Updated Aug 30, 2022
One of the big reasons people consider getting a Cane Corso is for the protection aspect. Is it true? Can you rely on it? We'll find out...
Will your Cane Corso protect you? To a degree. The Cane Corso is a mastiff breed, originally bred as a protection dog. As a breed, those instincts are still present. However, you must also consider the personality of the individual dog, along with his circumstances and training.
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Let's get this important question answered fully.
There are four main elements that will determine the extent of your Cane Corso's protective behavior.
- Breed characteristics
- Individual personality traits
Let's take a look at each...
A lot of emphasis is put on the the Cane Corso breed origins in protection and guarding. They have well established connections back as far as ancient Roman times, when they were used in warfare and hunting.
As time moved on, their duties changed, but their working origins, and strength and versatility was still put to good use. They were used to protect humans and livestock on isolated Italian farms.
These farmers in isolated areas, needed a large, strong and muscular dog breed with the physical attributes and ability to defend and protect. They also needed their dogs to be willing and psychologically capable of the task.
Protection, Guarding And Hunting Dogs
Cane Corsos of this time would protect against wild boar, and also hunt them. They would be used to protect cattle, and subdue large bulls and pigs.
So Cane Corsos were bred with all these characteristics in mind. Their guarding and protection instinct, and their muscular strength were desirable characteristics for the job at hand, and breeding was carefully focused on enhancing these attributes.
We can see that the reputation as a personal protection dog and a guard dog is well-founded.
And protective instincts are definitely present in most, if not all Cane Corsos to this day. But you must also bear in mind that more recent breeding practices have focused on producing a family dog, rather than a working dog.
In other words, most people nowadays are not looking for a dog which will be put to work on a farm. They are looking for a dog which will fit in with the family. Today's Cane Corso breeder is fully aware of this — and breeding practices adapt to meet the demands of the market.
As a result, today's Cane Corso mastiff is likely to be a softer and more domesticated dog than the original working dogs.
Also, breed characteristics only mean so much. There are other aspects of your Cane Corso's universe which will also contribute.
Individual Personality Traits
Individual characteristics are likely to have more significance than group characteristics.
For example we could say that British people are known to be reserved. As a race this is typically true to some extent. Tell that to Gordon Ramsay, Simon Cowell, and Billy Connolly!
These are British people who are anything but reserved. So although the reserved element typically applies to the race, it is overridden by strong individual characteristics.
Training and Practice
Here is another contributing factor. For example, we can say that humans have an inherent ability to swim. But there are two other elements which will bear on this. First, they have to learn. Although it is true that humans have an inherent ability to swim, they still have to learn. Many adult humans drown. But, most humans can learn, and, once learned, the skill is usually retained for life. It is a natural skill.
And some humans become Olympic champion swimmers, while some can barely get out of the shallow end of the pool. Once again, the inherent ability has been drastically affected by training and practice.
And Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods didn't become great at what they do due to natural instinct. They became great with a lot of training and practice.
So, coming back to our individual Cane Corso, will he be an Olympic champion protection dog, or will he be bottom of the class? The above examples serve to show us that this will be down to training and practice.
You can see that your Cane Corso's natural protection instinct will only take you so far.
If you want true protection dog behavior, you will need a Cane Corso which has been trained specifically for that. Then you will get the benefits of the natural tendency, and the abilities ingrained from training and practice, on top of that.
And that will be reflected in the price. Such a dog will cost tens of thousands of dollars.
You can, of course, train your Cane Corso yourself. And, as a responsible Cane Corso owner, you should. Obedience training and socialization are important, starting from when he is a puppy. And having a well trained dog is particularly important when you are dealing with such a large dog.
But you are unlikely to be able to train him to the level of a full professional protection dog. And socialization requirements are completely different for a family dog than for a guard dog.
Nevertheless, you can definitely enhance his natural tendency towards protecting his owner. By the time your Cane Corso is an adult dog, his temperament will be shaped by regular training.
The circumstances under which your Cane Corso lives and is brought up will also have a big effect. Part of his circumstances is training, of course, which we looked at above. But another big part is the behavior of his owner and his family, and how he is treated by them.
A dog who is treated poorly, or abusively by his owner may become nervous, aggressive, or even completely submissive. How this Cane Corso behaves in terms of protecting his owner is unpredictable.
On the other hand, if a Cane Corso is treated with love, affection and respect by his owner, he will develop his own natural tendency toward love and affection. This Cane Corso is far more likely to protect his owner and his family.
So, we see that we cannot consider just the breed characteristics in terms of protection. We must also consider the Cane Corso's individual personality, and his circumstances and training.
All of which plays a big part in his attitude towards protecting his owner and family. And we see that these other elements are actually likely to override the breed characteristics, and actually be the more dominant factors.
You do get some element of protection with a Cane Corso, right out of the box. Without any specialized training, they still have the benefits of a certain degree of natural tendency toward protection. Which is enhanced by the fact that they are a big dog and they have such an imposing appearance.
If you are walking down the street with your Cane Corso, or getting cash from a bank machine, for example, the dog provides you with a certain level of protection automatically.
His appearance is such that people will tend to stay clear. The male dog in particular is an imposing figure. And he is likely to keep himself between you and anybody approaching, as a natural behavioral characteristic. This will keep all but the most determined attacker away.
So there is definitely a level of protection on offer automatically. You just need to be aware of the fact that it is not the same level of protection that you would get from a fully trained protection dog.
This level of protection is based mostly on being a deterrent. We have seen this very vividly with our own Cane Corsos. We had no thoughts of protection when we got our Cane Corsos, we were simply looking for a good family dog.
And we got a great family dog. Cane Corsos are terrific. But, as our Cane Corsos grew, we started to see the effect that their splendid appearance had on other people.
People coming to the house would either stay well clear, or they would stop in their tracks and ask us if they could come any closer. Many asked us to put the dogs somewhere safe before they would approach.
So we got a very useful deterrent benefit. Just like people keep their distance when you're walking down the street, I'm sure our house is on the bypass list for potential burglars. They are going to see or hear our Cane Corsos, and look for an easier target.
In summary, you can get a lot of benefit from your Cane Corso in terms of being a deterrent. Which in itself provides a certain degree of protection, and makes for a good guard dog.
You must also be aware of the effects of the dog's individual personality and training circumstances.
And, finally, you should know that if you want a true protection dog, he must have specialist training in order to be able to protect you under all circumstances.
Are Cane Corso dangerous to their owners?
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 behavior. But, if you follow some simple guidelines, there is no reason why your Cane Corso should be a dangerous dog.
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.