When it comes to big and intimidating dogs, one that readily comes to mind is the Cane Corso. This canine is majestic, hard-working, smart and requires lots of consistent training. At a height of about 2.25 feet and weighing in at a little over 100 pounds, Cane Corsos are strong dogs that some might find regal, while others find the dog downright terrifying.
These dogs are highly perceptive and sensitive, constantly assessing every situation to determine their reaction. Dogs that are intelligent like this require a job in order to keep them stimulated and stave off boredom (which can lead to bad behavior).
While they are not dangerous in a general sense, their size and strength can make for some problems if not trained properly. These dogs require significant time spent on socializing. They aren’t keen on strangers, including dogs, so they must be exposed to them regularly so that they learn appropriate behaviors. Cane Corsos are affectionate dogs within their pack so it can be confusing to see their reactions to strangers!
Historically, these dogs were bred to work on farms, with livestock and as guard dogs. They are protective and territorial, which is great in a guard dog. On the other hand, they bond strongly with their pack, making for an affectionate, huge couch potato.
Cane Corsos and Aggression
There doesn’t seem to be an aggression gene found in some dogs. That said, any dog can turn aggressive and it is most often the fault of poor training. There are aspects of the Cane Corso that make it more likely to bring about an aggressive reaction. For example, the breed is wary of strangers. This is from years of breeding and training as a guard dog. When well socialized, a Cane Corso will likely be better with strangers but without training, your Cane Corso is likely to be more at risk for aggressive behaviors toward strangers.
It’s vital to remember with a breed like this that it’s never going to love strangers. If you want a dog that greets your guests like members of its own family, look for a breed other than a Cane Corso. If you’re okay with your dog being aloof, that’s great, but make sure that guests know they should not get in your dog’s space or surprise it.
Cane Corsos can be friends with other dogs but this also requires significant socialization and training over time.
Children in a home with Cane Corsos must understand that play-fighting with friends is completely off-limits when the dog is home. These dogs are fiercely protective of their homes and families and may not understand that the children are just playing. Even siblings in the same household should be mindful of behaviors toward each other that the dog may view as aggressive. Cane Corsos can get confused and stressed. Consider only bringing a dog like this into the home if you have well-behaved children who can keep in mind that they have a dog with the ability to step in to protect its humans but lacks the ability to understand play versus work.
Something else to keep in mind about the breed: Cane Corsos are also more suspicious and nervous in places that are unfamiliar to them. They require time to develop comfort in a new environment.
Are Cane Corsos Dangerous Dogs?
In recent years, the number of Cane Corso bites and aggressive incidents have increased. This includes some fatalities. While these can be lovely family dogs, they require significant work. Giving them a job, socializing them and making sure to discourage aggressive behaviors and reinforce friendly ones helps. Many people get this dog because they love the look but are not ready to put in the work of training an inherently dominant breed.
Pitbulls are statistically the dog most likely to kill humans. Most of these attacks are the responsibility of owners who fail to train them or, worse, encourage aggressive behaviors. Pitbulls also have a distinct way of attacking that includes shaking their prey, leading to significant tissue, bone and sometimes organ damage.
(Related: Do Pitbulls Lock Their Jaws When They Bite?)
The Cane Corso as a Family Dog
Cane Corsos can make great companion dogs but they require tremendous time, energy and consistency. Working with a trainer and taking classes is the best option for bringing one of these majestic dogs into your home. Those inexperienced with dog ownership, large breeds and dogs that are not naturally social should not consider this breed as their first dog. Experienced dog owners, including those versed with special-needs dogs, rescues or other suspicious dogs are likely in a better position to take on a Cane Corso.
Dog ownership comes with lots of choices. Never pick a breed you think looks good. Get to know the breed’s temperament and lifestyle and weigh whether you have the ability to safely raise the dog and make sure it is able to live a full, rich life with you and your family.