Is a Cane Corso the right dog for you?

It has been said that nothing worth doing is easy. This holds true for the Cane Corso. They are not for everyone….there are over 200 breeds of dog out there and most will be “easier” than a Corso. Often described as a “coursing mastiff,” the Cane Corso can exceed the other mastiff breeds in athleticism, agility, speed, energy level, and sense of adventure.

This robust dog needs her/his share of exercise, but above all requires personal interaction and lots of companionship. A Corso lives for her/his family.

Ask yourself what attracts you to the breed. If the first thing that comes to mind is related to their appearance, you may want to rethink things. That adorable smooshy-faced puppy is going to grow into a 100 + pound protection oriented mastiff who is going to require socialization and training. Even after all that, they are not social butterflies.

Cane Corso puppies should be friendly and trusting with strangers. With proper socialization, they become more aloof and discerning as they mature. As with all mastiffs, socialization is an absolute requirement to promote the correct temperament, which is protective, but in a calm, stable, discriminating way. Though the Cane Corso was NOT used for dog-fighting, dog aggression can become a problem. She/he should be thoroughly socialized with other dogs from an early age.

The Cane Corso is instinctively protective of his home and family and distrustful of strangers. It is important to understand that you and the members of your household be able to work with your dog. Training can’t be passed off to someone else. He/she needs to respect you and your family. Lack of socialization and training can lead to all sorts of serious problems as time goes on and letting these go is the primary reason for one of these dogs to wind up needing rescue.

There is much more to a Cane Corso than intimidating looks. These are sensitive and intelligent souls who live for their people and want to be near them as much as possible. The Cane Corso is a unique dog who comes with his/her own set of challenges and rewards. They require firm but patient handling and will not respond well to rough treatment. The Cane Corso is attentive and responsive to training and though quite dominant, will respect an owner who is confident and consistent.

These dogs need a job. If you don’t give them one, they will likely find one that is annoying and/or destructive. Cane Corso were bred to be working dogs. It’s in their DNA. Corsos also need to be with their people and may become destructive if left alone too much.

Vet bills are often more expensive for large dogs as well as spot treatment for fleas, heart worm prevention, etc. Not to mention cost of feeding. Cane Corsos have tighter skin than other mastiffs and drool less; however, the Cane Corso will sometimes slobber/drool, particularly if there are snacks involved. Corso lovers often refer to this phenomenon as a ‘stringer’, which often appears hanging from the jowls or succinctly strewn across the muzzle or head. Some Corsos love to dig, and most enjoy splashing in water, whether it be the pond, a mudhole, the lawn sprinkler, or their water bowl. These are not dainty dogs.

If you have more than one, their style of play can be alarming at first. Introducing a new Corso to any existing pets must be done carefully for the safety of all involved. Slower is better and usually takes a minimum of two weeks. An introduction that happens too fast, in an uncontrolled environment cannot be undone if it goes poorly. Rescue volunteers will be happy to walk you through the process.

The Cane Corso is a lifetime commitment. The time you put into working with yours will pay off exponentially and is something you will never regret doing.

So, if you want a dog who…

  • Is massive and powerful

  • Has a short easy-care coat

  • Is calm and quiet indoors as an adult

  • Makes an imposing guardian

  • Is serious and self-assured with strangers, yet generally mild-mannered unless aroused

  • Compared to other mastiffs, is more energetic and more athletic

A Cane Corso may be right for you.

Cane Corso History

Cane Corsos originally came from Italy, mostly in the southern areas of the country. These dogs may also be referred to as the Cane da Macellaio, the Italian Corso Dog and the Italian Molosso. The Cane Corso was used to hunt large game and it was especially skilled at hunting wild boar. When big game hunting was on a decline these dogs were used to guard property and livestock for Italian farmers. This breed came to America around 1987, but can still be found throughout Italy fulfilling the role of its old working duties. The Cane Corso derived it’s name from the Latin word “Cohors” which means guardian or protector.

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Cane Corso Appearance

Cane Corso dogs are very big, standing between 23 and 27 inches tall at the withers (the top of the back between the shoulder blades). Even though Cane Corso mastiffs are large, they are also lean and generally have heavily muscled bodies, causing them to weigh, on average, between 88 and 110 pounds. These dogs also typically drool and shed quite a bit for short-haired dogs. An unaltered Cane Corso has a long tail and ears that drop forward. Owners of Cane Corso kennels, however, often dock both ears and tails if they live in an area where doing so is legal. They were bred as working dogs for hundreds of years.

Usually, Cane Corsos are either black or fawn-colored. However, these basic colors can have several different shades, such as:

• blue

• brindling

• formentino (which means the dog has a “blue mask”)

• red

Full brindling is called tigrato. Most of the time, Cane Corsos’ noses are black. Sometimes blue Cane Corsos have gray noses, but they should still be darker than the fur. While white patches on their face, toes and chests are common, from a show perspective, smaller white patches are better.

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