Cane Corsos

12 October 2022 - 3 min read
Black Cane Corso puppy sitting down

Vital stats

  • Breed type: Working
  • Size: 30 - 75 cm
  • Weight: 40 - 56 kg
  • Lifespan: 10 - 12 years


  • Size

    80% of the way between
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  • Intelligence

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  • Trainability

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  • Exercise needs

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  • Good with kids

    40% of the way between
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  • Levels of shedding

    60% of the way between
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  • Good for new owners

    20% of the way between
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  • Overall health of breed

    60% of the way between
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Note: We no longer insure Cane Corsos (if your dog was covered with us before 19/03/2024, we'll continue covering them)

What is a Cane Corso?

The statuesque Cane Corso is a huge Italian guarding dog. Its name in Latin literally means ‘bodyguard dog’ and they have the physical stature to match.

Since being used as war dogs in Roman times they have since evolved into hunters and farm dogs used to look after livestock. These days they’re more commonly companion dogs, although they’re still a very rare breed in the UK.

Cane Corsos aren’t a breed that’s recognised by the UK Kennel Club, but the Cane Corso Kennel Club UK is a group of enthusiasts that provide lots of information about these dogs. They were recognised by the Italian Kennel Club in 1990.

Cane Corso puppy

Cane Corso types and colours

Cane Corsos usually come in a range of black to grey colours, but they can also be found in brindle, merle, or even white.

They’re sometimes referred to as ‘King Corso’ or ‘King Cane Corso’, but there’s no real difference and this isn’t a variant.

Some people believe the Cane Corso is a banned breed in the UK, but this isn’t true. There aren’t actually any banned breeds, just ‘types’ which have characteristics described in the Dangerous Dogs Act.

But as Cane Corsos aren’t recognised as a breed in the UK, they could potentially resemble the types on the list, including Dogo Argentino or Pit Bull Terrier, especially if they’re crossed with other large dog breeds.

You might see some Cane Corsos with sharp, pointy ears and short tails. This isn’t a different type and they’re not born like this. Their tails and ears will have been cruelly cropped and docked – both of these mutilations are illegal in the UK.

Cane Corso temperament and characteristics

Cane Corsos are mastiff-type dogs with strong working roots. While that means they’re highly trainable, without the proper training and socialisation their behaviour can become problematic and they’re not a dog for the inexperienced owner.

They’re independent and strong-willed, which combined with their huge size and strength could make them dangerous in the wrong hands.

They do love a job to do, so to avoid behaviour problems owners can focus training on imitating tasks like herding or guarding, or even fun games like agility and scent work.

Cane Corso

Cane Corso health conditions

The large and heavy Cane Corso can suffer from a number of genetic conditions that are fairly common in bigger dog breeds.

If you’re choosing a Cane Corso puppy, make sure you see both parents and ask plenty of questions about their health history.

Cherry Eye – Cherry eye is the common name for a prolapsed gland in the nictitans – or third eyelid – which causes it to protrude and redden, resembling a cherry.

Epilepsy – Epilepsy is more common in Cane Corsos than in many other breeds. Epilepsy is a lifelong condition.

Hip dysplasia – Hip dysplasia was the fourth most common condition for Cane Corsos.

Frequently asked questions about Cane Corsoss

What should Cane Corso ears look like?

Here in the UK, Cane Corsos should have floppy ears. If you see one with pointy ears it’s had them cropped, which is illegal in the UK. It may have been imported from abroad or had its ears cropped illegally in the UK.

Where can I get a Cane Corso?

As with any breed of dog, you should see the puppies with their mother if you buy from a breeder and shouldn’t be allowed to take them home until they’re eight weeks old.

You can also sometimes find puppies and adult Cane Corsos in dog rescues and there are a few specialist breed rescues for them in the UK.

Are there laws about keeping Cane Corsos in the UK?

There’s no such thing as a ‘banned breed’ in the UK, just dogs that resemble a type listed under the Dangerous Dogs Act. It’s possible that a Cane Corso could resemble one of the types on the list, but it’s quite unlikely.

To stay on the right side of the law, your dog (of any type) should never be ‘dangerously out of control’. In reality, that means you could face police action just because someone feels threatened by your dog, even if they haven’t been attacked or bitten. Because of this, training and handling are extremely important in these sorts of large breeds that some people could be frightened of – although the same law applies to all dogs, big and small.

Why do some Cane Corsos have a short tail and ears?

Some Cane Corsos may have been imported into the UK from abroad. If that’s the case, they may have cropped ears or docked tails, even though this is illegal in the UK.

Others may even have been illegally ‘cropped and docked’ in the UK.

How do I pronounce ‘Cane Corso’?

‘Cane’ to pronounce with ‘rain’. ‘Corso’ rhymes with ‘torso’.