Cane Corso Colors: Rarest to Most Common

Written by Christina Eck
Updated: June 26, 2023
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The cane corso breed is known for being loyal, intelligent, and often assertive disposition. Regarding looks, the cane corso resembles dogs from the mastiff family. They are large with a square head shape and a deep chest. However, their most notable trait is their imposing stature. One overlooked trait of the breed is the different cane corso colors.

If you’ve ever seen a cane corso, you might have wondered why they come in so many interesting colors. While the American Kennel Club (AKC) and other accrediting dog associations only view a few colors as the breed “standard,” a few are rare. Keeping this in mind, let’s explore the different cane corso coat colors and which ones are the most common and rarest!

Cane Corso Colors Ranked Rarest to Most Common

Cane Corso dogs come in many colors, some very rare. If you want to know what colors are popular, let’s look at the rarest to most common coat colors. Below, we’ll provide a breakdown of the cane corso colors ranked rarest to most common. 

1. Straw

The rarest coat color of them all is the straw cane corso. It features a unique white and cream-colored coat with some black and gray pigments thrown into the mix. The AKC describes it as “a light yellow or cream color with no mask, and the nose is most often a faded brown color or black.”

This specific coat color results from a crossbreed between an Abruzzese sheepdog and a cane corso decades ago. The AKC does not accept the straw coat color despite it being around for a long time. 

The straw is the rarest of the breed because it’s often not able to be planned. Litters generally have randomly straw cane corso, which means that they are rare to breed. Despite the white coat color, the straw coat is not albino and has no health defects other coat colors may have.

2. Isabella

The Isabella, or tawny, coat is a lilac-like color uniquely rare for the breed. What sets this dog apart is more than just their coloring, but also their pink-tinged nose, lips, and eyelids. The Isabella also boasts blue or green eyes.

A diluted coat results in more susceptibility to illnesses and diseases. This is mainly due to being a recessive gene or a mutation to produce the coat color. The Isabella color ends up causing a disease called Color Dilution Alopecia (CDA), which can result in skin irritations and hair loss.

The coat color is produced when a dog has two copies of the d allele, which results in a blue hue. The alleles will then change any liver or black color into a lilac color, resulting in the Isabella coat. Due to this color being difficult to breed, it’s one of the rarest cane corso colors.

3. Chocolate/Liver

The chocolate or liver cane corso resembles the red coat type but lacks pigmentation around the nose, eyes, and skin. Unlike the red coat, most kennel organizations consider the chocolate and liver a fault. 

The difference between the chocolate versus other coats is their nose and skin have a distinct pink-purple tone. In addition, their eyes are colored green-toned hazel with a possible black mask.

The AKC does not accept the breed because breeders look for a recessive trait related to poor health. While the coloring is beautiful, the result is a cane corso with overall bad health, deemed unethical. 

4. Formentino

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

A formentino cane corso with its diluted fawn coloring.


The formentino, or blue fawn, is a type of coat color with a diluted fawn color. Often, it is compared to a baby fawn or deer. However, the coloring can be described as a pale beige that looks washed out. 

Distinctive featuring includes a blue nose and mask, with gray patches on the back and shoulder. The nose will have gray or blue tones instead of classic black. The last distinctive feature is the clear color of its eyes.

Due to the coloring being on a recessive gene and a mutation, it can cause skin conditions. For this reason, the AKC does not accept it as an official coat color.

5. Blue

dog on a black background. Blue, Gray Intalian Cane-Corso

A “blue” cane corso is just a gray cane corso.


The “blue” cane corso has been a huge controversy where there is a split between some believing it exists while others do not. The AKC does not recognize the blue cane corso as an existing breed.

Instead, the “blue” is often mistaken for a gray cane corso. The diluted black pigment looks more blue in hue than gray, which can give the appearance of a blue coat. However, this is still just a gray cane corso.

In addition, the coat’s color is produced by a recessive mutation in the melanophilin gene. This means dogs with this mutation will have skin problems and Color Dilution Alopecia (CDA). Due to health issues, the AKC doesn’t recognize it as a coat color.

6. Chestnut Brindle

Chestnut Brindle Cane Corso

Cani corsi with a chestnut brindle coat often appears to have reddish to reddish-brown fur.

©Canarian/CC BY-SA 4.0 – License

A brindle is a specific coat pattern that essentially means tiger-striped. The chestnut brindle has a brown or red base with red and brown stripes. It’s very similar to the black and gray brindle but mainly has a different coloring.

The reason that the chestnut is a bit rarer than the other two colored brindles is because of a specific gene. Those looking for the chestnut color must breed for one gene located on a sex chromosome. 

This is very difficult to control, which makes it the rarest of the cane corso brindles. The AKC does not recognize the chestnut as an official coat color due to

7. Gray Brindle

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

A gray brindle puppy with an almost “stripe” like pattern.


The gray brindle has a brown base with gray or blue stripes like the chestnut brindle. However, the gray brindle is rarer than the gray cane corso. While they have the same gray color, the splotchy coloring or striped pattern sets them apart.

The gray brindle color is naturally occurring for the cane corso breed, except breeders will need two gray brindle parents to get a chance of 50% gray brindle puppies in a litter. This makes them rare, as an entire litter isn’t all gray brindles.

The AKC approves of the gray brindle being an acceptable standard for the breed. This is mainly due to the coat pattern and color being naturally occurring. It also is because the gray brindle can live much longer ethically than the solid-colored cani corsi due to stronger genetics.

8. Black Brindle

Cane Corso laying outside in dirt

The black brindle is a high-demand cane corso coat.


One of the most high-demand cane corso colors is the black brindle. The black brindle has a red or brown base with black tiger stripes. Like its solid black counterpart, the black brindle is a favorite of many.

The brindle striping isn’t a result of any genes or defect, as it’s standard for a cane corso. Instead, it’s a dominant gene that can help the breed live longer than its solid-colored counterparts. 

The AKC and FCI recognize the black brindle as an acceptable coat color. This is because they have very strong genetics. In fact, the black brindle is known to live the longest among all other cane corso coat colors.

9. Red

Red Cane Corso Puppy Lying Down

The red hue of a red cane corso is striking to see.

©Alisha Falcone/

The red cane corso is another popular coat color that the AKC accepts. It features a reddish hue with a black or gray mask. Many red cani corsi have black or blue saddle marks, which tend to fade as the pup ages.

While the reddish hue might be more noticeable, the AKC accepts all types of reddish colors. This includes champagne, mahogany, etc. Red is a naturally occurring color for the red cane corso, which means there are no bad breeding practices to attain the color.

10. Fawn

A fawn colored Cane Corso mastiff dog with cropped ears sitting outdoors

Fawn cani corsi are similar to straw cani corsi in that they have a particularly light-colored coat.

©Mary Swift/

The fawn cane corso is one of the most stunning colors of the breed. It features a black or gray mask with a cream-colored body. The coloring is similar to fawns or deer, which makes them blend in with the outdoors, which made the breed popular hunting companions.

There are strict breeding standards and what is classified as “fawn” for the breed. The AKC only recognizes cream-colored coats with a mask that doesn’t extend beyond the eyes. However, slight markings around the throat, chin, chest, and patterns are still okay.

11. Gray

Grey Cane Corso dog playing in field

Unlike “blue” cani corsi, the AKC recognizes the gray cane corso.


Gray cani corsi are highly sought after due to their unique appearance. They have that classic mastiff look while also having a gray exterior that is similar to Siberian huskies

To get this classic color, the gene used is a recessive dilute gene that prevents eumelanin. However, gray cani corsi may find that their coat changes as they get older, turning lighter or darker. A breeder must cross two black cane corso dogs to get gray puppies from a recessive gene.

The AKC accepts the gray cane corso, but it is hard to produce. Many breeders advertise as having gray cane corso puppies, but their coats may change darker or lighter over time. So, it’s difficult to get a true “gray” puppy.

12. Black

beautiful big dog cane corso italiano breed lying in the garden on green grass

Many potential cane corso parents seek out the solid black coat.

©Olga Aniven/

The black cane corso is the most frequently seen coat color because it is the most sought-after. Black coats are solid black with a black nose and brown eyes. If the dog has other coat markings, it is not a true black cane corso.

The pure black pigment is genetically tied to melanin, a dominant gene. However, this coat color doesn’t come without its faults. The black coat absorbs heat from the dark pigment and can cause overheating.

While this may make the dog uncomfortable, it’s not a genetic issue. So, the AKC accepts it as an official standard coat color.

Summary of Cane Corso Colors: Rarest to Most Common

RankCane Corso Color
4Formentino/Blue Fawn
5Chestnut Brindle
6Blue Brindle
7Gray Brindle
8Black Brindle
Summary Table of Cane Corso Colors: Rarest to Most Common

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

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About the Author

Christina Eck is a writer at A-Z Animals, primarily focusing on animals and travel. Christina has been writing about and researching animals for more than seven years. She holds a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Alaska, Anchorage, which she earned in 2019. As a resident of Washington State, Christina enjoys hiking, playing with her dog, and writing fiction and non-fiction pieces.

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