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Cane Corso

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A large and imposing dog with a muscular appearance, the cane corso is a loyal and protective companion. But this dog can be hard to handle due to its dominant nature and could be problematic in the home due to its tendency to both drool and snore. The cane corso is intelligent and easily bored. It is a demanding dog which requires experienced owners who can devote a great deal of time to caring for their dog.

Which breed group is the cane corso in?

Breed group: None- not recognised by the Kennel Club

Cane corso breed history

A mastiff-type breed which is native to Italy, the cane corso is the descendant of the Canis Pugnaces of Roman times. References to the loyal and courageous Cane Corso date back to the 12th century. These Molossian dogs were highly prized hunters which also accompanied soldiers in battle. The breed evolved when the Canis Pugnaces was crossed with British dogs which were taken back to Italy by invading armies.

The Cane Corso faced extinction in the 1970's with the only remaining dogs being found in the remotest areas of Italy. The breed was preserved by enthusiasts Sig Bonnetti and Stefano Gandolfi who embarked on a successful breeding programme. A breed club was established in 1983 and the Cane Corso was recognised by the FCI in 1996. However, this breed is not yet recognised by the Kennel Club.

Cane corso breed characteristics

A large and muscular dog, the cane corso boasts an athletic appearance. These dogs have large heads with a deep furrow to the front and broad skulls. Their muzzles are short and deep while their upper lips are pendulous and cover their lower jaws. Noses are black with open nostrils. Eyes are oval and ears triangular. Ears are set wide and droop down. Cane corsos boast well-developed chests, powerful legs and cat-like feet. Their short, dense coats are glossy and can be black, grey, fawn or tubby (stripes of fawn and grey).

These dogs are protective of their owners and highly intelligent. They are excellent guard dogs which are rarely aggressive but they are easily bored. They are also notable for their tendency to snore loudly, pass wind and drool. They require a firm hand during training to overcome dominant tendencies and they can be wary of strangers.

  • Lifespan: 10-11 years
  • Height: up to 70cm
  • Weight: up to 50kg
  • Large heads
  • Muscular
  • Short muzzles
  • Pendulous upper lips
  • Oval eyes
  • Triangular ears
  • Loyal
  • Courageous
  • Intelligent
  • Tend to snore and drool
  • Easily bored
  • May be destructive

Health issues with the carne corso

A large and robust dog, the cane corso boasts an average lifespan for a dog of its size and is prone to the following conditions:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Cherry eye
  • Ectropion
  • Entropion
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Epilepsy
  • Wobbler's syndrome
  • Thyroid problems
  • Demodectic mange
  • Allergies
  • Bloat
  • Cruciate ligament issues

What is the cane corso bred for?

An ancient breed, native to Italy, the cane corso worked on farms and served the army.

What sort of owners does the cane corso suit?

Loyal and protective, the cane corso is potentially a fabulous pet and companion but these dogs are large and powerful, making them unsuitable for households with small children. They are good watchdogs and are rarely aggressive but require a large home with a secure garden. They can be dominant by nature, a trait which requires an experienced hand during training and they may suffer from separation anxiety. The ideal owner for a cane corso would be an active person or couple who are at home all day and who don’t mind clearing up drool. These dogs are expensive to feed and require a significant amount of exercise and so shouldn’t be taken on lightly.


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