Breed info

History and Origin
The Cane Corso's ancestors were the mastino dogs which lived in Tibet a thousand years ago and were used as guards in ancient monasteries. Some of these were brought to Rome where they would fight lions in the coliseums and served as "Warriors" in Alexander Macedonian's army. They bravely carried flaming buckets of oil charging against the Calvary. After the fall of the Roman Empire they were used for hunting wild boar, protecting flocks of game from wolves, watchdogs and guardians. The Cane Corso is one of two native Italian Mastiff dogs that descended from the legendary war dogs. The appearance of the Cane Corso  has changed little since that time. Now they have a little less weight, are less encumbered, but just as powerful.
During the World War I and II, the Cane Corso population decreased dramatically. Thanks to a small group of Italian enthusiast in the 70's and 80's, they started to re-establish the breed and create a breed standard. The breed was recognized by the ENCI in 1994, the FCI in 1996 and the AKC in 2010 .

bFCI- Standard-343
Brief Historical Summary:  Its direct ancestor is the old Roman Molossian. Formerly scattered all over Italy, in the recent past, the breed was only prevalent in the Province Auplia and in the adjacent regions of Southern Italy. His name derives from the Latin << cohors >>, which means protector, guardian of the farmyard.

General Appearance:  Medium to large-size. Robust and sturdy, nevertheless elegant. Lean, powerful muscles.

Important Proportions: The length of the head reaches 36% of the height at the withers. The dog is somewhat longer than high.

Behavior / Temperament: Guardian of property, family and livestock; extremely agile and responsive. In the past it has been used for herding cattle and hunting big game.

Head: Large and typically molossoid. The upper longitudinal axes of the skull and the muzzle converge slightly.

Cranial region:
Wide; at the zygomatic arches its width is equal to or greater than its length. Convex in the front, it becomes fairly flat behind the forehead as far as the occiput. the medio-frontal furrow is visible.
Stop: marked.

Facial Region:
Black and large with ample, open nostrils, on the same line as the nasal bridge.
Muzzle:  Noticeably shorter than the skull (ratio muzzle : skull approximately 1 : 2). Strong, square; the front part of the muzzle is flat; the lateral surfaces are parallel; the muzzle is as wide as long. The profile of the nasal bridge is straight.
Lips: The upper lips hang moderately and cover the mandible, so that the lower profile of the muzzle is determined by the lips.
Jaws/Teeth: Jaws are very large, thick and curved. Slightly undershot. Level bite acceptable, but not sought after.
Eyes: Medium-sized, ovoid, looking directly forward, slightly protruding. Eyelids close fitting. Color of the iris as dark as possible, depending from the color of the coat. Expression keen and attentive.
Ears: Triangular, drooping, with a wide set on high above the zygomatic arches. Often cropped in the shape of an equilateral triangle.

Neck: Strong, muscular as long as the head.

Body:The body is somewhat longer than the height at the withers. Sturdily built, but not squat.
Withers:Pronounced, rising above the level of the croup.
Rectilinear, very muscular and firm.
Short and strong.
Long, wide, slightly inclined.
Well-developed in three dimensions, reaches to the elbow

Tail: Set on fairly high; very thick at root. The tail is docked at the fourth vertebra. In action carried high, but never curled nor erect.

Long,oblique, very muscular.
Upper arm:
Forearm: Straight, very strong.
Carpal joint and pasterns: Elastic.
Cat feet.

Upper thigh:
Long, wide, back line of thigh convex.
Lower thigh:
Strong, not fleshy.
Moderately angulated.
Thick and sinewy.

Gait / Movement:
Long stride, extended trot.  The preferred gait is the trot.

Fairly thick, rather close fitting.


Short, shiny, very dense with a light undercoat.

Black, lead-grey, slate-grey, light grey, light fawn; stag red and dark fawn; brindle (stripes on different shades of fawn or grey); in fawn colored and brindle dogs the black or grey mask on the muzzle should not go beyond the line of eyes. A small white patch on the chest, on the tips of the feet and on the bridge of the nose is acceptable.

Size and Weight:

Height at Withers:
  Males        from 64 cm to 68 cm,
                                              Females    from 60 cm to 64 cm.
                                              Tolerance 0f 2 cm more or less

                            Males        From 45 to 50 kg.
                                               Females    From 40 to 45 kg.
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion;its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.

Severe Faults:
Axes of muzzle and skull parallel or too converging; lateral surfaces of the muzzle converging
Partial depigmentation of the nose.
Scissor bite; pronounced undershot mouth.
Ring-tail, tail in vertical position.
Permanent amble when trotting.
Over- or undersize.

Eliminating Faults:
Aggressive or overly shy.
Axes of muzzle and skull diverging.
Total depigmentation of the nose.
Bridge of nose very hollow, ram's nose.
Overshot mouth.
Partial or complete palpebral depigmentation. Wall eye; strabism.
Tailless, short tail ( docked or not)
Semi-long, smooth or fringed hair.
All colors not indicated in the standard; large white patches.

               Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioral abnormalities shall be disqualified.
N.B: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

aAKC  Cane Corso Breed Standard
Working Group

General apperance
Ancient Italian breed medium- large size Molossus Dog. Sturdy, with a strong skeleton. Muscular and athletic, it moves with considerable ease and elegance. It has always been a property watchdog and hunter of difficult game such as wild boar.

Size, Proportion, Substance
A muscular, balanced, large-boned dog, rectangular in proportion. The length of the dog, measured from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttock is approximately 10% greater than the height of the dog measured from the highest point of the shoulder to the ground.
Height: dogs: 25 to 27.5inches; bitches: 23.5 to 26 inches.
Weight: proportionate to height.

Molossus, large its total length reaches approximately one third of the height at the withers. Planes of the skull and muzzle are slightly convergent; they are not parallel. The circumference of the head measured at the cheekbones is more than twice the total length of the head; skin is firm and smooth. Skull: viewed from the front,skull is wide and slightly curved;width is equal to length. From the side a prominent arch begins above the eyes and flattens backwards towards the occiput. Viewed from the top, it has a square appearance due to the zygomatic arches and powerful muscles swathing it. Stop; well-defined due to developed and bulging frontal sinuses and prominent arch above the eyes.
Expression: very alert and attentive. Some wrinkling on forehead occurs when alert.
Eyes: Medium-size, almond shaped, not round or bulging,tight fitting rims preferred with only a minimal amount of haw being visible.
Eye Color: Dogs with black muzzles ( coat colors of black, fawn or red, and these colors brindled ) dark eyes are preferred. Gray muzzles ( coats color of gray, fawn or red and these colors brindled ), lighter shades are approved. Pigmentation of the eye rims are complete, pigmentation of eye rim matches pigment color of dog. Disqualification: Yellow bird of prey: blue eyes.
Ears: Set well above the cheekbones. May be cropped or uncropped. If cropped, it is an equilateral triangle. If uncropped, they are medium size, triangular in shape, held tight to the cheeks, and not extending beyond the jaw bone.
Nose: Large with Well-open nostrils, pigment color to match pigment color of dog. Dogs with black pigment have black noses; Grey pigmented dogs have grey noses; pigmentation is complete. The nose is an extension of the top line of the muzzle and does not protrude beyond nor recede behind the front plane of the muzzle.
Muzzle: Very broad and deep, Width is almost equal to its length, which reaches approximately one third of the total length of the head; the depth of the muzzle is more than 50% of the length of the muzzle.

The top and bottom muzzle planes are parallel, and the nose and chin form a perpendicular line. Viewed from the front, the anterior face should look flat and form a trapezoid, wider at the bottom. Muzzle is not overly narrow or snipey.
Lips: Rather firm upper lips moderately hanging, they join under the nostrils to form an inverted "U". Pigmentation matches color pigment of dog. Dogs with black pigment have black lips; grey pigmented dogs have grey lips.
Bite: Slightly undershot ( no more than 1/4 inch ) and level preferred. Scissor bite is acceptable, if parameters of the head and muzzle are correct. Dentition is complete. Incisors are in a straight line. no more than two missing teeth.
Disqualification: More than two missing teeth; wry mouth; Undershot more than 1/4 inch.

Neck, TOPLINE, Body
 Neck: Slightly arched, flowing smoothly into the shoulders with a small amount of dewlap. The length of the neck is approximately one the third the height at the withers.
Body: Depth of the ribcage is equal to half the total height of the dog. Descending slightly before the elbow. Ribs are long and well sprung. Moderate tuck up.
Chest: Broad, well-muscled, strong forefront.
Back: Wide, Strong, muscular. Highest part of the shoulder blade slightly rising above the strong, level back.
Loin: Well-muscled, and harmoniously joined to the back.
Croup: Long, wide, slightly sloping. Rump should be quite round due to muscling.
Tail: Tail is an extension of the backline. It is thick at the root with not much tapering at the tip. When not in action, carried low otherwise horizontal or slightly higher than the back, not to be carried in a vertical position. It it docked at the fourth vertebrae. In the case of natural tails, the tip reaches the hock but not below. Carried low, it is neither broken or kinked but supple. Hanging when the dog is in respose; generally carried level with the back or slightly above the level of the back when the dog is in action, without curving over the back or being curled.
Disqualification: a natural tail that is atrophied or a natural tail that is knotted and laterally deviated or twisted.

Strong and muscular, well-proportioned to the size of the dog. straight when viewed from the front or side; height of the limb at he elbow is equal to 50% of the height at the withers.
Shoulders: Muscular; laid back.
Upper arms: Strongly muscled, with good bone, powerful.
Elbows: Held parallel to the ribcage, turning neither in nor out.
Forelegs: Straight and with good bone, well muscled.
Pasterns: Almost straight, Strong but flexible.
Feet:Round with well-arched toes (catlike). Lean, hard, dark pads and nails, except in the case of white toes.
Front dewclaws: Can remain or be removed, if left intact should only be a single dewclaw on each leg.

As a whole, they are powerful and strong, in harmony with the forequarters. Straight when viewed from the rear or front.
Thighs: Long, wide, angulated and well-muscled.
Stifle: Should be moderately angulated, strong.
Legs: Strong bone and muscle structure.
Hocks: Wide set, thick and clean, let down and parallel when viewed from behind. Rear pastern: Straight and parallel.
Rear dewclaws: Any rear dewclaws are removed.
Hind feet: Slightly more oval-shaped and less-arched toes.

The coat is short, stiff, shiny, adherent and dense with a light undercoat that becomes thicker in colder weather.

Acceptable colors are black, lighter and darker shades of grey, lighter and darker shades of fawn, and red. brindling is allowed on all of these colors. Solid fawn and red, including lighter and darker shades, have a black or grey mask. The mask does not go beyond the eyes. There may be a white patch on the chest, throat,chin, backs of the pasterns, and on the toes.
Disqualification: any color with tan pattern markings as seen in black-and-tan breeds.

The movement is free flowing and powerful, yet effortless, with strong reach and drive. As the dog accelerates, the feet converge toward a center line of gravity in a near-single track. When viewed from the side, the topline remains level, with minimal roll or bounce.

The Cane Corso as a protector of his property and owners is unequaled. Intelligent, he is easily trained. Noble, majestic and powerful his, presence is impressive. He is docile and affectionate to his owner, loving with children and family.

The overall conformation of the dog should be well-balanced and proportionate. The foregoing description is that ideal Cane Corso; any deviation from the above described dog is penalized to the extent of the deviation.

Yellow bird of prey; eyes.
More than two missing teeth: wry mouth.
Undershot more than 1/4 inch.
Any color with tan pattern markings as seen in black-and-tan breeds.
A natural tail that is atrophied or a natural tail that is knotted or laterally deviated or twisted.

Approved: October 20, 2009
Effective: June 30, 2010