Cane Corso is a large breed, a descendant of the fighting dogs of Ancient Rome. For centuries, these intelligent and obedient dogs have served their masters, guarding their homes, helping on the hunt and in the field.
Other names: Italian Cane Corso, Italian Mastiff
- Breed name: Cane Corso
- Country of origin: Italy
- Weight: males 45-50 kg, females 40-45 kg
- Height (height at the withers): males 64-68 cm, females 60-64 cm
- Life Expectancy: 9-11 Years
Cane Corso Characteristics, History, Training and Health
- This dog has excellent guarding qualities. The territory in which the owner and family members live is considered his own space and is guarded with special care.
- Cane Corso by its nature is not aggressive, but if uninvited guests show up, they will undoubtedly feel the harsh disposition of the “Italian”.
- Representatives of the breed are solid and hardy, differ in intelligence and ingenuity, and need constant physical and mental activity.
- The Cane Corso shows dominant character traits in a pack, trying to lead. Some dog power can be difficult for inexperienced owners, so if this is the first time you decide to make yourself a four-legged friend, start with a representative of a different breed.
- Cane Corso can show aggression towards other dogs and animals, and to keep such emotions in check, puppies must be socialized from a very early age.
- Outwardly, they look imposing and unhurried, but this impression is deceiving. As real “temperamental Italians”, they willingly join the games, love to run and, in general, spend time actively.
- They get along well with children, becoming a reliable nanny for them. This is how the genes of distant ancestors – herding dogs, for which the owner and his family, including domestic animals, were objects of control – make themselves felt.
- Cane Corso is characterized by kindness and attentiveness. They are affectionate with the owner and require reciprocity.
As the fourteenth breed bred in Italy, the Cane Corso is this country’s pride and national treasure. In the character of the dogs, the selflessness of the shepherd and the courage of the fighting breeds are surprisingly intertwined, and also, the lively temperament of the Italians themselves is reflected.
Cane Corso has sensitivity and intuition; they are ready to protect the owner and his family at any time and in any situation, making them unsurpassed guards. If you live in a dog of this breed, there is no need for alarm systems.
Characteristics of the breed
Cane Corso has a long and glorious history dating back many centuries. Their most distant ancestors were the Tibetan mastiffs of antiquity. In those harsh times, when it was necessary to defend against many enemies and wild animals, such dogs were especially appreciated. These dogs evoke genuine respect and even some kind of awe today.
It is known that the first ancestor of modern “Italians” on the territory of modern Eurasia appeared 1 thousand years before our era. It was an aggressive Tibetan Great Dane, which was presented to the Chinese emperor, who appreciated in him such skill as the ability to catch people.
Since that time, they quickly began to spread across the mainland, becoming the ancestors of some other breeds. New dogs were bred for very specific purposes. In the same Roman Empire, they were used for dog fights, in military campaigns and, of course, as guards.
The first written records of giant Corso dogs date back to the XIV-XV centuries. Documents discovered by historians say that they participated in hunts and persecutions. In some areas, these dogs were used for grazing and guarding livestock. As for the official history of the breed, it usually dates back to the heyday of the Roman Empire.
Archaeological sites with multiple images of these majestic dogs have survived to this day. Corso accompanied their masters on military campaigns, looked after slaves and guarded entire palace complexes. After the fall of Ancient Rome, dogs were crossed with Celtic greyhounds, thereby infusing the breed with “new blood”. At the same time, they began to be used no longer as war dogs, but for hunting, for protecting farmland and driving livestock. All this went on for a long time,
The performance of a variety of tasks by dogs has made the breed versatile, which remains unchanged today. Since the Cane Corso have always been highly prized, the quality of their gene pool was carefully monitored. However, despite this, sad pages in the history of the breed could not be avoided.
During World War II, the Cane Corso, like many other breeds, was on the verge of extinction. These giants were actively used on the front lines, which, coupled with underfeeding and often hunger, crippled the breed.
But the Cane Corso did not disappear, and for this, humanity should be grateful to Giovanni Bonatti Nice, who showed perseverance and made titanic efforts to revive these proud, intelligent and majestic dogs. Invaluable help was rendered to him by like-minded people, who in 1983 gathered all over Italy all the purebred Cane Corso, preserved by some miracle.
Four years later, the breed standard appeared – the first one approved at the official level. This document gave an accurate description of the dogs and emphasized the traits that distinguished the Corso from other descendants of the Mastiffs. And although the breed received breeding registration only in 1994, before this event, more than 500 producers and several hundred puppies achieved recognition of experts and positive assessments from their side.
All this gave the green light to the development and spread of the Cane Corso: the number of dogs began to grow and, in a short time, exceeded 3,000 individuals. At the international show held in 1996, the representative of the revived Italian breed became the winner.
Features of the Cane Corso
The dog will guard the owner, his family members, and the entire adjoining territory. Protective qualities are inherent in the Cane Corso at the genetic level. Therefore they perform this function even without special training.
This giant gets along well with pets, even with those who are not too happy about his appearance in the house. He may have in his “friends” other dogs, including small breeds and cats and even birds.
Balance in these dogs is in the blood. Seeing that the guest is friendly with the host, the “Italian” will remain calm.
He will not be active if he feels a hidden threat, but he will clarify that the situation is under his control. The dog attacks only in two cases: if direct aggression is shown towards him or receives an appropriate command from the owner.
The Corso are cautious with the younger family members; this goes back to the times when they wandered with flocks and developed the instinct to protect everyone smaller and weaker.
These large dogs will never offend a child, even a stranger, but, on the contrary, will take care of him almost with a mother’s zeal. Children reciprocate these dogs and often involve them in their games, for example, doctors and hairdressers.
It is impossible to watch, without emotion and laughter, how the little crumb “treats” the dog or tries to do his hair, and Corso humbly endures. True, at the very beginning, he will try to sneak away from the little “doctor”, but if he fails, he resignedly takes away all the “procedures”.
During games, the Cane Corso can accidentally, completely without malicious intent, slightly push the child. If you are worried that another shock like this could lead to the baby’s fall, then command the dog “Sit!” or “Lie down!”
Appearance and special features of the breed
The Cane Corso or Italian Mastiff is a large dog with prominent muscles. The body is characterized by the so-called stretched format when the length is greater than the height at the withers. The latter indicator is 64-68 cm for males, 60-64 cm for bitches. The dog’s size should not be surprising because the breed was bred for security, hunting and combat needs. Adult dogs weigh, depending on gender, 45-50 kg and 40-45 kg, respectively.
Cane Corso Italiano impresses with strength, beauty and power; they are incredibly charismatic. Representatives of this breed move gracefully, resembling panthers in their gait. Being close to the dog, you feel protected, and you know for sure that you will not be betrayed.
Cane Corso’s identity, appearance features, and unique skills have been passed down from generation to generation for many centuries. Much has been preserved in the Italian Mastiffs from the Molossian Great Danes, their closest ancestors, but the breeding activity has adjusted. These dogs are not only reliable bodyguards but, despite their stern appearance, are loyal and good friends.
Cane Corso has an athletic build, and their appearance gives them uncompromising guards and real defenders. They look presentable and elegant at the same time: a powerful body, broad chest, well-developed shoulders, a muzzle typical for all Molossians, and a confident gait. Dogs of this breed are predominantly black, brown and brindle colors.
The character of the “Italian” consists of solid merits: he is mentally balanced, predictable, easy to train, very loyal to his master and never shows unreasonable aggression. Such qualities are inherent in many representatives of the Molossian group, for example, the English Bulldog and the Dogue de Bordeaux. If bad traits begin to appear in the dog’s behaviour, the reason should be sought in poor upbringing, but not in natural predisposition.
The Cane Corso’s head is broad rather than long. Covered with thick leather, there are no folds on the muzzle. The muzzle, in turn, corresponds to the skull in a 1: 2 ratio; that is, it is short. But at the same time, it is wide and voluminous, square in shape, flat and strong.
This dog has 42 teeth; they are white and strong. The jaws are large, powerful, curved. Because the lower jaw protrudes slightly forward, the bite is characterized as a slight undershot.
Oval in shape, widespread on the face. Their color depends on the dog’s colour, but the darker it is, the better. The eyelids are black-pigmented.
Naturally, the ears of the Cane Corso are slightly oversized and wide apart, with a snug fit to the head. Covered with smooth, shiny hair, they taper towards the ends and hang down close to the dog’s cheeks. They can be stopped by shaping an equilateral triangle.
Nose and lips
The nose is black and large; the nostrils are wide open. The lips are firm and not too saggy. The upper lips cover the lower jaw, thus completely defining the lower part of the muzzle profile.
The neck of the Cane Corso is strong, muscular, in proportion to the body, but not too bulky, giving the dog some elegance. It is equal in length to the length of the head.
The constitution of the Cane Corso is strong; the body is somewhat longer compared to the height at the withers. The withers are pronounced, protruding above the long, wide and slightly sloping croup. The ribcage reaches the level of the elbows, it is wide and well developed. The back is straight and well-muscled. The convexity of the ribs is moderate.
The tail of the Cane Corso is naturally long and reaching to the hock joints, set high and thick at the base. Does not rise or bend vertically. The tail is docked along the fourth vertebra.
The forelimbs are characterized by long, oblique and highly developed shoulder blades. The shoulders and forearms are strong, the metacarpus and wrist are elastic. Feline forefeet with firm pads and strong nails. The paws are oval in shape, the toes are gathered into a ball.
The hind legs at the thigh are wide and long, the backline of the thighs arched. Strong lower legs and slightly angular hock. Powerful and sinewy metatarsus. The hind legs are also oval, with elastic pads and strong claws, the toes are gathered in a lump.
Due to these characteristics, the Cane Corso move with a wide stride; they have a large and sweeping trot.
The skin is thick and tight to the body. The coat of the Cane Corso is very thick but with a sparse undercoat, short and glossy. If it is of medium length, devoid of rigidity and wavy, this refers to the serious shortcomings of the breed.
Here the breed standard allows for a great deal of variety. In addition to the traditional black, light red, auburn and brindle colors, Cane Corso can be light grey, lead (medium grey) and slate (dark grey), as well as red (fawn color). Small white blotches are allowed, but only on the legs’ chest, nose, and ends.
Note: red and brindle Cane Corso should have a black or grey mask on their muzzle that does not go beyond the line of the eyes.
Disadvantages that spoil the breed include, among other things, growth below or above the norm, partial depigmentation of the nose, constantly moving into an amble, scissor bite, rolled up a donut or standing upright tail undershot with significant retreat.
Is your pet being aggressive? This is a severe defect to which he will face disqualification. The same verdict will be given to a fearful or openly cowardly animal.
In general, any Italian Mastiff in which behavioral or physiological abnormalities are very clearly expressed should be disqualified. These also include overshot, the so-called ram’s nose, sunken bridge of the nose, squint, eyesore, incomplete or complete depigmentation of the eyelids, long or soft hair with unacceptable color and large white spots.
Developed testicles of males are considered a sign of the health of the Cane Corso. There are two of them, and they should be wholly descended into the scrotum.