10 Incredible Cane Corso Facts

Written by Kyle Glatz
Updated: August 14, 2023
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The Cane Corso is a large breed known for its big head and dedication to its owners. However, this dog breed is interesting for many other reasons as well. For one thing, not too many people are familiar with it because it’s not very widespread. In fact, we’ll address why that’s the case in this article. We’ll also provide you with 10 incredible Cane Corso facts that show you why this breed is so unique.

Discover 10 fascinating facts about the Cane Corso dog breed.

10. Cani Corsi Are Italian

Portrait of an italian cane corso, color formentino. On the green lawn. Strong, powerful dog.

Though the Cane Corso breed is considered Italian, these dogs were actually brought there from Greece by the conquering Romans.


The Cane Corso breed is from Italy, and knowing that may change the way you say this dog’s name, and it should. We’ll get to that later, though.

However, these massive pups did not originate in Italy. It’s believed that the original dogs that became this breed were Greek. After the Romans conquered Greece, they took some of these dogs back to Italy. They were bred and put to use in many ways, and not all of them were good.  

9. The Breed Was Used in Gladiator Games

Cane Corso dog playing the surf at the sea.

In ancient Rome, Cani Corsi were used as war dogs and also put in gladiator games.


When the Cane Corso was brought back to Rome from Greece, the breed was used as a war dog as well as a home protector. Unfortunately, the dogs were also integrated into the gladiator games in ancient Rome.  

During the battles, the dogs would fight alongside people or even against other animals. These dogs were sometimes pitted against wild animals like lions and bears. Although a single Cane Corso probably could not take down a grown lion, a few of these dogs would certainly be victorious.  

8. The Cane Corso Almost Went Extinct After World War II

older cane corso side view outside

This breed was once trained to herd livestock.

©iStock.com/Sidney de Almeida

The Cane Corso eventually became more of a working dog than a war dog. They were frequently used on farms for all sorts of purposes. However, the innovations in farming following World War II made it, so the dogs were not as frequently needed.

As a result, the number of Cani Corsi in the country dropped, and the breed was on the brink of extinction. Fortunately, the Società Amatori Cane Corso selectively bred about 2,000 of the surviving animals and brought the dog back, with about 4,250 of the dogs living in Italy right now and many more around the world.

7. The Name Is Not Pronounced How You May Think

Female American Pit Bull Terrier and male Cane Corso Italianо sitting on green grass among tall trees against the backdrop of a cool evening summer landscape

The plural form of Cane Corso is “Cani Corsi.” It’s often misspelled as “Cane Corsi.”

©Liudmila Bohush/Shutterstock.com

The Cane Corso is an Italian dog breed. The proper way to pronounce the name is not “cane” like the walking aid. It’s pronounced “KAH-NAY KOR-SO.” It may take some time to get used to saying its name like that.

6. Cani Corsi Are Among the Smartest Dogs

Strongest Dog Breed Bite - Cane Corso

The Cane Corso breed is considered a highly intelligent breed by dog experts.


The Cane Corso breed is frequently recognized by dog experts as being one of the smartest breeds. However, given the relatively small population of Cani Corsi, the dog has probably not been studied enough to make it on published lists of the most intelligent dogs.

Nevertheless, you can train a Cane Corso to perform many tasks, and they prefer to be doing a job rather than to be bored.

5. Cani Corsi Are Loyal, Social Dogs

Brindle Cane Corso puppy staying outdoors on a trampoline and holding a soft bear toy

Cani Corsi are sociable dogs and very devoted to their owners.


The Cane Corso breed has a reputation for being tough to handle. Its size and looks don’t do them any favors in disputing those facts. However, the truth is that these dogs absolutely melt like butter for their owners. The dogs don’t want to be anywhere their owners are not. That being said, these dogs must be trained to make them acceptable pets.

4. The Cane Corso Breed is Formidable

Scariest Dogs

Cane Corso is a large dog breed that is very soft and affectionate to both humans and other dogs.


The Cane Corso often stands 27 inches tall and weighs 100 lbs or more. They have big heads, large mouths, and a body bred for hard work. They’re capable of taking most grown adults for a pull instead of the owner taking them for a walk.

In fact, people are sometimes compelled to pay more for home insurance if they house these animals in some parts of the world. These dogs, while loving and kind, can have a mean streak if they are not properly trained. Neighborhood pets, people with whom the dogs are not familiar, and even the dogs’ owners have fallen victim to these animals.

We’re not trying to scare you about the breed, but you should know that they are often considered to be one of the breeds with a high potential to be dangerous.

3. These Dogs Require Proper Training, and It’s Best Coming From the Owner

Woman and large, brindle colored cane corso mastiff in the forest

Cani Corsi need proper training to tap into their talents without becoming aggressive.


The Cane Corso breed can be a great guard dog and a wonderful social dog. However, they need to be trained. These dogs are too big to allow them to be aggressive. They must be socialized and gently corrected without violence while they are young.

The dogs are intelligent and capable of learning, but they can be stubborn. The best thing someone can do is consult a professional trainer and seek out their help in training the dog. Specifically, it’s often advised that the owner does the training under the supervision of others to reinforce their superiority in the dog’s life.

2. Its Name Roughly Translates to “Guardian Dog”

Cane corso in the forest. Big black dog

The Cane Corso dog’s breed name means “guardian.”

©Natalia Fesiun/Shutterstock.com

The word “cane” means dog in Italian, and “Corso” is rooted in “cohors”, meaning guardians. The word may also stem from the word meaning courtyard. Either way, you get the idea. The dog was a household guardian and protected its owners from harm.

Cani Corsi were used as guard dogs and also as war dogs in the past, so it makes sense for them to be a home protector or a battlefield companion.

1. The Dog’s Lifespan May Be Foretold by Its Color

cane corso playing tug

A black brindle Cane Corso lives the longest of any other fur color.

©Taisya Korchak/Shutterstock.com

Sadly, the Cane Corso does not have a very long lifespan. On average, they live between 9 and 12 years, but the median age of these dogs when they pass away is about 10 years. Considering that other breeds can regularly live for 15 years, it almost seems unfair that these loveable giants pass away so soon.

Interestingly, there have been correlations made between the color of a Cane Corso’s fur and its longevity. One study featuring hundreds of dogs claimed that brindle dogs live for about 10.13 years, gray brindle dogs live for 9.84 years, and black brindle dogs lived about 10.30 years.  

Of course, further studies are needed to back up this information.

Hopefully, these 10 incredible Cane Corso facts have shown you another side of these dogs. While they’re often touted as dangerous along with pit bulls and Rottweilers, these dogs can be properly trained. They also have a rich history lasting thousands of years. Any way you look at the situation, these dogs are inherently interesting.  

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Vivienstock/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

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