Cane Corsos

The Cane Corso is a mastiff breed from Italy. He is a complex, powerful dog with special needs when it comes to ownership. The Cane Corso is a giant breed, weighing up to 120 pounds. He was created to hunt big game and guard property. The Cane Corso has a massive head, heavy rectangular body, and a short coat in black, gray, fawn or red. Here is what you should know if you are considering acquiring a Cane Corso.

Is the Cane Corso the Right Dog for You?

The Cane Corso is not an appropriate choice for an inexperienced dog owner. First-time dog owners and people who have had only “soft” breeds such as retrievers, spaniels or toy breeds need not apply. This dog is large, powerful, intelligent, active and headstrong.

A Cane Corso needs a leader who can guide him with firmness and consistency and without using force or cruelty. The Cane Corso loves his family, but he’s not demonstrative about it. He will want to be near you, but he’s not demanding of attention or physical touch.

Early, frequent socialization is essential. Purchase a Cane Corso puppy from a breeder who raises the pups in the home and ensures that they are exposed to many different household sights and sounds, as well as people, before they go off to their new homes. Continue socializing your Cane Corso throughout his life by taking him to puppy kindergarten class, visits to friends and neighbors, and outings to local shops and businesses. This is the only way he can learn to be discriminating, recognizing what is normal and what is truly a threat.

That said, no amount of socialization will make him friendly toward people other than his family members. The Cane Corso is first and foremost a guard dog, and he takes his responsibilities seriously.

Begin training as soon as you bring your Cane Corso puppy home, while he is still at a manageable size. A nothing-in-life-is-free program, requiring puppies to “work” for everything they get by performing a command before receiving meals, toys, treats or play, often works well with this breed. It’s always a good idea to take a Cane Corso to puppy kindergarten followed by basic obedience class, especially if you are working with a trainer who understands the Cane Corso mindset.

The Cane Corso has a moderate activity level and needs a job to do, which can be anything from being your on-leash jogging companion to daily training activities. Expect to walk or jog him at least a mile daily, in addition to 20 minutes or so of training practice. He will not be satisfied to lie around and do nothing all the time.

He must also be prevented from chasing and killing cats or small dogs belonging to the neighbors. The Cane Corso has a high prey drive and a territorial nature, so he needs a strong, solid fence at least six feet high to keep him on his own property. An underground electronic fence is never appropriate for this breed.

Like any dog, Cane Corso puppies are inveterate chewers and because of their size can do a whole lot of damage. Don’t give them the run of the house until they’ve reached trustworthy maturity. And keep your Cane Corso puppy busy with training, play and socialization experiences; a bored Cane Corso is a destructive Cane Corso.

The Cane Corso should spend plenty of time with his family. Chaining a Cane Corso out in the yard and giving him little or no attention is not only cruel, it can also lead to aggression and destructive behavior.

The Cane Corso has a smooth coat that sheds. Brush him at least once a week to remove dead hair and keep the skin and coat healthy. Clean the ears and trim the nails as needed, and bathe the Cane Corso on the rare occasions that he’s dirty.

5 Tips to Bring Home a Healthy Cane Corso Puppy

  1. Finding a good breeder is more important than finding the right puppy. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy, and will without question have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as possible. Start your search for a breeder on the website of the Cane Corso Association of America.
  2. Consider an adult dog from a shelter or a rescue group. Many of the health problems in Cane Corsos aren't apparent in puppyhood, but by adopting an adult dog, most of them can be ruled out. Since a Cane Corso can live to be 10 or more years old, even an adult dog will be with your family for a long time.
  3. Puppy or adult, take your Cane Corso to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot visible problems, and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues, and in particular to watch out for the early signs of diabetes and skin problems, including ear infections.
  4. Don’t ever, ever, ever buy a puppy from a pet store or Internet site that offers many breeds and popular mixes, or that ships with no questions asked. If you buy a puppy from these sources, you’ll be more likely to get an unhealthy, unsocialized and difficult to house-train puppy and will be supporting the cruelty of high-volume puppy mills.
  5. Make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. In states with “puppy lemon laws,” be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights and recourses.

Health Issues Common to Cane Corsos

All purebred dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.

The Cane Corso has some health conditions that can be a concern, especially if you aren’t cautious about whom you buy from. They include hip dysplasia, eye problems such as entropion or ectropion, demodectic mange and a tendency toward gastric torsion, also known as bloat.

Ask the breeder to show evidence that a puppy’s parents have OFA or PennHIP clearances for hip dysplasia. Do not purchase a puppy from a breeder who cannot provide you with written documentation that the parents were cleared of health problems that affect the breed. Having the dogs "vet checked" is not a substitute for genetic health testing.

Condition Risk Profile Cost to Diagnose and Treat
Hip Dysplasia
Medium $1,500-$6,000
Entropion Medium $300-$1,500
Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (Bloat) High $1,500-$7,500
Estimates based on claims paid by Embrace Pet Insurance


Pet Insurance for Cane Corsos

Pet insurance for Cane Corsos costs more than for mixed breed dogs. This is because Cane Corsos are more likely than mixed breed dogs to make claims for hereditary conditions that are expensive to treat.

pet insurance plans offer full coverage for all breed-specific conditions (excluding those that are pre-existing) to which Cane Corsos are susceptible. The best time to get pet insurance for your Cane Corso is when he’s a healthy puppy. You can’t predict what will happen in the future, and pet insurance is the one thing you can’t get when you need it the most.