The Cane Corso is described as the “peerless protector”.
These popular dogs have an intimidating appearance seeing as the Corso can grow to a height of 28 inches at the shoulder and weight more than 100 pounds.
Aside from their height and weight, the Cane Corso can have an imposing appearance but a cool demeanor that make these large dogs competent guard dogs.
The Cane Corso can trace their history back to the Roman Empire when giant Mastiff-type dogs were bred with dogs from Greek Islands to create fearless protectors.
In the 21st century, the American Kennel Club rates the Cane Corso as the 21st most popular dog in the USA to highlight their popularity amongst Americans.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at the Cane Corso pros and cons, learning more about the advantages and the disadvantages of living with this dog breed.
Cane Corso Pros
If you start to research the Cane Corso breed, you’ll quickly note that these dogs are widely hailed as super protectors of the pack and natural guardians of the home. Their sheer appearance and size should prove sufficient to deter any potential unwanted visitors to the home. The American Kennel Club’s website writes that the Cane Corso has “an understated air of cool competence, the kind of demeanor you’d expect from a professional bodyguard, is the breed’s trademark”.
A Reddit user highlighted just how protective her Cane Corso is.
As a female with a female Corso, she’s super, super protective. I’ve never had to worry about her running away, she will always bark to tell us if a door is open but will guard wherever I am to the death.
Low Maintenance Coat
While Cane Corso can be high maintenance when it comes to exercise and training, these guard dogs have a relatively low maintenance coat that is easy to take care of. The Cane Corso’s coat is short but double-layered. These giant dogs tend to shed throughout the year so they’re not hypoallergenic. But when it comes to taking care of their coat, Cane Corso can get away with a weekly brushing but may require a daily grooming session during shedding season. It’s a good idea to brush your Cane Corso at least once a week to remove dead hair and debris.
A common theme in this feature on Cane Corso pros and cons will be their non-negotiable exercise requirement. The breed require a lot of physical assertion to avoid unwanted behaviors arising in the home and outside. Fortunately Cane Corso dogs love to exercise and it doesn’t have to be a cliched walk around the neighborhood. These giant dogs can thrive at a variety of different dog sports.
CaneCorso.org explain why the breed can excel at a variety of different sports.
Cane Corsos thrive when they can think. They excel at agility, tracking, obedience, protection sports, dock diving and nosework. If you want a breed of dog to compete within a dog sport, a Cane Corso is an excellent choice. They are extremely motivated to please their owners and they enjoy training using positive reinforcement.
Although the Cane Corso looks like an intimidating dog that means business, the breed can excel in a family setting. In fact, the American Kennel Club rated the Cane Corso as a four out of five when it comes with being affectionate with family and three out of five for being good with young children.
Tom explained on a Reddit post that his Cane Corso is great with children following lots of socialization work. With proper socialization, Cane Corso can make excellent family pets who will be protective of children. Having said that, you should never leave a Cane Corso (or any other dog for that matter) alone unsupervised with a child. Aside from possible human aggression, their sheer size means a Cane Corso could inadvertently knock over a toddler. Hence, adult supervision is a must at all times.
Tom provided an insight into his experience living with Cane Corso around children.
Children with lots of socialization. Fantastic with your own children. He’ll treat new children just as he treats new adults – something to be initially suspicious of. But they have a knack for being gentle and protecting the small, weak or injured (children, pregnant women, the disabled, etc.). Mine will whine and tug towards a crying child to make sure they’re OK.
The Cane Corso breed is considered a relatively smart dog with a strong-willed personality. If you speak to someone with experience owning a Cane Corso, they’ll likely tell you that their dog was intelligent but some can have an independent streak. Their gigantic size means training these dogs from a young age is a must otherwise you’ll have an unruly 110 pounds of muscle on your hands.
Here’s CaneCorso.org to provide an insight into training a member of the breed.
Young CANE CORSO puppies are relatively easy to train: they are eager to please, intelligent and calm-natured, with a relatively good attention span. Once a CANE CORSO has learned something, he tends to retain it well. Your cute, sweet little Cane Corso puppy will grow up to be a large, powerful dog with a highly self-assertive personality and the determination to finish whatever he starts.
Cane Corso Cons
Socialization & Training
Cane Corso can have an independent, strong-willed streak that will raise its head if you haven’t dedicated significant resources and time to training your pup. You need to put the time in when your Cane Corso is still a puppy because when they become young adults, you’ll find it difficult to control an 100-pound dog. It’s equally important to socialize your Cane Corso in a responsible manner. For example, you could consider taking your Cane Corso pup to puppy manners classes where there’s a controlled environment.
One Reddit user believe training classes really helped her Corso.
As a puppy, I took him to 2 or 3 sets of training classes at Petsmart (the only nearby trainers). I think that really helped with socialization, although the classes aren’t meant for the dogs to be near each other or interact. But he got used to being around other dogs and being calm.
CaneCorso.org had a word of warning for prospective Corso owners.
If he has grown up respecting you and your rules, then all his physical and mental strength will work for you. But if he has grown up without rules and guidance from you, surely he will make his own rules, and his physical and mental powers will often act in opposition to your needs and desires. For example: he may tow you down the street as if competing in a weight pull trial; he may grab food off the table; he may forbid your guests entry to his home.
Separation anxiety can affect any dog irrespective of breed or mix. It usually occurs when a dog owner is about to leave the home or shuts the door. Some of the symptoms include barking, howling, whining, destructive chewing or digging and in some extreme cases defecating or urinating inside the home. Cane Corso require a lot of exercise, both physical and mental. Should a Cane Corso receive insufficient stimulation, they could resort to destructive behaviors when left inside the home.
One Cane Corso owner on Reddit shared that her dog’s separation anxiety was so bad that her pup once chewed a sofa.
I have a four-year old Cane Corso and he had HORRIBLE separation anxiety when he was a puppy. He broke out of four kennels (literally) and once ate an entire sofa chair.
Not Suitable For First-Time Owners
Cane Corso can be challenging dogs to own irrespective of a person’s experience with canines. Their size can make them difficult to handle, their personalities can be demanding of your time and they need a lot of exercise.
Tom had a word of warning for anyone thinking about getting a Cane Corso.
I own a two-year male and have friends with about a half dozen others. Unless you are an experienced large dog owner or are willing to put in a lot of work, I would recommend something else. I’m good friends with a local shelter owner, and the number of < 18 month Corsos that have been ending up in shelters recently is heartbreaking. They are big, strong-willed and stubborn dogs and take a ton of patience, training and discipline. People told me the same thing before I got mine, and I always said "sure, I'm ready for it" - I wasn't.
Another Reddit user warned that a Cane Corso can end up running the home!
They aren’t really for first time dog owners, and if you don’t have a strong training skill, or a lot of time they just simply aren’t for you. I had a friend who got one for her first dog and she was absolutely ran ragged by this dog. She never put an ounce of training with him, he was troublesome but not untrainable. I asked her if I could come in and just observe the pup in his own home. As I watched I figured it out. She was scared of that dog, and visibly showed it. He knew it, so he ran that house.
Require lots of exercise
We’ve mentioned this a few times throughout the article but Cane Corso require a lot of exercise. Cane Corso owners will need to dedicate substantial time to their large dog to ensure they get sufficient mental and physical stimulation. The American Kennel Club warn on the breed’s page that they need “serious exercise”. They suggest a brisk walk or a run twice a day as a suitable exercise regimen for the breed. The AKC add that Cane Corso will enjoy long walks, hikes or bicycle rides. Wag Walking write that the Cane Corso require around 60 minutes of exercise a day.
A Cane Corso owner shared her exercise regimen for her pup on Reddit.
My Cane Corso is six months now and I do about half an hour to 45 mins in the morning this includes obedience and some play like fetch and tug. That pretty much gets her tired for the day then another play session and shorter walk in the evenings. Top this off with the kids doing some short obedience drills.
Find a responsible breeder
Having extensively researched the Cane Corso breed online, we noticed a lot of owners emphasized the importance of finding an experienced, reputable dog breeder. We read some stories where someone purchased a Cane Corso for a cheaper price but the result was an extremely unruly dog that was difficult to control.
A Cane Corso owner had some great advice for prospective owners on Reddit when it comes to finding a suitable breeder.
Meet the parents and make sure you would be ok getting a dog like either one of them; it’s not a friendly breed so their dogs won’t necessarily be friendly to you. Ask the breeder if you can talk to any owners of puppies from previous litters or if they’ve had any dogs from the given pairing returned for any reason. If the breeder is local, call around to the vets in your area to get their experience with this breeder’s dogs. You might also do some temperament testing if you have puppies to choose from.