The Cane Corso is a large Italian Molosser, which is closely related to the Neapolitan Mastiff. In name and form the Cane Corso predates its cousin the Neapolitan Mastiff. It is well muscled and less bulky than most other Mastiff breeds. The breed is known as a true and quite possibly the last of the coursing Mastiffs. The overall impression should be of power, balanced with athleticism. A Corso should be moderately tight skinned; however, some dewlap on the neck is normal, and the bottom of the jawline should be defined by the hanging lip. The head of the Cane Corso is arguably its most important feature. It is large and imposing. In general, it gives the appearance of regality. The forehead should be flat and convergent to the muzzle. The muzzle is flat, rectangular (when viewed from above), and generally as wide as it is long.
Cane Corso appear in two basic coat colours: black and fawn. This is further modified by genetic pigment dilution to create grey (from black) and frumentino or formentino (from fawn) colours. Brindling of varying intensity is common on both basic coat colours as well, creating tigrato (black brindle), and Grigio Tigrato (grey brindle). White markings are common on the chest, tips of toes, the chin, and the bridge of the nose. Large white patches are not desirable. The average life expectancy is 10 to 12 years.
The Cane Corso is not recommended for novice dog owners. As a puppy, it requires strong leadership and consistent training. Its natural instinct is to be suspicious of strangers and for this reason it is highly encouraged to begin socialization as soon as possible. Ideally the Cane Corso should be indifferent when approached and should only react in a protective manner when a real threat is present.
The Cane Corso is prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, heart disorders, torn cruciates, gastric torsion (“bloat”), demodex mange (red mange), eyelid abnormalities.