Previously a very rare breed of large dogs, and only well known in Southern Italy, Cane Corsos, or Italian Mastiff, has now seen its popularity explode worldwide.
And no wonder!
The Cane Corso is a very impressive breed, both in terms of its strong looks and grand temperament.
The Corso’s lineage goes back to ancient Roman times when the powerful dogs were Roman war dogs, and the breed’s name roughly translates from the Latin as “bodyguard-dog.”
But there is no doubt about it, the Cane Corso is a big, powerful breed, and it is for no amateur.
The Corso is part of the Mastiff breeds of dogs.
Corsos are more lightly built than the Neapolitan Mastiff.
A working dog, corsos have been bred to guard, hunt game, and be a farmhand in rounding up cattle, pits, and helping drive the animals to market.
As farming moved to more mechanized, the Corso breed came near extinction.
During the 1970s, the breed was reintroduced.
In 1983 the Society Amatori Cane Corso was formed.
In 1988, Michael Sottile brought the first litter of corsos to the United States.
A second litter followed in 1989.
The International Cane Corso Association was formed in 1993.
In 1996 corsos were recognized by the Federation Cynologique Internationale.
Recognition was granted in 2010 by the American Kennel Club.
The Cane Corso Association of America now governs the corsos breed.
So if you have fallen in love with the breed, and are thinking about choosing a perfect Cane Corso puppy, then here are the facts on what size, strength, and shape to prepare for!
How Big do Cane Corsos Get?
Cane Corso Size and Weight
Let’s start with the basic breed Statistics:
The Official Standard in Europe (FCI) of a properly conformed Cane Corso:
Height at the shoulder blades:
Male cane corsos: 64 cm – 68 cm / 25-27 in
Female cane corso: 60 cm – 64 cm / 23-25 in
With a slight tolerance allowed.
Males: 45 – 50 kg / 100-110 lbs
Females: 40 – 45 kg / 88 – 100 lbs
And the FCI officially defines the proper Cane Corsos appearance as such :
Medium to large-sized.
Cane Corso dogs are robust and sturdy dogs, nevertheless with some elegance.
Lean and powerful muscles.
The Corso breed standard short hair coat comes in black, light, dark shades of gray, light and dark shades of fawn, and red.
Any of these colors may have a brindle pattern: irregular streaks of light and dark color.
Solid fawn and red Corsos may have a black or gray mask.
The Corso’s ears may be cropped or uncropped.
The large breed dog is rectangular in outline and is slightly longer than tall. (The length of the dog is 11% greater than the height of the dog).
The length of the head reaches 36 % of the height at the withers.
Their large body size matches the breed’s large head.
The head total length reaches 3,6/10 of the height to the withers. The length of the muzzle is equal to 3,4 / 10 of the total length of the head.
So that is what you can expect to find from a well-bred Cane Corso, from a breeder following the breed’s correct conformation.
The ‘American’ Cane Corso
In recent years in America, some people are breeding the Cane Corsos even bigger and stronger, so much so that this would not fall within the breed’s proper standard.
While only a little taller than the European standard, some of these dogs are bred very differently, with cane corso breeders aiming for an even more substantial look, and these adult Cane Corso weighing 180lb and above.
So be aware if you are looking at a breeder in the U.S, you may be choosing a much, much heavier, and stronger Cane Corso than you expect.
Because of these changes, some people claim that outside of Central Europe, the Cane Corso is being incorrectly bred and is losing its proper confirmation.
Please go through a responsible breeder when considering cane corso puppies.
The Corso is not a good “first dog.”
He requires plenty of proper socialization, training, and physical exercise to be a good companion.
So if you want an ‘official’ standard Cane Corso, you should look first for a Central European breeder.
Now that you know more about the Cane Corso breed, you can learn more about the other best large family dog breeds.
Cane Corso Health Issues:
While this breed is a powerful dog, they do face health issues.
A responsible and reputable breeder will screen puppies for health conditions common within the giant breed:
- hip dysplasia
- idiopathic epilepsy
- demodectic mange
- eyelid abnormalities (entropion or ectropion)
Corso Breed Personality
Most corsos are affectionate towards all, including small children.
Corsos are highly intelligent dogs,
The giant dog breed can be bossy and will dominate a home that lacks boundaries and firm owners.
It is important to let them know the rules and enforce them by training them, using rewards like dog treats.
Without proper training or in the wrong hands, the Corso can become aggressive and be a danger.
In July 2014, two Corsos were in the USAToday after they attacked and killed a jogger.
A Corso understands the tone of voice and responds well to praise and rewards and when he isn’t doing what you want.
Consistency is key with the Corso breed.
This breed enjoys time alone, such as in a confined yard or crate–start this at a young age so they understand when they are adult size.
However, the Corso requires exposure to sights, sounds, people, and experiences from an early age–preferably proper socialization before four months.
This exposure will help him be more well-rounded, friendly, and not have anxiety when left alone.
Corsos are not demonstrative, but they enjoy “talking” to their people with “woo woo woo” sounds, snorts, and other verbalizations.
Cane Corso owners find the breed to be a loyal dog.
It’s a popular choice of dog among giant breeds.