Height: 23½-27½ in
Weight: 90-110 lbs
Life Span: 9-11 yrs
Coloring: Black, shades of gray, fawn, brindle, red
Area of Origin: Italy
Similar Breeds: English Mastiff, Bullmastiff, Dogue de Bordeaux, Tibetan Mastiff
History and Origin:
The Cane Corso (a.k.a. the Italian Mastiff) is the direct descendent of the “Canis Pugnax”, or the old Roman Molossian bred by the ancient Romans. The Canis Pugnax was a powerful dog, protecting its handler in the heat of war. While the Romans were not the first to use dogs in this capacity, they certainly developed highly effective strategies that depended heavily on this fighting breed; entire units of the Roman army were at some points populated entirely of these dogs. Throughout history, the Cane Corso has been used as a hunter of difficult prey such as wild boar and cougars, bear-fighter, and as a guard dog, and continues to be a strong and loyal companion as it transitions from working dog to member of the family.
Personality and Temperament:
Not a breed for an inexperienced owner, the Cane Corso is a very noble, breed, eager to please an owner who demonstrates firm leadership and alpha-dog traits. It is brave and extremely protective of its family, and thrives in a structured environment in which boundaries are clear. As its loyalty is unwavering, it is essential for the Cane Corso to be socialized with other dogs and people as a puppy; it can become aggressive toward those it perceives as threatening to its owner.
Exercise & Training:
The Cane Corso enjoys activity, and is happiest when given a long walk or jog every day. As a working dog, it can get bored if not stimulated enough, and is at its best when given a job to complete. It can live in an apartment if given proper exercise, but can become destructive if left on its own for too long. As a proper member of the Mastiff family, the Cane Corso needs firm, consistent training from a young age so it does not become willful and disobedient.
Short haired and an relatively easy keeper, the Cane Corso needs the occasional brushing to remove dead hair. Depending on your Corso, they can range from a light, to very heavy shedders, and the breed tends to be a drooler. Bathe only when necessary.
As a Molossian breed, the Cane Corso shares heritage with the other Mastiff breeds, who are all descendants of the Tibetan Mastiff. As it was extremely isolated and protected from crossbreeding, however, the Cane Corso has much more of a distinct genetic makeup than its cousins.
Interesting Facts about the Cane Corso:
1. For such an ancient breed, the Cane Corso has not had much international recognition until recently. Before 1988 it could only be found in Southern Italy, and was only accepted into the American Kennel Club in 2010.
2. The Cane Corso’s name is derived from the Latin word, “Cohors”, meaning protector.
3. Bartolomeo Pinelli, a nineteenth century Italian engraver and illustrator, frequently featured the Cane Corso in his art.
4. Nearly immune to pain, many owners have noted that the invisible electric fence system does not work on their Cane Corso; it simply ignores the pain!
Organizations dedicated to the Cane Corso:
Cane Corso Association of America
About Time Cane Corso Italiano Rescue
Big Paws Big Heart Rescue
Society in America for the Cane Corso Italiano
International Cane Corso Federation
British Cane Corso Society