Cane Corso Dog Breed Specifications

The Cane Corso is a large, dignified Italian dog breed that’s extremely loyal and excels at working tasks. Learn more about living with the cane corso.

Cane Corso

  • 23.5-27.5 inches
  • 88-110 pounds
  • 9-12 years
  • large (61-100 lbs.)
  • families
  • willful
  • aloof
  • high
  • normal
  • medium
  • active
  • when necessary
  • medium
  • working
  • short
  • black
  • fawn
  • gray
  • brown / chocolate / liver
  • red
  • bicolor
  • brindle
  • easy to train
  • easy to groom
  • highly territorial
  • high prey drive
  • strong loyalty tendencies
  • good hiking companion

Cane Corsos are a dignified and intellectual breed with an independent personality. The breed has a long history of being developed to be a multi-purpose dog that is energetic, attentive, and keeps a close watch on its family. Because the gorgeous, wrinkled, and clever cane corso puppy can grow to be a 110-pound lively adult, it’s critical to socialize this breed and teach them fundamental skills so they acquire crucial habits needed for grownup success.

Prospective owners should spend adequate time planning and preparing before acquiring any dog, even a cane corso, according to Jami-Lyn Derse, DVM, creator of Veterinary Housecall Care. This ancient Italian breed is a relatively new addition to American households, and they appear to be best suited for a professional existence, including careers in police enforcement, tracking, and the military. She goes on to say that the greatest owner for a cane corso is one who is experienced and ready to put in the time to teach their dog. This breed is not suitable for a first-time dog owner.


Large, muscular, and somewhat regal in appearance, the cane corso’s size and strength are his defining characteristics—and, of course, one of the reasons he’s a popular option for keeping an eye on his owners and land. “They’re these gigantic, magnificent mastiff-type [breeds],” explains Derse. A full-grown female cane corso weighs between 88 and 99 pounds, while a male cane corso can weigh up to 110 pounds.

You’ll recognize him by his large chest, huge cranium, and wrinkled brow. You’ll commonly see them with clipped ears, however this technique is debatable—just it’s aesthetic and has no demonstrated health advantages for the animal. Furthermore, their floppy ears give them an especially charming appearance.

Cane corso hues include black, gray, fawn, red, and brindle on the dog’s short, double-layered coat. The coat has a gritty, thick, and occasionally tufted texture that some compare to a cow’s coat. The almond-shaped eyes of the dog can be various colors of brown or even bright yellow or blue.


Because of their long history as working dogs, the cane corso disposition can be sensitive and serious. Cane corsi—the plural of cane corso—might not enjoy unexpected persons surprising him while he’s patrolling his yard due to their breeding. Early socialization with new people, new circumstances, and other canines is essential for him to be healthy, happy, and prosper.

Derse says the cane corso isn’t a dog for everyone. “For me, personally, and all the other hospitals I’ve ever been in, if a cane corso walks in the door, everybody is particularly diligent,” she says. However, she says there are cane corsos who “would lick your face and are very friendly.”

While some cane corsi get along with other pets and children, the breed is known to have a strong prey drive, which means that any quick, unexpected movements from smaller animals and pets (or children) may be attractive enough to chase. An early exposure, while the dog is young, is required for healthy interactions with other animals and children. Supervise your cane corso anytime he interacts with children or other pets, and educate youngsters how to engage with dogs responsibly.

Living Needs

Cane corso is not a couch potato. This clever working breed thrives on activity—especially if it has a task to complete. “Like any large dog breed, the cane corso would benefit from a large, fenced-in yard, as well as someone who could walk them often to kind of let out their energy and focus it on something they like,” Deese explains. The cane corso is happiest when his mind is stimulated by agility training, skills training, dock diving, and other activities. If the owner does not provide an activity, the dog may engage in his own misbehavior, such as digging. This is not a dog who appreciates being left alone for lengthy periods of time; he prefers to be in sight of his master.


Because cane corsi grow to be so enormous and robust, Deese believes that positive reinforcement training should begin when they are puppies. “You simply have to be really cautious with them,” she explains. “They’re enormous—like solid muscle.”

Patience, consistency, and plenty of opportunity for rewards, like with any dog, are the keys to success. These dogs require several daily opportunities to learn with you and develop skills and habits that will be useful in everyday life.

“These are tall, hefty, and swift canines,” explains Daily Paws’ editor of pet health and behavior, Haylee Bergeland, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA, RBT. “They, like many big breeds, might inadvertently knock down tiny children or damage dog playmates who are smaller than them, particularly during their adolescent years when their bodies are still in the awkward growing period. A cane corso dog parent must recognize this and provide their dog with a variety of wonderful outlets that are appropriate for their dog’s size and activity level. For this breed, short walks around the block or outings to the dog park are insufficient.”

Though cane corsi are typically black or gray, their short coats can also be brindle, fawn, or even red.
Though cane corsi are typically black or gray, their short coats can also be brindle, fawn, or even red.

This working dog need daily activity, and walking, hiking, or running in the morning and evening can help him retain his muscular physique. When it comes to grooming, a cane corso’s undercoat sheds all year, especially during the spring shedding season. An occasional wash and weekly brushing are recommended to keep his coat lustrous, with daily brushing recommended in the spring.


This breed is typically healthy, with a lifetime of 9-12 years. However, like with any dog breed, there are a few health issues to be aware of. According to the Cane Corso Association of America, potential health difficulties for the cane corso include hip dysplasia, idiopathic epilepsy, Demodex mange, and eyelid anomalies.

Cane corsi are prone to gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) complex, or bloat, since they are a big dog breed with a deep chest. GDV complex, or bloat, is a dangerous, possibly life-threatening illness in which the stomach fills with air and flips, cutting off blood supply. Though there are several suggestions about what causes bloat, such as eating one large meal instead of several smaller ones, no clear relationship has been established.

Cane Corso owners should talk to their veterinarian about bloat and other health issues for advice on how to care for their dog. Before bringing home a dog, make sure the breeder has completed the OFA’s recommended tests to ensure your cane corso puppy is healthy.


During the Roman Empire, Romans were so taken with a large-boned, Greek working breed known as Molossus dogs that they brought them home from the Greek islands to breed with Italian canines. That dog is the cane corso’s ancestor. According to the AKC, the great cane corso “were utilized as dogs of conquest who earned their stripes as ‘pireferi,’ daring dogs that stormed enemy lines with buckets of burning oil strapped to their backs” in the early days.

In recent years, they have taken up “tamer” tasks in Italy, such as hunting wild boar, driving cattle, and protecting farms. The breed was on the verge of extinction in the mid-to-late 1900s as living in the Italian countryside changed, and a group of Italians banded together to focus on breeding efforts. The cane corso came in the United States in 1988, and the AKC formally recognized the breed in 2010.