Not suited to all, the breed needs a firm, experienced handler able to commit the time training.
CANE CORSO PET ROAD TEST
Italian Cane Corso
Dominant, wary of strangers
Average 10 years
Personal or home protection
The term Cane Corso has been used for many centuries in Italy. Pronounced Carn-ay Corso (Cane being Italian for ‘dog’ and Corso derived from the Latin Cohors meaning protector), the breed’s name literally means ‘guardian’ or ‘protector dog’. Historically, this term perhaps initially described a type of dog rather than a specific breed. The Cane Corso is of mastiff origins and was most commonly used to protect property, livestock and family; as a dog of war; to herd stock and hunt game and also possibly for entertainment – fighting lions and bears in the colosseums.
The Cane Corso type became less popular in Italy preceding the 1950s and a subsequent recovery process was put in place by Italian enthusiasts. The type was formally recognised in Italy in 1987 and an approved standard was written. In 1996 the breed was recognised on an international level.
In 2003 the breed was formally recognised by the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC). There are presently only about 20 in Australia.
The breed’s closet cousin is the Neapolitan Mastiff, however differences do exist. The Cane Corso lacks the loose skin of other mastiff breeds. Described as strong though elegant, the breed, be it male or female, is large and very masculine whilst remaining athletic. The dog is longer than it is tall. Height ranges from 56-71cm (22-28″). And as you would expect, these are heavy dogs – males weigh about 63kg (139lb), females around 55-60kg (121-132lb). Colours range from black, tan with a black mask, blue/grey and brindle. Eye colour will reflect coat colour – dark coated animals will have dark eyes, light coated dogs – light eyes.
The double coat is short but oily, enabling it to repel water. Tails are docked and although imported dogs may have cropped ears, this is a purely cosmetic procedure which stems from days when the dogs were used in fights. Ear cropping is illegal in Australia.
The breed’s strong guarding instincts remain. It is very dominant and will be wary of strangers. It is an imposing breed, intimidating in its appearance and stature. A Cane Corso bonds early with its family, and is particularly protective of children. Due to the breed’s dominant nature, obedience training and early exposure with other dogs and humans is essential. The breed must be controlled by owners who are prepared to have a strong influence over it.
Large dogs are generally expensive to feed, and Cane Corsos are no exception. A growing pup will require feeding three times daily with good quality food. As the pup reaches its first year, feeding can be dropped to twice daily then once daily. A dog can easily weigh around 43 kg at its first birthday.
Entropion (turned in eyelids) and typical bone and joint problems such as hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia are not uncommon to mastiffs. As it’s such a new breed in Australia, incidence of these conditions can not be reported, however breeders assure that they have selected healthy dogs from Italy. Lifespan is estimated at 10 years plus.
The breed needs exercise. Although often owned by people in apartments in Europe, this is more a matter of geography and necessity rather than practicality. At least an average-sized backyard is required, plus a once daily walk.
A low maintenance breed, the coat will shed once yearly and only requires bathing around every six weeks. Unless the dog gets particularly dirty, brushing is only required after bathing. Breeders claim the Cane Corso’s relatively tighter skin and lips alleviates a problem common to mastiffs – drooling. However some Cane Corso with larger lips may still drool.
There are limited registered breeders in Australia. And due to the breed’s rarity here, it remains relatively expensive – around $2500 per puppy!
Not suited to all, the breed needs a firm, experienced handler able to commit the time training. Best suited to those who want a loyal, loving, family guard dog, breeders say it is an ideal family pet and personal protector.
To find up-to-date contacts for breeders, contact the following organisations.
The Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC)
Phone: 1300 728 022 (NSW only) or (02) 9834 3022
Fax: (02) 9834 3872
Phone: (03) 9788 2500
Fax: (03) 9788 2599
Phone: (02) 6241 4404 – Fax: (02) 6241 1129.
Phone: (08) 9455 1188
Fax: (08) 9455 1190
Phone: (08) 8349 4797
Canine Control Council of Queensland
Phone: (07) 3252 2661
Fax: (07) 3252 3864
Tasmanian Canine Association
Phone: (03) 6272 9443
Fax: (03) 6273 0844
Phone: (08) 8984 3570
Fax: (08) 8984 3409