Gulf Coast
Cane Corso
Strength ~ Beauty ~ Loyalty
Strength ~ Beauty ~ Loyalty
Height: 25 to 27.5 in (male); 23.5 to 26 in (female)
Size: Large
Weight: 85-120 lbs
Availablility: Difficult to find.


The Cane Corso is a medium-large breed of the molossoid (mastiff) family. The body is rectangular, and the should be slightly longer than the height at the withers. Overall, the dog should be well-muscled​​​​ and agile. The breed tends to be lighter and more athletic than its cousins, the Neapolitan Mastiff and English Mastiff.

The head is large, its length is a little more than a third the height at withers, and the circumference of the head measured at the cheekbones is more than twice the heads length. The planes of the skull and muzzle should converge slightly. The width of the skull should be equal to its length.​​​​ The stop is well defined and there is a prominent arch above the eyes. The muzzle is very broad and deep, the width almost equal to the length. The top and bottom planes should be parallel, the chin to the nose is perpendicular to the top of the muzzle. The upper lips hang moderately and form an inverted U shape under the nose. The preferred bite s slightly undershot (but not more than 1/4 in.) or level, but a scissor bite is acceptable is the head s otherwise well shaped.

The medium-sized almond-shaped eyes should not bulge. Eye color varies depending on the color of the muzzle. If the muzzle is black, the eyes should be dark brown. If the muzzle is gray, lighter eyes are acceptable. However, blue eyes, walleyes, and yellow bird-of-prey eyes are not permitted. The triangular ears can be cropped or left uncropped​​, though cropped ears are preferred in the United States. If left uncropped, the ears hang no longer than the jawbones. If cropped, they should stand up in an equilateral triangle.

The ribcage extends to slightly below the elbow, approximately half the height of the dog. The tail is often docked at the fourth vertebra, but the breed can be shown with a natural tail. If the tail is left natural, it should be a smooth extension of the line of the back, thick at the base, without much tapering. It should not be kinked, knotted, or curled. When at rest, the tail should be carried low. When in action,​​ it is usually carried level with or slightly above the backline, but it should not curl over the back.


The Cane Corso is a descendant of the ancient Molossus​​, which was used by the Romans in war and for fighting lions in the arenas. The Cane Corso also served as a protector of flocks and homesteads, and as a big game hunter, as it was bold and brave enough to handle difficult game such as wild boar and bear. When hunting big game with dogs went into decline, the breed survived as an all-around farm guard dog, mainly on isolated farms in southern Italy. There they drove stock to the market and protected their masters' property.

By the end of World War II, the Cane Corso population had become dangerously small, but in the 1970's a group of Italian dog lovers dedicated themselves to establishing a controlled breeding program, rebuilding the breed and rescuing it from possible extinction. Today, the Cane Corso is gaining in popularity, and the breed was accepted into the AKC working group in 2010​​.

Cane Corso are highly intelligent and trainable. In addition to their role as a home guardian, Corsos have been used in police work, search and rescue, and as therapy dogs, and have earned titles in obedience, tracking, Schtzhund, and agility.​​​​​


The Cane Corso is generally a very quiet dog, but will bark when alerted to a suspicious activity.

The breeds short coat does not require much grooming, just an occasional quick brushing to remove dead hairs, plus bath and a nail trim about once every two weeks.​​​​

The Cane Corso's known health issues include several that are common to many large breeds. The Cane Corso was ranked the 10th worst breed for hip dysplasia by the OFA in 2006, so perspective owners should require OFA passing results for both the parents or in the 50th percentile or higher in PennHIP. Be sure not to take a Cane Corso​ out jogging until he is at least 18 months old or it can seriously damage his joints. Heart murmurs, several eyelid abnormalities (cherry eye, ectropion, entropion), skin allergies and mange, bloat, epilepsy, and thyroid issues are also present in the breed. Ask breeders about the history of these issues in the lines.

​There are many poorly bred Corsos for sale and thus it can be difficult to find a high quality dog. Be very careful, ask about lineage, and spend time with the breeder, sire, and dam if at all possible.


​Watchdog, guarding, hunting (boars and hogs), tracking, police, search & rescue, carting, weights, agility, obedience, Schutzhund, and preforming tricks.


This excellent guard is highly protective, but can tell friend from foe. The Corso can be frightening when necessary to protect his family and territory, but the ideal adult should be calm and discerning, aloof with strangers, and only aggressive when appropriate.

​To protect the world from the Corso and the Corso from the world, a well-fenced yard s a must. If other dogs or unknown people wander into their territory, they will do what they are supposed to do to protect their territory.

​The Cane Corso is a very dominant and powerful breed and will challenge owners for pack leadership. Owners must be able to handle these challenges so the humans end up on top. The entire family unit needs to be confident and learn how to handle the dog. If one member of the household is dominant but another is not, the dog will ride herd on the less dominant human. Early, consistent, and ongoing obedience training is highly recommended to help keep the dog in proper place in the family pack. That said, Cane Corsos are extremely devoted and almost desperately loving with their families. They often follow their owners through the house and can develop separation anxiety if left alone too much. The breed is gentle, submissive, and tolerant with children.
​Corsos are dominant with other dogs and tend to be somewhat dog aggressive. Away from their territory, they do not generally go looking for a fight, but if challenged they will finish one. It is crucial to socialize puppies well with all kinds of people and other animals when young to develop a well-balanced temperament.


Children - Good with children only when raised with them from puppyhood.
Friendliness - Very wary of strangers; highly protective.
Trainability - Easy to train.
Independence - Very dependent; needs people a lot.
Dominance - Very high.
Other pets - Good with other pets only when raised with them from puppyhood.
Combativeness - Tends to be fairly dog-aggressive.​​​​​​​
Noise - Not much barking.
Indoors - Very inactive indoors.
Owner - Not recommended for novice owners.​​​​
Gentle giant and protector