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Cane Corso Pros and Cons: Is This Guardian Breed For You?

Written By: Sharon Waddington

Last Updated:

The Cane Corso is a powerful, affectionate, and often overlooked breed that more pet owners should consider. The Italian breed boasts a degree of energy level, speed, agility, and athleticism that’s hard to find in other mastiff breeds.

If you’re considering getting a Cane Corso for yourself, you must consider the pros and cons of the Cane Corso before making such a long-term commitment.

The Cane Corso’s biggest pros are they are excellent watchdogs, have low-maintenance coats, are extremely smart, and fare well with families. Their cons are that they require high energy levels, need a lot of space, and suffer from several health issues.

If you’ve been researching your ideal dog breed for a while, you might have a good idea of whether a Cane Corso (also known as the Italian Mastiff) will be the right choice for you just by reading the short snippet above.

However, if you’re unsure or have already decided but want to ensure it’s right, read on as I take you through a more in-depth run-down of this breed’s main advantages and drawbacks.

Cane Corso watching upwards

What Are the Pros and Cons of a Cane Corso?

Dogs are the most prevalent pets in our homes. For centuries now, they’ve earned their famous title as people’s best friends.

Owning a dog is known to have many advantages for humans, but dogs also have characteristics that may challenge their owner’s patience, increase their financial burden, and stretch their time management.

Like all dogs, one should weigh up a Cane Corso’s advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a tabled view of the pros and cons of the Cane Corso.

Cane Corso ProsCane Corso Cons
Cane Corsos are excellent watchdogsCane Corsos are overly energetic
Cane Corsos are very intelligentCane Corsos are tough to deal if not properly trained
Cane Corsos are affectionateCane Corsos have high socialization requirements
Cane Corsos are low-maintenanceCane Corsos are prone to some health issues
Cane Corsos are very athleticCane Corsos aren’t ideal for smaller households
Cane Corsos are great with families

Cane Corso Pros

Cane Corso’s pros are the positive qualities of Cani Corsi that’ll win your heart and make bringing home a Cane Corso puppy irresistible. They really are a smart and affectionate breed, and when it comes to dogs with impressive size and muscular appearance, there is hardly any breed to compete with.

Here are some of the pros this gorgeous breed has to offer.

Cane Corso Are Excellent Watchdogs

Though the sheer size of these dogs can intimidate many potential owners, the flip side is that a Cane Corso would make an excellent guard or watchdog.

So, a Cane Corso would be a perfect choice if you’re looking to get a pet in hopes of feeling safer, whether in your home or during those late-night walks. 

These dogs grow quickly, reaching heights of 58-71 cm (23” – 28”) and weights of 41-50 kg (90-110 lbs). Though females are usually smaller than their male counterparts, the margin is still relatively small, so either gender would make an excellent guard dog.

However, size isn’t the only factor contributing to these animals being great at keeping their owners safe. 

Cane Corso dogs, in particular, seem far more protective than other breeds, other mastiffs included.

So, as soon as they sense danger, their instincts will kick in, and they’ll take every measure necessary to keep their loved ones away from harm’s way.

Their personality also works in their favor in this instance. They usually remain cool and collected, even when they get aggressive, and according to AKC, they display all of the traits you’d expect from a professional bodyguard in times of danger. 

In fact, if you trace the name “Cane Corso” back to its Latin roots, it roughly translates to “bodyguard dog.” If that doesn’t convince you that Cane Corsos are one of the best watchdog breeds, I don’t know what will.

They Are Very Intelligent

Intelligent Cane Corso sitting amidst lush greens

Any skilled bodyguard needs to be, first and foremost, intelligent and able to pick up on cues we can’t. Cane Corso dogs are renowned for their high intelligence level, which becomes apparent in their guarding skills and trainability.

While these dogs require much time and patience, they’re still relatively easy to train and can be taught to perform various tasks that other breeds can’t. For example, as mentioned in another article, Siberian Huskies are much more difficult to train.

For example, though they’re high-energy dogs, they can still be taught to be obedient and wait when needed.

Additionally, they’re excellent rescue dogs that can be trained to track and search, which is more than what can be said for most other mastiffs.

Cani Corsi Are Affectionate

Don’t let their intimidating size and aggressive exterior fool you, as Cane Corsos are extremely affectionate with those they love.

In fact, I could go as far as saying they’re needy, as they’ll require a lot of time, attention, and, most importantly, pets. They love to cuddle and spend time with their families. 

In fact, their loving nature is part of what makes them so protective in the first place. Since they love their owners so much, they’re bound to be fiercely loyal to them, which is ultimately what we all strive for when getting a new pet dog.

They are a Low-Maintenance Breed

As far as aesthetic maintenance goes, these dogs are very easy to care for. They have short, thick fur that isn’t prone to shedding, so you won’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on haircuts and cleaning devices every year.

They’ll still go through their seasonal shedding sessions, but the process will be far more manageable than what you’d have to go through with other breeds. 

Weekly brushings can help speed the shedding process and keep your place fur-free. With that said, Cane Corso dogs aren’t hypoallergenic, so they’re still not a suitable choice for those suffering from allergies.

If you are concerned about dog hair in your home, you can find several products to reduce and remove dog hair, such as lint rollers and specialty dryer sheets specifically designed to remove dog hair from your clothes in the dryer.

Cani Corsi Are Very Athletic

Strength and athleticism are among Cane Corso’s most distinctive features. True to their muscular build, these dogs can take on various physical challenges, whether exercising, searching, rescuing, or playing with loved ones. 

While on the topic, I also want to mention that a Cane Corso will excel in all types of sports, so if you want to get competitive, this is the breed for you.

Remember that while having an athletic dog around can do wonders for your energy levels, choosing such an athletic breed requires additional time and effort.

If you’re an experienced dog owner able to provide them with all the training and exercise they require, you’ll get a lot of joy and practical value from their athletic, energetic nature.

Cani Corsi Are Great With Families

It’s important to reiterate how these dogs can fit in with big families. Considering their intimidating exterior, many owners tend to shy away from considering a Cane Corso as their family dog, especially if they’re sharing a house with young children. 

However, this is a misconception, as the breed is extremely affectionate and family-oriented.

Here’s an incredible video where a baby grows up with a 125-pound Cane Corso dog:

However, I do want to note that, as with any other dog, proper training and socialization are needed for a Cane Corso to feel and act its best.

Luckily, the breed’s high trainability level and natural instinct to love and protect will come in handy throughout the process, so you shouldn’t have difficulty getting your dog comfortable around your family, particularly kids.

Cane Corso Cons

There’s no such thing as the perfect dog breed, and even the lovable Cane Corsos have their own drawbacks. They’re simply not for everyone, and if you’re looking to find out whether that includes you, read on as I explore the breed’s most notorious drawbacks.

They Can Be Overly Energetic

The breed’s signature athleticism and high energy level can be a double-edged sword. Though they allow the dog to make the most out of its physical performance, they also require you to spend much time and effort keeping them mentally and physically stimulated.

Cane Corsos need plenty of exercise on a daily basis to properly burn off their energy and remain content.

They’ll need two long walks, with at least one of them including running. Otherwise, they won’t only suffer but also become more aggressive and destructive, causing issues for all household members.

However, physical exercise isn’t the only type of stimulation they need. 

Since this is a highly intelligent breed, you’ll also need to keep your Cane Corso mentally entertained.

This translates to lots of one-on-one interactions and lengthy playtime sessions. You might want to play games like tug-of-war with your Cane Corso, as this can simulate hunting games. 

In short, this breed requires much time, patience, and energy, which is more than most owners can offer. That’s why it’s best to steer away from Cane Corsos if that doesn’t seem like something you can realistically offer.

Moreover, if this is your first time owning a pet, opting for a breed that’s easier to care for is best.

Once you’ve gathered some experience under your belt, you can consider taking on the challenging endeavor that is the growing of a Cane Corso.

Highly energetic Cane Corso

They Are Challenging To Deal With if Not Properly Trained

One of the main reasons it’s important to have some dog-raising experience before getting a Cane Corso is that the quality of its training process can heavily affect its behavior later on.

That’s why it’s essential to either know exactly what you’re doing or enlist the help of a professional to make sure your Cane Corso isn’t growing up to be too aggressive or strong-willed.

While these dogs often grow up to be the affectionate, loyal creatures we know and love, a lot of time and effort needs to be spent to get to that point, so you’ll want to make sure you’re up for the task before making a commitment.

Moreover, if you want to gain the respect and obedience of your Cane Corso (without which cohabitating with them would be near-impossible), you’ll have to establish yourself as the leader right from the start by using positive reinforcement training methods.

Unfortunately, this also means that you either have to get a Cane Corso puppy and train them as needed or do thorough research and hopefully get a professional opinion before adopting or buying a fully grown one. 

That’s because the level and quality of training a Cane Corso has received can make or break its temperament.

They Have High Socialization Requirements

Cane Corsos are lively, social creatures that thrive in the presence of humans or other animals. 

While this means that it’ll be easier for these dogs to live in larger households and interact with other pets, it also means that you’ll have to spend a lot of one-on-one time with your pup if you want it to thrive.

So, if you plan to be gone for most of the day, don’t even think about getting a Cane Corso, as these dogs can quickly get destructive if they don’t get enough social time. Instead, you’ll want to ensure that at least one family member interacts with the dog most of the day. 

That’s the only way to keep them mentally and physically stimulated and, most importantly, happy.

They Are Prone to Some Health Issues

While all breeds are prone to certain health issues, the remarkable size and energy level of Cane Corsos make them even more susceptible to some conditions. They have a median lifespan of only 9.29 years, according to this study.

For example, the fact that they like to run around so much, combined with their high-ish weight, makes them more prone to hip dysplasia, heart conditions, and bloat.

Therefore, if you do end up getting a Cane Corso, keep in mind that you’ll have to do regular screenings to ensure your pup is in good health and to be able to remedy all potential issues before they become any more severe.

Vet visits might become a regular part of your dog’s care.

You’ll also want to strike that fine balance between exercising your Cane Corso enough and keeping it as safe as possible during these frequent play sessions.

If you’re not up for the task of watching an overly excited dog like a hawk to make sure it doesn’t accidentally hurt itself, it’s better to opt for a calmer, more docile dog.

Cane Corso sitting amidst grass and debris

Cani Corsi Are Not Ideal for Smaller Households

Last but not least, these big, heavy dogs aren’t ideal for smaller households. Not only do they require more space simply because they’re larger, but they also thrive in bigger spaces where they can comfortably run around and burn off their seemingly endless energy.

Moreover, they require constant care and attention, which would be far easier to achieve if several people were taking over dog-sitting duties.


Do Cane Corsos require a lot of exercise?

Yes, Cane Corsos require a lot of exercise. As a large and energetic breed, your Cane Corso needs at least 30 minutes of exercise each day to stay happy and healthy.

Note: A tired dog is a well-behaved dog.

How much grooming does a Cane Corso need?

A Cane Corso’s grooming needs are fairly low maintenance. You’ll need to brush their short coat once a week to distribute their natural oils. Beyond that, regular nail trims and ear cleanings are all that’s needed to keep their coat shiny and smooth.

Are Cane Corsos prone to any specific health issues?

Unfortunately, Cane Corsos are prone to some common health issues. Hip and elbow dysplasia are conditions they’re at risk for due to their size. Some lines can also be prone to gastric torsion, so it’s best not to exercise them vigorously after eating.

What is the average lifespan of a Cane Corso?

The average lifespan of a Cane Corso is 9 to 11 years. As a giant breed, their large size makes them more susceptible to joint issues as they age. But with regular vet care and a healthy lifestyle, your Cane Corso can live a long and happy life by your side for over a decade.

Final Thoughts

The Cane Corso, known for its remarkable strength, athleticism, and high energy, presents a mix of advantages and drawbacks that potential owners should carefully review, as detailed in “Are Cane Corsos Bad Dogs?

To ensure you get a dog with more of the breed’s positive traits and fewer negatives, selecting a reputable breeder is crucial. Understanding the pros and cons of the Cane Corso is vital in deciding whether this robust and energetic breed is the right fit for your home.

Photo of author

Sharon Waddington

Sharon Waddington is the founder of World of Dogz. With over 30 years of experience working with dogs, this former Police Officer has seen it all. But it’s her trusty German Shepherd, Willow, who steals the show as the inspiration behind this website. As Sharon’s constant companion Willow has played a pivotal role in shaping her passion for dogs.