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The Cane Corso, also known as the Italian mastiff, originated in the region we know today as Italy. The breed was originally a war dog in the Roman Empire, and they were a jack of all trades. They would help heard the animals that the armies traveled with to feed the soldiers, and they were also used in the battles themselves in various ways. After the Roman Empire fell, many of the soldiers brought Cane Corso‘s home with them, so the breed went from war dog to farm dog.

The Bull Mastiff, on the other hand, was bred and developed in England with its primary role as a working farm dog to protect game and livestock on large estates from predators and poachers.

Now that we know a little bit about the history of the breeds let’s dig into the differences in their energy levels and space requirements.

This is where the breeds really differentiate themselves. The Cane Corso tends to have a high energy level for a mastiff breed. They very much enjoy getting out, having a job, and burning off all of that energy that gave the breed the stamina to keep up with marching armies. As some of you that have been with the show for a while know, this is part of why I got a Cane Corso last year instead of another Bull Mastiff. I wanted a dog that would love to jump up and go for a hike or come with me while I ride my bike for a couple hours each day. This is not something that a Bull Mastiff really enjoys or wants to do. The Bull Mastiff tends to have a much lower energy level once they mature and can be almost lazy. In general, a Bull Mastiff will choose to sleep on the porch or couch all day rather than go out and run for a couple of hours. They keep an eye and ear on everything that’s going on but unless there is something amiss, they generally prefer to stay in one spot.

This difference in energy level is also reflected in the difference between the breeds trainability and intelligence. Both breeds are very eager to please and both are generally considered fairly intelligent though some consider the Cane Corso to be of a slightly higher intellect. You’ll notice that the Cane Corso can be easier to train because of the higher energy level as they are quicker to act on your command and more willing to excel at higher levels of obedience or formal training work. The Bull Mastiff is very eager to please as well but their lower energy level and laziness can make them a bit more stubborn or willful when you’re really asking them to do anything.

For the grooming in size of each breed, they are quite similar but the Bull Mastiff tends to be around 20 to 30 pounds heavier and about 1-2 inches taller. Both breeds have short coats with thin undercoats so they aren’t the best cold-weather dogs but their coats will adapt to their environment. Both breeds blow their twice a year but in general shed very little. Since the Cane Corso is a newly breed recognized by kennel clubs, there is still quite a bit of variation across the breed. In the US it is still common practice to crop ears and dock tails, where is here in the UK that is banned for most breeds. Bull Mastiffs are known to be very joule-y and the majority of the breed does tend to drool and slobber a fair bit. In Cane Corso‘s this is more of a mix with some Corso‘s having that mastiff trait of large joules, while others don’t drool at all.

Both of these breeds are very loyal and affectionate with a natural instinct to guard and protect their family and their home. Corso‘s will typically bond more with the person who feeds and trains them. While the Bull Mastiff is similar, they tend to bond a little more evenly with everyone in the family. Both breeds tend to do very well with small children, especially when the canines and children are raised together and know how to respect each other as well. Both breeds are fierce guard dogs and will not hesitate to physically act if they sense a threat to their home or family.

Alright, for the final category of comparison will be looking at the breeds tendencies for affection and also their independence. Cane Corso‘s are extremely affectionate and are happiest when they can be very near or physically touching you, with the rest of their family close by as well. They are prone to separation anxiety because they do bond so closely with the person who primarily feeds and trains them and they don’t always do well by themselves. In most cases, as long as you are seen as they’re calm, consistent leader, both breeds will look to you for guidance in any situation. The Bull Mastiff is also quite affectionate but less prone to separation anxiety because they do have a bit more independence being that their original purpose was as a solitary protector of estates. Really you can’t go wrong with either breed it just depends on your lifestyle which will fit in your home better.

The Cane Corso and Bull Mastiff are two of my favorite breeds and I’ve had nothing but positive experiences with them in my own home so it’s really hard for me to determine if one breed is really better than the other since they are both so fantastic. For those of you looking for a Guard dog who also likes to snuggle but doesn’t have tons of energy then the Bull Mastiff might just be the perfect dog for you.

Those that are looking for a more active or competition level canine that also loves a good snuggle, the Cane Corso would be a better fit for you.


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