I’ve already talked about the magnificent Cane Corso in one of my Breed of the Week posts, but mainly what I dealt with in that post was the history of the breed along with the various disorders the breed can be prone to, along with a bit of information about training and temperament. What I want to do here is delve a little deeper into the Cane Corso, and give you the facts you’ll need to think about if you’re considering welcoming one into your home. A Cane Corso isn’t for everyone, so before you adopt that adorable Corso puppy, take a look at these 17 Cane Corso dog breed facts.
1. It’s Not Pronounced “Kane Korso.”
I want to get this one out of the way at the outset. I hate it when people mispronounce dog breed names. I’ve heard people say “Rockweiler” when the mean “Rottweiler,” “Doverman” for “Doberman,” “Bitchin’ Freese” for “Bichon Frise,” and on and on and on.
Now, to be fair, with “Cane Corso,” unlike with these other breeds, the way it’s spelled does look like the way it should be pronounced. But if you’re going to own a Cane Corso, please give your dog the proper pronunciation. It’s “Kah-nay Korso.” Most people avoid having to explain the pronunciation by simply referring to the breed as “Corso.” Thank you, and now we can move on.
2. A Cane Corso is a BIG Dog
Cane Corsos of either gender can grow to a significant size, up to 2 feet at the shoulder and 120 pounds. Personally, I love big dogs, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you that if you’re just a little bit of a thing, and not all that strong, you’ll be fine with a Corso.
If you don’t feel equal to the task of training and handling a large, powerful dog, or if someone in your family is afraid of big dogs, you might be better off to choose another breed.
3. Cane Corsos Can Be Dominant
This is further on the “fear” thing. You’ve probably heard that dogs can sense fear in humans, and to a certain extent, that’s true. Dogs do know who is afraid of them. With some breeds, this might simply lead to a reluctance to be near the fearful human. With a Corso, though, it can be a little more than that.
Corsos can be very dominant dogs, and if they perceive fear in a human, they may decide that the human has no business being the boss. The Corso will then decide that he should be the pack leader, and may become stubborn or even aggressive toward the “weak” human. If you aren’t confident in your ability to handle a large, potentially dominant animal, again, the Corso is not the right dog for you.
4. Cane Corsos MUST Be Socialized
Because the Corso has a tendency toward dominance, it is vital that they are socialized early on. If your Corso is an adult rescue, he may not have been properly socialized, in which case you’re going to be in for a bit of work, and possibly the assistance of an animal behaviorist.
On the other hand, if your new best buddy is just a puppy, you can follow the same procedure for socialization that you would with any other dog – expose him to as many other humans, animals, and situations as possible.
5. Cane Corsos are Intelligent
While perhaps not being the “rocket scientists” of the dog world, there is no disputing that Cane Corsos are intelligent. They’re also very eager to please. However, as I’ve previously suggested, they can be stubborn.
If you feel that the Cane Corso is the right breed for you, you’re going to have to make a commitment. Your Corso is a working dog and needs to have a job in order to be happy. Corsos do very well in agility trials, obedience training, and anything else that gives them a sense of purpose.
6. You Should Never Physically Discipline a Cane Corso
Let me begin by saying that you should never physically discipline any dog. If you think that becoming violent with a Corso, though, you’re a special kind of moron!
You might be able to get the physical discipline thing wrong with a Yorkie, or a Dachshund, or even something as big as a Golden Retriever, but if you try that crap with a Cane Corso, you could end up in the hospital. This is a big, powerful dog that could react, not necessarily out of anger, but out of fear. Either way, when a dog of this size, with its incredible jaw pressure, reacts … well, let me just say that I hope you have a good insurance policy that covers physical therapy after you get stitched up.
7. Cane Corsos Love to Play!
“Play? Play more? Play again? Play until the cows come home?” That’s your Cane Corso!
If you’re athletic, a Cane Corso could be the perfect dog for you. They’ll happily run with you, or chase a ball or stick, or wrestle with you, and they’ll do it for hours! Of course the downside is that if you’re not prepared to spend a lot of time playing with your Corso, you’ll have an unhappy, cranky dog, so if you’re not prepared to give a Corso a lot of exercises but still want a big dog, you might be better off with one of the “couch potato” breeds like an English Mastiff, Great Dane or Neapolitan Mastiff.
8. You Should Neuter Your Cane Corso.
I say this in the context that most animal health experts recommend neutering for all breeds. Unless you are planning on breeding your Cane Corso, neutering is desirable for a couple of reasons. First of all, if you have a male Cane Corso, neutering involves removing the testicles. This absolutely eliminates the risk of testicular cancer – no testicles, no chance of cancer. With female Corsos, you’re eliminating the risk of pyometra, which is a serious uterine infection that can lead to death – no uterus, no pyometra.
Testicular cancer is not all that common. Pyometra is somewhat more common. But the main reason to neuter your Corso is that it reduces aggression. Neutered animals do not fight with other animals over breeding rights.
9. Your Cane Corso Needs a High-Quality Diet
I’ve often pointed out that I’ve had dogs live to ripe old age on nothing more than generic dog food. However, I’ve never owned a breed quite as large as the Cane Corso, and the fact is that a big dog has nutritional requirements that are different from those of small or medium size dogs.
The Cane Corso is a high-energy dog that needs a lot of protein in his diet – at least 22% per volume. You can get that in some generic foods, but please read the label carefully, and if you’re in any doubt as to what you should feed your Cane Corso, consult your veterinarian.
10. Your Cane Corso Could Bankrupt You
There is no such thing as a perfectly healthy dog – one that is prone to no diseases or disorders. Cane Corsos, however, can be vulnerable to ailments that can cost a great deal of money to treat – elbow and hip dysplasia, gastric torsion, heart disease, and various cancers.
If you decide that your heart has called you to the Cane Corso, I would also suggest another type of “call.” One to a pet insurance company. The last thing you want is to find out that your Corso has a serious disease or disorder that’s going to cost you a fortune, and you don’t have the money to deal with it. For the sake of a monthly premium that’s usually pretty reasonable, you can buy a lot of peace of mind with pet insurance.
11. You, Will, Have to Make a Commitment
If you choose a Cane Corso as your canine companion, you’ll be in it for a longer haul than you would with most large breeds. With an English Mastiff or Great Dane, usually, you can anticipate a life expectancy of about 7 years. With a Rottweiler, anything you get beyond 9 years is a bonus. A Cane Corso, on the other hand, can live for 10-12 years.
These will not always be good years. Aging dogs are vulnerable to health problems, and the Corso is no different. All I can say to you here is that if you love that little Corso puppy you brought home, be prepared to love him when he gets old and to give him the veterinary care he will need as he ages.
12. Your Cane Corso May Cost You Friends
If you choose to adopt a Cane Corso, you will have to accept that there will be people who will fear your dog. They might be reluctant to come around and visit.
A Corso is a scary-looking dog, and he might intimidate some of your friends. In this case, it’s less about socializing your dog to your friends than it is socializing your friends to your dog. It might or might not work. Give it a shot. And if it comes down to it, decide who matters more – your friends or your dog. I hope you’ll choose your dog.
13. Your Cane Corso May MAKE You Friends
I have a friend, Mary, who owns a sweet Cane Corso by the name of Newton. Mary tells me that a lot of people are afraid of Newton, but an equal number of people are amazed by how handsome Newton is and want to come over and pet him. Newton is a bit aloof, but not unfriendly, and he generally gives a good impression to people who want to meet him.
This goes to socialization again, and also to being a good “dog ambassador.” Mary gets Newton “out there,” and uses every opportunity to show what good dogs Cane Corsos can be.
14. Your Cane Corso IS a Pit Bull!
A lot of the time, people look at Cane Corsos, at their ears which are usually cropped, and at their solid bodies, and they say “They must be related to Pit Bulls!”
Well, they are. The fact is, the term “Pit Bull” is very much over-used. The only “true” Pit Bull breeds are the American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bully, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier. However, if you go farther back into the history of dog fighting, any dog that was ever thrown into a pit to fight others of its kind for the amusement of assholes could be termed a “pit bull.” This would include English Mastiffs, Rottweilers, my beloved Boxers, Cane Corsos, and more. So if you’re wondering if your Cane Corso is “related” to Pit Bulls, the answer is “No,” because he is a pit bull breed. And that is just so damn sad.
15. Your Cane Corso Won’t Shed Much.
A Cane Corso isn’t what’s known as a “seasonal shedder,” meaning that he won’t drop a ton of hair on your floor twice a year. Regular grooming will more than take care of any shedding your Corso might do, and even then, you won’t have to do much. In fact, if your Corso is loved and petted regularly, you probably won’t have any shedding issues.
16. Cane Corsos Were Not Bred to Fight.
You might have heard, by means of the “lamestream media,” that Cane Corsos were bred to fight. This is not true.
The Cane Corso was actually originally bred to herd livestock, and to help farmers drive livestock to market. The idea that any dog was ever bred to fight another of its kind is absolute nonsense.
17. Cane Corsos Bond Hard and Fast
If you choose a Cane Corso, you should expect that he will pick one person out of your family to love and protect. This doesn’t mean that he’ll be hostile to other family members; it just means that he’ll pick one.
For this reason, Corsos are best suited to singletons, although they can be great family dogs in the right circumstances – where there’s not one person who’s the “alpha.”
So, there are your 17 Cane Corso dog breed facts. If you have other questions, though, may be related to the Corso or to dogs in general, keep reading.
After reading the foregoing material, you may have a lot more questions, and a lot of them may have to do with so-called “bad” dogs. I’m sorry about that. However, it’s the nature of the beast when you’re talking about a dog breed that a lot of people find problematic.
With that in mind, let’s do a bit of a “Q&A” about various breeds and issues. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail here, and I hope you’ll look at these questions and answers with a critical eye and an open mind.
1. Are Cane Corsos Vicious?
Cane Corsos are no more inherently vicious than any other breed. They are, however, very strong-willed and not always the best dogs for newbies.
2. What is the Worst Dog to Own for a Newbie?
The Cane Corso does make the list here, but so does the little Beagle, the pretty Dalmatian, and even the lovable little Border Collie.
The common denominator here is the will of the dog. These are all strong-willed dogs that can give you a world of grief if you’re not prepared to devote time to training. The Corso is more problematic because of his size, not because of his nature.
3. Are Cane Corsos Good With Other Animals?
No, they’re usually not. The “prey drive” is very high in a Corso, and unless they’re raised with other animals from puppyhood, they’re likely to see them as prey. If you’re bringing a Corso into your household, it’s better to introduce a puppy rather than an adult Corso. Even then, you should supervise very carefully.
4. What are the Dog Breeds with the Worst Reputations?
The top five are AmStaffs, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Dobermans, and Wolf Dogs. Much of this has to do with public opinion, but when it comes to Wolf Dogs, all I can say is just don’t.
5. Should I Microchip My Cane Corso?
Usually, you microchip a dog because you’re afraid he’ll get lost, or someone will steal him. I’d suggest that if your Corso is prone to wander, you might want to microchip him so that you can find him easily.
On the other hand, if it’s theft you’re worrying about, don’t sweat it. Only a complete idiot would try to walk off with a dog that looks like a mountain and has 97 teeth.
Are Cane Corsos Good Family Dogs?
They can be, but might not be all that good for small kids. This is simply because of the size, not nature, of the dog. We’re talking about a dog that can top 120 pounds and could easily knock over and injure a toddler.
Should I Get a Cane Corso?
All I can tell you here is that your heart wants what it wants, and if your heart tells you that It has to be a Cane Corso, go for it.
They’re wonderful dogs, but not for everyone. You have to have a strong personality to own a Corso, but if the fit is right for you and the dog, you’ll never have a better friend. Just be sure it’s right – I don’t want your Corso to end up in a shelter because you can’t handle him.
The Final Word
A Cane Corso can be a demanding dog and one that’s difficult to handle. In the right hands, a Cane Corso can be a wonderful dog, a valued family member, and a great canine citizen. In the hands of an amateur, though, a Corso can be like a fully-loaded .44 magnum with the safety off. This is a powerful dog with an attitude and can be very dangerous in the wrong hands.
If you think you’re the right person for a Corso, that’s great. But please be sure. This is not a situation where mistakes are easily fixed.