Cane Corso Breed Information Guide: Photos, Traits, & Care

Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

September 29, 2019

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.

Breed Overview

  • Height: 23–28 inches
  • Weight: 88–110 lbs
  • Lifespan: 12–15 years
  • Breed Size: Large
  • Colors: Black, fawn, black brindle, grey, chestnut brindle, red
  • Good With: Requires active socialization for any additional family members
  • Temperament: Dominant, quiet, protective

Also Known As…

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

How do you Pronounce “Cane Corso”?

Although you may be tempted to pronounce Cane Corso as “KAYN KORSO”, this is an Italian breed and is thus pronounced as “KAH-NAY KORSO” where “cane” is the Italian word for dog.

What Is The History Of The Cane Corso?

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.

How Big Do Cane Corsos Get?

Height: 23-28 inches

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

Weight: 88-110 pounds

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

How Long Do Cane Corsos (Generally) Live?

The average life expectancy for the Cane Corso is 10 – 12 years which is relatively low compared to other breeds. Due to their large size, Cane Corsos have a shorter lifespan than other smaller size dogs such as Chihuahua. This is because large-size dogs age faster and tend to develop some health issues.

What Is The Cane Corso Temperament & Personality Like?

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.

Are Cane Corsos Good With Kids? Cats? Dogs?

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.

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.

Are Cane Corsos High Energy?

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?

Are Cane Corsos Hard To Train?

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 For Cane Corsos

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.

Do Cane Corsos Have Health Issues?

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.

Do Cane Corsos Need To Be Groomed?

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.

How Much It Cost To Care For A Cane Corso?

The price of cane corso puppies in the US is approximately $2,100. However you should expect to pay anywhere between $800 and $6,000 depending on the puppy. Their price will depend on color, where you purchase the puppy from, as well as what state.

Other things that can influence the cost of a Cane Corso puppy, aside from their bloodline and whether they are purebred or mixed, include registration papers (many reputable breeders will register their puppies), pre-adoption health screenings, and early training and socialization. Location and coat color can also play a role in determining how much you’ll pay.

Routine Vet Care (Healthy Dog)

After the first year, you will likely pay less unless your dog develops a serious health condition.  Some health problems like hip dysplasia will require ongoing and considerable treatment. You can expect an average yearly price of $100 to $300 for your healthy, adult Cane Corso. 

Dog Food

The cost of the food depends mainly on what food you choose. We recommend high-quality food for your pup, as this can help prevent health problems. A varied diet is often best for your puppy, so you should switch between a few different foods. Cane Corsos grow rapidly in their first year of life and need a nutritious diet to support their growth!

Puppies will usually eat less since they are smaller. You may spend less on their food. However, as an adult, you can plan on spending about $350 on food a year – more if your dog needs a special diet. 

Why not make mealtime simple with BARK Eats? With pre-portioned, customized dog food designed for the dietary needs of your dog, you’ll ensure your pup is benefiting from every bite. Enjoy the best of BARK delivered straight to your door and snag 50% off your first month!

These dogs will need quite a few toys. You should plan on them costing about $100 a year. 

Preventative Medications for Cane Corsos

It typically costs a couple hundred for a year’s worth of various tick, heartworm, and parasite treatments for your Cane Corso. Your vet may recommend additional vaccines based on your geographic region and your pup’s lifestyle, so prepare for another $100–$200 on the bill.

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 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

Want More Breed Guides Like This?

Bullmastiff Breed Information Guide

Rottweiler Breed Information Guide

Doberman Pinscher Breed Information Guide

American Bulldog Breed Information Guide

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Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

September 29, 2019


A themed collection of BARK-designed toys, treats, and chews.


A themed collection of BARK-designed toys, treats, and chews.