Cane Corso, or Cane Corso Italiano as the breed is also known is a medium to large sized dog of very athletic and muscular build. They look very dignified and confident, which is not surprising when one considers their impressive bulk and strong jaw. They are descendants of the Roman auxiliary fighting dogs, that were often pitted against such ferocious animals like boars and bears, which should tell you a lot about their prowess and courage.
Their strong bodies are quite large, males are usually between 24 and 27 inches tall and they weigh somewhere around 100 to 110 pounds, while females are somewhat smaller with their 23 to 25 inches of height and 88 to 100 pounds of weight. Their bodies are rectangular in shape; they are about 10% longer than they are tall. Cane Corsi are well proportioned and look quite powerful. This is not surprising as it is known that they were used as hunting and working dogs through history.
They have large and wide heads, the circumference, if measured at cheeks is more than twice as long as the length of the head. Their eyes are of medium size, not set too far apart, and they are usually dark in dogs with darker coat colors and somewhat lighter in those with similarly colored coats. Their ears are usually cropped where that is allowed. This was done in the past to make the dog less vulnerable to wolf attacks. One of the duties of Cane Corsi was guarding the sheep, and as their ears were one of the few parts of their bodies that weren’t almost impervious to pain, farmers would crop them so that the wolves wouldn’t be able to harm the dog. Ears are triangular and of medium size if not cropped. If cropped they form an equilateral triangle.
They have a strong jaw that is as long as it is wide and that is either slightly undershot or locks in a scissor bite. The shape of the jaw gives them considerable bite power. It can also lock when it bites, so the hunters often had to manually separate the dog from the game it caught in his powerful jaws. Their tails are quite thick and don’t taper too much towards the end. If the dog is not focused on something it is carried low, otherwise, it is in level with the back or somewhat higher. Their tails are often docked at the fourth vertebrae, but it is not uncommon to see a Cane Corso with a natural tail.
They have dense coats with an undercoat that is rather thin in the warmer months, but achieves significant thickness in the winter. Their coats are stiff, short and shiny. They come in a variety of colors, including but not limited to black, gray, shades of red and fawn. Cane Corso’s coat is often brindled, or can have white markings.
Cane Corso is an excellent guard dog. It is very devoted to his owners and just suspicious enough of strangers to alert his owners of them. They are extremely courageous and usually won’t instigate a fight with other dogs, but will never back down from one if it already started.