Cane Corso Dog Care Guide
From Puppy to Adult

The Cane Corso is a powerful, large, and muscular dog breed from Italy. He has a commanding and intimidating appearance that's sure to strike fear in some people. However, he's a lovable and affectionate family companion, and because of his size and personality, a Cane Corso needs different care than most other breeds.  

As a large breed and working dog, the Cane Corso needs regular exercise and mental stimulation. Training and socialization must start at an early age because of his dominant and territorial nature.  Also, Cane Corsos don't shed heavily and need to be brushed 2 to 3 times a week to remove dead hair.

If you're considering buying or adopting a Cane Corso, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to care for him, including his nutrition needs, exercise requirements, training, socialization, and potential health problems, from puppy to adulthood. Read More Below...

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Beautiful black Cane Corso mastiff


Cane Corso Puppy Care

For Adult Care click here

Diet and Nutrition

The Cane Corso is a large dog breed, so he'll have different feeding requirements than other breeds. It's best to feed your puppy a high-quality food to ensure proper growth and development. Your Cane Corso puppy needs a diet high in calories, and balanced in nutrients to help him develop into a strong adult dog. 

If you feed your puppy adult food, he won't get all the important nutrients he needs. You should feed your Cane Corso puppy 4 meals a day, and work it down to 2 a day when he is 6 months old.

Here are other guidelines from the American Kennel Club for feeding your Cane Corso:

  • From the sixth to twelfth week, feed your puppy four times a day.

  • Add in some unmoistened dry food around 9 or 10 weeks.

  • Reduce his meals to 3 times a day at about 3 to 6 months.

  • Reduce it further to 2 times a day at about 6 to 12 months.

  • When your dog is 12 months old, switch completely to adult food.

His food should also be high in protein and low in fat. It should also contain plenty of vitamins and minerals for his overall health. Cane Corso puppies tend to eat very quickly, so divide your dog's food into portions appropriate to his age and size to avoid making him overweight. To encourage proper feeding habits, feed him regular amounts at regular times of the day, in other words get them on a regular schedule.

Watch the number of treats you give him during training as too many treats can lead to obesity. If your dog is begging for more food, do your best to resist his pleading gaze. Talk to your vet if you're concerned about your dog's weight or diet.

What Is The Best Food For A Cane Corso Puppy?

Your Cane Corso puppy needs a diet appropriate for large dog breeds. To ensure your puppy gets all the nutrients he needs to grow into a healthy adult, it's best to feed him minimally-processed foods. If you're wondering which dog food is best for your Cane Corso puppy, we've rounded up some of the foods that best match your dog's nutrient needs from Amazon.com

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula (from Amazon)

This dog food is specially designed for large breed puppies such as the Cane Corso. It provides your puppy with Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for healthy and shining skin. It is also loaded with vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals to keep your dog's immune system healthy.

The Blue Buffalo life protection formula contains real meat (chicken and chicken meal), vegetables, fruits, and whole grains to provide your puppy with the nutrients he needs during his growing stage. The kibble size is small for easy chewing and to allow the removal of tartar buildup.

Wellness Core Large Breed Puppy (from Amazon)

The two main ingredients in this dog food are deboned chicken and chicken meal. This food is naturally preserved by chicken fat and salmon oil, which aids cognitive development and improves coat health.

Wellness Core offers your Cane Corso puppy vitamins and minerals to give him a strong immune system and contains spinach, bananas, and broccoli. It contains optimum levels of calcium and phosphorus for healthy bone development.


Many Cane Corso owners swear by raw food diets for their Canes. These diets stay away from processed meals and stick strictly to the dogs natural drive for raw meats and vegetables...they really are very healthy alternatives to manufactured wet or dry foods.


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Grooming A Cane Corso Puppy

You may need to train your Cane Corso puppy for grooming as he may not stand still during grooming sessions. You can do this using commands and treats. Training your dog at such an early age for grooming makes things easier when he becomes an adult.

Hair

Cane Corsos shed year-round but not heavily. He'll need basic brushing 2 to 3 times a week to remove loose hair. He'll shed more during molting periods, which will require everyday brushing. We recommend using a bristle brush, hound glove, or rubber grooming mitt for brushing him.

Hygiene

Give your dog a proper bath using dog shampoo every 30 days or when needed. If your puppy gets dirty from playing in the backyard, be sure to bath him. Not bathing a dirty coat can cause infection in dogs. Use commands like "Bath," so he can learn and become accustomed to the experience. You can also give your dog rewards or praise him to make him cooperate.

During molting season, ensure you bathe him every 6 to 7 days to maintain good hygiene. Your puppy may be reluctant to bathe, so we suggest having everything ready before getting started. It's also best to use the sink for your Cane Corso puppy as a large amount of water in a bathtub can be terrifying for him.

Nails

Like all dogs, you'll need to trim your Cane Corso's nails regularly, at least once a month. This will help prevent painful tears and other problems when walking or running. Your dog toenails contain a blood vessel and nerve, so avoid cutting his nails too short as it can lead to bleeding. If you don't know how to trim his nails, ask a vet or groomer.

Ears

Apart from his coat and nails, you also need to take care of your dog's ears. Mud, earwax, and dirt can accumulate in his ears and lead to infections and hearing problems. It is recommended to clean your dog's ears every 3 to 4 days. Don't go deep into the ear canal; just clean the outer ear.

Teeth

To prevent dental decay and diseases, brush your dog's teeth regularly with a doggie toothpaste and toothbrush. Also, check your puppy's eyes and nose and clean off any purulent discharge. You can use a napkin to clean his eye corners and a soft fabric or tissue to wipe his nose.

If your Cane Corso puppy has bad breath, it could be a sign that it's time for an oral screening. Bad breath caused by dental plaque will require the attention of a professional. After your puppy has gone through professional oral cleaning, brush his teeth regularly with a child's soft toothbrush or doggie toothbrush.

Also, feed him a calcium-rich diet that will benefit his tooth health and avoid giving him table food. Use a regular doggie toothpaste or homemade baking soda to brush your puppy's teeth twice weekly to remove plaque buildup and improve overall dental health.

We also recommend consulting your veterinarian to check for any oral diseases such as periodontal disease. Sometimes, bad bread can be a result of underlying health conditions such as kidney disease.

As you groom your puppy, check his body for rashes, sores, redness, tenderness, and any other sign of infection in his nose, mouth, and eyes.


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Track the growth of your Cane with these downloadable PDF’s.…Click Here

Cane Corso Pet Planner PDFs…These 11 downloads will help you keep track of your dog’s health, grooming, expenses, vaccination records and more…Click Here

How Much Exercise Does A Cane Corso Puppy Need?

Physical Exercise

Exercising a Cane Corso puppy can be tricky. This is because his musculoskeletal system is only fully developed when he is about 18 months old. So, while Cane Corsos generally need a lot of physical activity to stay in shape, you should only take him on shorter and slower walks.

Check your Cane Corso puppy for signs such as panting, lagging, or lying down during walks. End the walk if you notice signs of tiredness.

Mental Stimulation

For mental stimulation, allow your puppy to play with other dogs, and let him challenge his mind with puzzle toys. You should also try scenting and nose-based games with him and provide him with chew toys. You can also play hide and seek with him or the round-robin game where three or more persons grab a handful of treats and call his name to give him a treat.

You must dedicate time to keep your puppy entertained so that he doesn't get bored and start displaying destructive or other unwanted behaviors. You also need to provide a large enough space for him to run around. Your compound or backyard should also have a high fence as these dogs can jump high obstacles and escape.

Training Your Cane Corso Puppy

Cane Corso puppies are not very difficult to train. They are loving, intelligent, calm-natured, and eager to please.

Your puppy's training should begin the day you bring him home. Although he's still young at that point, he's very intelligent and can quickly learn everything you teach him. If you wait until he's six months old before you begin training, you risk having a troublesome dog to train.

If you can't take your puppy to a training class early enough due to certain requirements and vaccinations, you can start training and socialization at home until he meets formal puppy training requirements.

  • Start with light training with your puppy as puppies tend to learn more between 3 and 12 weeks old.

  • You'll need to teach your Cane Corso puppy basic commands. Between 10 to 12 weeks, get him into puppy kindergarten class to start socializing early.

  • Establish the behaviors and habits you want and be firm about those you don't want.

  • Don't be angry or violent toward your puppy. Like all dogs, positive reinforcement or reward-based training is best used with the Cane Corso.

You can find even more helpful training articles on our site by Clicking Here

Socializing a Cane Corso Puppy

Socialization is the basis of your dog's education. It's best to start socialization for your Cane Corso as early as eight weeks old. If you purchase your puppy from a breeder who raises his dogs in his home, your dog may already be exposed to some household sights and sounds.

Once you purchase your puppy and he's taking his vaccinations, enroll him in a puppy kindergarten class and continue socializing him throughout his life. Introduce him to friends and neighbors, and new places, sounds, smells, and animals. He'll learn at such an early age what is normal and what is truly a threat.

Naturally, Cane Corsos are dominant and protective, so early socialization will shape him into a friendly, well-mannered, and loving dog. If possible, take some treats with you whenever you take him out for a walk. Let each new person he meets give him a treat. He'll be able to associate meeting a new person with receiving treats.

This page on our site has some creative socializing ideas for Mastiffs

Potential Health Problems of a Cane Corso Puppy

Cane Corsos may develop health problems later in life, but their puppies also have some health concerns.

If you live in a hot, humid climate, check your puppy regularly for ticks and fleas. A flea comb can help to remove ticks, fleas, and other parasites. You can also purchase a flea collar or use a flea and tick shampoo to wash your dog once or twice a month. You may also talk to your vet about other options.

Your puppy may also be allergic to certain things, including pollen, dust, grasses, flea bites, and some foods. If your dog has any allergies, visit your vet to discuss his allergies and what to do about it.

Avoid overfeeding your puppy to avoid making him obese, which puts him at risk of diabetes, heart diseases, liver, stomach, intestine, kidney, and joint problems. Overfeeding may also lead to bloating (Gastric dilatation volvulus), a condition to which large dog and deep-chested breeds are more susceptible.

Avoid feeding your Cane Corso foods such as raisins or grapes, onions or garlic, coffee or chocolate, tomato leaves or unripe fruit, alcohol, beer, liquor, and salt or salty foods.

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Adult Cane Corso Care

The needs of an adult Cane Corso are different from that of a puppy. You want the best for your dog, so read on to learn how to keep him healthy and happy.

Diet and Nutrition

Just like humans, each dog has different nutritional needs. The amount of food your adult Cane Corso needs depends on his age, build, size, metabolism, and activity level. The recommended daily amount for an adult Cane Corso is 4 to 5 cups of dry dog food a day. It's best to divide it into two meals to reduce the risk of bloating and stomach torsion.

Senior dogs have different feeding requirements. When your Cane Corso reaches the age of about seven or eight, you need to feed him a well-balanced diet that is low in fat and calories and high in fiber. He will become less active and have a slower metabolism, so his diet must be rich in other nutrients such as essential fatty acids and antioxidants.

Also, because the Cane Corso is a working dog, he tends to lose muscle mass as he gets old, so it is important to feed him a diet rich in protein to provide his body with enough amino acids.

Older dogs tend to easily gain weight than adult dogs because they have a slower metabolism, so be careful not to overfeed him. You may continue feeding your senior Cane Corso twice a day, but it's best to feed him smaller portions. Monitor his body condition and adjust his meal accordingly to maintain the ideal weight.

The quality of food you feed your Cane Corso is also important. Your dog's diet can impact his level of satiety, weight, energy, muscle health, and overall well-being. While cheap foods are easier on the pocket, it's best to spend a little extra on premium foods.

Always check the food label for the ingredients, feeding guidelines, and nutritional adequacy. If you're unsure, talk to your vet.

Avoid feeding your Cane Corso foods such as raisins or grapes, onions or garlic, coffee or chocolate, tomato leaves or unripe fruit, alcohol, beer, liquor, and salt or salty foods.

Here's two additional articles of ours that cover the topic of Cane Corso feeding in much greater depth...

Feeding Your Cane Corso Guide: We cover all you'll need to know from puppy to adult. We cover scheduling, amounts as well as best food recommendations.

Raw Feeding For Cane Corsos: Feeding your Cane raw foods instead of processed is considered to be the healthiest diet of all. Check this page out to see if it's right for you.

Grooming Needs

The Cane Corso has a short coat, so it does not require a lot of grooming. You can take care of your pup at home without taking him to the groomers. However, it may be a bit of a challenge because of his large size. Depending on the climate you live in, you'll need to brush his coat once or twice a week.

During shedding season in the spring, you'll need to brush him daily with a bristle brush, glooming glove, or slicker brush to remove dead hair and dirt. You can also use a coat conditioner or polish to brighten his coat and repel dust and dirt.

Also, check his ears and clean it regularly with a soft cotton ball or pad. Trim his nails once or twice a month or if you can hear them clicking on the floor. Dental health is very important for an adult Cane Corso, so ensure you brush his teeth every 2 to 3 days at least. This will help to prevent tartar and plaque buildup. Be sure to use the right toothpaste and brush.

Lastly, bathe him at least every 30 days. Grooming your adult Cane Corso will be easier if he has been accustomed to it from a very young age.

We have a whole page dedicated to Cane grooming, for more info Click Here

Cane Corso Exercise Requirements

Physical Exercise

An adult Cane Corso has high energy levels, and you must dedicate time to exercise him daily. Plan to take your dog on a walk or jog for at least a mile in the morning and evening. Ideally, you should take him on a walk for at least 40 to 60 minutes daily. You can also take him as a companion on long walks, bicycle rides, or hikes.

You can use a weighted vest or dog backpack to add more resistance during walks. You can try out other activities and games with your Cane Corso, including weight pulling, jolly ball, frisbee toss, backyard agility, flirt pole, tug of war, spring pole, and stair exercise. You can also try out other high-intensity activities and strength training with your dog.

Mental Stimulation

Apart from physical exercise, Cane Corsos need mental stimulation. To ensure the right mental stimulation for your dog, provide him with a job. As mentioned earlier, Cane Corsos strive under high levels of stress.

Give him a job like herding livestock (if you own some), practice obedience skills, learn new tricks, or engage in a dog sport. Ensure you spend up to 20 to 30 minutes on these types of activities.

Without the opportunity to release all his stored-up energy, he can develop behavioral problems such as barking, growling, digging, and aggressive and destructive behavior. He may even try to escape on his own.

You can break it up into different sections—for example, 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening. In total, you should be exercising your dog for at least 60 to 90 minutes a day. Ensure you have a solid, secure fence well rooted in the ground to prevent your dog from running loose.

As your dog becomes older, reduce the amount and level of exercise to avoid joint and muscle problems.

Training Your Cane Corso

Depending on how you trained your dog from an early age, your adult Cane Corso should be easy to train.

Instead of using harsh corrections and training methods, show your dog love and use positive reinforcement and reward-based training. This method has several benefits as it allows everyone, including your kids, to get involved in the training. It also allows you to establish proper communication with your dog and strengthen your bond with him.

Be firm but don't hit your dog. Not only does it send a wrong message to your dog, but it can also be dangerous for a big and powerful dog like the Cane Corso. Recognize any dominant behaviors and act accordingly.

For Additional Reading...

Be sure to check out our Mastiff training tips page for additional strategies.
Also, visit our training collar review page for our recommendations pertaining to these helpful devices.

Socializing A Cane Corso

For a breed as big and strong as the Cane Corso, socialization is a must. Early and proper socialization will make him loving and protective of every member of the family. However, because the Cane Corso is naturally a guard dog, no amount of socialization will make him completely friendly toward strangers.

If you buy or adopt an adult Cane Corso, he must have undergone some level of socialization somewhere, either with his breeder or previous owner. Even if he missed puppy socialization, you could still help him socialize with his new environment by slowly introducing him to new people, places, sights, smells, animals, and sounds.

Use the appropriate amount of praise and treats to help him overcome any fear or hesitation he may have.

For some great socialization ideas be sure to check out this helpful article of ours.

Common Health Problems of a Cane Corso Adult

Cane Corsos are generally healthy dogs, but as with all breeds, they can develop a variety of health problems. Here are some common health problems you should be aware of:

  • Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is the disorientation of the hip joint where the ball and socket do not fit properly. It is common in large breed dogs like the Cane Corso. Some of the symptoms include lameness in the rear legs, decreased activity, pain, stiffness, loss of thigh, muscle mass, and decreased range of motion.
  • Gastric Torsion: This condition can be life-threatening if not properly treated. It occurs when the stomach becomes distended or overstretched due to excessive gas. This causes the stomach to rotate and block blood flow to the heart and stomach lining. Symptoms include restlessness, retching, excessive salivation, swollen stomach.
  • Eye Problems: Cane Corsos can suffer from a range of eye problems, including entropion – inward rolling of the eyelids, ectropion – inversion or rolling out of the lower eyelid; and cherry eye – cherry-like protrusion of the third eyelid gland.

Other potential health problems include idiopathic epilepsy and demodex mange.

This article of ours has more in depth coverage about the health issues of this breed.

Conclusion

The Cane Corso may be a large breed dog and well, just a little intimidating, but he is extremely affectionate and friendly. This dog takes his responsibility seriously and is for anyone serious about having a large dog as a sweet companion.

However, if you don't have strong leadership skills and a self-assertive personality, we don't advise getting a Cane Corso. Cane Corsos have a socially dominant personality, and he will be ready to take over the household if you let him.

With the right training, socialization, exercising, and grooming, your Cane Corso can grow into a wonderful family companion and protector. He's intelligent, smart, loyal, keen to please, and very trainable.

Visit These Helpful Pages Of Ours For More Information On How To Care For Your Cane Corso...


  1. Mastiff Guide Home
  2. Cane Corsos
  3. Cane Corso Dog Care Guide