Cane Corso Breed Information Guide: Quirks, Pictures, Personality & Facts

Reviewed by Dr. Katy Nelson

September 29, 2019

Welcome to the BarkPost guide to dog breeds where we belly flop straight into the depths of dog breed origin, evolution, and purpose. Follow along each week as we publish new guides that highlight the strangest, most interesting, and most surprising stuff about these creatures who have been our best buds the last 30,000 years.

Intro / Overview

(All dogs are individuals, which means any single dog from any breed can be any number of ways, both good and not so good. Keep that in mind as we discuss breed generalities!)

So, you’re thinking about welcoming a Cane Corso into your pack? Well, don’t let the gentle giant look fool you. Although these majestic dogs of noble bearing are known to be quiet, stable, and calm, the unquenchable thirst for work and activity lies beneath, along with the confidence and power of a guard dog like no other. Cane Corsos are no doubt a wonderful breed, but they require an experienced dog owner who knows how to lead them to be the best dogs they can be.

If you’ve got the desire, stamina, and heart required to take on the Cane Corso, you certainly won’t regret it. Just be prepared to employ and entertain this very large and athletic dog daily.

Also Known As…

Cano Corso Italiano. Corso. Italian Corso Dog. Italian Mastiff. “The Lou Ferrigno of dogs! Get it? Because they’re Italian.”


Developed in Italy and said to descend from Roman war dogs, the ancestors of these Mastiff-type dogs were fearless, charging enemy lines with flaming oil strapped to their backs. After the Western Empire dissolved, Corsos were a familiar sight on the farms and pastures dotting the Italian countryside, bred to guard property and hunt big game such as wild boar.

Following World War I and II, the Cane Corso was all but extinct, though some survived throughout the Italian countryside. In the 1970s, Italian fanciers revived the breed, and the first Corso arrived in the US in 1988.


The average height for the Cane Corso is 23 – 26 inches for females and 24 – 28 inches for males.

Weight Range

The average weight for the Cane Corso is 88 – 99 pounds for females and 99 – 110 pounds for males.


Despite their working dog roots and athleticism, Cane Corsos are a reserved and elegant breed. While docile and affectionate to their humans, Corsos can also be dominant and protective, and without obedience training and socialization, will become the boss of the household. Experienced dog owners who understand dog hierarchy will find that despite their looks, Corsos are all heart. They just need a firm, yet loving, leader to guide them.

Intelligence / Trainability

These big and powerful dogs will absolutely require plenty of socialization, obedience training and exercise in order to be the wonderful companions they are capable of being. These smart pups are highly trainable and excel at agility, dock diving, nose work, obedience, and tracking. But without a job to do, they will surely create their own unwanted chore, such as pacing the fence and barking at passersby, or digging holes, or chewing.

Ideal Environment

These large and active guard dogs do not so well in apartments and are best suited for homes with a large, secured fenced area, as Corsos have a strong prey drive and may attack smaller animals such as cats and dogs. They also do well on farms, especially spending their days working to herd animals.

Good For Families And Kids?

Cane Corsos can be very docile and loving with children and family, but this requires socialization and training from an early age. Owners must be able to handle and manage a large dog. A household with members who are afraid of, or dislike dogs, is not a good fit. Corsos are unequaled protectors who can form very close bonds with their family, but they can also be bossy and will dominate a household if not lead by a firm, positive hand.

Average Lifespan

The average life expectancy for the Cane Corso is 10 – 12 years.


Corsos are generally a healthy breed, however they can be prone to certain health issues that you’ll want to be aware of and proactively discuss with your veterinarian, including hip dysplasia, demodectic mange, and eye abnormalities. As a large, deep chested breed, Corsos are also susceptible to bloat.


Cane Corsos are athletic working dogs that needs plenty of daily physical and mental stimulation. If you don’t happen to have a farm for them to herd on, spend time each day with a dog sport, practicing obedience skills, or learning tricks. Corsos make great companions for long brisk walks and jogs. A mile each morning and night should do the trick. What? Did we forget to mention these pups require activity and exercise?

Friendly With… (Dogs? Strangers? Cats/Other Pets?)

Not always. While Cane Corsos will offer their undivided loyalty and protection to those within the dog’s family, these pups don’t always have an interest in making friends with strangers or other animals. However, socialization, especially from puppyhood, can do a lot to change this.

Coat & Grooming

Corsos have a short, coarse coat that sheds lightly and is easy to care for. A quick weekly brushing and a bath only when necessary should do the trick. Also keep an eye on their nails to make sure they are wearing down sufficiently, as they can do with larger dogs, and trim when needed. A good tooth brushing two to three times weekly is the best way to ward of gum and tooth issues that will otherwise lead to dental surgery.

Toys Cane Corsos Would Like Best

Though majestic and elegant, Cane Corsos have some serious chompers, so keeping some super-durable Super Chewer Toys around for playtime is a must. And if your Cane Corso loves to play tug of war, Tug Toys are a MUST.

Check out our “What Are The Best Toys For Big Dogs?” and “23 Heavy-Duty Dog Toys For Monster Chewers” posts for more recommendations.

Recommended Diet Or Supplements

Feeding your Cane Corso (or any dog) the freshest whole food diet you can afford (trying to eliminate fillers, grains, or inflammatory proteins such as chicken), can go a long way to decrease health issues and increase longevity.

Coconut oil can also help to prevent inflammation, and can help protect the nervous system, while locally-sourced, season-appropriate honey can help with allergies.

Fish Oil Skin & Coat Supplement

These delicious, vet-formulated chews are made with all-natural ingredients including Omega 3, 6, 9, and Vitamin E. They are designed to support immune health, provide relief from itchy allergic skin, and promote a healthy coat. ($19.99)

Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil

BARK’s Full Spectrum Hemp Oil is made of organically grown whole plants, grown in Colorado, and is non-psychoactive. It comes in 100mg, 250mg, and 500mg varieties, and can help with pet anxiety and pain relief. ($17.99-22.99.)

Glucosamine Supplement For Hip & Joints

These veterinarian-formulated supplements are made with all natural glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid, all packed into a delicious soft chew. ($32.99.)

Recommended Products

Cane Corsos, just like any dog, love to take a load off after a long day of…running around for hours on end or whatever they’re doing. That’s why they deserve their own bed, especially if they have joint issues.

Orthopedic Ultra Plush Memory Foam Dog Bed

This ultra plush orthopedic dog bed provides support for even the most active of dogs! The combination ergonomic memory foam and gel foam relieves pressure points, and helps ease body aches caused by hip dysplasia, arthritis and other orthopedic issues. ($27.99-64.99.)

Notable Rescues To Find The Cane Corso Of Your Dreams

  • Must Love Corsos Rescue is a community based nonprofit rescue dedicated to saving neglected and abandoned Cane Corsos. This volunteer-driven organization devoted to restoring the physical and emotional health of the Corsos entrusted to their care, while also striving to help the public understand, respect, and treasure the depth of the Human-Corso bond.
  • Cane Corso Rescue, Inc. is a non-profit rescue with a mission to place to place each dog into the best “forever home” possible, as well as help educate members and non-members alike about the ownership of Cane Corsos. Since 2005, over 1,000 Cane Corsos have been rescued and adopted into their forever homes thanks to the volunteers of CCR, Inc and the donations the organization survives on.
  • Big Dogs Huge Paws is a Giant Breed Rescue with the core philosophy that every “BIG” dog deserves a chance. Not Cane Corso specific, this rescue focuses on several large breeds with a goal to make sure that every dog receives only the best of care, food, and training, are properly evaluated (medically and behaviorally), and placed according to their special needs.
  • Adoptable Cane Corsos on Petfinder

Notable Instagram Cane Corso


He’s lovely indeed!


This 3-year-old Canadian pup was born for the camera lens. Whether Toro is taking a bath, dashing through the snow, or guarding his mom, he’s got the perfect look for the occasion.


The Grumpy Cat of Corsos, Drogon is 1 year old and not impressed by much. But he loves the sun, the snow, and looking real serious. Just don’t mention the bunny ears.


Follow this Canadian Corso as he journeys through his first year of life. Whether in water or on land, sniffing in snow or sand, this majestic pup makes every scene look like high adventure.

***Looking for a gift to blow your pup’s mind? Spoil them with a Super Chewer BarkBox! Every month Super Chewer delivers 2 super-durable toys, designed in-house, 2 full bags of all-natural treats, and 2 (!!!) meaty chews. Sign up here and receive a free extra toy every month. <– This deal is worth up to $120 in value if you sign up for a 12-month subscription! 🙂

Featured image via MyLovelyCors/Instagram

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Reviewed by Dr. Katy Nelson

September 29, 2019