The Cane Corso is one of the most popular dog breeds. These canines are especially famous for their gigantic size and well-muscled bodies. Unfortunately, those very features have led many aspiring dog owners to shy away from adopting this breed, fearing that it could be aggressive and dangerous.
But are Cane Corsos really dangerous or is their violent reputation merely a product of bad press?
Cane Corsos aren’t dangerous in the general sense. Which means that a Corso is unlikely to simply up and attack you without sufficient provocation. That said, the Cane Corso is considerably more dangerous than many dog breeds. So aggressive are these canines that they’ve since been banned in several countries and cities worldwide.
The Corso’s violent behavior stems primarily from genetic predisposition. Besides, their sheer size and strength can make this dog breed even more dangerous if not trained and socialized early enough.
If you’ve been considering adopting a Cane Corso, we wouldn’t dissuade you from going ahead with your plans. However, you’ll want to take certain precautions to address the dog’s inherent aggressive tendencies. This is especially important if you frequently invite guests over.
Read on as we delve deeper into Cane Corso’s aggression and how you can mitigate it. But first, let’s begin by understanding more about this iconic dog breed.
More About Cane Corsos
The Cane Corso is a large Italian breed of mastiff.
The Corso is typically kept as a companion dog or guard dog. However, it’s also a working dog and may be assigned other responsibilities like protecting or herding livestock.
In the past, Corsos were also excellent hunters. The canines were effective at hunting down fairly large game due to their sheer size and strength.
Where Did Cane Corsos Come From?
The Cane Corso’s origin cannot be traced to specific periods. However, the Fédération Cynologique Internationale suggests that this breed was once widespread throughout much of the Italian peninsula before its population declined.
The Cane Corso belongs in a group of working dogs known as molossus. These canines derive their name from an ancient Greek tribe called the Mollossi, which is thought to have been the first to breed them.
The original versions of the modern Cane Corso bred by the Mollossi, known as piereferi, were mainly used in war. The piereferi dogs would be sent to battlefields fully armored and with flaming oils strapped to their backs. But thanks to a decline in the western culture around the 15th century, the Cane Corso was no longer used in war. The breed was assigned other duties, such as guarding, hunting, and herding.
However, the fact that Corsos were no longer used in war didn’t quite translate into an increase in their population. In recent times, much of the Corso’s population was concentrated in Puglia, southern Italy.
One major factor that led to the dwindling in the Cane Corso numbers was the collapse of the Mezzadria share-cropping system in the 1960s. If it weren’t for concerted selective breeding efforts from the 1980s, the Corso might have been wiped off the face of the earth.
In 1983, a special Cane Corso organization known as the Società Amatori Cane Corso was formed. The Corso breed achieved recognition by Ente Nazionale della Cinofilia Italiana in 1994 and Fédération Cynologique Internationale in 2007. It was eventually recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 2010.
How Did The Cane Corso Get Its Name?
The word “Cane Corso” derives fully from Italian. ‘Cane’ simply means dog while ‘Corso’ means guardian. That speaks volumes about the primary reason the modern Cane Corso breed was developed.
What Do Cane Corsos Look Like?
Cane Corsos are a large, well-muscled dog. Males typically measure 62 – 70 centimeters (24 – 28 inches) at the withers and weigh 45 – 50 kilograms (99 – 110 pounds) while females measure 58 – 66 cm (23 – 26 in) and weigh 40 – 45 kg (88 – 99 lb).
Corsos have short, dense, and lustrous coats. Their coat is typically black but can also feature shades of gray or fawn. It may also be brindled.
In terms of facial appearance, Cane Corsos stand out for their relatively large heads and oval eyes that are set well apart. Their iris tends to be quite dark.
What Makes Cane Corsos Dangerous?
As already indicated, genetic predisposition is the main reason behind Cane Corso’s aggression. Remember that the Corso comes from a long line of working dogs. And as with most working breeds, genetics plays the biggest role in determining their temperament and personality.
The fact that Cane Corsos were developed for guarding purposes makes them highly possessive and territorial, hence particularly dangerous to intruders. Their tendency towards protective behavior, coupled with their fearlessness, could easily cause these canines to attack harmless strangers and passers-by.
The following are other reasons that could predispose your Corso to aggression;
1. Inadequate Training
Even the most docile dog breeds can easily become hostile if not properly trained. The fact that Cane Corsos are inherently aggressive means they could be way more dangerous if not adequately trained.
Cane Corsos may be fairly intelligent. In fact, Corsos have a pretty high IQ compared to many large dog breeds. But without sufficient training, these canines may not know when to display aggression and when to hold back.
2. Poor Socialization
You may have trained your Cane Corso not to bite. But if the dog isn’t well-socialized, he may still experience challenges controlling his emotions.
Fortunately, training and socialization usually go hand in hand. Which makes both activities easy to undertake concurrently.
You can look at training as a physically-intensive endeavor with the goal of tiring your Corso down and ridding him of any pent-up energy.
Socialization, on the other hand, aims at improving the dog’s interactions with his environment. If your Corso is already intrinsically aware of other dogs in the neighborhood, such as by hearing them bark or howl, he may not readily attack when your neighbor’s dogs stray into your compound.
3. Unfavorable Environment
Like all pets, dogs have a way of reacting proportionately to the forces within their environment. A Cane Corso that was exposed to violence during his formative years will likely become dangerous when he’s grown even if the dog was meant to be docile.
Treat your Corso with love and respect, and they’ll likely reciprocate with gentle behavior. Mistreat or neglect him, and he’ll not hesitate to repay you in equal measure.
4. Size and Strength
Let’s get something straight here – the sheer size and strength of the Cane Corso doesn’t automatically make them dangerous. However, it gives them a reputation for aggression.
The Corso’s sheer size is bound to send shivers down most people’s spines. Many people would cringe or even take off after accidentally bumping into these gigantic breeds. And that’s where things can quickly take a nasty turn.
Fleeing from a Cane Corso (or dogs in general) will easily trigger their predatory instincts. The Corso may chase you down and use his strength to subdue you, after which he may inflict vicious bites.
5. Individual Personality
Every dog is unique in his own way. It’s not uncommon to be attacked by canines that are generally considered laid-back. And neither is it unusual to live with an infamously aggressive breed without ever being attacked by it.
If your Cane Corso has an aggressive personality, he will definitely be given to violence.
Unfortunately, you may never tell how your Cane Corso will turn out while he’s still a pup. This underscores the importance of early training and socialization.
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Are Cane Corsos Considered An Aggressive Breed?
The Cane Corso may not be dangerous in the actual sense of the word. But as already indicated, numerous factors could predispose this breed to aggression.
Are Cane Corsos Dangerous To Their Owners?
If you’ve been considering adopting a Cane Corso, you must be wondering whether these canines could turn out to be dangerous. But is a Cane Corso aggressive towards owner?
Guarding is one of the primary reasons Cane Corsos were developed. As a guard dog, the Cane Corso is more likely to defend its owner than attack them.
However, it wouldn’t be uncommon for a Cane Corso to turn on its owner. In fact, there are several accounts describing dangerous encounters between Cane Corsos and their human parents. There are even reports where a Cane Corso kills owner as well as accounts where dangerous encounters led to the killing of the dog. One such account appears on the ABC7.com website.
In this report, a Corso turned on its owner and seriously mauled her. The 36-year-old woman was found badly mauled in her backyard by officers responding to her distress call. She was quickly rushed to a local hospital where the doctors recommended a raft of surgical operations.
When officers came to the woman’s rescue, they were confronted by two large Cane Corsos dogs. An ensuing shootout led to the death of one of the dogs, with the other one scampering for safety.
Has A Cane Corso Ever Attacked Its Owner?
Cane Corso attacks on their owners were initially few and far between. But they’re becoming all too common nowadays.
We’ve already given an example of the 36-year-old female victim who could have lost her life if it weren’t for the swift response by law enforcement.
Are Cane Corsos Aggressive Toward People?
If Cane Corsos can easily attack their owners, then it means these dogs are even more given to aggression toward other people. Unsurprisingly, attacks directed at other people are a lot more common than those aimed at Corso owners.
According to a report appearing in the New York Daily News, two gigantic Cane Corso dogs mauled 46-year-old Michigan jogger Craig Sytsma to death in July 2014.
The United Kingdom has also had its fair share of Cane Corso attacks. Among the most heart-wrenching of these attacks was the mauling to death of a 3-year-old Rochdale baby named Daniel Twigg. The dog was put down following this horrendous incident, but the damage had already been done.
You might have been wondering, has a Cane Corso ever attacked a child?
The case of Daniel Twigg is classic proof that Cane Corsos are indiscriminate when it comes to the people they assault. A near-similar incident befell a 16-year-old girl in Ventura County, California. Fortunately, the victim lived to tell her story despite being assaulted by up to six massive Corsos.
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Are Cane Corsos Aggressive Toward Other Dogs?
Cane Corsos have been known to attack humans, including their very owners. That chilly fact only proves that Corsos are potentially aggressive towards other dogs as well.
Are Cane Corsos Aggressive Toward Other Pets?
Not only are Cane Corsos naturally aggressive toward other dogs. This breed also doesn’t tolerate other pets well.
Corsos are especially intolerant of smaller pets like cats and hamsters. Having such pets share the same living space with a Cane Corso would be a terrible idea unless both are duly trained and well-socialized.
Do Cane Corsos Bite?
Cane Corsos certainly bite. In fact, nearly all documented encounters include reports of vicious bites and scratches. The Corso’s tendency to bite is actually what makes it one of the most feared dog breeds.
How Common Are Cane Corso Attacks?
There’s no official record of the frequency of Cane Corso attacks. Perhaps because a good number of these incidents go undocumented. However, what we know is that Corso attacks have been on the rise in recent years.
Is A Cane Corso More Dangerous Than A Pitbull?
Cane Corsos and Pit Bulls are at the same wavelength in terms of sheer aggression. However, the Corso has a stronger bite force of 700 pounds per square inch (psi) compared to Pit Bull’s 235 psi. That makes the Cane Corso even more dangerous than a Pit Bull.
Where Are Cane Corsos Banned?
Due to their aggression, Cane Corsos are banned in various states, including Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Arkansas, and South Dakota. The breed is also banned in Canada, Germany, France, Ireland, and several municipalities in England.
How to Avoid Aggression in Cane Corsos
Despite their reputation for aggression, it’s possible to live harmoniously with Cane Corsos. All you need is to understand how to prevent aggressive behavior in these dogs.
We already highlighted the importance of early training and socialization as a way of mellowing down the Cane Corso.
The ideal time to begin training your Corso would be as soon as he’s weaned (about four weeks of age).
Obedience training can help teach a Cane Corso what’s expected of them and how to behave around people and other pets.
Socialization, on the other hand, would mainly entail familiarizing your Corso with the neighborhood.
Supervised tours to public places like malls and dog parks would also help expose the dog to his surroundings.
The following are other tips you could implement to manage Cane Corso’s aggression;
- Provide the dog with sufficient interactive toys to reduce stress- and boredom-induced aggression.
- Promptly curtail undesirable behavior, such as dominance and territoriality.
- Establish a hierarchical system to let your Cane Corso understand that humans rank higher in the pecking order.
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So, Are Cane Corsos Aggressive Or Dangerous Dogs?
Cane Corsos are considerably more dangerous than most dog breeds. However, no two dogs are identical, and even the most aggressive canines can be trained to lead pretty docile and harmless lifestyles.
Therefore, whether your Corso grows into an adorable, gentle giant or ferocious beast mainly comes down to you. With proper training and early socialization, you can succeed in raising one of the most charming Corsos ever.
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