Originally from ancient Rome, the Cane Corso is a Mastiff-type canine, once found throughout Italy. Today, these large dogs are worldwide, where they double as farmhands, police dogs, and family companions. A powerful working breed, Cane Corsos are strong, protective, and loyal.
Cane Corsos make excellent protection and guard dogs, but you need to train and socialize them to fill that role. Because of their instinctual drive to protect, Cane Corsos could hurt unassuming strangers in their attempts to "protect.” With strong leadership, Cane Corsos make great home defenders.
This article will discuss a brief history of Cane Corsos, their body type, their role as protectors and defenders, if they turn on their owners, and whether the breed is right for you. Read on to learn more.
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The Cane Corso is a descendant of the Molossus, an ancient Greek dog with a strong, muscular frame. The Molossi tribe used these dogs for hunting and guarding livestock. When the Roman Empire conquered Greece, they seized many of these dogs and later bred them with native breeds in Italy. The Cane Corso was a result of this interbreeding.
The Romans were impressed by the power and imposing nature of the breed and thus began using them in war. Cane Corsos were in high demand as war beasts, thanks to their strength, agility, and fearlessness. Roman Warriors would attach buckets of oil to the Cane Corso's back and light them on fire before sending the dog to charge enemy lines. These courageous canines were even matched up with lions in Roman arenas. Fearless, indeed.
The title "Cane Corso" was derived from the Latin "Cohors," which loosely translates to "Guardian." Needless to say, these massive, powerful canines live up to their name. Throughout time, the Cane Corso has symbolized strength, power, and loyalty. Even today, they’re considered an ideal companion for protection and guardianship.
Learn More...You'll find additional fascinating details about the history of this breed from this page on our site.
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When you imagine Roman warriors, you probably imagine ripped, fierce, muscular men. Well, their dogs weren't much different. While not bulky like other Mastiff-type canines, Cane Corsos are a solid mass of lean, rippling muscle, not unlike Roman soldiers. After all, these dogs were considered warriors themselves.
They’re large breed dogs related to the massive Neapolitan Mastiff (another descendant of the Molossus). Males stand up to 28 inches (70 cm) at the shoulders and weigh up to 110 pounds (50 kg), and females are slightly smaller. They have large heads with a self-assured look in their eyes. Despite their imposing size, these fierce canines are fast on their feet and impressively agile.
Assertive and confident, Cane Corsos are unlikely to flee when faced with a threat. In situations where socially submissive breeds might back down, the self-assured Cane Corso prepares for a fight. They’re fiercely loyal and will do whatever necessary to protect their family, even if it means putting themselves in harm's way. They’re natural protectors.
Because of this instinctive nature to protect, Cane Corsos must be appropriately trained and socialized. They’ll naturally ward off any strangers with intimidation. Without training and socialization, a Cane Corso can injure innocent bystanders if he deems them a threat.
As one of the world's strongest dogs with an incredible bite force of 700 psi, a bite on a stranger could be fatal. After all, this breed could hunt large game, including bears, deer, and wild boar. Their primary role, however, was that of a guard dog.
Cane Corsos are intimidating, and this robust, menacing appearance is often enough to ward off intruders. Despite their frightening appearance, they have a cool demeanor and a serious expression—precisely what you’d expect from anyone tasked with guarding you or your family. Their intelligent, loyal, and confident temperament makes them a perfect fit for this job.
Athletic and energetic, the Cane Corso is also quiet and serious around the home when well-exercised. They don't often bark in comfortable settings but will alert their owners of threats via barking and growling. They don’t take kindly to strangers, including people and other animals.
This robust breed is still prevalent in Italy as a guard dog. They sleep with the flock and protect livestock from wolves and other large, wild game. A Cane Corso will repel strangers from homes, buildings, and barns. They protect their flock and owners, herd cattle, and assist farmers with pushing animals to slaughter.
These dogs love their families and will show endless loyalty. There’s a reason that they've been considered a faithful, loyal companion for centuries. In short, they make excellent protectors. However, they're not the perfect breed for everyone.
While Cane Corsos aren’t inherently dangerous, they’re fiercely loyal dogs that require an owner with a calm, self-assertive personality. When not properly trained and socialized, they can become aggressive. This breed is notoriously stubborn, so they need a firm, confident owner.
Canines live in social hierarchies with a pack leader. A dog owner's job is to assert their position as the pack leader so that the Cane Corso respects him as the boss. This breed tends to be socially dominant, so without true benevolent, calm, non-bullying leadership, a Cane Corso will assume the role on his own. This can lead to unpleasant or downright intolerable consequences.
Cane Corso owners must properly train and socialize these powerful, protective dogs. Irresponsible owners can cause negative behavioral traits in the breed, including dominant characteristics such as:
Because these dogs tend toward social dominance, you must assert yourself early on. If you feel as though you cannot do so, a Cane Corso isn’t the breed for you. Many Cane Corsos end up in shelters because of the lack of (or improper) training.
These dogs are confident and highly intelligent. Without strong leadership, they can outsmart even the most brilliant owner and rule the house. Worst case scenario? The dog attacks an innocent stranger because they weren't properly socialized and trained.
The Cane Corso has the potential to grow into a 110-pound self-assured beast, so they aren’t suitable for everyone. This robust breed requires extensive training, socialization, exercise, mental stimulation, space, and significant meals. Therefore, they need an experienced owner who is willing to dedicate the time and energy to raising a respectful, well-trained dog.
Basic obedience training is an absolute necessity. Cane Corsos must know all basic commands and follow them despite temptation. You must enforce rules constantly, and owners must give positive reinforcement. If a Cane Corso grows up without rules, he’ll make his own, often with detrimental results. Fortunately, Cane Corsos are eager to please their owners and are relatively easy to train.
In addition to training and socialization, a Cane Corso requires daily exercise and mental stimulation. A bored dog is an unruly dog. Every day, you should dedicate at least one hour to exercising your Cane Corso. Apartment living is not ideal unless you have nearby access to an open field or dog park that you plan to use daily.
A Cane Corso's large size means that they will eat more than other breeds. They may require a special diet because of their physical needs. Supplements are also a good idea to prevent problems such as hip dysplasia. These dogs have an average life expectancy of 9 to 11 years, so unless you're willing to spend the next decade training, caring for, and loving a dog, you should probably stick to houseplants instead.
While a Cane Corsos large size is enough to deter unwanted intruders, these gentle giants are much more than their size. They’re intelligent, loving, intensely loyal, and protective. Early socialization and training are vital for their physical and mental well-being. With good training and leadership, a Cane Corso will be an invaluable protector of your home and family.