Cane Corso: Breed Profile, Characteristics, and Care Guide

| Updated: August 18, 2023
Group of Cane Corso dogs playing together

This ancient breed originated in Ancient Rome and was used for hunting, guarding, and fighting. Today, they are popular family dogs that love to cuddle and play with their owners. This breed of Italian mastiff is well known for its strength, intelligence, and courage. But what makes a Cane Corso different from other large dogs? And what are the challenges and rewards of owning one? This article will explore this majestic breed’s history, characteristics, temperament, and some tips on training and caring for them.

History of the Cane Corso breed

The Cane Corso is one of the oldest breeds in the world, dating all the way back to the Roman Empire. They were bred to be versatile work dogs that could perform various tasks such as hunting large game, guarding livestock and property, and fighting in wars. They were also valued for their loyalty and courage.

Cane Corsos were originally bred from the Molossian war dogs of ancient Rome, a type of mastiff that was used for combat and entertainment. The Romans crossed these dogs with native Italian breeds to create a more agile and adaptable dog that could cope with different terrains and climates. The name Cane Corso comes from the Latin words “canis” (dog) and “cohors” (military guard).

The Cane Corso was widely spread throughout Italy, especially in the southern regions where they were used as farm dogs and guardians. They were also skilled hunters of large prey such as wild boars, badgers, and bears. They had a strong bond with their owners and were loyal to their families and communities.

The Cane Corso almost became extinct after the world wars, as modern machines and weapons replaced their roles. They also suffered from diseases, starvation, and crossbreeding. Only a few dedicated enthusiasts managed to preserve some purebred specimens in rural areas of Italy.

In the 1970s, a group of breeders led by Dr. Paolo Breber started a revival project to restore the Cane Corso to its original glory. They searched for the remaining Corsi in the countryside and selected the best examples for breeding. They also established a breed standard and a registry to promote and protect the breed.

They were recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 2010 and are currently ranked as the 32nd most popular dog breed in the United States.

Depiction of a Cane corso with ancient roman soliders

What Does a Cane Corso Look Like?

The Cane Corso is a muscular and athletic dog that has a powerful and elegant appearance. They have large heads with broad muzzles and slightly arched nose bridges. Their ears are usually cropped to give them a more alert and bold corso look, but this practice is illegal in some countries. Their eyes are almond-shaped and can be any color except blue. The tail is often docked to prevent injuries, but this, too, is banned in some places.

Cane Corsos have a short and dense coat that comes in various colors, such as black, gray, fawn, red, or brindle. Some may have white markings on their chest, toes, or chin. They shed moderately and require weekly brushing to keep their coats clean and shiny.

This is a large dog breed, and they can weigh between 90 to 120 pounds and stand between 23 to 28 inches at the shoulder. Males are usually larger and heavier than females. They have a lifespan of about 10 to 12 years.

Tan Cane Corso laying in a yard with a chew toy

What is the Personality of a Cane Corso?

The Cane Corso is a loyal, intelligent, and confident dog that forms a strong bond with its owners. They are affectionate and gentle with their family members and love to be involved in their activities. They are also playful and energetic and enjoy games like fetch, tug-of-war, or agility.

Keep in mind this is not a lap dog or a couch potato. They are active and alert dogs that need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behavior. They also have a strong prey drive and may chase smaller animals or run away if not properly trained or supervised.

Cane Corsos are naturally protective and territorial dogs that will defend their family and property from any perceived threat. They are often wary of strangers and may bark or growl at them if not socialized early and often. Even though they are not aggressive by nature, they will not hesitate to use their strength and courage if provoked or challenged.

Therefore, the Cane Corso is not suitable for novice or timid owners. They need an experienced and confident owner who can provide them with consistent leadership, discipline, and guidance. They also need an owner who can devote enough time and attention to them and who can provide them with a spacious and secure environment.

Cane Corsos in Media

The Cane Corso is a breed that has gained a lot of popularity and recognition in recent years, especially thanks to its appearance in various forms of media and entertainment. The breed’s imposing and majestic look and its loyal and protective personality make it an ideal choice for certain roles and themes.

One of the most famous examples of Cane Corsos in pop culture is the TV series Game of Thrones, where they played the role of Ramsay Bolton’s vicious hunting dogs. The dogs were trained to attack and kill anyone who crossed their master’s path, including his enemies, prisoners, and even his own family members.

Cane Corso puppy running toward the camera, ears and jowls flapping

Many Cane Corsos have also appeared in other movies and TV shows, such as Blacklist, Atlanta, Sessomatto, Once in a Blue Moon, and Save the Date. They have also been featured in magazines, books, and documentaries that showcase their history, temperament, and abilities.

With their unique look and fierce personality, it’s no surprise they are frequently seen in movies and shows. The Cane Corso is a breed that deserves respect and admiration for its strength, intelligence, and loyalty and inspires curiosity mixed with awe for its appearance and personality. They are truly a unique and remarkable breed that can capture the attention and hearts of many people around the world.

How to Train a Cane Corso?

Cane Corsos are intelligent and eager-to-please dogs that learn quickly and excel in various activities such as obedience training, agility training, tracking training, or protection training. But they can also be stubborn and independent sometimes, so they need a firm and fair trainer to establish themselves as the alpha leader.

The best way to train a Cane Corso, or most dogs for that matter, is to use positive reinforcement methods such as praise, treats, toys, or play. They respond well to rewards and encouragement and will do anything to please their owners. They do not respond well to harsh or negative methods such as yelling, hitting, or punishment. They may become fearful, aggressive, or resentful if treated poorly.

Early socialization and exposure to different people, animals, and situations go a long way toward preventing them from becoming shy or aggressive. They should be introduced to various sights, sounds, smells, and experiences from a young age and in a gradual and positive manner. They should also be taught basic commands and manners such as sit, stay, come, heel, leave, drop, and no.

This large active breed needs regular exercise and mental stimulation to keep them healthy and happy. They should have at least an hour of vigorous activity every day, such as walking, jogging, hiking, swimming, or playing fetch. They also enjoy interactive games and puzzles that challenge their intelligence and skills.

The Cane Corso is not a dog that can be left alone for long periods of time or confined to a small space. They may develop separation anxiety, boredom, or frustration and exhibit unwanted behaviors such as barking, digging, chewing, or escaping. They need human companionship and attention and should be part of the family.

Pros and Cons of Owning a Cane Corso


  • They are loyal, intelligent, and affectionate dogs that form a strong bond with their owners and family.
  • They are protective and courageous dogs that can guard their home and family from any danger.
  • They are versatile and athletic dogs that can excel in various activities such as hunting, herding, or agility.


  • They are loyal, intelligent, and affectionate dogs that form a strong bond with their owners and family.
  • They are protective and courageous dogs that can guard their home and family from any danger.
  • They are versatile and athletic dogs that can excel in various activities such as hunting, herding, or agility.

Caring for a Cane Corso


Cane Corsos are relatively low-maintenance dogs when it comes to grooming. They have a short, dense coat that sheds moderately and only needs weekly brushing to remove dead hair and dirt. They may need more frequent brushing during spring and fall shedding seasons.

They need an occasional bath with mild dog shampoo to keep their coat clean and shiny. They should have their ears checked and cleaned regularly to prevent infections. They should also have their nails trimmed every few weeks to prevent overgrowth and cracking.

Diet and Nutrition

The Cane Corso has a hearty appetite and needs a high-quality, balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs. They should be fed twice a day with measured portions to prevent overeating and obesity. They should have access to fresh water at all times.

Common Health Issues

The Cane Corso is prone to some common health problems in large breeds, such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, bloat, eye problems, skin allergies, and ear infections. They should have regular vet check-ups and vaccinations to monitor their health and prevent any issues. They should also be spayed or neutered to prevent unwanted pregnancies and reduce the risk of some cancers.

Cane Corso sleeping against a wall

How Much Does a Cane Corso Cost?

The average cost of a Cane Corso puppy from a reputable breeder can range from $1,500 to $4,000, depending on the puppy’s quality, pedigree, location, and availability. Making it one of the more expensive dog breeds out there. Price may fluctuate depending on the color of the puppy, as some colors, such as blue Cane Corso, are more rare and more expensive than others.

The initial cost of owning a Cane Corso is not the only expense you need to consider. You also need to factor in the ongoing costs of food, vet bills, grooming supplies, training classes, toys, treats, and other accessories. The annual cost of owning a Cane Corso can range from $1,000 to $3,000, depending on the quality and quantity of these items.

You also need to consider the time and energy required to care for a Cane Corso. They are not low-maintenance dogs that can be left alone or ignored. They need a lot of attention, exercise, training, and socialization to be happy and well-behaved. They also need a lot of space and security to prevent them from escaping or causing trouble.


Cane Corsos are magnificent and loyal dogs that can be great companions and protectors for the right owner. They are intelligent, affectionate, and playful dogs that love their family and will do anything for them. They are also confident, alert, and powerful dogs that can guard their home and family from any danger.

If you think you have what it takes to own a Cane Corso, you should do your research and find a reputable breeder who can provide you with a healthy and well-socialized puppy. You should also be prepared to commit to their lifelong care and well-being. You should also be ready to enjoy the love and loyalty of this amazing breed.

But remember, a Cane Corso is not just a dog. They are a friend, a partner, and a family member. They are a Cane Corso.

More Dog Breeds

If you’re interested in learning about similar dog breeds, check out:


How much is a Cane Corso?

A Cane Corso can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $4,000 depending on the breeder, the pedigree, and the availability. Some breeders may charge more for rare colors or champion bloodlines.

Do Cane Corsos shed?

Yes, Cane Corsos do shed, but not excessively. They have a short, stiff coat that requires weekly brushing and occasional bathing. They may shed more during seasonal changes and need more frequent grooming.

How big do Cane Corsos get?

Cane Corsos are a large breed of dog that can weigh 90 to 110 pounds and stand 23 to 28 inches tall at the withers. They are muscular, stocky, and powerful dogs that need a lot of space and exercise.

What is a Cane Corso?

A Cane Corso is an Italian breed of mastiff that originated in ancient Rome. It is a loyal, intelligent, and majestic dog that can be used as a companion, guard or working dog. It has a strong protective instinct and needs early socialization and training.

Are Cane Corsos aggressive?

Cane Corsos are not inherently aggressive but assertive and confident dogs that can be wary of strangers and other animals. They need a responsible and experienced owner who can provide them with firm leadership and consistent rules. They also need proper socialization and training to prevent unwanted behaviors.

Shane Elliot Author Image
Shane Elliot

Shane Elliot is a pet lover and a coral enthusiast. He has been keeping saltwater aquariums for over ten years and enjoys sharing his knowledge and expertise with other hobbyists. He writes about coral care, fish compatibility, aquarium equipment, and more. He also covers topics related to other animals, such as dogs, cats, horses, and reptiles. Shane works as a freelance writer and editor when his menagerie of pets allows it.

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