The Cane Corso is a smaller breed of mastiff, although they are by no means small. Males typically are around 100-120 lbs, females slightly less. They are often seen with closely cropped ears and docked tails. They come in a variety of colors, including fawn, brindle, black, gray, and red. Whether this is a good thing or not, the Cane Corso is becoming more and more popular as a breed, which means they are unfortunately turning up in shelters more and more.
Historically, the Cane Corso was used as a dog of war during Roman times in Italy. It is one of two Mastiffs of Italian heritage, the other being the Neapolitan Mastiff. Once the Roman empire fell, they were used in other ways, such as farmhands, flock and property guardians, and hunting dogs, primarily for boar. After WW I and II, like many other breeds, their numbers were so low, they were almost lost forever. Only through dedicated individuals was the breed saved and slowly became the beloved house dogs of today.
The Corso is a very intelligent breed, easy to train. But they are not for the first time owner, or for the owner who cannot handle a strong willed dog, as they need firm direction, structure, and boundaries. Golden retrievers they are not! Training and socialization is key with this breed, as they have a tendency for protectiveness, and they may challenge their owner or make poor decisions if not trained properly. They are wary of strangers, but provided they are well socialized and trained, they will follow their owner's lead and direction, and welcome newcomers to the home. They are very loyal to their family. They have a tendency towards dog and animal aggression/prey drive if not properly introduced to them when young, however they are fine with animals they have grown up with.
They are also one of the more active and agile breeds of Mastiff, which means they will most likely need more exercise than some of their heavier cousins. Due to their intelligence and agility, they would do well in dog sports such as rally, agility, or dock diving. If one is looking for a jogging or hiking companion, the Cane Corso could possibly be the best Mastiff for the job.
The Cane Corso is a fairly healthy breed, and does not have many genetic health conditions attributed to it. The issues that are more common are: hip and elbow dysplasia, eye issues, demodectic mange, pano, heart issues, and bloat.