Breed standard

AKC Standard of the Cane Corso

The Cane Corso is a new comer to AKC. The American Kennel Club has recorded this breed in 2010 as Cane Corso.

General Appearance

The Cane Corso is an ancient Italian breed, medium-large sized molossoid. Sturdy, with a strong skeleton, muscular and athletic. It moves with considerable ease and elegance. It has always been a property watchdog and hunter of difficult game such as the wild boar. Size, Proportion, Substance
A muscular, balanced, large boned dog, rectangular in proportion. The length of the dog, measured from the point of the shoulder to the point of buttock, is approximately 10% percent greater than the height of the dog measured from the highest point of the shoulder to the ground.

Height: Dogs: 25 to 27.5 inches, Bitches: 23.5 to 26 inches.

Weight: Proportionate to height.
Head Mollossoid, large, its total length reaches approximately one third of the height at the withers. Planes of the skull and muzzle are slightly convergent, they are not parallel. The circumference of the head measured at the cheek bones is more then twice the total length of the head; skin is firm and smooth.
Viewed from the front is wide and slightly curved, width is equal to the length. From the side a prominent arch begins above the eyes and then flattens backwards towards the occiput, viewed from the top it has a square appearance due to the zygomatic arches and powerful muscles swathing it. Stop: Well defined due to developed and bulging frontal sinuses and prominent arch above the eyes. Expression: Very alert and attentive. Some wrinkling on forehead occurs when alert. Eyes: Medium sized, almond shaped, not round or bulging, tight fitting rims preferred with only a minimal amount of haw being visible.

Eye Color:

Dogs with black muzzles (black, fawn, red, and these colors brindled) dark brown eyes are preferred. Gray muzzles (gray, fawn, red and these colors brindled) lighter shades are acceptable

Pigmentation of the eye rims is complete, pigmentation of eye rim matches pigment color of dog. Disqualification: Yellow bird of prey, blue eyes. Wall eyed. Ears: Set well above the cheekbones. May be cropped or uncropped, if cropped it is in an equilateral triangle. If uncropped, they are medium sized, triangular in shape, held tight to the cheeks, and not extending beyond the jaw bone. Nose: Large with well-opened nostrils, pigment color to match pigment color of the dog. Dogs with black pigment have black noses, gray pigmented dogs have gray noses, and pigmentation is complete. The nose is an extension of the topline of the muzzle and does not protrude beyond nor recede behind the front plane of the muzzle. Muzzle: Very broad and deep, width is almost equal to its length which reaches approximately one third of the total length of the head; the depth of muzzle is more then 50% of the length of the muzzle. The top and bottom muzzle plains are parallel and the nose and chin form a perpendicular line.Viewed from the front the anterior face should look flat and form a trapezoid, wider at the bottom. Muzzle is not narrow or snipey. Lips: Rather firm. Upper lips moderately hanging, they join under the nostrils to form an inverted “U”. Pigmentation matches color pigment of dog, Dogs with black pigment have black lips, gray pigmented dogs have gray lips. Bite: Slightly undershot (no more then1/4 inch) and level preferred, scissor bite is acceptable if parameters of the head and muzzle are correct. The incisors are firmly placed on a straight line. Dentition is complete with no more then two missing teeth. Disqualification: More then 2 missing teeth, wry mouth. Pronounced and undershot more then ¼ inch.
Neck, Back and Body

Neck: Slightly arched, flowing smoothly into the shoulders with a small amount of dewlap. The length of the neck is approximately one third the height at the withers. Body: Depth of the ribcage is equal to half the total height of the dog, descending slightly below the elbow. Ribs are long and well sprung. Moderate tuck up Chest: Broad, well muscled, strong forefront. Back: Wide, strong, muscular. Highest part of shoulder blade slightly rising above the strong, level back. Loin: Well-muscled, and harmoniously joined to the back. Croup: Long, wide, slightly sloping. Rump should be quite round due to muscling.

Tail: Tail set is an extension of the backline. It is thick at the root with not much tapering at the tip. When not in action carried low, otherwise horizontal or slightly higher than back, not to be carried in a vertical position, it is docked at the 4th vertebrae. Natural tails are accepted, though not preferred. In the case of natural tails, the tip reaches the hock but not below. Carried low, it is neither broken nor kinked but supple. Hanging when the dog is in repose; generally carried level with the back or slightly above the level of the back when the dog is in action, without curving over the back or being curled. Disqualification: A natural tail that is atrophied or a natural tail that is knotted and laterally deviated or twisted.
Strong and muscular, well proportioned to the size of the dog. Straight when viewed from the front or side, height of the limb at the elbow is equal to 50% of the height at the withers. Shoulders: Muscular, laid back. Upper arms: Strongly muscled, with good bone, powerful. Elbows: Held parallel to the ribcage, turning neither in nor out. Forelegs: straight and with good bone well muscled. Pasterns: Almost straight, strong but flexible. Feet: Round with well arched, toes (cat like).Lean hard dark pads and nails except in the case of white toes. Front dewclaws: Can remain or be removed, if left intact should only be a single dewclaw on each leg
Hindquarters As a whole, they are powerful and strong, in harmony with the forequarters.

Thighs: Long, wide, angulated and well muscled. Stifle: Should be moderately angulated, strong. Legs: Strong bone and muscle structure. Hocks: wide set, thick and clean, let down and parallel when viewed from behind. Rear pastern: straight and parallel. Rear dewclaws: Any rear dewclaws are removed. Hind feet: Slightly more oval shaped and less arched toes than the front feet.Coat The coat is short, stiff, shiny, adherent and dense with a light undercoat that becomes thicker in cold weather.
Color Acceptable colors are black, lighter and darker shades of gray, lighter and darker shades of fawn, and red. Brindling is allowed on all of these colors. Solid fawn and red, including lighter and darker shades have a black or gray mask; it does not go beyond the eyes. There may be a white patch on the chest, throat, chin, backs of the pasterns, and on the toes.

Disqualification: Any color with marking pattern as seen in black and tan breeds.

Gait/Movement The movement is free flowing, powerful yet effortless, with strong reach and drive. As the dog accelerates, the feet converge towards a center line of gravity in a near single track. When viewed from the side, the topline remains level, with minimal roll or bounce.

Temperament: The Cane Corso as a protector of his property and owners is unequaled. Intelligent he is easily trained. Noble, majestic and powerful his presence is impressive. He is docile and affectionate to his owner, loving with children and family.
The overall conformation of the dog should be well balanced and proportionate. The foregoing description is that of the ideal Cane Corso any deviation from the above described dog is penalized to the extent of the deviation.
• More then 2 missing teeth, wry mouth.
• Undershot bite more then ¼inch
• Yellow bird of prey, blue eyes. Wall eyed.
• Any color with marking pattern as seen in black and tan breeds.
• A natural atrophied tail or a natural tail that is knotted and laterally deviated or twisted.

Cane Corso Temperament and Personality

Even a small Corso is destined to be a large dog. This is something that must be taken into consideration when rearing it. As a puppy, your Corso should not be allowed to do anything that you would not wish your full-grown Corso to do, like jumping, rough play, & lying on the couch. And because your puppy is going to be such a large dog, it is also essential that it receive early socialization and basic obedience training. You DO NOT want a 125-pound dog that won't listen to you; this can lead to obvious problems.
Corsos grow at such an astonishing rate that it is best not to force their growth with artificial vitamins and calcium supplements, to much calcium is causes more problems than to little! A good quality dog food is all that they require. A Corso is going to get as large as it is going to be, genetically, anyway; allowing them to grow at their own pace will give them a more stable foundation once they get there. Many breeders recommend NOT feeding a 'puppy food' beyond the first few months due to the high protein content. The amount of food is a judgment call, depending on the type of food you are feeding, the age of the Corso, and the body condition such as too fat, too thin or just right. Do not let your Corso puppy or young adult get fat and make sure that you can feel the ribs or at least see the last two ribs when the dog is moving. Fat dogs have many problems with bones and joints, heart, liver, kidney, etc.
During growth periods your Corso puppy is subject to joint injury. You will need to be especially careful during these times to control excessive exercise. A puppy may play at its own rate but should not be encouraged to take long walks, jump obstacles, or any other exercise that will stress the joints. This is not to say the puppy has to be confined. Just use caution and do not allow it to over exert itself. After about 18 months the growth rate has decreased and the puppy has just about reached its full stature.
It is important that you NOT over exercise any Corso under 2 years of age. Up until this age (and sometimes later) their skeleton is still developing. Since Corsos tend to be stoic, and also will do just about anything to be with and please their people, they can easily end up with an inflamed joint or other problems like those that plague humans who run for exercise.
When you do begin to exercise your Corso, begin GRADUALLY. Build up SLOWLY. Make sure you know and watch for the signs of your dog getting tired or overheated. Take ice and water with you in case the dog overheats. The extra weight will add more effect to your workout! This is not to say that Corsos should not have any exercise at all as pups. On the contrary, Corso puppies are still puppies and need to do puppy things like running and playing. If left to their own schedule, they will rest themselves when they get tired. Crating a pup for most of its puppyhood is more detrimental than letting it play and exercise in moderation in the house and yard. A Corso remains a puppy much longer than most breeds. Even though a Corso is already quite large by the time it is 6 months old, it is still growing and maturing rapidly. A Corso does not reach its full physical or mental maturity until around 2-3 years of age.
Fresh water should be kept available at all times. Drool may accumulate in the bottom of the pup's water dish, so the dish should be rinsed out at least daily. Stainless steel food and water dishes are suggested for several reasons. They are basically indestructible, easy to sterilize and dishwasher safe. Buy the largest one you can find for a water owl and at least 5 qt. Size for the food. Because they are destined to be VERY large dogs, basic obedience training should be a part of every Corso's upbringing. Adequate socialization is an extremely important part of a puppy's training. An unsocialized dog, of any breed, can become either fearful or aggressive. A well-socialized Corso is a stable Corso.
Corsos seem to have an instinctive need and desire to be as close as possible to their human family, to the point that their emotional development can be stunted if they are deprived of that closeness. Corsos consider themselves to be part of your family, and will be most content if they are able to share your home with you. Corsos need a place of their own where they will feel comfortable and secure, just like any other dog.
Crates are a practical solution, especially for puppy house training and safety. Wire crates are best so that the pup can see out and because they are harder to chew or destroy. Purchase the largest one you can afford so your Corso can grow into it. A dog bed next your bed is also a good idea since Corsos want to be with their families. The best beds are soft pads with blankets over them or even a baby bed mattress with a cover. Don't be surprised if your youngster shreds his bed as this seems to be great fun to most puppies - be sure to remove any pieces because they can be dangerous if swallowed.

You can find information about this wonderful breed on this page.
Including answers to the following questions:

Correct Coat & musk colors »

Mask »

Others Coat colors »

Markings & eye colors »