The Cane Corso is a smart, trainable, assertive and confident breed. The Corso’s lineage begins in ancient Roman times, and the breed’s name roughly translates from Latin as “bodyguard dog.” When the Western Empire ended, Italy’s soldiers and the small population of surviving Corsi were out of work forcing them to adapt to civilian jobs such as boar hunting, farming, livestock steering, and guarding.
In the 1970s, a group of Italian enthusiasts came together to revive the breed. The Society of Cane Corso Lovers was formed in 1983. The first Corso import arrived in America in 1988, and in 2010 the breed was recognized by the AKC.
Cane Corso Appearance
Corsi are 23.5 to 27.5 inches tall, their length and weight are proportionate to their height averaging 99 to 120 pounds. They have large heads, alert expression, and muscles swelling beneath their short, stiff coat; Corsi are at a glance intimidating dogs. Cane Corso’s cropped ears are a fundamental aspect of Cane Corso tradition restoring a functional, upright ear.
The Cane Corso’s coat is short, but double-layered. The undercoat, which varies in length depending on the climate the dog lives in, sheds throughout the year, especially during shedding season in the spring. Coat colors vary from black, fawn, gray, red and a combination of brindle and they can have black or gray masks.
Weekly brushing, daily during shedding season, with a medium-bristle brush, a rubber grooming mitt or tool, will remove the dead hair, and it helps remove dirt and promotes new hair growth as well. Bathing may be done as needed.
Cane Corso’s life expectancy is 9 to 12 years. They are smart, assertive, confident, protective, and intensely loyal to their humans. Their striking appearance is their first line of defense against intruders. As with other big guardian dogs, early socialization with people and other dogs is essential. When he is properly raised, trained, and socialized, the Corso can be loving toward children. The Corso may get along with other dogs or cats if he is raised with them, but he will likely view strange animals as prey and do his best to kill them.
They need mental stimulation, in addition to regular training and exercise. Whether his job is greeting customers at a store, herding animals on a farm, or helping take care of children daily, this breed needs to do something. Additionally, they cannot be left in the yard for 8 to 10 hours a day while the owner is at work. If their mental stimulation needs are not met, they may begin disruptive behavior like fence fighting with a neighbor’s dog, digging holes, and chewing on things they are not supposed to.
They are extremely motivated to please their owners and they enjoy training using positive reinforcement. You must commit yourself to attending an 8 to 10-week series of lessons by a professional trainer. Training cannot be delegated to someone else, or by sending the dog away to “boarding school,” because the relationship of respect and obedience is personal between the dog and the individual who does the training.
Caring for a Cane Corso
Next, we’ll go into how you should care for a Cane Corso.
Cane Corsos do well when consuming high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured with meat listed as the first ingredient or home-prepared (with veterinarian’s supervision and approval). Fresh fruits and vegetables can also be included in the Corso diet. All diets need to be appropriate for the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). To avoid an overweight Corso, calorie consumption and weight level needs to be monitored. Although helpful in aiding training, giving too many treats will cause obesity. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times. Of course, a veterinarian is the best resource when there are questions regarding diet.
Cane Corsos need serious exercise. A brisk walk or run (which is the better of the two) of at least a mile in the morning and again in the evening will sustain their health and muscle tone. They make great companions on long walks, hikes, or bicycle rides. The Cane Corso was bred to work and is happiest when given a job to do. Many Cane Corsos compete in agility, obedience, dock diving, protection sport, and tracking events. Without enough exercise, these breeds may put on weight and vent their pent-up energy in ways you don’t like, such as barking, chewing, and digging.
Early socialization and puppy training classes with you are essential for Cane Corsos. Many Cane Corsos can be dominant and protective; socialization will help ensure that they grow into well-adjusted, well-mannered adults. Obedience training will keep them from becoming the boss in the household. Cane Corsos are intelligent and eager to please, so they are generally easy to train. Despite their appearance, Cane Corsos are all heart, and respond to love and rewards far better than to harsh corrections or training methods. With positive training and leadership, he can be greatly valuable as a defender of your home and family.
Cane Corsos are generally healthy dogs but may experience health conditions such as hip dysplasia, idiopathic epilepsy, demodex mange, and eyelid abnormalities. Large and deep-chested breeds are susceptible to bloat, a sudden, life-threatening stomach condition. Cane Corso owners should learn what signs to look out for, and what to do should they occur.
Cropping your Cane Corso’s ears not only prevents injuries, but will also result in a healthier life for your dog by helping to prevent ear infections, repeated trips to the vet, and antibiotic treatments for your dog. Corsi ears should be checked regularly for signs of infection. Cleaning ears can be done using commercially-available ear cleaning liquid, such as Vibram Epi-Otic, and a soft cloth or cotton balls. Never use cotton swabs as they may cause damage; only a veterinarian should perform cleaning with swabs.
When the dog is standing naturally, nails should not be touching the ground. Usually, nails need trimming every 2-3 weeks. You may use a nail clipper or a Dremel grinding tool. If clipping, simply cut off the hooked part or tip of the nail.
Teeth should be brushed often, using a toothpaste designed for dogs. Gum disease can lead to heart, liver, and kidney problems.