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Cane Corso vs. German Shepherd: Who Would Win a Fight?

Last Updated: December 13, 2023

I love the German Shepherd, which is why I have some advice for the dog, “Stay away from any Cane Corso looking for a fight!” But even without this warning, the Cane Corso has such an intimidating glance, enough to make the GSD know he’d better stay away than fight. So, if it were to happen, Cane Corso vs. German Shepherd, who would win in a fight?

The Cane Corso has a 700psi bite and can easily maim or kill a German Shepherd, winning the fight. Besides, the Cane Corso is bigger than the GSD and has the predatory temperament of a guarding and hunting dog combined. The weaker bite force and smaller size work against a German Shepherd win.

So, in this article, I’ll head straight to telling you why the friendly, loyal, protective, and smart German Shepherd stands no chance against the Cane Corso. And if you are chancing on the GSD, I suggest you sit down for this one. 

But let’s kick off with a quick background on these two hypothetically fighting dogs.

Cane Corso vs German Shepherd Who Would Win?

Cane Corso vs. German Shepherd: A Quick Background

The Cane Corso has origins in ancient Rome. The Romans bred this dog with multiple tasks in mind, including hunting boars and bears and guarding homes and livestock. No wonder the dog’s name translates to “bodyguard dog” in English.

The Corso’s descendants were Mastiff dogs with Molossian war dog blood running in their veins, which also explains the dog’s bear-like face.

Put all these aspects together, and you have a dog that is super suspicious of intruders. For the same reason, the Corso will wear an intimidating face and stage an aggressive defense in case of an attacking animal or an intruding human.

With such a background, the Cane Corso has more winning advantages over the German Shepherd. 

Despite the German-bred dog’s original herding skills, muscle agility, and renowned attacking skill, the German Shepherd would still be short of tactics to win a fight with a Cane Corso.

So, let’s discuss the specific characteristics that make the Cane Corso strong enough to win a fight with a German Shepherd.

Why a Cane Corso Will Win a Fight with a German Shepherd

The assumption that the bigger-looking dog has the edge over the smaller one in a fight isn’t always true. But in the Cane Corso vs. German Shepherd case, it is accurate.

Here’s an anticipated summary of why the Cane Corso is a stronger fighter than the German Shepherd.

Cane CorsoGerman Shepherd
A large brachycephalic skull, delivering a 700psi bite force.A smaller dolichocephalic skull, capable of a 238psi bite.
An imposing body size, especially in height, but also in weight.A smaller body size, at least 2″ shorter and 20lb lighter.
Tendency to an aggressive temperament, that of a hunter and guard dog combined.A more balanced temperament, one purposely instilled in this herding dog.
Cane Corso vs. German Shepherd fighting traits

With this general picture of who’s stronger, we can now proceed to the details of why a wise German Shepherd shouldn’t fight with a Cane Corso.

A Large Brachycephalic Skull

You might wonder what a dog’s skull has to do with his ability to fight. Well, here’s what.

Dogs come in different head shapes and sizes. The width and length of a dog’s head make its cephalic index, which is used to classify dogs into three:

  • Brachycephalic dogs: Those with a short head because the head is wider than long and has a somewhat round shape.
  • Mesaticephalic dogs: Those with an average-size head because the width of the skull is equal to its length, creating a somewhat square shape.
  • Dolichocephalic dogs: Those with a long head because the width of the skull is shorter than the length, and the head appears as though extending into the muzzle.

Experts have found that the round and larger heads of brachycephalic dogs also come with stronger jaw muscles. As a result, these dogs have a stronger bite force than those with other head shapes.

The Cane Corso is a brachycephalic dog with a massive 700psi bite force. In fact, he is among the top 3 dogs with the strongest bite force. A single bite of this strength can be maiming or fatal. 

This dangerous Cane Corso bite is partly the reason the breed’s ownership is illegal in several US states like Arkansas and Colorado. The German Shepherd is a popular breed in these states.

The German Shepherd is a dolichocephalic dog with a 238psi bite force. Placed against the Cane Corso in a battle, the GSD will be overwhelmed by the opponent’s strong bite. What’s more, the dog will be at a loss for defense in front of the imposing size of a Cane Corso.

An Imposing Body Size

The Cane Corso is a common entry in the list of the ten largest dog breeds. The German Shepherd would only appear in a longer list. And that’s another reason the GSD shouldn’t expect to win in a fight with the Cane Corso Italiano.

The largest Cane Corso will be at least 2″ taller than the tallest German Shepherd and at least 20lb weightier than the largest GSD.

Cane CorsoGerman Shepherd
Cane Corso vs. German Shepherd Size

In a fight between a Cane Corso and a German Shepherd, the larger and strong-muscled Corso has the upper hand. He can impose his weight on the smaller GSD and render him less agile to move and deal bites on the opponent. 

Besides, the smaller German Shepherd will struggle to flee from the bite of a stronger Cane Corso, considering the latter’s bite is 3 times stronger than that of the GSD.

Even if the German Shepherd used his agility to find and bite the Corso’s tail, he would be disappointed to find an unreachable docked tail. Yes, Cane Corso’s often have docked tails, an optional aspect of the breed standard.

Although the Cane Corso has already won this fight with his strong bite and larger size, he still has a third aspect to make the win even easier, his hunter and guard dog temperament.

A Hunter and Guard Dog Temperament

Dogs on a list of the best guard dogs will have one thing in common: they are extremely wary of strangers, both dogs and humans. In addition, their protective instinct will make them snap at the slightest trigger. 

Hunter dogs have similar characteristics. They are alert and ready to attack at the first sight of an intruder. 

Of course, hunting and guarding dogs can be trained not to attack indiscriminately. 

However, the above description of a true hunter and guard dog perfectly fits the Cane Corso. Give the Corso a perfect score for protectiveness and guarding skills and only 3 out of 5 for openness to other dogs and strangers.

But that’s not the number one temperament trait that will make the Cane Corso a threat to the friendlier German Shepherd. 

Cane Corso are known for their tendency to extreme aggression and fatal attacks. Scholars even found worthy of scientific inquiry the case of a pack of 3 Corso dogs that attacked and killed their owners.

To be fair, the German Shepherd can be aggressive in a fight-triggering situation. The World Animal Foundation even lists the GSD among the most dangerous dogs

German Shepherd

Nonetheless, a fit of anger by the GSD would not be enough to counter the wrath of a dog with a 700psi bite force and a stronger muscular body build.

You can find out about other aspects of the Cane Corso any aspiring owner should know about before bringing home one in this article.

Final Thoughts

So, who would win in a fight, Cane Corso or German Shepherd? 

The Cane Corso is among the dog breeds with the strongest bite force. The dog is also tall and large. These qualities give the Corso an edge over the German Shepherd.

Although the German Shepherd often appears in lists of the most aggressive dogs, his herding dog aggression isn’t ferocious enough to overpower a dog bred to hunt and guard at the same time.

If you own a German Shepherd, the risk of fighting with a Cane Corso is one of the situations you should definitely shield him from. 


Is a German Shepherd Better than a Cane Corso?

As a family dog, the German Shepherd is a more affectionate, playful, and friendlier dog. The Cane Corso can be consistently trained to make a family dog but has a lower score in these qualities. The Cane Corso is a better choice in guarding and protection roles because of his imposing size, appearance, and hunting and guarding background. However, the GSD also makes a loyal and protective guard dog.

Which Dog Breed is Stronger than a Cane Corso?

The Kangal and American Bandogge are stronger in bite force than the Cane Corso, scoring 743psi and 730psi, respectively, against the Corso’s 700psi score. The two breeds are also bigger in height and weight than the Cane Corso. Other dogs larger in weight than the Corso include the Dogue De Bordeaux and the Tosa Inu, but both have a smaller bite force than the Cane Corso.

Joice Njeru
Joice Njeru is an avid pet lover, professional author, and skilled researcher with a heart for pets. A former university lecturer of 14 years but now turned freelance writer, Joice has created hundreds of articles on dog behavior, training, care, and pet health. She is an expert in everything pets and hopes to educate and inspire other pet lovers through her writing.

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