Cane Corso.jpg
Breed Group Group 3: Molossoids and Mastiffs Breeds
Sub-group :
Origin Country Italy
Weight Males: 92-110 pounds. Females: 80-100 pounds.
Height Males: 24-28 inches. Females: 23-26 inches.
Other Name(s) Cane Corso Italiano, Cane Corso Mastiff, Italian Corso, Italian Corso Dog, Italian Mastiff, Italian Molosso
Breed Type Pure
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Cane Corso

Breed Group Group 3: Molossoids and Mastiffs Breeds
Sub-group :
Origin Country Italy
Weight Males: 92-110 pounds. Females: 80-100 pounds.
Height Males: 24-28 inches. Females: 23-26 inches.
Other Name(s) Cane Corso Italiano, Cane Corso Mastiff, Italian Corso, Italian Corso Dog, Italian Mastiff, Italian Molosso
Breed Type Pure
click here for FULL BREED STANDARD

Origins

The Canis Pugnax, or Roman Molossian, was a popularly used for centuries throughout Italy as a guard dog, a hunting companion, and a farm dog. These dogs were used to catch wild hogs, round up domesticated cattle and swine, and participate in bloody gladiator sports such as bear fighting. The Neapolitan and the Cane Corso are believed to both be direct descendants of the Roman Molossian, and they share a similar ancestry. Mostly, the ancestors of the Neapolitan and Cane Corso dogs were used as all-around farm dogs throughout Italy. However, the line between the two breeds was blurred for centuries, as the dogs’ ancestors existed in Italy for about 2,000 years, well before breeds and breed types were established.

Over time, the dogs became less popular and were at one point thought to be extinct in most parts of Italy. A few specimens were known to exist in the Province of Apulia and surrounding regions. A group of breed enthusiasts in the 1980s got together and began to recover the breed. Their intelligence, loyal nature, and impressive stature has helped them to become one of the most popular molossoids in the United States.

The name Cane Corso comes from the Latin term cohors, meaning “protector” or “guardian.”

Breed Characteristics

Head: Somewhat brachycephalic to mesaticephalic in skull-type, moderately large in size, and in proportion to the rest of the body. The head is clean-cut without excess skin or wrinkle. The length of the head, from occiput to the tip of the nose, is approximately 1/3 the height measured at the withers. The skull is broad and substantial, with the width (measured from one side to the other just in front of the ears) being equal to or slightly greater than the length (measured from occiput to stop). The overall circumference of the head (measured at the broad zygomatic arches) equals twice the length of the head. The head is overall substantial, with strong bone, and smooth-yet-prominent muscle, especially evident (although not prominent) in the cheeks and the temporal muscle areas, giving breadth to the face and skull. Viewed from the front, the topskull is broad and slightly arched. In profile, the temporal muscles and topskull form a unique, prominent arc that flattens toward the occiput. The head is mostly clean-cut and moderately dry; however, slight wrinkling may be visible when the dog is alerted, but it should never be profuse. A median furrow starting at the stop and disappearing toward the occiput may be present.
Eyes: Moderate in size, oval, almond, or lemon-shaped, and may range from amber or green to dark brown in color. The eye rims are well-fitted and well-pigmented. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes. Haw or whites should not be visible when the dog is looking forward. There should be no indication of entropion, ectropion, or other eye anomaly or defect.
Ears: Medium in size, set high on the skull above the zygomatic arches/cheekbones, wide apart, triangular in shape, dropped, hanging close to the head, with tips falling close to the cheeks. The ears are never long, and they never extend beyond the lower jawbone. Ears may also be cropped short into equilateral triangles.
Muzzle: Square and shorter than the topskull, being broad, deep, and full. The muzzle width is approximately equal to the length of the muzzle. The depth of the muzzle is approximately over 50% of the muzzle length. The level of the plane of the muzzle is parallel to the plane of the underline of the muzzle. The chin is set directly below the nose, forming a straight, perpendicular line from one to the other. Upper and lower jaws have good bone substance, are strong, well-developed, never appearing snipey or weak. Lower jaw is just slightly curved. From the front the head is broad, with cheeks appearing to be the widest point of the head.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black, or self-colored according to the coat in diluted colors such as blues, grays, or blue or gray fawns. The nostrils are large and well-opened. The nose lies directly above the chin, neither exceeding nor receding beyond the point of the chin.
Neck: Moderate length, equaling approximately 1/3 the height at the withers, powerfully-muscled, with a slight arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is overall clean-cut, without excess skin, but light throatiness or a minimal dewlap is permissible.
Chest: Deep, broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows. The forechest is well-developed, but not prominent.
Body: Powerfully constructed, compact, solid, and substantial. The body is never racy or refined. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters. The body is well-put together, sturdy, and with solid bone.
Feet: Oval to round and compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.
Tail: Set neither high nor low on the croup, but as a natural extension of the topline. It is thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. Carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, but never tucked or carried up over the back. Tail may be left natural (preferred) or docked short. Natural tails are of a medium length, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints when held down. The tail may be straight or gently curved. Docked tails are cut to the fourth tail vertebrae.
Movement: Smooth, flowing, effortless trot with powerful and agile action. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither moving in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the center line of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.
Temperament: The Cane Corso is a noble and majestic breed. Originally developed as a protector, hunter, catch dog, and drover, he is confident, self-composed, and well-aware of his own capabilities. His intelligence allows for easy training, making him capable of learning many disciplines and skills, such as agility and weight pulling. He is watchful, responsive, loyal, and affectionate to his family and people, but can be somewhat stand-offish or indifferent towards strangers. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.
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Breed Standard

BREED GROUP 3: Molossoids and Mastiffs Breeds

Proportions: The body is somewhat rectangular in proportion, with the length of the body, measured from the point of the forechest to the point of the rump being slightly greater than the height at the withers. The ideal body height to length ratio is 5:4. Males should appear masculine, being more substantial in size and mass, while females should appear more feminine and slightly less substantial. Neither should lack overall type. The Cane Corso is capable of great strength and agility.

Head

General Appearance: Somewhat brachycephalic to mesaticephalic in skull-type, moderately large in size, and in proportion to the rest of the body. The head is clean-cut without excess skin or wrinkle. The length of the head, from occiput to the tip of the nose, is approximately 1/3 the height measured at the withers. The skull is broad and substantial, with the width (measured from one side to the other just in front of the ears) being equal to or slightly greater than the length (measured from occiput to stop). The overall circumference of the head (measured at the broad zygomatic arches) equals twice the length of the head. The head is overall substantial, with strong bone, and smooth-yet-prominent muscle, especially evident (although not prominent) in the cheeks and the temporal muscle areas, giving breadth to the face and skull. Viewed from the front, the topskull is broad and slightly arched. In profile, the temporal muscles and topskull form a unique, prominent arc that flattens toward the occiput. The head is mostly clean-cut and moderately dry; however, slight wrinkling may be visible when the dog is alerted, but it should never be profuse. A median furrow starting at the stop and disappearing toward the occiput may be present.
Expression: Noble, courageous, bold, attentive, watchful, and intelligent.
Stop: The stop is definite and well-marked.
Skull: The ideal muzzle-to-skull ratio is 1:2, with the topskull being just longer than the muzzle.
The ideal muzzle-to-skull axis is convergent.
Muzzle: Square and shorter than the topskull, being broad, deep, and full. The muzzle width is approximately equal to the length of the muzzle. The depth of the muzzle is approximately over 50% of the muzzle length. The level of the plane of the muzzle is parallel to the plane of the underline of the muzzle. The chin is set directly below the nose, forming a straight, perpendicular line from one to the other. Upper and lower jaws have good bone substance, are strong, well-developed, never appearing snipey or weak. Lower jaw is just slightly curved. From the front the head is broad, with cheeks appearing to be the widest point of the head.
Lips or Flews: Lips are rather well-fitted over the teeth and jaws. Upper lips are moderately thick and only somewhat loose, just covering the lower jawline. The plane of the lower jaw runs parallel to the plane of the muzzle in profile. This gives the muzzle the square appearance. The lips and flews should never be long, pendulous, or hang well-below the line of the under jaw.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black, or self-colored according to the coat in diluted colors such as blues, grays, or blue or gray fawns. The nostrils are large and well-opened. The nose lies directly above the chin, neither exceeding nor receding beyond the point of the chin.
Cheeks: Powerfully filled, with smooth, strong muscles giving breadth to the face. The cheeks should appear neither chiseled nor coarse.
Dentition and Bite: Forty-two strong, clean, white teeth. Bite may be scissor, level, reverse-scissor, or just slightly undershot. Contact between the top and bottom incisors is preferred, but a loss of contact of 1/4 of an inch or less is permissible. Missing or broken teeth as a result of routine work is not to be penalized.
Eyes: Moderate in size, oval, almond, or lemon-shaped, and may range from amber or green to dark brown in color. The eye rims are well-fitted and well-pigmented. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes. Haw or whites should not be visible when the dog is looking forward. There should be no indication of entropion, ectropion, or other eye anomaly or defect.
Ears: Medium in size, set high on the skull above the zygomatic arches/cheekbones, wide apart, triangular in shape, dropped, hanging close to the head, with tips falling close to the cheeks. The ears are never long, and they never extend beyond the lower jawbone. Ears may also be cropped short into equilateral triangles.

Body and Tail

General Description: Powerfully constructed, compact, solid, and substantial. The body is never racy or refined. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters. The body is well-put together, sturdy, and with solid bone.
Neck: Moderate length, equaling approximately 1/3 the height at the withers, powerfully-muscled, with a slight arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is overall clean-cut, without excess skin, but light throatiness or a minimal dewlap is permissible.
Chest: Deep, broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows. The forechest is well-developed, but not prominent.
Topline: Level from slightly prominent withers to croup. The back is broad, strongly muscled, and straight, yet supple. The loin is short, taut, and may be flat and level, or slightly arched, yet it is supportive and gives an almost imperceptible rise over the level of the croup. The topline is never long, swayed, or roached.
Croup: Broad, long, and slightly sloped. The rump is powerfully muscled and rounded.
Underline: Slight to moderate tuck-up present, or the underline is parallel to the topline. The underline is taut and firm, without any indication of sagging or excess weight.
Ribs: Long, well-sprung, well-laid-back, oval-shaped, never barrel-chested or slab-sided.
Tail: Set neither high nor low on the croup, but as a natural extension of the topline. It is thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. Carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, but never tucked or carried up over the back. Tail may be left natural (preferred) or docked short. Natural tails are of a medium length, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints when held down. The tail may be straight or gently curved. Docked tails are cut to the fourth tail vertebrae.

Forequarters and Hindquarters

Forequarters: Forequarters are always in balance with the hindquarters. Forequarters are well-angulated with well-laid-back shoulder blades. Shoulder blades are approximately equal in length to the upper arm and forearm.
Elbows: Elbows are close to the body. The point of the elbows is approximately half the dog’s height at the withers.
Forelegs: Frontal View: Straight, of good muscle, solid bone, and parallel to one another.
Side View: The forelimbs appear straight with strong pasterns.
Pasterns: Never weak or broken.
Hindquarters: Upper thigh and lower thigh are equal in length, strong, sturdy, of solid bone, and well-muscled.
Rear View: When viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns are parallel to one another.
Side View: Good angulation will allow the rear toes to align with the point of the rump or within one to two paw-lengths behind the point of the rump, with the rear pasterns remaining perpendicular to the ground and parallel to one another.
Stifle Joint: Well-angulated, with a good bend to well-let-down rear pasterns.
Angulations: Angulation of hindquarters is always in balance with angulation of forequarters.
Feet: Oval to round and compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.

Coat

Skin: Thick and well-fitted, yet supple. The skin should never obstruct the outline of the dog.
Coat Type: The coat is short, stiff, and shiny, featuring a very dense outer coat with a soft, light undercoat. The coat density is subject to the season and climate, with thicker coats sported in winter and less dense coats sported in warmer climates and seasons.
Coat Color or Pattern: CKC recognizes two color varieties of the Cane Corso breed: the standard color and non-standard color varieties.
Standard Coat Color Variety: Any shade of solid black, gray, blue, any shade of fawn (cream to reddish brown, always with a black or gray mask not extending beyond the brow, also called formentino), light fawn, stag red, dark fawn, apricot, blue fawn. Brindle (tigrato) may accompany any of these colors in any shade, including: “reverse” or black brindle, gray brindle, blue brindle, dark brindle, gold brindle, light brindle. Small patches of white permissible on the chest, toes, bridge of the nose, and chin.
Non-Standard Coat Color Variety: Any standard color without mask, liver, Isabella (all with or without mask), cream, red, tawny, (without mask), any of the above mentioned standard or non-standard varieties with tan, red, or brindle points. Any coat color with white extending beyond the toes, chest, chin, or nasal bridge.

Movement

Smooth, flowing, effortless trot with powerful and agile action. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither moving in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the center line of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.

Temperament

The Cane Corso is a noble and majestic breed. Originally developed as a protector, hunter, catch dog, and drover, he is confident, self-composed, and well-aware of his own capabilities. His intelligence allows for easy training, making him capable of learning many disciplines and skills, such as agility and weight pulling. He is watchful, responsive, loyal, and affectionate to his family and people, but can be somewhat stand-offish or indifferent towards strangers. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.

Faults

All dogs should be in proper healthy condition, free from disease or defect. Any departure from this description is considered a fault. Unless altered, all male dogs should have two fully descended testicles.