Are you considering getting a Cane Corso for your family? These giant dogs make great guard dogs, but if you have kids or are thinking of having kids, you should be prepared for the responsibility of this large dog.

What Are Cane Corsos?

Two Cane Corso puppies
Cane Corsos should be socialized early.

©Olena Kosynska/

Cane Corsos, or Italian mastiffs, are large protective dogs. Their name translates from Latin to “bodyguard,” which is exactly how they behave. Fiercely protective of the family, these dogs are loyal and assertive. They generally grow to 25 inches in height and can easily weigh over 110 pounds. Cane Corsos have a typical life span of 9 -12 years.

Can Corsos are considered an ancient dog breed and were taken from ancient Greece when the Romans conquered them. The Romans brought the breed back to Italy, where they were bred with other large breeds creating this muscular and serious-looking breed.

Key Characteristics of Cane Corso

  • Loyal
  • Intelligent
  • Alert
  • Affectionate

Things to Consider Before Bringing a Cane Corso Home

Cane corso on leash
Cane Corsos make good guard dogs.


Before bringing home a Can Corso, you will need to assess whether you truly have the time and space for one. Cane Corsos need to be trained. They are a large, strong breed that must be able to follow commands for the safety of themselves and others. 

Cane Corsos are assertive and willful dogs that can be trained but are not necessarily easy to train. They must understand that their human is the boss. Unfortunately, you can't send this massive dog to a training school to be trained by someone else; their owner must be the one to train them. According to The American Kennel Club, these strong-willed dogs must establish training with their owner. When bringing this breed home, they are meeting their new pack, the family. And these massive mastiffs will push boundaries and try and find their place in the pack and establish dominance.

According to Web MD, these dogs are easier to train with positive reinforcement rather than negative reinforcement. They are eager to do a good job and please their family. Pet parents of Cane Corsos must have the time to put into training to establish the order of the pack from day one.

The other important thing to consider is space. Big dogs need a big space. The ideal place for this breed is a home where there is plenty of outside space for them to run. Cane Corsos need plenty of exercise, from scheduled walks to outside space to play. These muscular dogs will need to be physically active and engaged. This is the perfect dog for hiking, running, and other outdoor activities. If they do not get enough exercise, it can negatively affect their behavior and personality. This is not a dog to have in a small apartment,

Are Cane Corsos Good Family Dogs?

Little girl with Cane Corso outside
Cane Corsos are good with kids when properly trained.


Cane Corsos can be excellent family dogs if they are trained. Because of their size and weight, they are not ideal for young children. Their sheer size can be overwhelming for small children. They are best with older children that are able to understand how to treat a dog respectfully and be dominant.

When they are trained early, they can be loyal and loving playmates to the children in the family. Children should hold the dog’s leash and learn commands, so the dog understands they are in charge. When a Cane Corso is trained and understands their role in the family or pack, they will respect those boundaries.

These dogs are protective, and they do not like outsiders. Other children coming into the home should be carefully monitored around this breed as children's rambunctious behavior could be taken as a sign of possible aggression that can put the Cane Cors on alert. 

Any new people that come into the home will need to meet the dog, so the dog understands and will allow friends and family to be in the home. They are great guard dogs, but their pet parents will need to help them do their job by letting them know which people are welcome visitors to the home.

Temperament and Behavior

Cane Corsos are loyal to their families and like to spend time with them. While these dogs can be intimidating in stature and strength, they are actually quite docile once they are trained. They are not big barkers unless there is a perceived threat.

Cane Corsos can live in harmony with other pets if they are socialized from a young age. They may be aggressive towards a dog of the same gender, but with persistent training and socializing, they can exist in the same household. While these large dogs have a natural drive for hunting and may see the household cat as prey, with some careful socializing and monitoring, Cane Corsos can adjust to life with a cat in the home. The key is slowly introducing the dog and the cat to a safe environment where the cat can feel safe and they can explore each other at a safe distance. Keep the dog on the leash until both the cat and the dog feel comfortable around each other. Only leave the two animals alone in the same place once you are sure they will tolerate each other.

These massive breeds can get startled by newcomers or sudden actions. Always watch children around the dog as they can snap and bite when they feel their personal space has been invaded. Their natural domineering instincts can come out when they feel threatened by too much touch or sudden erratic noises or movements.

Caring for a Cane Corso

Four Cane Corso dogs
Cane Corsos range in color from brown to black to grey.


Cane Corsos are fairly healthy dogs. They shed, and brushing them regularly can help mitigate the shedding. Like most large breeds, they need to have their nails trimmed periodically. If the nails get too long, it can hinder their walking and even become painful.

Cane Corsos should have a nutritious diet and eat appropriate kibble for their age to ensure they get the nutrition level they need. A regular feeding schedule is ideal for this dog. Establishing order and dominance is key to a happy and healthy Cane Corso.

Preparing Your Cane Corso for a Baby

If you already have a Cane Corso at home and are expecting a baby, then it is important to prepare the dog for the new arrival. Cane Corsos are loyal and enjoy focused attention, and they may feel threatened by the new family member. The best way to introduce the baby starts long before the baby has arrived. It is important to establish boundaries in the home so that dog learns that the baby’s room is off-limits. Pet parents can prepare the dog by having baby items in the house and even play baby sounds to help prepare the dog.

Once the baby arrives, it is important to let the dog smell an item with the baby's smell, like a cap or cloth, so that it can familiarize itself with the new smell. The best case scenario is the dog spends time away from the baby. But the worst case is that it becomes aggressive towards the baby of the disruption in their life. Never leave a baby or toddler alone with this breed. Their size and jealous temperament can be dangerous for the infant.

Pros of Can Corso as a Family Dog

Side profile of Cane Corso
Cane Corsos are gentle giants.


  • Protective
  • Loyal
  • Trainable
  • Affectionate
  • Intelligent

Cons of Cane Corso as a Family Dog

  • Need a lot of space and exercise
  • Must be trained by their pet parents
  • Must be monitored around small, young children

Overall these gentle giants of the dog world make good family pets. They are excellent companions and playmates with older kids, and if they are properly trained, Cane Corsos are good with children of all ages. The key to a healthy relationship with this dog is training. Pet parents need to put in the time when the dog is a puppy to have a loyal, well-trained family dog that will protect the home and the people in it.