Externally, the Italian mastiff resembles the ancient fighting dogs of the Roman elite in many respects. In the media, she is usually portrayed with cropped ears, which gives her a militant appearance. Docking is strictly forbidden in Germany and the dogs wear their natural floppy ears. Here you can find out how to get hold of a puppy of the rare breed.
Distinguishing Characteristics of the Italian Mastiff
With an average height at the withers of 60-64 cm for females and 64-68 cm for males, the Cane Corso is one of the larger mastiffs. Depending on its size, it weighs between 40 and 50 kilograms. Like other Molossians, he is strong and stocky but displays a certain elegance. Most Italians know him in black or gray, but lighter coat colors are also bred.
The Italian Corso dog from head to tail
- The broadhead resembles that of the original Molosser and slaughter dogs: measured at the cheekbone it is square, the front half of the face is convex and flattens from the forehead to the occiput. The frontal sinuses are visibly prominent and a frontal furrow is clearly discernible.
- The nose and the bridge of the nose are at the same level, the nose is large and black (and gray if the basic color is gray). With lighter fur colors, black or gray masks with a nose of the same color are desirable. The muzzle is significantly shorter than the skull and just as long as it is wide. When viewed from the front, the overhanging lips form an inverted U.
- According to the FCI, the eyes are “almost egg-shaped” and protrude slightly. They are widely spaced and display an alert, focused expression. The eye color should be as dark as possible.
- Triangular lop ears are set high and very wide. Docking is strictly forbidden and should also be an absolute exclusion criterion when buying a Corso puppy from abroad!
- The body and neck are heavily muscled and strong with a well-developed chest and moderate dewlap. There are hardly any wrinkles. The fore and hind legs are also very strong and not “fleshy”.
- The tail is very wide at the root and tapers slightly towards the tip. It starts high up and is never rolled over the back or worn standing “happily”. When excited, it rises to about the height of the back.
These color combinations are allowed for inbreeding
The skin of the Cane Corso is not too loose and hardly forms wrinkles. It is very thick and durable. A fine layer of undercoat forms under the short, smooth coat.
Colors in the Corso dog
- Solid black is the standard color most commonly shown
- Gray from lead gray to slate gray to light gray
- fawn (light or dark)
- deer red
- Brindle: wheaten striped (grey or fawn as base color)
- Fawn and brindle Corsos have a dark mask (black or gray) that doesn’t extend over the eyes.
- A white mark on the chest is not considered a breeding fault.
Excluded from breeding are animals with small “blemishes” that are completely irrelevant to owners without breeding plans. Such puppies are usually a bit cheaper than the FCI-compliant four-legged friends but are in no way inferior to them. The most common errors are:
- Partially or entirely unpigmented nose
- Tail carried erect or curled
- “Roman nose”: bridge of the nose concave or convex
- Stubborn tail or missing tail
- Extensive white patches or colors deviating from the standard
Outside of Italy, conscientious watchdogs are rarely found. Molossers of this type have been bred in Italy since the 4th century and used for battue, among other things. In the 1980s, the southern Italian dogs were almost forgotten – today’s stock goes back to a few specimens that were deliberately propagated from 1983 by the newly formed Società Amatori Cane Corso breed club. The Corso has been listed as an independent breed in the FCI since 1996.
Calm Yet Alert: The Nature and Character of the Italian Corso Dog
Because of their pronounced protective and guard instinct, the Italian Corsos have listed dogs in some federal states and may only be kept under strict conditions. When raised well, they become loyal soldiers, fiercely protective of people, pets, and property, and quiet and love within the family. They are fearless and indifferent to strangers unless they pose an obvious threat.
A list dog as a family dog?
The Italian Mastiff can be kept in the family without any problems if it enjoys a good education as a puppy and is allowed to carry out a meaningful task in the house. The most important rule for guard dogs with potential for aggression is: They are not for beginners! Only owners who are experienced in dealing with large dogs and who prevent undesirable behavior without jeopardizing the relationship of trust can train a Cane Corso to become a family dog.