Updated Aug 23, 2022
Perhaps you’re thinking about becoming a new Cane Corso owner. Or you’re just interested in the breed. Either way, their reputation as guard dogs is something you will wonder about. We’ve learned a lot about this in our years as Cane Corso owners. We’ll look here at the facts, and what they might mean for both owners and others.
Is a Cane Corso a good guard dog? The Cane Corso is one of the best guard dogs available. He is alert, loyal and protective. He will be cautious about somebody he doesn’t know. But he also recognizes when his owner acts in a friendly manner, and he will follow his owner’s lead.
Let’s take a look at the things that make the Cane Corso a good guard dog.
Best Guard Dogs
The Cane Corso is not always to be found in the lists of best guard dogs. This is attributed to the fact that it has been less well known in the USA than its counterparts. But that is changing.
In March 2019, the American kennel club announced the Labrador Retriever as the most popular dog, for the 27th year running. In Europe, it’s different. The Cane Corso and the Rottweiler are the two most popular breeds. Guard dogs are popular on the other side of the Atlantic.
The Cane Corso has only become better known in the United States recently. The American kennel club only acknowledged the breed in 2010.
Since then, the popularity of the Cane Corso has been on the increase. As of Mar 2019, the Cane Corso is the 37th most popular breed of the 190 breeds listed.
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The Cane Corso Has Been A Guard Dog Throughout History
The breed can be traced back to Roman times. It has been bred for protection and it has been used for protection all the way through to modern times. Even the name tells the story — the name Cane Corso is 'from Italian Cane (dog) and 'corso' from the Latin 'Cohors' meaning ‘protector’.
The Cane Corso is still popular as a guard dog in Italy, where he has been used for centuries to guard Italian farms. His reputation has spread throughout Europe. Here, his excellent guard dog characteristics have made him one of the most popular breeds.
Guard Dog Characteristics
The guard dog breeds tend to be loyal, watchful, fearless and strong, and the Cane Corso is all these things.
He will alert you when you have a visitor, and also intuitively know when to protect you in a threatening situation. His deep bark and strong, imposing appearance will be enough to deter unwanted visitors.
Other Cane Corso Characteristics — With Family
The Cane Corso is also affectionate and gentle towards his family, and often develops a particular bond with children. He tends to have a steady, calm disposition, and is often totally relaxed when he is with his family.
But, his alert nature is never far away. He is alerted by the smallest noise, and he often periodically takes a walk around the family home just to check all is well.
We are saying ‘he’ for convenience, but male and female Cane Corsos have all the same characteristics of protectiveness. In fact, our female Cane Corso is definitely the leader of our little pack. At 111 lbs, she quite easily leads her much bigger brother, who is 130 lbs.
We live 5 miles out on a dead-end track which only recently became a paved road. We’re somewhat off the grid, somewhat isolated, with few people around.
The guarding nature of our two Cane Corsos has been a great comfort to us. They have a very deep and loud bark which says they mean business. The pair of them will cause any potential intruder to have serious second thoughts.
A Guard Dog Must Be Trained And Guided
While the Cane Corso has a natural instinct to guard and protect those that he loves, a responsible owner must still guide his puppy’s behavior. This will ensure that the adult dog knows how to behave in all situations. The size and strength of the Cane Corso make this all the more important.
With many of the dog breeds we have owned, we took them to obedience classes. There is much benefit in your dog being able to observe other dogs in a group behaving well.
We would continue to do this if it were possible. Unfortunately, obedience classes are not available in our current location. As a result, we have to fulfill the responsibility of training our dogs ourselves.
Here are some of the things we did.
Simple Everyday Methods That Anyone Can Adopt For Training
We have not tried to teach our dogs a whole lot of commands, or tricks. But it has been fairly easy to teach them basic commands such as 'Sit', 'Stay', 'Down', 'Come'. And, one of our favorites, 'Crate', which has them immediately trot off to their crates, which they view as their own special ‘safe sanctuary’ place.
These basic commands are simple and easy to teach and maintain, by the simple method of using events which happen regularly, or every day. A good example is feeding times. A couple of times every day, you can take advantage of the fact that you have your dog’s full attention. Teach him to sit, stay, and come before giving him his food.
Show Consistent Leadership
There is a natural benefit of this occurring every single day. Your leadership is established and consistently maintained. Your Cane Corso is constantly and consistently reminded of his place in the pack, that you are the leader.
This has worked very well for us. Our two Cane Corsos learned these simple commands fast, with very little effort from us.
This is the basic component of training that your Cane Corso needs. It will allow his natural loyalty and intelligence to do the rest. He is keen to please his owner and will figure out how he should behave accordingly.
A Range Of Experiences Will Teach Your Cane Corso What Is Normal
Like all dogs, a young Cane Corso can become fearful if he encounters situations unknown to him. The best way to ensure the behavior you would like is to socialize him. simply introduce him to a broad range of experiences. He will then be well equipped to know what is normal, and when something is not right.
A Cane Corso Puppy Is Quick To Learn
When he first arrives in your home, the young Cane Corso puppy will watch his owner and his family constantly. You may not realize it, but he is looking for clues about where he fits into the family, and how he should behave.
His natural alertness is all focused toward his owner at this stage. And his natural intelligence means that he tends to be a quick learner.
It is important that your Cane Corso puppy has positive experiences during this period. Both in with interactions with people, and with other dogs or other animals. He should not encounter situations at this time which made him fearful.
This is the time in his development where it is easiest to shape all his future behavior. This includes how he should handle himself when he meets other people and other dogs.
Maintain Control And Leadership During This Crucial Period
Somewhere during the 10 to 16 week period, the puppy will typically start to establish where he belongs in the pack. He may start to question authority, he may try to improve his position in the pecking order. As long as you consistently maintain control and leadership during this period. It should be plain sailing
As your Cane Corso grows into adulthood, the more varied experiences he has accumulated, the better he is able to decide if a situation is normal. And the better he is then able to decide what behavior is appropriate.
An Adult Cane Corso Can Be Your Family’s Best Friend And Constant Guardian
A Cane Corso who has been trained with the simple methods mentioned above will form a strong bond with his owner and his family. By the time he reaches adulthood, he will be gentle and affectionate. He will typically have an especially strong bond with children.
Just remember that protection is in his blood, and that he is a strong, loyal and fearless dog. You must take the role of a responsible owner and consistent leader. Ensure that none of his natural tendencies are channeled into the wrong behaviour.
It’s simpler than it sounds. Sensible principles, applied consistently, will ensure that you have a happy, well adjusted family dog. The guarding and protection are an added bonus.
The Cane Corso is gentle by nature, but this is a big dog and he must learn to be extra careful in his interactions with small children. Not because he is likely to be aggressive, but just because of his sheer size.
The Cane Corso is affectionate and dedicated to his family, and he will soon learn to include children in the group. It is recommended that a child should be supervised when with your Cane Corso -- more because the child is likely to be unpredictable than the dog.
Cane Corsos can be fine with cats. Bear in mind that each dog has its own individual temperament -- and cats do too. But, if your Cane Corso is properly introduced to your cat, you can be confident that they can get along. You should supervise them until a relationship develops.