better because they can be willful, dominant, and protective.2 Obedience training is crucial for this breed because it can teach them how to behave while preventing them from jumping on people or small children and knocking them over due to their size and weight.

Despite their intimidating appearance, these dogs can be well-trained. They're gentle giants when trained properly and respond well to rewards and affection.2


The Cane Corso breed is energetic and requires physical and mental stimulation. A brisk walk or run in the morning and evening can help prevent undesirable behavior due to boredom.2 However, because these dogs are so muscular and active, some may require more exercise throughout the day, which you can break up into multiple sessions or a single, long session, depending on your schedule.

The Cane Corso breed is a working dog that's happiest when they have a job, so mental stimulation is crucial, or they can quickly become bored.2 Luckily, there are several ways to provide your dog with mental stimulation, such as food puzzles and treat dispensing toys. However, any toys you give a Cane Corso should be designed for heavy chewers since they have a powerful bite that can destroy cheap plastics.


The Cane Corso has a short double-layered coat with an undercoat that varies in length.2 In any case, they will shed throughout the year, especially during the spring. While they're not heavy shedders, you should brush them more during the shedding season.2 In addition, you should trim your dog's nails regularly. As a general rule of thumb, if you can hear your dog's nails on the hardwood floor or pavement outside, they're too long.

As part of your Cane Corso puppy training, you should get them used to having their nails trimmed. Because they're so large, if they don't want you to do something like trim their nails, they won't allow it. Therefore, training your dog to tolerate having their nails trimmed is crucial. If you have difficulty trimming your dog's nails, you can ask the vet or take them to a local groomer.

In addition to regular nail trimming, you should clean your Cane Corso's ears regularly to prevent wax buildup and ear infections. This is especially crucial after swimming or bath time because water can enter the ear canal, and a moist, dark environment is a breeding ground for bacteria.

Cane Corso’s are susceptible to some health issues, such as: obesity, hip dysplasia, bloat, epilepsy, eyelid abnormalities, mange


Cane Corsos are generally healthy. However, they're susceptible to various health issues, such as:

  • Obesity: The Cane Corso is a naturally muscular breed that requires extensive exercise to maintain their muscles. Since they're a large breed, obesity can be especially dangerous for them because it puts added stress on the bones and joints.3 Luckily, you can avoid obesity by ensuring your Cane Corso gets enough daily exercise and eats nutritious dog food every day.
  • Hip dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is relatively common in large dogs. Dogs with hip dysplasia may have mobility issues in their hind legs, resulting in limping, pain, and arthritis.3
  • Bloat: Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV), also known as bloat, occurs most often in large breeds. This condition causes the stomach to twist, which can cut off the blood supply to the hind legs and back to the heart.3 Unfortunately, bloat can be fatal, so it's crucial to know what to look for, such as a distended abdomen, abdominal pain, inability or reluctance to walk, and frequent stretching.3 In most cases, bloat requires surgery to correct it, and the faster you take your dog to the vet, the better their prognosis.
  • Epilepsy: Some Cane Corsos have idiopathic epilepsy, making them prone to seizures. Unfortunately, there's no known cause or cure for idiopathic epilepsy, but the condition can be managed with medication.3
  • Eyelid abnormalities: Cane Corsos can suffer from a variety of eyelid abnormalities in which the eyelid grows in the wrong direction or droops.3 However, they can also develop cherry eye, a condition in which the third eyelid prolapses and results in a red bump in the corner of the eye.
  • Mange: Some Cane Corsos suffer from demodectic mange, a genetic skin condition that's transmitted from mother to puppy.3 This type of mange isn't contagious to other healthy dogs but can result in hair loss, red bumps, and itchiness.3

Cane Corso breed: FAQs

Are Cane Corsos gentle?

Like all dogs, a Cane Corso's temperament largely depends on its upbringing. Proper training and socialization can make any dog gentle. However, Cane Corso training is crucial because they're a large, heavy, muscular, and intimidating-looking breed. Ultimately, Cane Corsos can be gentle dogs, but it all depends on the pet parents' willingness to invest time into training them how to act around others.

Do Cane Corsos bark a lot?

Cane Corsos are a protective breed, but they don't bark a lot. Of course, they're not quiet either, but they bark less than some other breeds. Additionally, how often your dog barks may be a matter of training. Cane Corso training can prevent excessive barking.

Do Cane Corsos train easily?

Cane Corsos are eager to please their owners, so they’re relatively easy to train. However, they require extensive training and socialization due to their size. If they don't know how to behave around people and other pets, someone can get hurt even if the dog isn't trying to hurt someone. They're large, muscular, and strong, so training them on how to behave around others is crucial. For this reason, they're ideal for experienced dog owners willing to put in massive amounts of effort to ensure their Cane Corso is properly trained.

Two Cane Coro dogs sitting next to each other looking away

Final Notes

Cane Corsos are a highly intelligent and loyal breed that's good around children and pets. However, they require extensive amounts of training and socialization due to their size and strength. You should avoid getting a Cane Corso if you're unwilling to put in the time and effort to train them because it could be the difference between them accidentally hurting someone or another animal.

Additionally, since Cane Corsos are a large breed, they're prone to various health conditions because of their size. Considering getting a Cane Corso? Talk to a Dutch vet today. We can ensure you have all the proper knowledge and tools to ensure your dog lives a happy, healthy life.



  1. "Cane Corso." Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., https://www.britannica.com/animal/Cane-Corso

  2. "Cane Corso Dog Breed Information." American Kennel Club, 6 Nov. 2017, https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/cane-corso/.

  3. "Cane Corso." PetMD, https://www.petmd.com/dog/breeds/cane-corso.

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