Cane corso puppy care
New Corso Puppy
Vaccinations & Worming
Your veterinarian will determine a schedule for your puppy. What follows is just a sample puppy vaccination schedule.
6 weeks-Distemper, Parvo, Fecal Flotation, Heartworm preventive
9 weeks-Distemper, Parvo, Corona, Bordetella
12 weeks-Distemper, Parvo, Corona
16 weeks-Distemper, Parvo, Corona, Rabies, Fecal Flotation, Lyme
Annually-Distemper, Parvo, Corona, Rabies, Fecal Flotation, Heartworm test
Discuss your puppy's vaccination schedule with your vet during the first visit.
Puppy Growth Chart
Ear Cropping is a matter of choice. Cropping should be done between 6-10 weeks of age. It is not mandatory in this breed but preferred by many. In many countries cropping is illegal. According to the FCI Standard No. 343 for the Cane Corso " Ears of medium size in relation to the volume of the head and to the size of the dog; covered with short hair, of triangular shape, with rather pointed apex and thick cartilage, in a high position, much above the zygomatic arch, with a wide bottom, hanging, they stick to the cheeks without coming down to the throat. Quite outstretched and slightly protruding at the joint, they become semi-erect when the dog is watchful. They usually get amputated in an equilateral-triangular shape. " The correct crop for a Corso according to the FCI standard 343 is illustrated below.
Hierarchy Kennel uses Laser precision ear cropping with Lithonia Animal Hospital
A correctly cropped ear should not need to be taped in order to stand. If the ears are not standing after crop due to cartilage weakness or incorrect crop, you can buy moleskin or Dr. Scholl's footpad at your local drug store, cut it in the shape of the ear, glue with skin bond (available at most local pharmacies or through J&B Wholesale) to inside of ear for support. The photos below illustrate this method.
|CORRECT EAR CROP||INCORRECT EAR CROP|
|Too Short||Too Long|
Pet Quality vs. Show Quality
The decision to add a puppy to your household is a big one that entails making a lot of decisions about what type of pup to chose. You must first decide if you want a male or female and then whether you want pet quality or show quality. It is important to remember that the term "pet" quality does not mean there is anything wrong with the pup. It basically means that that pup may not exhibit the characteristics necessary to excel in the show ring. It certainly does not refer to the health of the pup and the same health guarantee should apply for a "pet" quality pup as it does for a "show" quality pup. You must first decide what your intentions are for the pup's future. Do you plan on showing your dog? Do you plan on breeding? What are you primarily purchasing this puppy for - companionship, working, breeding, etc?
"Pet" quality Cane Corso pups usually range in price from $1,800-$2,000. If you are looking for a companion and have no plans to breed then pet quality is something you should consider. A fault like incorrect bite or a long muzzle is of no concern in a companion animal. All pups/dogs sold as "pet" quality should be sold with limited registration paperwork and with a spay/neuter contract. Limited registration restricts your ability to get paperwork on any puppies produced from that dog.
The average spay/neuter contract clearly states at what age the dog must be spayed/neutered and that proof in the form of a spay/neuter certificate from the veterinarian must be provided to the breeder by said age. Dogs sold as "pet" quality should never be bred. Only the best examples of the breed should be used for breeding.
"Show" quality Cane Corso pups usually range in price from $2,500 - $3,000. If you are looking to breed than you should purchase a "show" quality puppy. Remember that it is impossible to look at a litter of pups and determine with 100% certainty how a pup will turn out. There are no sure things when dealing with genetics. At the time your pup is picked, it may very well be "show" quality and exhibit the potential to be a good example of the breed standard. It is important to purchase a pup from an experienced breeder who is able to distinguish the "show" quality from the "pet quality". It is very rare to get more than one or two pups (if you are lucky) in a litter that are truly "show" quality. Just because a litter is out of two Champions doesn't mean that the pups will all turn out to be "show" quality or Champions - there is no such thing.
We are dealing with genetics here and it is all a gamble. If a breeder is claiming to have whole "show" litters, or has more than a few pups in the litter that are "show" quality, you should look for someone else to buy a puppy from. This breeder is exhibiting unethical practices and is just looking to make more money off the pups by stating they are all "show" quality so he/she can charge more. Also, many breeders charge extra for "pick of the litter". It is a common practice for breeders to hold back pick for themselves and sell second or sometimes third & fourth as "pick of the litter" without informing the buyer that they are in fact paying extra for a pup that is not truly "pick". Make sure you ask the breeder if he is holding back a pup for himself or as a fee for the stud service and if so, then how can you be getting "pick puppy"? Lastly, purchasing a "show" quality pup does not guarantee your dog will turn out to be a good example of the standard. If you plan on breeding your dog, please take the time to evaluate him/her at 2 years of age to make sure that it meets the breed standard, is healthy (test for genetic diseases) and has a stable temperament. Please remember it is a package of type, health and temperament that makes a dog a good example of the breed.
There is also a middle category called "breed" quality. This is a term used by unethical breeders. It is commonly used to sell pups that are blue/tan, blue with brindle points, black/tan or black with brindle points (rottie like markings). This is not an acceptable color pattern for the Cane Corso. Corsos of this color should never be bred as they will pass on genes for the incorrect color pattern and keep this problem going in the breed. Many unethical breeders will try and sell this type of pup by saying "it can't be shown but it can be bred". Again, if the dog does not adhere to the standard - it should not be bred - period. This is just another way for unethical breeders to make more money by preying on people's lack of understanding of the breed standard. If a dog is not good enough to be shown, then it is not good enough to breed. This does not mean that every "show" dog should be bred, only that when looking at a litter, only the best possible examples of the breed should be sold for breeding purposes. The majority of pups in a litter should be categorized as "pet" quality in any breed.
Unfortunately, with the rare breeds, there are many "Champions" that truly don't fit the standard, are unhealthy and/or have unstable temperaments. It is very easy to Champion a dog if you attend enough shows (especially the smaller ones) or if you hire a professional handler. Many of these handlers have established relationships with judges throughout the years and have a guaranteed win even before they walk in the ring! Sadly, anyone can have a "Champion" with this breed. This makes it even more difficult for those looking to purchase a pup to discern between a quality pup and a good sales pitch.
Whatever you chose, "show" or "pet" quality, make sure both parents are fully health tested and have stable temperaments. This breed should never be aggressive regardless of the sales pitch some may try and push. There is a difference between aggression and protectiveness, so please don't be fooled by those trying to say differently. Recent incidents like a child being mauled by a Cane Corso and owners, handlers and judges being bitten in the show ring are the result of the breeding of unstable, dangerous Corsos - many of which are "Champions". Also, read through the guarantee for your puppy and make sure you agree to all the terms before leaving a deposit
Male vs. Female
The question of getting a male or a female is one that needs to be given due consideration. If you already have a dog and are looking to add a Corso to your family, it is always recommended you add one of the opposite sex of the current dog in your household. Corsos tend to do better with dogs of the opposite sex due to their dominant nature. This is not to say that two females will not get along, only that you have better odds with male/female than those of the same sex. It is also important to take into consideration your current dogs temperament when looking into getting another dog. If you have a very dominant dog (regardless of male or female), you should look for a pup with a more submissive or subordinate temperament. Do not assume that the first dog there will always be "top dog". Once old enough, the typical Corso will attempt to take over alpha position in the pack and it is best to be prepared for this in advance. The following information highlights some of the differences between males and females of this breed. Keep in mind there are always exceptions to the rule.
Males are slower to mature, usually not reaching their final size until about 3 years. Intact males have a tendency to wander while searching for females in heat and to mark every object in their territory. Neutering at a young age will lesson territorial behavior/aggression or any behavior that is hormone related. Due to their dominant nature, the male Corso does not typically do well with other male dogs. If the other dog is dominant and does not submit, the outcome is usually a fur-flying brawl.
As with most breeds, females tend to be smaller than males. They too tend to possess a dominant temperament. They may have same sex aggression (much like males) but tend to be more accepting of other females (where males usually aren't towards other males). The female Corso has less dewlap and is usually dryer around the mouth. If spaying is not in your plans, then special consideration will have to be given 2 to 3 times a year during her heat cycles. This lifestyle-altering event can last up to 3 weeks and can be quite a mess when dealing with a 100-pound dog.
The Cane Corso is equally affectionate, athletic, and intelligent whether male or female. Both mature to be discerning guardians of their family, even after spaying or neutering. Whichever you chose, you will need to put in the same amount of time and work when socializing & training. Both are formidable companions and your choice should be made on your current household situation (i.e., other pets, size allowance, etc.) and preference.
Hip Dysplasia in Cane Corsos
Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD) is an orthopedic problem, which can result in remodeling of the femur, wearing away of the acetabulum, and other arthritic changes. Although CHD is primarily an inherited defect, the severity of the disease is influenced by environment, e.g., growth rate, diet, and exercise. CHD is one of the primary health problems in Cane Corsos. There are several excellent articles explaining CHD in detail listed under the "General" category below. Early preventive steps can be key in reducing the severity of expression of CHD - maintaining a slow growth rate and good muscle tone, and never allowing the dog to become over weight.
What is PennHIP? and what do the numbers mean?
PennHIP is a method of testing dog’s hips for laxity and the comparing it within the breed - the smaller the number the tighter the hips. Those numbers are then added to a database, the dog is given a percentage it falls in. For example .33/.44 90th Percentile would mean the dogs hips were tighter than 90% of the Cane Corso tested. We believe that by selectively breeding towards tighter hips you will see a curve in the median hip scores of the breed over time leading to tighter and tighter hips being produced. Some unscrupulous breeders like to put PennHIP Certified or simply No DJD for hip testing results. PennHIP does NOT certify hips, they simply inform breeders of where their dogs hips fall within the breed, and its up to the breeder to determine what is acceptable for their program to breed. An honest breeder will give you exact scores of their dogs, an OFA Rating or a PennHIP score with a .??/.?? and/or Percentage ranking in the breed. For more information on PennHIP visit their website
Today there are several screening techniques and certifying agencies available to help breeders eliminate affected dogs from their breeding programs including the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), the Institute for Genetic Disease Control (GDC) and PennHIP. While there is a lot of controversy as to which one is the best or most accurate, each provides breeders with a method for assessing the actual structure of their dog's hip joints.
Until there is a DNA test to determine who the unaffected carriers are this disease will continue to plague our Breed and the only way for now to keep it in check is to at least know who the affected dogs are.
Not all dogs with CHD are doomed to live a crippled existence. Some dogs whose radiographs show obvious signs of CHD live active happy lives without surgical intervention and sometimes without any treatment at all. If, unfortunately, yours does not fall into that category there are many treatment options to consider. Please take a minute to look at a few of the nonsurgical treatments that are available such as Acupuncture, Chiropractic Adjustment and Nutraceutical Supplement Therapy. These alternative therapies have helped a great many dogs with CHD lead a relatively pain free life. Some surgical options can only be performed at a young age and your dogs' size activity level and pain tolerance should be considered when you discuss options with your Veterinarian. The OFA site athttp://www.offa.org/hdtreat.html has an excellent general overview of surgical procedures. Your Veterinarian is your best source for options for YOUR dog. For those times when a little 'help' may be necessary please refer to the web sites listed at the bottom of this page under "Mobility Assistance Items" for harnesses, slings, traction boots, support carts, etc.
Elbow Dysplasia is a general term used to identify an inherited polygenic disease in the elbow of dogs. Three specific types make up this disease and they can occur independently or in conjunction with one another. These types include:
1. Fragmented medial coronoid of the ulna
2. Osteochondritis of the medial humeral condyle in the elbow joint
3. Ununited anconeal process
Studies have shown the inherited polygenic traits causing these types of Dysplasia are independent of one another. The most common type is fragmented medial coronoid of the ulna.
No one can predict what age lameness will occur in a dog due to a large number of genetic and environmental factors such as degree of severity of changes, rate of weight gain, amount of exercise, etc. Affected dogs are frequently lame or have an abnormal gait. Indications of pain can range from mild limping when trotting, altered stance (holds elbow(s) outward from chest), enlargement of the elbow joint, and unable to bear weight on the affected leg. Range of motion in the elbow is also decreased .
The only way to know for sure if your dog has elbow Dysplasia is through x-rays. X-rays will provide an accurate diagnosis and evaluate the severity of the condition. All breeding stock (of breeds prone to elbow Dysplasia) should be certified free of elbow Dysplasia by
OFA , PennHip prior to breeding. If a breeder cannot do this with their dog, please re-consider purchasing from this person as this is an indication of an unstable dog with a poor temperament and this dog should not be bred in the first place. Temperament is genetic and odds are its puppies will have the same temperament problems.
Surgical correction is most successful in cases of mild deterioration. Dogs that have been confirmed to have elbow Dysplasia and those which have been surgically corrected should never be used for breeding.
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