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The Cane Corso is a mastiff-type dog that originated in Italy. The breed has many names including Cane Corso mastiff, Italian mastiff, Cane Corso Italiano, or Corso. The breed typically weighs 45–50 kilograms and measures 60–68 centimetres tall.
Corso is a large dog with high exercise needs. This breed is intelligent but can be challenging to train. It is more suitable for experienced owners than first-time dog owners or families with very small kids.
Is a Cane Corso on your pet wish list? Here is a brief background of this protective and loyal dog.
The Cane Corso is a descendant of mastiff-type dogs called ‘Canis Pugnax.’ These canines were used by the Romans in combat.
The Cane Corso is a bit lighter in build compared to its giant breed predecessors but still maintains a striking look. The breed is closely related to the Neapolitan Mastiff, which is its larger counterpart.
The Cane Corso was used as a dog of conquest and earned its stripes as “pireferi.” This title means a fearless dog that attacks the enemy lines with buckets of flaming oil strapped to its back. The original Cane Corso was believed to be larger than its modern-day version, which has a slimmer body.
After the disintegration of the Western Empire in the fifth century, the breed lost its usefulness in battle. It was then used as a catch dog for various civilian jobs in Italy such as herding, hunting, guarding, and other rural activities. In fact, its name “Cane de Corso” refers to its utilisation.
The Cane Corso breed helped farmers in herding livestock; it was unfortunately also used as a fighting dog in arenas.
During the mid-20th century, the Cane Corso was left jobless and on the brink of extinction. It was caused by several factors including modernised farming, economic and political upheavals, and World Wars.
Only a few survived in the remote areas of southern Italy in the 1970s. Fortunately, two breed fanciers named Dr Pablo Breber and Giovanni Bonnetti initiated efforts to save the breed.
In 1974, Breber obtained dogs needed to start the breeding program. However, although breed rescue groups and enthusiasts put in the effort to recover it, the breed’s numbers are still low to this day.
The Cane Corso gained more attention from dog clubs and dog enthusiasts after it was featured in a magazine article.
In 1983, the Society Amorati Cane Corso (Society of Cane Corso Lovers) was established. Ten years later, the breed was exhibited in European dog shows.
The Cane Corso dog was recognised by the Italian Kennel Club in 1994 and the American Kennel Club in 2004. The UK Kennel Club is yet to recognise the Cane Corso.
This large dog breed is handsome, powerful, and well-muscled. It is less bulky compared to other mastiff-type dogs. The Cane Corso weighs 40–50 kilograms and stands 60–68 centimetres at the withers.
It has a large and imposing head, which is said to be its most important feature. Its muzzle is flat, wide, and rectangular, whilst its jaw is slightly undershot. It has dark, almond-shaped eyes that are always alert, a black nose with open nostrils, and triangular ears.
The Corso’s outercoat is short, dense, and glossy, paired with a light undercoat. It comes in various colours such as black, grey, fawn, and stag red, and may or may not have brindling. This breed tends to have a little white spot on its chest, toes, and the bridge of its nose.
The Cane Corso is a low to moderate shedder. It sheds throughout the year, especially during its shedding season in the spring. Although the breed has a short coat, it is considered as non-hypoallergenic since it produces lots of dander. It is not recommended for dog lovers suffering from allergies.
Grooming-wise, the breed is rather low-maintenance. It only needs a weekly brushing using a rubber grooming mitt, a medium-bristle brush, or a hound glove.
However, during the shedding season, brushing should be done daily. This will keep dead or loose furs from scattering around your home. It also promotes hair growth.
Baths should be done occasionally to avoid stripping the dog’s coat of its natural oils. Consider investing in a coat conditioner or polisher to add more glossiness to its coat.
To keep the Cane Corso dog’s ears clean and dry to avoid infections. The nails should be regularly trimmed when they touch the ground whilst walking and/or when you hear a click on the floor. Also, take time to inspect if the dog has red spots on the skin or any ticks or fleas.
Cane Corso dogs with very floppy jowls tend to slobber more compared to those with shorter jowls. Make sure to keep a clean towel with you to wipe the drool.
To prevent saliva drool all over the house, you might want to move his food and water bowls outside. Then, wipe the dog’s mouth before allowing him back inside.
Following a consistent feeding schedule also helps in reducing the Cane’s doggy slobber. It will prevent excessive drooling as he waits for you to serve him food.
The Cane Corso is a serious working dog that is loyal and reliable. It may be protective by nature, but it is gentle and loving, especially to its family. It develops a strong bond with one person, particularly the most involved in providing for its needs.
The Cane Corso is best suited for families with older children who know how to interact with dogs properly. Because of the Corso’s large size and prey drive, it is not a good playmate for toddlers. It usually gets along with other medium-size pets especially when raised together.
The Corso does not easily trust strangers and tends to be distant and wary. This makes it an effective guard dog. However, it is important to keep a watchful eye when children’s friends come over. That’s because the Corso is very protective. It may wrongly judge a situation when kids become too boisterous.
Early socialisation with various people and animals, as well as exposing it to different places and situations will make it a well-rounded dog. It also helps in ensuring that the breed has a sound judgment as a guard dog.
This breed is highly intelligent and trainable, especially because it loves to please its owners. However, the Corso is a challenging breed to raise. Thus, it is not suited for first-time owners. It needs an experienced owner that is firm and authoritative.
Avoid rigid and rough training methods though. It can lead to the development of undesirable behaviours and may even break your bond with your dog. Focus on positive reinforcement and reward-based training instead to motivate your dog.
The alpha role in the household needs to be established early, so it can accept its place in the pack. It is also best suited for active owners that love the outdoors. It is definitely not an apartment dog and would thrive in the countryside. Too much idle time could lead to destructive behaviour.
A typical serving for an adult Cane Corso is 4 - 5 cups of excellent-quality dry dog food per day. As a large dog prone to bloat, measure its food, divide it into two meals, and avoid free-feeding.
Typical daily calorie needs of an adult Cane Corso weighing 45 kilos:
You can feed your Cane Corso home-made (raw/cooked) or commercial food, whichever is practical for you. However, if you choose to make its food, make sure you ask a vet what supplements it requires. This way nutrient deficiencies can be avoided.
On the other hand, when you choose to buy commercial dog food, only purchase high-quality dog food with fewer ingredients, high protein, and no artificial flavourings and fillers.
The Cane Corso is generally healthy and can live up to 10-11 years. However, he may develop health problems predisposed to its breed. It can suffer various health issues, including:
The best way to prevent your dog from developing these health conditions is by getting it from a reputable Cane Corso breeder who screens their dogs. This ensures that the litters they produce are at less risk of having genetic diseases.
The suggested health tests for the Cane Corso are hip and elbow evaluation and cardiac exam.
The Cane Corso was bred as a working breed with different jobs, so naturally, it needs a lot of exercises. It needs at least eighty minutes’ worth of physically and mentally draining activities. It usually craves the outdoors and loves joining its owner in its physical undertakings.
The Cane Corso is prone to overheating as its short coat can’t protect it from the heat. To keep him safe from heatstroke, be sure to walk him during the coolest parts of the day.
Beware that Cane Corso puppies have fragile joints, bones, and ligaments. Avoid overexercising and allowing them to jump up and down on surfaces as it can strain and damage their body.
The cost of owning a Cane Corso is relevantly high because it is a large dog with plenty of needs. You may need to pay around £1,000–£2,000 for a well-bred Cane Corso puppy. The breed is rare in the UK, so you are likely to be on a waiting list.
Necessities such as a bed, lead, grooming essentials, and toys will cost around £200. Food and treat costs for this big dog can be around £50 a month.
Veterinary costs, including routine health checks, vaccinations, and deworming, can reach £1,000 for the first year. Less for the following years minors the initial boosters and castration cost.
Insuring your Cane Corso puppy will set you back £40–£100 monthly, depending on the coverage.
Are you sure the Cane Corso is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.Dog Breed Selector Quiz
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