Updated Aug 24, 2022
This article will discuss the subject of aggression in Cane Corsos and what you can do to prevent it.
Are Cane Corsos aggressive? No. This is not an inherently aggressive dog. The Cane Corso was never bred to be a fighting dog. He does, however, have a strong protective instinct. Cane Corsos are very large, strong dogs, and they have a tremendous bite force. All of which means that they could be very dangerous if they become out of control.
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Let’s look further, and try to simplify this complex subject.
Aggression As a Breed Characteristic
It is important to remember that aggression is a trait that is seen in many dog breeds. It’s not particularly prevalent in the Cane Corso dog. Many other breeds are naturally more aggressive.
However, there is one factor which can contribute to aggression in this breed. And that is their protective instinct. Cane Corsos are bred to be guard dogs, and as a result, they may become territorial and protective of their family and property.
Perceived knowledge is that, if the Cane Corso has not received plenty of socialization at an early age, they may become aggressive towards other dogs or suspicious of strangers later on in life. It is said this Italian Mastiff breed must be well socialized at a young age to learn how to interact appropriately with other dogs and humans alike.
Whilst the above is good advice, and I would never dream of suggesting that there is no need to socialize and train your Came Corso, the fact is that our two Cane Corsos have not had a great deal of socialization. But they behave perfectly.
A big part of that is the fact that this breed is naturally very keen to please their owner, and well able to follow their owner’s lead in interaction with others.
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Aggression In the Individual Dog
Each Cane Corso is an individual, and as a result, each one has their unique temperament and personality that contributes to their overall behavior.
There is also the question of the dog’s environment. How they are treated at home, and how well they have been trained will be another contributing factor in their overall behavior — including any tendency toward aggression.
If a Cane Corso has been appropriately raised from puppyhood, they should not be any danger to people, even without proper training.
Genetics And A Good Breeder
The Cane Corso’s long history is well-known. Including their duties as a Roman dog of war, and their role as a protector of livestock and humans on Italian farms. They are also known to have been used to hunt large dangerous game, such as wild boars, wolves, and even bears.
But today’s Cane Corso is a long way from that. Selective breeding results in quick evolution in dogs.
Today’s Cane Corso is bred for today’s market.
Unfortunately, there is a segment of the market that wants an intimidating dog. And, equally unfortunately, there are breeders who cater to this market. These breeders will seek to bring out aggression by their breeding program. They will breed from aggressive parents with the aim of producing aggressive offspring.
Other breeders are doing the opposite — seeking to soften the breed characteristics from its working dog origins, to cater to the large market for family dogs.
So, if you are looking for a family dog with a good stable temperament, a good reputable breeder is where you should start. Find a breeder who cares about the quality of his dogs and who is committed to producing the kind of dog you are looking for.
Are Cane Corsos Aggressive Toward Humans?
In general, Cane Corsos are not aggressive toward humans . But there is always the potential for aggressive behavior if the dog feels threatened or protective of his family and territory.
You should always be aware of your Cane Corso's demeanor and body language and never allow him to feel cornered or threatened. If you see any signs of aggression, nip it in the bud quickly, before it becomes a problem.
Are Cane Corsos Aggressive Toward Kids?
Under normal circumstances, Cane Corsos will not be aggressive towards children. But, it is important to teach your children how to interact appropriately with any breed of dog. Never leave children alone with a dog, unsupervised.
It is also important to supervise all interactions between your Cane Corso and any other children that may come over to your home. Remember your Cane Corso is protective of his family by nature. If kids are play-fighting and jumping around yelling, it is possible that your Cane Corso could see this as his family being in danger.
If you see any signs that your dog is uncomfortable around kids, you should step in immediately.
Are Cane Corsos Aggressive Toward Other Dogs?
Cane Corsos are not typically aggressive towards other dogs, either. However, it is best to socialize your Cane Corso with other dogs at an early age, so that he learns how to interact appropriately.
Watch for any signs that your dog is uncomfortable with other dogs.
One person I know takes his Cane Corso with him when going to any local venue that allows dogs, to get his Cane Corso well acclimated to others.
You can also send your Cane Corso to doggy day care, so that he gets to interact with other dogs and other people. The more, the better.
Are Cane Corsos Dangerous?
The Cane Corso can look mean and dangerous, especially with those cropped ears and spiky collars. And this goes hand-in-hand with the legend of being a Roman war dog.
With a dog of this size and strength, it will always be potentially dangerous if he becomes out of control — but this is not an inherently dangerous breed. Most Cane Corsos will behave properly around people and other dogs, anyway, but a responsible owner will ensure proper training and socialization.
What Causes Aggression in Cane Corsos?
Several factors can contribute to aggression in dogs. Some common causes include:
Fear And Anxiety
Cane Corsos are not typically afraid of much. However, if they are frightened by something or, if they become anxious or nervous while feeling cornered or threatened, they may attack the source of their fear. This type of aggression can be hazardous because it can happen unexpectedly and without warning.
If your Cane Corso is in pain, he may become snappy toward people and other animals around him. If there is any indication that your dog is in pain, you should of course take him to the vet immediately.
The Cane Corso’s bite force — which, at 700 PSI, is one of the strongest of all dog breeds — is equivalent to a Lion! So, you should get your Cane Corso accustomed to wearing a muzzle for vet visits. A bite from this guy might be only a reflex to sudden pain or discomfort, but it could be very damaging.
As a responsible dog owner, you need to read your Cane Corso’s body language and look for any signs that may indicate that he is uncomfortable.
Possessive And Territorial Tendencies
If your Cane Corso becomes possessive over his family or his territory, he may become aggressive toward unknown people who come near.
This is why it is essential to train and socialize your Cane Corso with other people and dogs, so that they can be comfortable around others in all situations. This will go a long way towards preventing territorial aggression from occurring.
In addition to guarding your family and property, your Cane Corso may become possessive of smaller items such as his food and toys. This is known as resource guarding. The best way to deal with this behavior in your Cane Corso is to tackle it as early as possible, while he is small and easily manageable.
To stop food guarding, hand-feed him until he gets used to you handling his food. You should continue this training until you can take his food away with no adverse reaction.
How To Prevent Aggression in Your Cane Corso
You can do several things to help prevent aggression in your Cane Corso:
Let Him Know you’re the Leader
By taking time to train your pet while he's still young, you'll be able to set clear boundaries for acceptable behavior and keep him from crossing the line into any aggressive territory.
If you find that your Cane Corso is becoming anxious or nervous, try to provide him with plenty of positive reinforcement. If your Cane Corso knows that you are the leader, you can help him feel confident. This will help ease any anxiety he may feel and prevent him from becoming aggressive.
If you have children, it is a good idea to involve them in training your Cane Corso — under your supervision, of course. By doing this, you ensure that your dog knows his proper place in the family. A side benefit is that your Cane Corso will protect your children with his life when he understands that they are also in the family ‘pack’.
In addition to socializing their pets with other people and animals from an early age, it’s a good idea for Cane Corso owners to continue to find opportunities for ongoing socialization. This will help your Cane Corso to be friendly in a wider range of circumstances..
This will help to teach the dog how to interact properly with others and prevent them from becoming territorial or aggressive. Regular socialization will also help your dog feel more comfortable around strangers and new environments, which can help to avoid potentially dangerous situations.
Will Neutering Help Reduce Aggression?
Neutering your dog will not necessarily help to prevent or reduce aggression. Some vets will say that dogs will be neutered early to reduce testosterone and avoid testicular cancer. I have seen no research to support this.
On the other hand, research is now showing that neutering too early, before sexual maturity, is likely to have an adverse effect on the dog’s musculature, bone structure, and final development. Big dogs take longer to mature than small dogs, and your Cane Corso will not reach maturity until at least 18 months old.
Is The Cane Corso A Family Dog?
The Cane Corso is a loyal and affectionate dog that can make an excellent family pet . His protective nature will make him a guardian for all your family. Like all dogs, he benefits from some basic training, and needs to know that you’re the leader.
But he’s intelligent, eager to please and quick to learn. So simple training is not beyond anyone who is prepared to try. If you're looking into adding a new member to your family, the Cane Corso can be an excellent choice.
In general, Cane Corsos are not typically aggressive dogs.
A reputable breeder or rescue organization is a great place to find a well-socialized Cane Corso that has been screened for aggression. With some affection and a good home environment, most Cane Corsos make great family pets quite naturally.