Cane Corso: Italian mastiff at its best
Cane Corso, or Italian mastiff – a giant with a kind heart
Cane Corso, or Italian Mastiff, is a unique breed that you won’t meet very often out in the streets, but that has completely won over the hearts of thousands of dog lovers all over the world. This is one of the most prestigious and expensive guarding dog breeds, highly valued all over the world. Why are these dogs loved so much and what are they really like?
One look at Cane Corso, or Italian Mastiff as they are also called, will tell you this dog is a result of centuries of careful breeding and “sculpting” of its physical and mental traits. This breed stems from antiquity – you will find mentions of Cane Corso type molossus breeds in ancient documents. The breed itself is first mentioned in the documents left from the Roman Empire, dated with the 1200s.
At that time, these dogs were used in gladiator fights, hunting, as well as guarding people and property. The name itself means “belonging to the yard” because guarding yards and homes was Cane Corso’s main job for centuries.
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Cane Corsos even took part in war campaigns and had their own armor made for them. To this day, the Italian Mastiff’s power and strength are admired by dog lovers all over the world. They are widespread in Italy, France, and the UK, as well as Canada, the US, and Australia. The best-bred dogs are especially valuable: those are ones with a particularly good lineage of show champions that proved to be the best of the breed.
Cane Corso/Italian Mastiff is a large, powerful, athletic dog: massive, but elegant at the same time. They are a very “comfortable” dog to own. They are not small in any way, but also not overly large. They are not very fluffy or too hairy but still have enough hair to be warm in winter. (You won’t need a sweater for your Cane Corso). Because they aren’t as large as some other mastiff types, they are graceful and can move quickly and smoothly, which makes them a pleasure to look at.
Their bodies are large, their bone structure is well developed and they are built “wide” as well as tall. They have strong bones and well-developed musculature that supports their large bodies. Cane Corso breeders have worked on maintaining the physical traits of this beautiful large dog for centuries. An average-sized Cane Corso will weigh around 80 to 120 lb.
Italian mastiff’s head is typical for mastiff and molossus breeds. It is large and rounded, with well-developed eyebrow arches. The length of the head is about 35% of the overall height of the animal – it is quite large! It is also wide: the width of the skull is the same as the length of the head, sometimes even wider.
The nose is wide but short: it is about 1/3 of the length of the head. However, too short of a nose is usually considered a breed defect: a short nose can cause troubles with breathing as well as change teeth alignment. The nose looks like it’s bent slightly upward, which makes the dog looks as if it is always excited and aware. A nose that points down is considered to be a breed defect.
Cane Corso’s jaws are powerful and strong and are also quite large. The eyes are large and somewhat bulging, looking straight forward. The eyelids are pigmented. Cane Corso’s “face” is intelligent and full of self-respect. The eyes are usually dark brown.
Cane Corso’s ears are triangular-shaped and usually hang down unless the dog is excited.
The neck of the dog is thick and about as long as the head. The body itself is muscular, with a straight, muscular back and a wide and deep chest. The tail sits high and is very thick at the base, narrowing towards the tip. Cane Corsos usually hold their tails down, and they should never be curled.
Cane Corso’s legs are strong and graceful, as much as “graceful” can describe such a powerful dog.
The coat is short, silky and shiny, very thick, and has an undercoat. The undercoat is shed depending on the season (usually in the spring and in the fall). Cane Corso’s coat colors may vary: they can be black, grey, brown, red, and brindle.
One of the most attractive traits of Italian Mastiffs is their “face”. They do have a face, in a very human sense of the word. Their eyes are definitely very human-like: expressive and all-understanding. They will watch their owner carefully, and, if your eyes meet your Corso’s eyes, you will know they understand everything that’s going on around them, and even what’s hidden in your soul.
Cane Corso, aka Italian Mastiff temperament
Their colorful history and wonderful achievements as guarding dogs are not the main reasons behind Cane Corso’s universal popularity. Neither is their physique, although anyone who’s ever seen a Cane Corso knows that they have outstanding looks.
Cane Corso (Italian Mastiff) are known for their wonderful temperament. This dog has been bred for centuries as a guard dog: they are one of the best breeds in the world when it comes to guarding and protecting their owner, their families, and property. At the same time, Cane Corso temperament is one of the reasons they are so popular among families, even those with small kids.
These powerful giants are the kindest dogs at heart. They are loving and tender towards their owners and families. They are highly intelligent and very aware of their surroundings. They don’t tend to be dominant, let alone aggressive. I can really talk a lot about Cane Corso temperament: you can read about it in this article.
Italian mastiff – grooming
Cane Corso, or Italian Mastiff, is not a hard breed to own if you don’t like spending a lot of time grooming your dog. they don’t need that much grooming at all. While the Cane Corso aka Italian Mastiff puppy may cost you a pretty penny, you won’t have to invest too much into visiting dog salons with your pup.
Cane Corso’s coats are short and sleek and don’t require regular trimming or brushing. You will probably only want to brush them more during the shedding season (twice a year), just to avoid clumps of hair on your furniture and around your house. Another bonus is that Cane Corso coats don’t have much of a “doggy” smell.
Cane Corso’s eyes are something you will need to watch. They shouldn’t be teary or “wet” looking. A healthy Cane Corso will have healthy, shiny but mostly dry eyes. If there is too much wetness or puss, you will need to take your pup to the vet.
Do check your Cane Corso’s ears from time to time. Make sure there is no visible dirt or smell, which may indicate infection.
Italian Mastiff’s nails usually take care of themselves provided you walk your dog outside on harder surfaces (such as gravel roads or asphalt.) This will naturally help keep the nails from overgrowing. If, however, the nails still overgrow and you can hear the clicking when the dog walks on your laminate, then you can easily trim the nails using standard nail trimmers. Don’t trim too far from the tip!
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Cane Corso tend to have healthy teeth, but diet always makes a big difference: if your dog’s nutrition isn’t balanced or you give them too many treats, you may expect some teeth issues. Make sure to check your pup’s teeth regularly and don’t overdo it with treats. You can ask your breeder to help you with your pup’s menu to make sure you are providing them with the best nutrition you can.
No matter how you feel about vaccines, your pup will have to be vaccinated. Your breeder will likely take care of that during the first months of your puppy’s life. The adults are usually vaccinated once a year after that. Remember that only a healthy dog can be vaccinated. Talk to your vet about a proper vaccine schedule for your Italian Mastiff.
Buying a Cane Corso (Italian Mastiff) puppy: some things you need to remember
Cane Corso tends to be quite expensive. Traditionally, this has always been a prestigious and rare breed that not everyone could have (and let’s be honest, not everyone should have a Cane Corso.) When paying a breeder’s fee, you are paying for all the work the breeder has invested in choosing the best and healthiest parents for the litter and raising healthy puppies that will be the pleasure of your life for a long time.
Don’t purchase a Cane Corso from someone giving you a “deal” or offering a suspiciously low price. Breeding is expensive, and good breeding – even more so. Cane Corso has never been an easily affordable breed. However, when it comes to money, Cane Corsos are definitely worth it.
Cane Corso (Italian Mastiff) pros and cons
Cane Corso are wonderful dogs, but like any breed, they have their own “perks” as well as downsides that you should be aware of if you are thinking of getting a Cane Corso. What can you expect from your Cane Corso/Italian Mastiff?
They are very intelligent. They also use that intelligence to play tricks on you and try and get what they want at all times. If they know they are not allowed to do something, they will be smart enough to wait until you are out of sight to attempt what they want. If you hide something from them, they will find it. Some owners are able to exert more control over their Cane Corso, while some allow these little tricks and end up with a somewhat spoiled dog.
Cane Corso (Italian Mastiffs) mature slowly (if ever!). This is a large dog, and like many other larger breeds, they don’t mature very fast. They stay puppies even when they weigh more than you and your kids taken together. They can act very childish until they are as old as two years old (when their brains are finally delivered! Finally!)
Until that they will steal your things, eat plastic bags, and be giant goofs in any way they can come up with. And they can come up with a lot! You thought you were getting this highly intelligent guard dog? No, you actually got yourself a clown. At least until they are two years old. If you are lucky.
Sleeping on the floor? Are you kidding me? What are the humans’ beds, sofas, and armchairs for? Let alone humans’ lap? Seriously, you won’t be able to keep your Cane Corso out of your bed. You can stop hoping for it right now.
Cane Corso’s are HEAVY dogs. If you are trying o get from your kitchen to your living room and there is a Cane Corso in your way, you may find it’s quite hard to get them to move. They are HEAVY. And lazy. Unless they are playing in the park. Then they can get crazy.
But inside, they are usually lazy and if they are not napping in our bed or your favorite sofa, they are probably in your way, right between your kitchen and your living room. You won’t be able to easily “move” them out of the way, because, did I mention Cane Corso are heavy?
Cane Corso can eat you out of your house. Well, maybe not out of your house, but definitely out of snacks. All the snacks that you have for them. All the snacks you keep for your kids. Pretty much anything edible. These dogs have really big appetites! They will happily eat anything you offer them and anything they can find on the table while you are looking the other way. You’ve been warned.
Your Cane Corso (or Italian Mastiff) is a Velcro dog. That means they will follow you everywhere around the house. Even to the bathroom. Especially to the bathroom. They definite;y need to know what exactly you are doing there without them.
Cane Corso snore! They are a large dog and they snore loudly. Also, they will sleep in your bed, as mentioned above. You have been warned again.
Cane Corso will crash into you as you enter the door after work. All 120lbs of them. Every day. They are just so happy to see you!
And aren’t you happy to see them?