Are Cane Corsos Good Guard Dogs? 7 Key Traits Explained

Are Cane Corsos Good Guard Dogs?

Cane Corsos are some of the most iconic dog breeds ever developed. The dog is famous for his imposing presence, intimidating appearance, and a pleasant personality. These features, along with many others that we shall explore in this post, qualify the Cane Corso as a perfect family dog.

But do Cane Corsos also make perfect guard dogs?

They sure do. Besides being generally considered a great family dog, the Cane Corso is also one of the best guard dogs around. Not only is the dog intimidating. He’s also intelligent, alert, obedient, and highly protective of his owner. A Cane Corso will not hesitate to check out anything within his surroundings that seems off.

Whether you’re interested in owning a Cane Corso as a guard dog or simply want to learn more about the breed, this article is for you.

Read on as we unpack everything there is to know about Cane Corsos, with a special focus on whether this breed makes an excellent guard dog or not.

Why Do You Need A Guard Dog and Is Cane Corso A Good Guard Dog?

There are two main reasons you would want to adopt a guard dog. Guard dogs either protect their human parents or their owners’ properties.

Most guard dogs were developed to warn their owners of potential threats. Barking is their main alarm system. However, some dogs may also warn their owners by making other vocalizations, including howling and growling.

But guard dogs not only warn their human parents of potential intruders. Many of them will not hesitate to go on the offensive if the stranger advances despite the warning. This is actually the true measure of a guard dog. Despite his size or breed, a guard dog should be able to defend his owner with all he’s got.

Now, if looking to adopt a Cane Corso as a guard dog, it’s natural to wonder, ‘will my Cane Corso protect me?’

Cane Corsos may be sweet to be around. But they can be fiercely protective of their owners. So, if you’re interested in a dog that will not only bark at a stranger but also go the extra mile in seeing off the threat, you definitely want to look in the direction of a Cane Corso.

But before we delve deeper into the features that make Cane Corsos excellent guard dogs, let’s give a brief description of this dog bread.

More About Cane Corsos

The Cane Corso is an Italian dog breed of mastiff that’s typically kept as a guard dog or companion dog. The dog is noted for his imposing appearance and a fairly athletic body.

Besides being kept primarily for guarding and companionship, Cane Corsos may also help in protecting livestock. The breed has also been used in the past for hunting large game as well as herding cattle, making it one of the most versatile dog breeds ever.

Quick Facts

Official Name: Cane Corso
Nicknames: Cane Corsos Italiano and Italian Mastiff
Developer: Unknown
Place Developed: Italy
Period Developed: In the 1980s
Breed Classification: Working Dog
Breed Size: Large
Height at the Withers: 24 to 28 inches (62 to 70 centimeters) for dogs and 23 to 26 inches (58 to 66 centimeters) for bitches
Weight: 99 to 110 pounds (45 to 50 kilograms) for dogs and 88 to 99 pounds (40 to 45 kilograms) for bitches
Coat Color: Black, Shades of Grey (light grey, lead grey, or slate grey), or Fawn (light fawn, dark fawn, or stag red)
Temperament: Intelligent, Alert, Obedient, and Highly Protective
Common Health Problems: Hip dysplasia, demodectic mange, eye problems like ectropion and entropion, ear infections, gastric torsion, cancer, canine arthritis, and allergies
Average Lifespan: 10 to 12 Years
Year Recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC): 2010

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The breed standard of the Fédération Cynologique Internationale indicates that Cane Corsos were once widespread throughout the Italian peninsula. But in the recent past, the dog was mainly found in Puglia, southern Italy.

Cane Corsos’ population declined steadily following the collapse of the Mezzadria share-cropping system in the 1960s. There was a need to manage the breed’s dwindling population to avert a possible extinction. As a result, selective breeding of the modern Cane Corsos began in the 1980s.

Thanks to concerted breeding efforts, Cane Corsos’ population began to bounce back. In 1994, the breed achieved full recognition by the Ente Nazionale della Cinofilia Italiana. Fédération Cynologique Internationale and American Kennel Club recognitions followed in 2007 and 2010, respectively.

Physical Characteristics

The Cane Corso is a large working dog breed. The dog is well-muscled but is less bulky than most mastiffs.

Males measure 24 to 28 inches at the withers and weigh 99 to 110 pounds while females measure 23 to 26 inches and weigh 88 to 99 pounds.

Cane Corsos sport a short, dense, and fairly lustrous coats. The breed’s coat color ranges from black to grey and fawn, with multiple shades in between. You may also notice small markings on the feet, chest, or nose.

Why Are Cane Corsos Good Guard Dogs?

Temperament and personality play a fundamental role in determining whether a dog will make an excellent guard dog or not.

Fortunately, Cane Corsos possess certain personality traits required in a good guard dog. Some of those attributes are discussed below.

1. Intelligence

The Cane Corso is one of the smartest dog breeds. Due to his high intelligence, a Cane Corso dog can quickly discern a situation to uncover a potential threat before sounding an alarm.

Intelligence is also an invaluable trait when it comes to canine trainability. It’s reasonably easy to train a Cane Corso and improve his guarding skills, while also imparting good behavior in him.

2. Obedience

Obedience and intelligence usually go hand in hand, especially when it comes to determining a dog’s ease of training.

Not only do you want a dog that can recall commands from months back. But also one who’ll actually follow those commands when you say them. The fact that Cane Corsos are obedient makes them even easier to train.

But even without considering trainability, obedience and loyalty are a crucial attribute every guard dog should have. Whether it’s an order to go check out strange noises in the backyard or stop barking at a family member, the dog should be able to follow your orders without putting up a fuss.

3. Alertness

It’s important for a guard dog to maintain situational awareness at all times. And that’s another trait that makes the Cane Corso one of the best guard dogs.

A Cane Corso isn’t known to let his guard down so easily. Not even the stealthiest burglar will escape their attention.


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4. Protectiveness

It’s almost impossible to discuss guard dogs without making reference to protectiveness. Which begs the question, are Cane Corsos naturally protective?

Cane Corsos are inherently protective of their human parents. These dogs will be happy to attack if they feel that their owners’ life is threatened.

Perhaps you’ve always wondered, will a Cane Corso attack an intruder?

As we’ve just indicated, a Cane Corso is a highly protective dog that will not hesitate to confront an intruder if he believes his owner is under threat. And frankly speaking, protectiveness is the main reason most pet parents adopt Cane Corsos.

Will my Cane Corso protect me without training?

Since the Cane Corso is a naturally protective breed, it’s safe to conclude that the dog will protect you without needing any training. However, training may go a long way in making your Cane Corso an even better protector.

And since Cane Corsos are remarkably protective, you could now be wondering, do Cane Corso turn on their owners too?

It’s uncommon for a Cane Corso to turn on his owner. But it’s not entirely impossible. Note that every dog is unique. While Cane Corsos are generally pleasant and friendly, certain factors could cause them to become aggressive to their owners. Common causes of Cane Corso aggression include stress, boredom, fear, and an underlying mental or neurological disorder.

5. Vocalization

Considering vocalization as a guard dog trait can be a tough balancing act. On the one hand, you want a dog that’s generally calm and quiet. While on the other hand, you want a dog who’ll make the loudest noise upon spotting a potential intruder.

It’s reassuring to note that Cane Corsos deliver on both ends of the spectrum.

These dogs are mostly calm and quiet when unsettled. But they can turn into furious barkers if they sight what looks like an intruder.


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6. Strength and Agility

Cane Corsos are powerful and agile canines with a high energy and drive. These are other features that make them the ideal guard dog.

Strength and agility are especially important when physically fending off an intruder. And just so you know, a Cane Corso has a bite force so strong that a single bite could end up crushing bones.

Maybe you’re wondering, is a Cane Corso stronger than a pit bull?

A Cane Corso has a bite force of 700 pounds per square inch (psi). That’s more than three times the 235 psi bite force of a pit bull. What of a lion, is a Cane Corso bite stronger than a lion? A lion has a bite force of 650 psi. So, pound for pound, a Cane Corso’s bite force is stronger than a lion’s.

Simply put, a Cane Corso attack could be more devastating than a pit bull or lion attack. That makes a Cane Corso a more reliable guard dog than the pit bull and even a lion.

Besides being strong and agile, Cane Corsos are also fairly intimidating. Any burglar would want to think twice before taking their chances on a property guarded by a Cane Corso.

7. Assertiveness and Confidence

A guard dog needs to be fearless. Once the dog makes out an intruder, he should boldly face them without necessarily being urged on by his owner.

A Cane Corsos has a reputation for being confident and assertive. The breed will unlikely flee or submit when faced with a threat. Instead, his guarding instincts will quickly kick in, making him confront the threat head-on.

Will I Need To Train My Cane Corsos To Become A Better Guard Dog?

We’ve already mentioned and repeated throughout this post that Cane Corsos are inherently protective. The breed can make an excellent guard dog without necessarily needing to train him.

However, training and socialization can go a long way in making your Cane Corsos an even better guard dog.

It’s also worth noting that due to their instinctive drive to protect, Cane Corsos could easily injure unassuming strangers or innocent bystanders. That underscores the importance of training and socialization.

Like any dog breed, Cane Corsos ought to be trained and socialized as soon as they’re weaned. The best way to socialize the dog is by going on routine walks together. You could also consider all-family activities, just so your Cane Corsos can familiarize himself with every household member.

When it comes to training, it would be best to start by determining the specific form of training you’d wish to subject your Cane Corsos to. Agility and strength training will make the dog better equipped at warding off intruders while basic commands like ‘stop’ will be useful in restraining the dog from attacking innocent targets.

Are Male or Female Cane Corsos Better Guard Dogs?

Gender plays a crucial role when looking for a guard dog. Male Cane Corsos are fiercely territorial. These dogs are also more protective than their female counterparts, which make them the better guard dog.

A female Cane Corso has other priorities besides protecting her owner. Although she can be people-oriented, the dog loves the indoors and will rarely venture in the yard or watch your kids.

Which Is A Better Guard Dog, Rottweiler Or Cane Corso?

Both a Cane Corso and a Rottweiler make excellent guard dogs. Both breeds are strong, protective, muscular, and intimidating. However, the Cane Corso outshines the Rottweiler in terms of physical size and bite force. So, if torn between these two dog breeds, you’d do well to consider a Cane Corso.


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There are numerous factors that make Cane Corsos great guard dogs. They include but not limited to intelligence, protectiveness, alertness, strength, and agility.

But while Cane Corsos are naturally gifted at guarding, training and socialization can play a huge role in making the dogs better suited for their guarding role.

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Passionate lover of dogs and proud owner of a friendly, mischievous and energetic golden retriever named Beethoven! I’m incredibly excited to share my experiences on how best to care for your beloved pet. The more we know, the happier we and our canine friends will be!

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