CANE CORSO VS ROTTIE! What's the difference?


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For our first comparison, let's discuss the different origins of these two breeds.

The Rottweiler is a very distinct breed with some ancient and pretty exciting origins. Rottweilers are the descendants of Roman drover dogs- drover is the term used for dogs that herd cattle. These ancestors were brought North with Roman legions as they attempted to push the empire's border further north into Germania. Centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire in the cattle town of Rottweiler, Germany is where the Rottie we love and know today. These dogs were used to move cattle and protect precious livestock and owners from bandits and cattle rustlers. However, with the invention of the railroads and cattle cars in the 1800s, the Rottweiler suddenly became unemployed. But these brilliant and versatile dogs soon found their way into other professions in police work, personal protection, and all-purpose dogs used to perform various tasks that required both brains and muscle.

The Cane Corso is an ancient breed. It is descended from the ancient greek Molossi, which was a large much heavier mastiff-type dog. While the Roman Empire was at its apex, they occupied areas in Greece where these dogs were native. The Molossi was quite the dog, and the Romans were so taken with it they took some of them back to Italy and bred them to native breeds there. The first Cane Corso were used as war dogs called "Pireferi". They were used to fearlessly charge enemy front lines with flaming buckets of oil fastened to their backs. With the demise of the Roman, the Cane Corso was repurposed into many different occupations, including hunting, droving, and guard dogs. For centuries this breed could be found all over the Italian countryside. Though with the invention of mechanized farming, the Corso again found itself without a job and purpose. The breed slowly declined until the 20th century when the breed was almost lost for good. Thankfully, in the 1970s, the breed got another chance when it caught the attention of Italian dog fanciers who set out to restore and repopulate the breed.

Next, let's get into the looks of these two breeds.

The Rottweiler standard hasn't changed much since it was first outlined in 1901. The breed is a robust, powerful dog with a muscular frame. They have large, well-defined chest, with thick, powerful hindquarters. Their coat is short, and their coloring is often the breed's hallmark, which is that beautiful black and tan. And while they are not within the breed standard, red and blue Rotties are starting to emerge.

The Cane Corso shares a very mastiff-type appearance with other breeds from the mastiff family. However, this breed is somewhat more tends to be on the more slender and elegant side in comparison to the large lumbering mastiff stereotype. Males tend to be up to 28 inches (or 71 centimeters) tall with weight proportionate to their height, and females being slightly smaller. They have larger heads, sleek muscular bodies covered in short, stiff fur. The Corso comes in many colors, from light fawn to red with a distinctive black mask. Formentio, which is again from red to light fawn with a grey mask. You can also expect to see solid black, solid blue, and variations of brindle. Other colors are present in the breed, such as liver, chocolate, Isabella, Tawney, and straw, but they are considered out of standard. The Cane Corso will sometimes also surprise with a black and tan dog, which is a genetic throwback to the historic rustic dogs in the Cane Corso's ancestry.

What about temperament differences?

A well-bred Rottweiler will be loyal, loving towards family, and a confident and courageous guardian. Though they should not be overly aggressive without provocation, they can be somewhat reserved and aloof towards strangers. It is worth noting that some lines of Rottweilers out there have been bred to possess more aggressive tendencies, and there are some unstable temperaments within the breed.

The Cane Corso is intimidating, intelligent, willful, and courageous. They are also fiercely loyal dogs who would do anything for their people but can be highly suspicious of strangers. With the right direction, this breed is typically reserved and has a calm temperament. A well-bred Corso is going to have a stable attitude and has earned an 88.1% pass rate on temperament testing from the American Temperament test society, which is higher than the Rottweiler, which scored 84.7%.

Next, we will go over the intelligence of these two breeds.

The Rottweiler isn't all brawn and consistently makes the list of the top ten smartest dog breeds in the world- placing at number nine on multiple of these lists. This is a brilliant breed, even if their stubbornness can sometimes get in the way. With excellent communication, from consistent and clear canine leaders, this breed can quickly learn new commands and complex behaviors. Because of this breeds incredible intelligence, they also require large amounts of mental stimulation to help them thrive.

The Cane Corso is a brilliant dog. They can take advantage of an unsuspecting owner and end up owning their human. But because of their intelligence, this breed is so very versatile. It should be noted that they can have a stubborn streak, which will require an excellent canine leader to guide this breed in the right direction and earn its respect.

How does the trainability of these two breeds compare?

The Rottie is a very biddable breed. However, the breed can be a real challenge as they are not push-overs. They require an engaged and consistent leader that will let them know that they mean what they say. But, if they can find someone who can work with them instead of against them, the Rottweiler will prove to be highly trainable in a variety of different tasks and jobs. But, if they can find someone who can work with them instead of against them, the Rottweiler will prove to be highly trainable in a variety of different tasks.

 With the right direction, a Cane Corso can be trained to do pretty much anything from personal protection to agility, to tracking, obedience, and dock diving. Some Corso's are even still used to guard and herd livestock. But like the Rottweiler, they can be somewhat stubborn if the person training them does not have their respect. And because of their intelligence, sometimes they will think they know of a better way to do things.

What are the energy levels of the Cane Corso and Rottweiler like?

Rotties need enough exercise to keep them lean when they are young, but not too much to stress out their joints. As adults, they need enough exercise to keep them in shape. But be wary of their black coats as high amounts of strenuous exercise can easily make this breed overheat when it is hot out.

The Cane Corso is a more active breed in the mastiff family. They will need a brisk, long walk every day to stay satisfied. But they are also able to keep up if their owner is seeking a more active companion and will take hikes and more intensive activity in stride.

Who is more healthy? The Rottie or the Cane Corso?

The Rottweiler has a life expectancy of about nine to ten years. The Rottie also has a long list of health issues, including Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, eye conditions, heart problems, allergies, hyperthyroidism, and several different types of cancers are prevalent in this breed. New research done by the Gerald P. Murphy Cancer Association with support of the Rottweiler Health Foundation has found that there are some links to cancer and longevity issues within the breed. These issues can be traced back to improper vaccination regimes and spaying or neutering dogs of this breed before six years.

The life expectancy of a Cane Corso is around nine to twelve years. Though there are some health issues to be aware of. The more common problems in the breed include:

Bloat, which is where the stomach will twist over on itself in the dog's abdomen. Eye problems, the most common being Entropion, which is a condition where the upper or lower eyelid rolls inwards. Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia. As well as some cardiac issues.

What about the social needs of these two breeds?

The Rottweiler can be trouble for strangers or people they are unfamiliar with. This makes socialization a critical part of owning a Rottweiler. They are very social with their family, and they forge an incredible bond with them. Many rottweilers have even found it fitting to see themselves as lap dogs.

The Cane Corso is another social breed, and they love to be with their families and tend to forge tight bonds with them. Like the Rottweiler, the Cane Corso breed also tends to be suspicious of strangers and can be a potentially hazardous dog without a good foundation of heavy socialization.

Next, are they child friendly?

Rottweilers tend to like children if they are raised with them. However, they can have some herding instincts and should be supervised with small children. Probably best for homes with older children. It can also have problems when their child's friends are over as loud noises, and roughhousing can make them be inclined to protect "their child."

The Cane Corso can be incredible to have around children. Though, due to their size, they tend to do better in homes with older children. Though, if this breed to succeed with children of any age, they must have many socialization opportunities. The Corso tends to be a little more predictable overall and not overreact, which contributes significantly to their ability to be agreeable around children. The downside is that they do have a prey drive to be aware of, and they may see a loud, hyperactive child as something to be chased after.

How do these two breeds do with small animals?

The Rottweiler can be animal friendly with proper training and socialization from a young age. However, some individuals still have problems with small animals and may go after them with predatory intent due to the breed possessing some prey drive and herding instincts.

This can go both ways with a Cane Corso. They tend to do very well if they are raised with small animals and taught to accept them at a young age. If they are good with small animals in the household, they can still be aggressive to strange animals, which can be something to remain mindful about.

Last, how are these two breeds with other dogs?

Rottweilers are typically same-sex intolerant unless it is addressed from a young age and with extreme care. This breed may also be aggressive towards strange dogs coming onto their turf. The Rottie requires good and structured guidance to succeed in either regard and be safe around other canines.

Like with small animals, the Corso can be fantastic with other dogs. If they can be raised with them, they excel with other animals. Socialization is critical for this breed. Good experiences with other well-behaved canines are highly recommended. Though, one would still be wise to use caution around strange animals and just be aware.

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