Updated Aug 21, 2022
Our Cane Corsos have been nothing but fantastic family dogs, so let's look at what experts say and also real-world experience, with a good dash of common sense.
Are Cane Corso dangerous? No, a Cane Corso is not an inherently dangerous dog. Any dog must be handled responsibly and the larger the dog breed, the more significant the consequences of any bad or unexpected behavior. But, if you follow some simple guidelines, there is no reason why your Cane Corso should be a dangerous dog.
3 Factors Which Affect The Behavior Of Your Cane Corso
We have never had a situation where our Cane Corsos behaved in a dangerous manner, but it is important to not take the question lightly and to understand the issues. So, let’s look at some things you should consider before becoming a Cane Corso owner. In terms of whether a Cane Corso behaves dangerously, there are three things that will have a large influence.
3 Factors that determine whether your Cane Corso will behave dangerously.
- Cane Corso Breed Characteristics
- Individual personality and temperament of your Cane Corso
- Environment And Training For Your Cane Corso
You can do nothing about breed characteristics, but you can get on the right side of individual personality and temperament, and you can totally control environment and training.
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Cane Corso Breed Characteristics
Bred to be a working dog, the Cane Corso is a mastiff breed — a large, muscular and imposing dog breed.
Particularly when its ears are cropped, it can look dangerous and intimidating. It can look like a very large pit bull and I think some of the pit bull's reputation for aggression is assumed, along with the look.
Some authorities say there is a tendency towards aggression, particularly towards other animals. Others say they are not aggressive. In our experience, this has not been a dangerous breed at all.
The fact is, just as with humans, there is tremendous variation in the personality and temperament of all dogs. Cane Corsos are no different. It is not possible to lump all Cane Corsos together and say that they are all one thing or another.
The Cane Corso has strong guard dog tendencies, but that does not necessarily make it a dangerous dog breed.
Any dog has the potential to be dangerous. In a dog which grows to in excess of 100 pounds, this becomes a serious issue. A dog bite can be a serious injury, and this breed has a very heavy bite pressure at 700PSI. So it is not a breed to be taken lightly.
But by working with your breeder to select a Cane Corso pup which is exhibiting favorable personality traits, any negative points of the breed characteristics can be tempered. The transition to adult dog should start from a good foundation.
And, finally, the animal’s behavior can be shaped to a very large degree by controlling its environment and being responsible about the training and socialization. This is just part of being a responsible pet owner.
Individual Personality And Temperament Of Your Cane Corso
Avoiding potential problems with your Cane Corso begins with your breeder.
The topic of how to choose a breeder is a large one, and is outside the scope of this article. However, let’s assume that we have taken some basic precautions. Such as speaking to the breeder and making sure that you basically get along, that you trust and believe what they say. There are many clues in every conversation, if you are alert to what is being said.
You can also visit your breeder’s website and here also you will gain a lot of information about the attitude, beliefs and intent of the breeder. Finally, you should visit the breeder, and meet some of his or her dogs. Both parents and puppies if possible.
You should be able to have confidence by now, that the breeder’s mission is to produce the kind of dog that you want. If you want a Cane Corso that is not dangerous, make sure your breeder is not catering to another segment of the market which favors aggression.
Let Your Cane Corso Breeder Help You
If you are on the same page as your breeder, you can trust what he says concerning the personality traits of his individual puppies.
We took the advice of our breeder and deliberately went for dogs that were not exhibiting extreme alpha, just a middle-of-the-road pleasant personality. The breeder has been able to observe the puppies in feeding and other situations where characteristics of dominance and pecking order are clearly displayed.
We also visited the breeder several times before making the final selection for our puppy.
Environment And Training For Your Cane Corso
We mentioned earlier that the Cane Corso can have an intimidating look, especially when it’s ears are cropped.
Unfortunately this almost guarantees that some of them end up with exactly the wrong type of owner.
These animals should never be encouraged to display aggression, or to act in anyway that it is dangerous. Unfortunately, many people want them for precisely this reason, and encourage their Cane Corsos to behave in a way that matches their tough look.
Of course, this would be the perfect example of the wrong environment for such an animal. This is a very important point — there have been some instances of a dog attack involving Cane Corsos. And there has been some breed specific legislation (BSL) involving these dogs.
But experts have tended to attribute such behavior to individual dogs having been ruined by irresponsible owners, rather than to this being an inherently aggressive dog by nature.
Unfortunately, a breed can wind up on a BSL list because they are a large dog with a resemblance to another banned breed, such as a Pitbull, or a Bull Mastiff, or even an American Bulldog.
So the role of the owner is important to note. A family environment, or any situation where the dog is treated with love and affection and at the same time is consistently required to behave in the correct manner is a perfect environment. And this will go a long way towards shaping the behavior of your dog.
Are Cane Corsos Easy To Train?
Cane Corsos are widely considered to be more easily trained than other mastiffs. Smart and eager to please, they quickly assimilate their environment and current situation and behave accordingly.
Our two Cane Corsos have never made any attempt to be dominant over us, and they have been no difficulty at all to train and handle.
We have not had to be harsh or particularly strict in any way. We have only treated them kindly, but always made sure that they did what they were told from the very beginning, when they were small enough to be easy to handle.
The habit quickly became ingrained, and they are smart enough to quickly know what you want and sufficiently keen to please to do it promptly. Tone of voice is a big factor in this -- they have learned when a command is a command with really very little effort from us, just a consistent regime.
They do display extreme alertness and guarding behavior. They will bark and growl at unknown intruders. And a Cane Corso mastiff on alert with its hackles up is an impressive sight.
But they quickly and completely accept anyone that we demonstrate friendliness toward. So visiting friends are no problem, neither is anyone else that we make welcome. But I would not want to be a visiting burglar.
For the peace of mind of people who are nervous around dogs, such as visiting workmen, we will put our Cane Corsos in their crates.
Their crates are part of their environment, part of their training, and even part of their care, because they like to go into their own personal space, and they go to their crates of their own accord several times each day.
The Tremendous Benefit Of Crate Training Your Cane Corso
The most important thing you can do in training your Cane Corso puppy is to ensure that he knows his place, and that you are the leader.
Training your Cane Corso to stay in his crate, for a short period of time at first, then extending it, is a simple and easy way to establish your leadership, which has benefits for both you and your puppy.
This is not punishment, and should never be used as such.
It is not like telling your children to 'go to your room' when they have done something wrong.
All dogs have an instinct to find a den, where they have shelter and can feel safe. When you train your Cane Corso to go into his crate, you are filling this need for him and, at the same time, establishing every single day that you are the leader.
We have two large crates, appropriate for the large size of the dogs, giving them plenty of room to be comfortable.
These crates have been an indispensable part of training our Cane Corsos. They view their crates as their own favorite personal space. Amazingly, when they go to their crates by their own choosing, they almost always go at the same time.
How We Brought Our Cane Corsos Into Our Family
To avoid any potentially dangerous situation, we would probably avoid having Corsos of the same gender, or bringing a Cane Corso into a home which already had another large breed of the same gender.
That’s just common sense. But our brother and sister Corsos from different litters are no problem. The female is clearly dominant, but the male has always been happy to accept that.
We had 4 dogs, at one point — Willard was an Italian Spinone of about 85lbs. Phyllis was a jigsaw puzzle rescue dog, made up of goodness knows what breeds, who we brought in from a semi-wild state.
The vet estimated that she was about 4 months old, based on the fact that she had her second teeth but still had most of her first — two sets of teeth that made her look like Jaws.
But it’s anybody’s guess, because she had been living wild on a large piece of undeveloped land for an unknown period, and was in a terrible mess. We caught her in a cat carrier and brought her home.
Then came Maud, our female Cane Corso. Then, two years later, our big male Cane Corso, Hermie. Maud is now 112 Ibs and Hermie is 130lbs. They accepted their place with no problems at all.
Willard was a bit aloof, tended to keep himself to himself, but he allowed the tiny Hermie to sleep up against him. Hermie never displayed any aggression, never could have been considered dangerous.
When we brought Maud home, we also had two cats. The same when we brought Hermie home. So the two Cane Corsos had to fit in with both other dogs and with cats.
Having found a home, our rescue dog Phyllis was a bit of a queen. Maud did eventually put the bravado-driven Phyllis in her place, but Phyllis had constantly pushed the envelope by growling and barking at dogs who were twice her size.
Maud didn't hurt her, just established the pecking order and let Phyllis know that this behavior wasn’t going to fly any more. Phyllis rolled over in submission and the throne changed hands.
And here’s where a bit of thought is required if you have other dogs, and here is why we would not want a Cane Corso to be sharing its environment with another large and potentially strong-willed dog. If Phyllis had been a dog who didn't back down, the outcome of that pecking order challenge could have been quite different.
So, in summary, be aware of who the Cane Corso is expected to live with, and avoid having another dog which tends towards dominance.
Make sure that you are always the leader of the pack and that there is no question about that. And your Cane Corso will follow your lead, will love and protect you, and generally be a great family member and a fantastic companion to share life with.
Cane Corso Temperament
The Cane Corso has an even, stable temperament. Smart and keen to please, they are very trainable. They are protective toward their owner and, although they can show aggression if provoked, the Cane Corso is a gentle, affectionate animal.
The Cane Corso is an excellent family dog. He is devoted and dedicated to his family -- he tends to be an emotional animal who forms an emotional attachment. He is loyal, affectionate and protective. He can interact well with other dogs when well socialized.
Are Cane Corsos Friendly?
Cane Corso pups are typically friendly. As they grow into adult dogs, the protection side of their nature tends to come to the fore, and they typically come to be less trusting of unknown people.
They stay friendly and loving towards their family group -- indeed their household, and their requirement to guard and protect it, becomes their main focus.
They also naturally follow the lead of their owners. If you welcome a visitor, your Cane Corso will easily detect that and will typically accept the visitor, too.
Can Cane Corsos Live With Other Dogs?
Yes, they can. Our Cane Corsos have lived with dogs who were older, dogs who were younger, dogs who were larger, and dogs who were smaller. They have actually lived with males, females, their own breed and other dog breeds. They have even got along fine with cats. They are a terrific household pet dog.
Are Cane Corsos Good Guard Dogs?
Cane Corsos are widely known to be naturally watchful over their owner and their family. They are trainable and also smart animals, who establish an emotional connection to their owner, which is what makes a fantastic dog and a unique mix.