Cane Corso: Complete Owners Care Guide

The Cane Corso is an exceptional dog breed that has captured the hearts of dog lovers around the world. With its distinctive features and unique characteristics, the Cane Corso stands out among dog breeds.

In this comprehensive guide, we will dive deep into the fascinating world of the Cane Corso, from its breed information to essential care tips, explaining in depth:

  • Cane Corso history
  • Cane Corso characteristics
  • Male vs Female Cane Corso
  • Cane Corso colors
  • Cane Corso temperament
  • Cane Corso health issues
  • Cane Corso lifespan 
  • Cane Corso care
  • Cane Corso price
  • Cane Corso pros and cons

This guide centralizes all the resources needed to learn more about the Cane Corso dog breed, ownership and how to properly care for them from diet requirements, exercise, training, grooming, Cane Corso breeders, where to find Cane Corso puppies for sale, where to find Cane Corsos for adoption, Cane Corso pet insurance and know whether a Cane Corso is the right dog for you.

Whether you’re an enthusiast, a new Cane Corso owner, or a seasoned owner, this comprehensive guide will equip you with the knowledge you need.

So, let’s roll up our sleeves and embark on this journey to understand the Cane Corso dog breed and discover discover what makes this breed truly exceptional and whether it’s the best dog breed for you.

Quick Cane Corso Facts


Working breed


24 to 27.5 inches (male) 23.5 to 26 inches (female)


90 to 110 pounds (male) 80 to 100 pounds (female) 


Short, dense, and double-coated

Coat color

Black, Black Brindle, Fawn, Grey, and Red


Protective, loyal, confident, and affectionate


Moderate to heavy shedder


Requires consistent training and socialization 


9 to 12 years


$ 1500 – $ 3000

Cane Corso

The Cane Corso, often referred to as the Italian Mastiff, boasts a rich and ancient history that dates back to ancient Rome. Its roots can be traced to the Roman Molossus, a powerful and muscular dog breed used in warfare and as a guardian of property. 

The Cane Corso’s name itself has historical significance, with “Cane” deriving from the Latin word “canis,” meaning dog, and “Corso” likely originating from “cohors,” which means guardian or protector.

Over the centuries, the Cane Corso evolved into a versatile working breed in Italy, excelling in various roles, including hunting, herding, and, most notably, as a dependable farm and estate guardian.

It’s impressive strength and imposing presence made it an invaluable asset for Italian farmers and landowners.

However, by the mid-20th century, the breed faced a decline in numbers due to changing agricultural practices and modernization. 

Fortunately, a group of dedicated enthusiasts in Italy undertook efforts to revive and preserve the breed. Through careful breeding programs and breed standardization, they succeeded in revitalizing the Cane Corso.

Today, the Cane Corso has gained recognition as a powerful and loyal breed, known for its protective nature, intelligence, and affectionate temperament towards its family.

It continues to thrive as a working dog, excelling in roles such as a guardian, companion, and even in canine sports. 

Its remarkable history and remarkable qualities make it a beloved breed for those seeking a devoted and capable canine companion.

Cane Corso Appearance

Physical Features

The Cane Corso is a striking and powerful breed with a distinctive physical appearance. This Italian Mastiff is known for its robust and muscular build, exuding strength and athleticism. 

It’s head is a prominent feature, characterized by a broad skull and a well-defined stop. The Cane Corso’s muzzle is square and substantial, with a strong jawline and a black nose. 

The breed’s eyes are medium-sized, almond-shaped, and typically dark in color, conveying a sense of alertness and intelligence.

One of the most distinguishing aspects of the Cane Corso is its ears, which are often cropped to stand erect, although many countries have banned ear cropping.

Cane Corso Cropped Ears

The Cane Corso uncropped ears are medium-sized and triangular, adding to the breed’s expressive and alert appearance. 

The Cane Corso’s neck is muscular and arched, flowing into a deep, broad chest. It’s back is straight and strong, leading to a well-muscled hindquarters and a high-set tail, which is traditionally docked, although this practice is also banned in many places.

The coat of the Cane Corso is short, dense, sleek, lying close to the body  and it comes in a variety of colors.

Read more from our guide on the Cane Corso cropped ears to learn more on Cane Corso ear crop styles.

Male vs Female Cane Corso: Cane Corso size and weight

The Cane Corso is characterized by their large size and muscled body. They are truly massive dogs.

The male Cane Corsos are slightly taller and heavier than the female Cane Corsos.

Adult male Cane Corso stand between 24 to 27.5 inches (61 to 70 cm) at the shoulder with an average weight of 90 to 110 pounds (41 to 50 kg) while the adult female Cane Corso stands at 23.5 to 26 inches (60 to 66 cm) with a weight of 80 to 100 pounds (36 to 45 kg). 

Cane Corso Colors

Cane Corsos display a variety of coat colors, and these colors contribute to the breed’s distinctive appearance. The breed’s coat is short, dense, and lies close to the body, giving them a sleek and polished appearance.

The Cane Corso colors are:

  • Black
  • Black Brindle
  • Fawn
  • Grey 
  • Red

Each of these colors can appear with or without a black mask on the dog’s face, which is a notable characteristic of the breed. The black mask enhances the Cane Corso’s striking and expressive appearance.

Variations of the Cane Corso coat colors exist. Some Cane Corsos may have small white markings on their chest, chin, toes, or a thin white stripe on the forehead, but these are typically minimal. 

These diverse coat colors add to the breed’s overall charm and allure, making the Cane Corso not only powerful and protective but also visually striking and captivating.

Cane Corso Temperament

The Cane Corso is known for its distinctive temperament, characterized by a combination of loyalty, protectiveness, and intelligence. 

The breed is deeply devoted to it’s family and tends to form strong bonds with it’s owners. Cane Corsos are also affectionate, and they thrive on human companionship, making them loyal and loving family pets.

Their protective instincts are a prominent feature of their temperament. They are natural guardians and are known to be highly alert and vigilant. 

They are inherently protective of their home and loved ones, making them excellent watchdogs. However, proper socialization and training from an early age are essential to ensure that their protective nature does not become overly aggressive.

Intelligence is another notable trait of the Cane Corso. They are quick learners and tend to be highly trainable when consistent and positive reinforcement methods are used. 

Their intelligence also makes them versatile, and they excel in various activities, including obedience training, agility, and even service work.

Despite their protective instincts, Cane Corsos are generally known for being affectionate with their family members, including children. 

However, potential owners should be aware that early socialization and proper training are important to ensure that their Cane Corso grows up to be a well-balanced and well-behaved companion. In the hands of a responsible owner, Cane Corsos can be loyal, loving, and highly dependable canine family members.

Cane Corso Health Issues

Generally, the Cane Corso is a healthy dog breed, however, they are susceptible to the breed’s specific health problems and conditions that affect large breed dogs.

These health conditions include:

Hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a hereditary condition in Cane Corsos which occurs during their growth stages. The condition causes pain and difficulty in walking because of the loosening of the hip joint.


Bloat is a common Cane Corso health problem and the number one killer of the breed. It is the accumulation of air in the stomach that makes it twist, preventing blood flow in the body.

Dilated cardiomyopathy

Dilated cardiomyopathy is a heart disease that prevents the heart from functioning properly resulting in less optimal pumping. This often leads to heart failure and death. 

Idiopathic epilepsy

Idiopathic epilepsy is a neurological disorder that can affect the Cane Corso. It is characterized by recurrent seizures or convulsions that occur without an underlying or identifiable cause.

“Idiopathic” means that the condition has no known specific cause, making it challenging to pinpoint why some dogs develop epilepsy.

Related: Cane Corso shaking: Causes, symptoms and what to do

Demodectic mange

Demodectic mange, also known as demodicosis, is a skin condition that is caused by an overgrowth of Demodex mites, which are microscopic parasites that naturally inhabit a Cane Corso’s skin.


Entropion is a health problem of the Cane Corso. It is a condition where the eyelid (usually the lower eyelid) rolls inward toward the eye, causing the eyelashes and skin to rub against the surface of the eye.

This constant irritation can lead to discomfort, corneal ulcers, and vision problems if left untreated..


Ectropion is a health problem that affects Cane Corsos causing them to have “droopy” eyelids.

It is a condition where the eyelid, typically the lower eyelid, turns outward away from the eye, exposing the inner surface of the eyelid and the sensitive tissues underneath.

It can lead to various eye-related issues and discomfort.

Cane Corso cherry eye

Cherry eye is a condition that occurs when the gland located in the Cane Corso’s third eyelid (nictitating membrane) protrudes or “pops out” of its normal position, becoming visible as a reddish or pink mass in the corner of the eye.

The most obvious symptom of cherry eye is the protrusion of a fleshy, cherry-red or pink mass in the corner of the affected eye. It can occur in one or both eyes.


Obesity occurs when a Cane Corso carries excess body weight, primarily due to overfeeding, excessive treats, a lack of exercise, genetic factors and certain medical conditions.

Cane Corso Lifespan

The Cane Corso’s lifespan is 9 to 12 years. Although long, this lifespan is shorter compared to small breed dogs which have a longer life expectancy compared to large breed dogs. 

Cane Corso Care

Cane Corso diet requirements

Cane Corsos grow rapidly and require a nutritiously balanced diet for large-giant breed dogs, for healthy growth and prevention of developmental problems.

The basic essential nutrients of the Cane Corso diet should have water, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals.

Cane Corso supplements are also essential to promote bone and joint health. These are glucosamine and chondroitin supplements.

Probiotics and prebiotics in the diet support gut health.

The amount of food depends on a Cane Corso’s age, size, level of activity, and health. 

All Cane Corsos at all stages of life should not be fed one meal per day because this increases the risk of the development of bloat which is life-threatening to the breed.

Cane Corso puppies grow rapidly and a proper diet regulates this growth so that they do not develop bone and joint health problems as they grow.

The Cane Corso puppy diet should therefore contain high-quality large-giant breed puppy dog food which is formulated with the right proportion of nutrients that regulates the rate of growth and supports healthy development. 

Also always provide access to fresh, clean water for your Cane Corso. Proper hydration is vital for their overall health.

Some Cane Corsos may have allergies or food sensitivities, so be attentive to any signs of digestive upset or skin issues. If you suspect food-related allergies, consult your veterinarian for guidance on switching to a hypoallergenic or limited-ingredient diet.

Read more: Cane Corso sensitive stomach: Causes and how to help

A discussion of the Cane Corso dog food should always be done with a veterinarian, who will guide on a dog’s specific needs and diet requirements.


The Cane Corso is a powerful and active breed that requires regular exercise to maintain their physical and mental well-being. Exercise is essential to help them stay healthy, prevent obesity, and manage their natural energy levels.

Cane Corsos need daily exercise to keep them physically and mentally stimulated. This is at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise per day, which can be broken into multiple sessions. 

Activities like brisk walks, jogging, or playing fetch in a securely fenced area can help meet their exercise needs.

In addition to physical activity, the Cane Corso also benefits from mental stimulation. Puzzle toys, obedience training, and interactive games can help keep their minds engaged and prevent boredom.

Early socialization is important for Cane Corso to ensure they are well-behaved and comfortable around other dogs, pets and people.

Regular exposure to different environments, people, and other animals helps them become well-adjusted dogs.

While it is important to provide adequate exercise, Cane Corsos are prone to joint and bone issues, particularly as puppies. Therefore excessive running and jumping on hard surfaces during their early growth stages should be avoided to protect their developing joints.

Also one needs to be mindful of weather conditions when exercising a Cane Corso. They are sensitive to extreme heat, so avoid exercising them during the hottest parts of the day. In cold weather, provide them with protection, such as a dog coat, if necessary.

As Cane Corsos age, their exercise needs may change and this requires adjustment of their activity level to accommodate any mobility issues or arthritis that may develop in their senior years.

Cane Corso training

Training a Cane Corso is an important aspect of owning this powerful and intelligent breed. Proper training is essential to ensure they become well-behaved, obedient, and well-adjusted companions.

This includes socializing your Cane Corso. Socializing your Cane Corso puppy should start as early as possible. 

This is done by exposing them to various people, animals, and environments to help them become confident and comfortable in different situations. 

Early socialization can prevent behavioral issues later in life.

The use of positive reinforcement training methods, such as treats, praise, and toys, to reward desired behaviors helps to reinforce good behavior. Cane Corsos respond well to positive reinforcement and tend to be eager to please.

Consistency in training is important. Establishment of clear rules and boundaries for your Cane Corso and ensuring that all family members enforce them consistently is essential. Inconsistent training can confuse your dog.

Obedience Training: Basic obedience training is essential. Teach commands like sit, stay, come, and heel. Obedience training provides structure and helps establish you as the pack leader.

Proper leash training is essential for this breed due to their size and strength. They can be strong pullers, so teaching them to walk on a loose leash is important for both their safety and the handler’s control.

Teaching them to walk on a loose leash and respond to commands while on a leash is important.

When engaging in off-leash play, it is essential to supervise your Cane Corso, especially if they are interacting with other dogs. Their protective instincts can sometimes lead to conflicts with unfamiliar dogs.

Seeking the assistance of a professional dog trainer or behaviorist with experience in working with the Cane Corsos is important to prevent behavioral issues.



Grooming a Cane Corso primarily focuses on maintaining their coat, cleaning their ears, trimming their nails, and providing general hygiene care. Cane Corso grooming is not difficult. 

They have a relatively low-maintenance coat that is short, dense, and sleek and only needs brushing two to three times a week to keep it clean and healthy.

They are light to moderate shedders, so regular brushing helps remove loose hair and minimizes shedding.  A soft-bristle brush or rubber grooming mitt can be used for this purpose. 

More shedding occurs in the spring therefore frequent brushing is done during this time of the year to keep up with the loose hair.

Bathing is only required once a month (4 – 6 weeks), depending on their level of activity and how often they get dirty. The use of a mild dog shampoo is needed to avoid stripping their skin of natural oils is necessary. 

The teeth should be brushed two to three times a week and the nails trimmed once a month. The ears must also be checked weekly with cleaning once a month and properly dried after each bath. 

Cleaning of  a Cane Corso’s ears should be done regularly to prevent wax buildup and infection. A dog ear cleaner and a soft, damp cloth or cotton ball should be used and proper cleaning is done by gently inside of the ear flap and the visible parts of the ear canal.

Regular nail trimming is important in preventing overgrown nails that can cause discomfort and affect a Cane Corso’s gait. 

Brushing of a Cane Corso’s teeth regularly is essential. This is done by use of a dog toothbrush and dog toothpaste. Dental chews and toys can also help maintain oral hygiene.

Regular checking of your dog’s eyes regularly for any signs of redness, discharge, or irritation is required. The use of a damp cloth to gently wipe away any debris from the corners of their eyes is done to keep the eyes clean.

Keeping an eye on your Cane Corso’s skin for any signs of irritation, hot spots, or allergies is also part f keepeing their skin healthy. Appearance of any issues requires consultation with your veterinarian for appropriate treatment.

Ensuring that your Cane Corso’s genital and anal areas are clean is also important. If needed, gentle cleaning of these areas with a damp cloth should be done to prevent discomfort or infections.

Cane Corso Price: How much is a Cane Corso?

The average Cane Corso price is between $900 and $2,000 while a show quality Cane Corso costs between $2,500 and $4,000 from a reputable Cane Corso breeder. 

The price varies significantly based on various factors, including the dog’s lineage, pedigree, age, gender, the specific coat color, the availability of puppies, the breeder’s reputation, and their location.  

Well-established and reputable breeders who focus on producing healthy, well-tempered Cane Corsos tend to charge higher prices for their puppies. Also, some coat colors and markings are rarer and may be priced higher.

Cane Corso puppies are generally more expensive than an adult or older Cane Corsos. 

It is important to do thorough research, choose a reputable breeder, and ensure that the puppy you are considering comes from a responsible breeding program with a focus on the health and well-being of the dogs. 

Avoid purchasing puppies from puppy mills or unscrupulous sources, as they may offer lower prices but often lack proper care and breeding standards. 

Also, consider adoption from a rescue organization, which can be a more cost-effective option while giving a loving home to a Cane Corso in need.

Where to find Cane Corso puppies for sale

Cane Corso puppies can be purchased from Cane Corso breeders. Professional Cane Corso breeders that practice ethical breeding produce healthy puppies.

Breeders provide the health history and certificates of their puppies which confirms the health status of a puppy before purchase. 

Approved and certified Cane Corso breeders can be found on the American Kennel Club’s marketplace.

The Cane Corso breeders include:

Where to find Cane Corsos for adoption

Cane Corsos for adoption are available at Cane Corso rescue groups or centers. Cane Corso rescues help to rehome Cane Corsos that need forever homes and provide assistance in getting a Cane Corso.

When you obtain a Cane Corso from a rescue center, ensure that they go through health checks to know their health status.

Cane Corso rescues in the United States include:

Cane Corso Pet Insurance: Should I get one?

Cane Corso pet insurance is a health insurance policy for Cane Corsos that pays for medical expenses for your pet.

Unexpected illnesses or injuries can occur and large veterinarian bills can be emotionally and financially stressful. 

Getting medical cover is a way to guard yourself against this which also ensures your Cane Corso’s health care needs are met. Therefore it is important to have health insurance for your dog.

Cane Corso pet insurance costs on average $43 per month, however, the cost depends on the age of a Cane Corso and the type of cover.

Cane Corso Pros and Cons

While the Cane Corso has many positive traits, they are not the right breed for everyone. Potential owners should carefully consider their ability to meet the breed’s exercise, training, and socialization needs and be prepared for the responsibility of caring for a powerful and protective dog. 

Choosing a responsible breeder or considering adoption from a rescue organization is also important in ensuring the health and temperament of your dog.

Pros and cons of the Cane Corso to consider include:

Pros of Owning a Cane Corso

  • Loyalty and protection: Cane Corsos are fiercely loyal and protective, making them excellent guard dogs and loyal family protectors.
  • Affectionate: They can be affectionate and gentle with their families, including children, when properly socialized.
  • Intelligence: Cane Corsos are intelligent and trainable, excelling in various roles and activities.
  • Low grooming needs: Their short coat is low-maintenance and requires minimal grooming.
  • Versatility: They can adapt to various roles, from working dogs to loving companions.

Cane Corso Cons

  • Exercise needs: Cane Corsos have high exercise needs and require daily physical activity.
  • Training commitment: They can be strong-willed and require consistent training and socialization from an experienced owner.
  • Size and strength: They are a large and powerful breed, requiring space and proper handling.
  • Health concerns: Cane Corsos are prone to certain health issues, including hip dysplasia and bloat.
  • Socialization: Early socialization is essential to prevent aggression or fearfulness.
  • Legal restrictions: In some areas in the United States they face breed-specific legislation and restrictions. They are banned in Arkansas, Oregon, Colorado, Kansas Idaho, Nebraska, Washington and South Dakota.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of home is best for a Cane Corso?

A Cane Corso is a large and powerful breed that requires a specific type of home to thrive. The best home for a Cane Corso is one that offers space, a secure yard, an active lifestyle, socialization opportunities, a commitment to training, and experienced ownership. These considerations will help ensure that your Cane Corso is happy, well-adjusted, and a loyal family companion. Corsos are also sensitive to extreme heat and cold, so make sure your home environment is suitable. Breed-specific legislation or restrictions in your area may also affect your ability to own a Cane Corso.

Are Cane Corsos good with kids?

Cane Corsos can be good with children when they are properly socialized, trained, and raised in a positive and loving environment. They have a natural protective instinct, which can make them watchful over their family, including children.

Are Cane Corsos Good with other dogs?

Cane Corsos can get along well with other dogs, but their compatibility with other dogs often depends on factors such as socialization, training, and individual temperament. 

Are Cane Corso hypoallergenic?

No, Cane Corsos are not hypoallergenic. Cane Corsos shed dander and can produce allergenic proteins. While individual dogs may vary in the amount of allergens they produce, the breed as a whole is not classified as hypoallergenic. If you have allergies to dogs, it is essential to spend time with a Cane Corso to see how you personally react before bringing one into your home. Regular grooming and cleaning can help reduce allergen levels in your living environment.

Is the Cane Corso a good guard dog?

Yes, the Cane Corso is renowned for its natural guarding and protective instincts, making it an excellent guard dog. Their loyalty, courage, and protective nature make them well-suited for the role of a guard dog and protector of their family and property. 

Summary: Is a Cane Corso the right dog for you?

A Cane Corso can be an excellent addition to the right home, but it’s crucial to carefully consider whether this breed is the right fit for you and your lifestyle.

Before bringing a Cane Corso into your home, assess your ability to meet their needs for exercise, training, and socialization. Consider your experience with large, protective breeds and whether you can provide a secure living environment. 

Also, be prepared for potential health care costs associated with the breed’s health concerns.

If you are an experienced dog owner who can provide the necessary care, training, and socialization, a Cane Corso can be a loyal and loving companion and protector. 

However, if you are unsure about your ability to meet their needs or if you are a first-time dog owner, it may be wise to explore other breeds that may be a better match for your lifestyle. 

Responsible ownership is key to ensuring that a Cane Corso thrives and becomes a well-adjusted member of your family.

Therefore, if you desire to be a dog parent to a Cane Corso, and are looking for a large breed dog that is affectionate, protective, friendly, and a family dog, look no further than the Cane Corso.