Boerboel vs. Cane Corso: What’s The Difference?

Written by Jennifer Gaeng
Updated: October 30, 2023
Share on:


Listen to Article

A cane corso and a boerboel are two separate popular domestic dog breeds that are similar in a variety of ways. They can both be trained to be hunting or farm dogs, and, if properly raised, both dogs make good family pets.

However, these two separate breeds also have many key differences, which we explore in this article. Keep reading to learn more about the differences between the boerboel and the cane corso.

Comparing Boerboels and Cane Corsos

Cane Corso vs Boerboel
Boerboels are generally larger than cane corsos.

Although the boerboel and the cane corso have many similarities, there are some other variations that can help you tell the boerboel and the cane corso apart. Let’s compare the two!

Key DifferencesBoerboelCane Corso
SizeLarge to GiantLarge
Weight150 to 200 lbs.90 to 110 lbs.
Coat/Hair TypeShiny, smooth, and denseDense
ColorsCream, Reddish Brown, Brindle, TawnyChestnut, Brindle, Grey, Fawn, Black, Red
TemperamentSmart, Confident, Obedient, TerritorialPlayful, Loyal, Social, Quiet
TrainabilityVery TrainableHighly Trainable
Life Expectancy10 to 12 Years10 to 11 Years
Energy LevelsAverage Energy LevelsHigh Energy Levels

Boerboel vs. Cane Corso: 8 Key Differences

There are several differences between boerboels and cane corsos to be aware of. First, while both dogs are quite large, boerboels can weigh between 50 and 100% larger than a cane corso. In addition, while boerboels are usually cream, tawny, or brown, cane corsos are often brindle, grey, or black. If you’re looking for an energy dog, cane corsos have high energy levels while boerboels have more average energy.

Let’s dive into each of these differences one by one.

Appearance and Basic Info

Grey Cane Corso dog playing in field

The cane corso is a large dog breed that weighs up to 110 lbs. They come with a dense, short coat.


Boerboel vs. Cane Corso: Size

Although both breeds are large dogs, the boerboel is considerably larger than the cane corso, by about 50 lbs. on average! Male boerboels come in between 25 to 28 inches tall, while male cane corso’s are around 22 to 26 inches tall.


Weight is one of the few variations between the cane corso and boerboel. The cane corso weighs between 99 and 110 pounds, but the boerboel is much larger, weighing between 154 and 200 pounds.

Coat Hair Types

The boerboel has a short, shedding coat that is easy to keep clean. The cane corso also has a short coat that is like the boerboel’s, but his hair is denser and coarser, whereas the boerboel’s fur is silky to the touch.


The boerboel tends to be lighter in color than the cane corso, typically cream to reddish-brown or tawny color. The cane corso has much darker colors in the coat ranging from brindle and grey to black, although some have reddish or chestnut colors.


Biggest Dog Breeds: Boerboel

The boerboel is one of the strongest dog breeds on the planet, as well as one of the biggest dog breeds.

©Dora Zett/


Although both are highly intelligent breeds, the cane corso tends to be quirkier than the boerboel. The cane corso is very playful, while the boerboel is more territorial. The cane corso tends to do better being the only dog in the family, as it requires a lot of attention and is not keen on strangers.


Both the cane corso and the boerboel are easy to train, however, the corso is more active and tends to be more open to learning social skills. The boerboel can be trained with weights to build their muscles for sporting and hunting. Just keep in mind, both breeds are strong-minded dogs that are not to be pushed around.

Health Factors

Cane Corso laying outside in dirt

The cane corso has an average lifespan of 10 years.


Life Expectancy

Both breeds are similar in life expectancy, although the Boerboel is known to live a bit longer. Both the boerboel and the cane corso can live past 10 years, with many living up to 11 or 12 years old. This is about the average for most dog breeds. It should be noted that the boerboel tends to run into more health issues than the cane corso, and other dog breeds in general.

Energy Levels

The boerboel is an extremely active dog, especially when it is young. This breed excels at agility challenges, obedience competitions, rallies, therapeutic visits, protection exercises, and agricultural labor, to name a few. The boerboel thrives as a pet at a home with a well-fenced yard and plenty of room to run around. The boerboel is a tough breed to own and is not recommended for inexperienced dog owners.

Corso’s have worked as battle dogs, large-game hunters, guardians, agricultural workers, and more throughout their lengthy history, thanks to their huge physique and protective disposition. They have recovered popularity in recent years after nearly disappearing during the postwar period and are now among the top 25 most popular dog breeds in the United States.


Strongest Dog Breed Bite - Boerboel

Boerboels are thought to have been bred as hunters as well as protectors, keeping remote outposts safe.

©Natalia Fesiun/

Both the boerboel and the cane corso are fiercely protective of their loved ones and their property. They’ll warn you about anything they think is suspicious, and they’ll put themselves between you and anything or anyone they think is a threat. Because of their intelligence and desire to be trained, both canines are very playful, fetching, or even used as show dogs on occasion.

The corso is a bit silly and ungainly, while the boerboel is nimbler and more athletic. However, the corso tends to run into fewer health issues and is more playful and social. Either way, they both make good family dogs, although the cane corso seems to be a better fit for more experienced dog owners.

Where Did Boerbels and Cane Corsos Originate?

While the Boerbel and Cane Corso are both mastiffs, they originated on different continents. The Boerbel’s name comes from Afrikaans, meaning ‘farmer’ and ‘bulldog.’ These dogs, which originated in South Africa, were created by crossing mastiffs with bulldogs. The jobs they filled were as hunting dogs, guarding properties, and being utilized on farms. Organized packs of Boerbels were used by hunters to track baboons, leopards, and other game. This dog breed is fairly young, originating in the 1950’s.

The Cane Corso, on the other hand, is an ancient breed of Mastiff first created during the Roman Empire, used as a Roman war dog alongside the Neapolitan Mastiff. Both breeds first came on the scene when Roman soldiers who fought in Macedonia brought them back to Rome and bred them.  Cane Corsos were used to run across enemy lines while strapped with buckets of flaming oil–awful when you imagine it, as the dogs probably gave their lives to the battle, no doubt. After the Roman Empire fell, Cane Corsos were used for hunting, farming, and guarding, all of which they were talented at. Animals they were especially adept at hunting were porcupines, badgers, and feral hogs.  

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Marina Plevako/

Ready to discover the top 10 cutest dog breeds in the entire world?

How about the fastest dogs, the largest dogs and those that are -- quite frankly -- just the kindest dogs on the planet? Each day, AZ Animals sends out lists just like this to our thousands of email subscribers. And the best part? It's FREE. Join today by entering your email below.

What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?


If you have kids or existing dogs select:

Other Dogs

Should they be Hypoallergenic?

How important is health?
Which dog groups do you like?
How much exercise should your dog require?
What climate?
How much seperation anxiety?
How much yappiness/barking?

How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.
I want a cuddle buddy!
About average energy.
I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!
All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
How much should they shed?
How trainable/obedient does the dog need to be?
How intelligent does the dog need to be?
How much chewing will allow?

Share on:
About the Author

Jennifer Gaeng is a writer at A-Z-Animals focused on animals, lakes, and fishing. With over 15 years of collective experience in writing and researching, Jennifer has honed her skills in various niches, including nature, animals, family care, and self-care. Hailing from Missouri, Jennifer finds inspiration in spending quality time with her loved ones. Her creative spirit extends beyond her writing endeavors, as she finds joy in the art of drawing and immersing herself in the beauty of nature.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.