Let’s look at the history of each of these breeds a bit so we can see how their early jobs still affect their temperament today.
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 Pitbull, as it's commonly called, is actually recognized as the American Staffordshire Terrier. The term pitbull is a category referring to its ancestry as a dog developed to participate in 19th-century blood sports like bull-baiting and dogfighting. The Pitbull we know today is the American version of the English Staffy and is larger than its English cousin. In 1936 the AKC recognized the breeds had become different enough to warrant being registered separately, and the American Pitbull has been the focus of corporate logos, military awards and earned the reputation of being a 'nanny dog' because of their fondness for children.
Now let’s get into their different appearances. Both breeds are solid muscle and have a boxy build to go along with square heads and jaws, and both can be droolers thanks to their heavy joules.
The Pitbull, considered a medium-size, usually appears as lean and light on its feet sporting a thin, short coat that shows off their sleek body. The Cane Corso is obviously a large breed of the mastiff variety, and thanks to their loose skin and general size, don’t appear as agile as the Pitbull. Make no mistake, Corso’s have a higher energy level than most mastiff breeds and are incredibly athletic. They have a huge stride and can execute the most complex of agility manoeuvres flawlessly.
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 both are fairly easy 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 Corso is very eager to please as well but they can be stubborn and willfull, especially from years 1 to 4.
Their temperaments are both suited to family life and very similar. They both tend to be very vocal and playful and love to be where their people are. They are full of energy and personality which makes their clownish antics all more entertaining given how loving and affectionate they both are. You’ll also notice that both of these imposing breeds have a very soft personality that won’t do well with harsh corrections or blurry boundaries. They are both extremely loyal and protective of their family but highly trainable thanks to their willingness to please.
SOCIAL NEEDS - OTHER CHILDREN/SMALL ANIMALS
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.
Pitbull's are also an excellent family dog, maybe even more so than the Corso. They’ve been given the nickname of “nanny dog” for good reason. Pitbulls have quite a bit of energy, but are extraordinarily gentle with babies and children. They are very loving and affectionate with their family, and can even warm up quickly to strangers. Of course, both breeds need lots of socialization early on and throughout their life, and it's especially crucial in breeds like these with protective instincts.
The Cane Corso and Pitbull are both incredible breeds that are quite adaptive to family life. If you have an active lifestyle or want to get involved with canine sports then both of these athletic canines could make a good choice. You'll want to see if the Pitbull is allowed in the area you live in and if they are, prepare to be an ambassador of the breed for their whole life.