Cane Corso

The Cane (pronounced KAH-nay) Corso is a native of Italy. This breed is listed by the American Kennel Club (AKC) at number 67, one of the top 70 dogs purchased in 2011. We have included the Cane Corso on the PetStarter website for that reason. But, the Cane Corso is a mixed bag of pros and cons, and the cons can be deadly. Due to his hunting instincts, the Cane Corso has an unusually strong prey drive and has gained a reputation for biting and mauling people.

Common Characteristics

  • Size: 100+ pounds
  • Lifespan: 6 to 15 years
  • Pet purchase cost: $1000+
  • Allergies: Moderate
  • Shedding: Moderate
  • Primarily suited for indoors


 Common Reasons for Surrender

In the 1990s, the Cane Corso was a rare breed. Lately, the breed has become more popular, but most people surrender the dog because they neglected to educate themselves on the breed or chose not to train their dog as a puppy. The Cane Corso is surrendered because of its size and its reputation for biting and mauling people. Sometimes the dog is surrendered because this breed will “take over” an owner that is not firm in training.


The Cane Corso is quick to learn and versatile. With the right trainer, the Cane Corso can do anything she is taught to do. She can enjoy the challenge of going to dog shows and go from show ring to obedience field to agility course in the same day. Dogs that receive intensive training are currently being used in “Reading to Rover” programs and as a therapy dog that visits nursing homes and hospitals.


Nina.jpgThe Cane Corso is a big dog so everything around the dog is big—the feeding dish, droppings in the yard, the dog crate, the treats, and the vet bill. Everything that happens to a Cane Corso as a puppy stays with the dog. Early socialization and training is paramount. Some rescuers feel that the public perception of the Cane Corso is skewed and difficult to overcome. On the other hand, it is not wise to ignore news reports, and even online videos report the dangers of being bitten, mauled, and even killed by this dog.


The Cane Corso thrives on the best dry food such as Origin—an organic grain-free dog food. Canned chicken and a teaspoon of canned pumpkin can be mixed for wet food. Cane Corsos eat in their crates and have a specific feeding time. This helps the owner gauge when they stop eating, which is a signal that the dog may not feel well. Free feeding is not recommended for this breed.


A Cane Corso can keep up with a 20 to 30 minute bike ride every day. An athletic breed, the Cane Corso loves to retrieve and enjoys a good game of fetch.

 Possible Health Issues

Because Cane Corsos are new to acceptance in the American Kennel Club, there has not been extensive health testing. Hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), and heart or cardiac problems are common health problems.


The Cane Corso is a medium level energy so the breed can live in apartments if the owner is a professional breeder or trainer and takes the dog out for exercise. If the Cane Corso is kept locked inside for long periods of time, he can become frustrated and aggressive as his prey drive is strong.


The Cane Corso needs a bath once a month and nails trimmed once a week.


Simple things like keeping the dog off the couch must begin with training at a young age. It is recommended that the new Cane Corso owner gets with a dog trainer who can help you train your dog.

39069_420185267047_5464137_n.jpg Entertainment

Cane Corsos enjoy mental stimulation such as training in classes, learning tricks at home, hiking, and trips to the beach on a leash.

Average Cost 

One Corso on Origin food may cost $140 a month. The average vet visit is about $200, but it is wise to keep a stash of money or invest in pet insurance in case there is an emergency. It’s safe to budget $2,500 a year for vet bills for one dog.


We want to thank Potrero Cane Corso and Cane Corso Association of America for help with this profile.

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