The Handsome Cane Corso Mastiff
Italian Mastiff

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Dog breed info
Cane Corso Mastiff
Italian Mastiff
Weight:Male 120 — 140 lbs
Weight Female 80—100 lbs
Height Male: 25” — 27.5”
Height Female 23.5—26”
AKC Rank 2009 # ?
Lifespan: 9—11 yrs

Dog Breed Info - Cane Corso Mastiff

A Corso profile. Trained and socialized, this guy can be a sweet, quiet,
loyal, affectionate, polite gentleman.
Untrained and under-socialized he is a wild terror.

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Most folks get the first word wrong!
"Cane" = Kah—nay
"Corso" = Kor—so

Breed Overview

Origin: Ancient times. Original function: Hunting large game, Guarding. herding livestock. Today: Companion and Guarding property. Now considered a fairly rare breed.

The Cane Corso Mastiff, or Italian Mastiff as it is commonly known, descends from the ancient and original Canis Pugnax, or the Roman Molossus dog which was a heavier animal than the Corso.. The Neapolitan Mastiff was another Molossus which was in the same time frame and was not as large as the Corso. The Corso is faster and more agile than the other two. The assumption is that the name Corso comes from the word “corhors” which means “guard of the courtyard.” The original use of the breed was to hunt large game but was later preferred for protecting and driving cattle to the market place. The breed today is well preserved in the south of Italy and is a favorite companion in the area. The Corso entered the United States in 1987 and is currently held by the AKC in their FSS or Foundation Stock Service.

I am told the Cane Corso is to be registered by the AKC soon.02/10

Parent Breed Association: Cane Corso Association of America.

Main Show Circuits: ARBA, NAKC, AKC, IABCA.

We want to thank Sovrano Cane Corso Mastiff Breeders for providing some of the source information used on this page. Visit for more information about this amazing canine!


This is a very trainable breed. Important note—this dog MUST be well socialized and handled by a firm, dominant leader/trainer but who is kind and friendly to the dog. The Cane is very intelligent and tries hard to please its’ owner/trainer. This is a security and family oriented dog that is easy to train, especially with clicker training or follow the Cesar Millan Way. (Dog Whisperer) Either way, just make sure the Cane is kept on a socialization schedule throughout her life!

Due to the aggressive nature of the Corso, you might want to consider seeking professional obedience training.

Crate Training

Want to crate train your Cane Corso Mastiff puppy? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

I would crate train the Corso as a puppy and give it a safe haven, privacy and a “quiet place” to rest/ where s/hr can be out of the way but still part of the family.

Potty Training

The Cane Corso Mastiff puppy isn’t too hard to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. They learn pretty fast. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.

The Cane Corso Mastiff is a beautiful, powerful dog!
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The Cane Corso Mastiff must be owned and handled by an alpha leader family who will dominate and require the Corso to take a submissive role in the hierarchy of the family. This is a powerful “protection” dog that must never be allowed to “take over leadership in the house!” As long as you keep this dog in a submissive role, you will enjoy the love and affection of a great breed!

Never let this breed think s/he is in charge or the “boss.”. The entire family down to the youngest child MUST dominate the dog in a kind but firm and consistent way. As long as the entire family is giving the Corso direction, boundaries and limits in that gentle but confident, dominant way, and as long as the Corso has had extensive socialization starting as a young puppy of 4 or 5 weeks, you will end up with the dog I am about to describe. This is a very smart dog that learns fast and tries hard to please her family of humans.

So, keep in mind the dog wants to please the family but just needs to be taught HOW to do it and WHAT you expect of him/her.

The Corso can be mild mannered and polite, great with children and a good pet to have in the house. She is loyal, affectionate and somewhat playful (for a big dog) so the kids can enjoy her company and companionship. Children must always remain dominant with the dog, even in play.

The Corso is not likely to go chasing off from home and is an even-tempered, stable “home-body.” This is an ideal breed for the family with children that wants protection, a great watchdog, and a good family pet all-in-one. While the dog can be aggressive if need be, she is not the kind to pick fights. She is a family dog that will let the fight come to her, but if it does, will see the aggressor to the end.

Obedience training for the Cane is absolutely vital, whether you do it yourself or hire a pro to get the job done. As with all mastiff’s, obedience training is not a luxury, it is mandatory, just as the positioning of the family over the dog is necessary. This breed is NOT for everyone, and is especially not. for first time dog owners!

If you happen to get a Cane Corso Mastiff with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."

Here's a Cane Corso Mastiff Puppy.
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Friendly Toward Other Dogs

Maybe. May not accept strange dogs. Will pick and choose her dog friends.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

Does well here. I am told the Cane Corso Mastiff can adapt to other dogs and cats ion the house, especially if raised with them, but apparently not necessary. ONE exception is large male dogs don’t like other male dogs. There’s can be a domination issue.

Friendly Toward Strangers

Wary of strangers. Can be aggressive toward strangers. Better is the Corso’s owner is present to introduce the dog and stranger.


Quite playful, especially for a big dog. On a scale of 1 to 10, give her an 8. This is assuming the dog has been exercised properly and is in a dominant household where s/he is comfortable as the submissive member. Same goes for affection.


Very affectionate. Give her 9 bars out of 10! This is a loving, gentle dog. See “Playfulness” above for conditions. She’s even tempered and loves her family of humans.

Good with children?

Yes, good with especially older kids 6 or 7 and up. May not tolerate the rambunctious, noisy, poking, screeching, pulling and pushing of very young children. This is a big, heavy dog that MUST be monitored and closely supervised around toddlers and in fact ALL small children.

Good with Seniors over 65?

Maybe. If the senior has no limiting physical problems and can dominate consistently, the Corso can be a wonderful pet. They are affectionate, loyal, playful, quiet, don’t need too much exercise, are great watch and guard dogs—everything a senior citizen needs. Let the senior research this breed first and decide for him/her self. This is not a cut and dried decision/

Living environment

House with small to medium fenced yards, farm or ranch okay, Absolutely NO apartments!

Energy level

A lot of energy. Give 7 bars out of 10. More than average energy BUT the Cane calms down quickly when allowed some exercise. Puppies can be a bit hyper with energy but calm down quickly, again, with play or exercise. Exercise is key for the Corso’s

Exercise needs, daily

Medium/moderate exercise needs. While this breed does not need tremendous amounts of exercise, moderate amounts are VITAL ands necessary!

Do NOT run your Cane Corso before 2 years of age. Also, keep the dog off hard cement for walks until 2 years age. . The Corso likes games of fetch or Frisbee for exercise and play.

Cane Corso begging for a treat near
Sovrano Cane Corso Breeders where this photo came from.

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Guard dog

Excellent. Highly protective of immediate family members, property and livestock if any.


Moderate to light shedding.


Little grooming needed. Brush several times a month, oftener when shedding. Towel off to keep the coat shiny.

Feeding the Cane Corso Mastiff

Dietary needs are as follows: High quality, large breed, Non-fish-based, Low Protein, High Carbohydrate diet. (23% Protein) They need naturally occurring glucosamine in other meats.

Cane Corso Mastiff Reading

There is only 1 book in print for the Cane Corso and it is a good one. Hardcover. A "must own" for anyone interested in the Cane or who owns one. Very informative.

  • Cane Corso (Kennel Club Dog Breed Series)

    Cane Corso Puppy Rescue

    In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of an older dog and are looking for a Cane Corso Rescue group in your area, here is a link that might help:
    Petfinder - Cane Corso Rescue As I write this, Petfinder is showing only 91 dogs available to adopt in the USA. That might be enough, but in case you want more selection, go online and search for Cane Corso Rescue or Clubs or kennels. This is a VERY rare breed. If you do find one to adopt, try to locate any dog health records and save for possible future reference.

    Also, try your search engines like Google for Cane Corso Mastiff puppies for sale. Try Cane Corso puppy rescue too. You never know.

    Dog Health Issues For The Cane Corso Mastiff
    Below: The dog illness / illnesses or medical problems listed for the Cane Corso Mastiff by various vets.

    This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are the dog illness and medical problems this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

    The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

    • Hip dysplasia CHD- Hind end limping, hind/back leg acts lame, can't move, weak legs. Wear and time causes the femur to fit poorly into the pelvic socket with improper rotation causing the Cane Corso Mastiff great pain, weakness and difficulty walking. You may notice the dog “hopping”” like a rabbit when running plus hesitating to climb stairs, all due to pain in the hind quarters. The problem actually starts as a very young puppy with an abnormal formation of the hip joint and grows progressively, leading to arthritis or osteoarthritis. A vet can locate this with a diagnostics test.

    • Entropion—Eye irritation caused by the eyelids and lashes rolling inward. The problem is usually inherited and found in young, adult dogs. It can come from an eyelid spasm. Affected eyes will be held partially shut and tear excessively. Both eyes will usually be affected the same. Treatment for the condition requires eye surgery.

    • Ectropion—A hereditary medical problem. The lower eyelid grows outward leaving a gap between the eye and the eyelid. Excessive tearing and conjunctivitis are common signs of the disease but some dogs will have no symptoms. Blunt trauma and/or nerve damage can also cause the problem. If the cornea becomes damaged or if the conjunctivitis becomes chronic, surgery will be necessary.

    • Cherry eye—One of a dog’s tear glands is in the third eyelid. The gland contributes a significant amount of fluid to lubricate the eye so it can not be removed. A congenital defect, breed related, allows the gland to bulge out because it is not held strongly in place. Thus, the gland prolepses out to a visible position as a reddish mass. Out of position, the gland does not move blood properly and so may swell. Since the gland is needed for lubrication in the eye, vets now do a “tuck and stitch” procedure that pouts the gland back in place and preserves the original function of tear production.

    • Gastric Torsion—Sometimes called Dog Bloat or “Twisted stomach.” Mainly in larger, deep-cheated dogs. Here's a brief description of the problem. Symptoms include excessive drooling, nervous pacing, agitation, weakness, attempt to vomit, bulging stomach area, heavy breathing, retching and gagging, shock or total collapse. It's a life-threatening situation.

    • Demodicosis—Demodectic mange—In the form of a parasite. A skin disease known as “Red Mange.” Loss of hair, itching, reddening of skin and areas can become crusty. Sometimes cured with topical creams. May spread. Treatment is in the form of medications and sometimes special bathing with anti-fungal liquids.

    Other health problems could occur with your Cane Corso Mastiff. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


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