Cane Corso Jaws and Bite (Do They Lock?)

Myths, rumors, and legends have proliferated since the dawn of humanity. Even if they start out true, some stories quickly become exaggerated and start making the rounds.

You’ve probably heard that certain dogs can close their mouths at will and keep them shut until someone uses a “break” stick to pry them open. The case of Cane Corsi? Does the tale of the jaw-locking incident have any basis in reality?

What about Cane Corsi, do they have the ability to set their jaws in a fixed position? No. Cane Corso jaws aren’t equipped with the mechanical parts necessary to lock shut like those of certain other breeds. However, when functioning as guard dogs, when provoked, threatened, assaulted, or when they perceive danger, they may bite with an astonishing power of 700 psi.

Knowing what to expect from a Cane Corso in terms of personality, size, peculiarities, grooming, drooling, and health is essential if you’re thinking about having one as a pet.

Knowing what you shouldn’t expect from such a stunning species is just as crucial. This is what you need to know about their rumored jaw-locking power.

Myths and Facts Regarding Locking Jaw

A Pit Bull-type dog like an American Staffordshire Terrier may come to mind when you hear the phrase “locking jaws,” but the word is also commonly applied to Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, Boxers, Bulldogs, and Mastiff breeds like the Cane Corso.

Dogfighters may have been responsible for popularizing the term after a victory, when they would gloat about how their dog had “locked on” to the opponent.

As with many urban legends, the one about dogs being able to lock their jaws has grown to mythic proportions, leading to an unfairly negative reputation for numerous breeds.

The “locking jaws” terminology may have originated, or at least become more common, in the late 1900s, when Pit Bull-type canines first started receiving the harsh, sensationalized publicity that would eventually lead to the deaths of numerous innocent pets.

Exactly what does it mean when someone says their jaws are “locking”? The theory holds that dogs with massive faces and powerful jaws may “lock” onto their prey by biting down and holding their teeth firmly in place.

The legend goes that once a dog’s jaws close around something, getting the object free is quite difficult unless the dog decides to release it.

In the eyes of the uninitiated, Cane Corsi can appear to be a fearsome breed. This breed’s enormous skulls, powerful frames, and short ears would be enough to deter any would-be attacker.

Latch onto a victim and lock their jaws in place? No way: No dog can lock its upper and lower jaws together because it lacks the requisite physical mechanisms and capacity to do so.

When using his jaws, can a Cane Corso firmly grasp an object? Yes. A simple game of tug-of-war against one will demonstrate this point. In fact, it was precisely this skill that permitted ancient canines to survive without human assistance. Today’s stray dogs can still catch their own food if they have to.

This idea that they may physically immobilize their jaws is, however, based purely on superstition and panic.

Does Cane Corsos Present a Threat to Humans?

It’s been said many times that there’s no such thing as a bad dog, only lousy owners. While partially true, this is not the whole story.

Each canine has its own set of worries, character traits, comfort zones, and potential disaster zones. A generalization concerning the harmful potential of all dogs of a certain breed would be utterly meaningless. Too many factors, including biology, upbringing, and environment, are at play to draw any firm conclusions.

In reality, canine aggression is not breed-specific. In a fight, even a small Chihuahua can do serious damage.

However, the Cane Corsi does not deserve the reputation as one of the most dangerous breeds that have been created around it. They have a reputation for being exceptionally smart, dignified, and loyal to their human relatives, yet they maintain a low profile.

Cane Corsi shouldn’t be hazardous if they’re raised properly from puppyhood onward, come from stable, even-tempered parents, and are well socialized.

The only time this wouldn’t be the case is if you were an intruder and, upon entering the house, were met by a Cane Corso who was already on guard and not in the best of moods. Then you might think this dog is dangerous, but it’s your own fault and you deserve whatever happens.

Cane Corsos are not naturally aggressive, but a dog in the wrong hands can be taught to be aggressive and even attack when commanded. Obviously, the dog is not to blame in these scenarios.

Overall, a Cane Corso is a large, muscular dog that may cause significant harm if provoked. Cane Corsos are, “slightly more ready to fight than to flee,” when confronted with a threat, as stated by the Cane Corso Association of America. That’s why they make for such reliable watchdogs.

A Cane Corso’s normal reaction to people and other animals is either indifference or wariness. The phrase “threatening” should not be used to describe this breed, but rather “confident,” “self-assertive,” “stand-offish” with strangers, and “determined.”

Bite Power of a Cane Corso

Some sources claim that a Cane Corsi’s bite may exert 700 lbs. per sq. in. of force (psi). In the canine world, that’s a significant accomplishment. The following are some typical biting forces (in psi) to use as a reference point:

Animal Bite Force (psi)
Cane Corso 700
Human 120
Cheetah 475
Wolf 1,200
Hyena 1,100
Grizzly Bear 1,200
Hippopotamus 2,000
Saltwater Crocodile 3,700
Labrador Retriever 230
Rottweiler 328

You can now appreciate the incredible bite force of a Cane Corso. It’s a long way off from the roar of a crocodile or hippo, but it’s not too far from a Grizzly Bear’s. That reveals a great deal.

Obviously, a Cane Corso won’t squeeze that hard every time he closes his jaws. Chewing up kibble or holding a ball in his mouth doesn’t take much strength. The values given for bite force are indicative merely of the potential to generate that amount of force.

Dogs who aren’t as big or stocky as others tend to have weaker bites than those that are. This is an example of nature working. Larger canines in the wild would need powerful jaws to not only grab and kill their prey, but also to efficiently chew the food they caught.

The Cane Corso’s formidable jaws are the result of both genetics and selective breeding. A guard dog is of little use if he doesn’t look the part and can’t hurt anyone if he has to.

When do Cane Corsos show protective tendencies?

Between the ages of 6 and 14 months, your Cane Corso should start showing signs of protective behavior. Hormonal changes and increased signs of maturity will be experienced by both sexes throughout this time.

Be aware, though, that this is also typically when a dog has its second fear period. A dog this age may show signs of being protective and fearless one day, then the complete opposite the next. This erratic behavior will normalize and he’ll start to show signs of the typical Cane Corso disposition in due time.