CANE CORSO! Everything You Need To Know
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Where does the Cane Corso come from? Originating from the ancient Greek Molossus Mastiffs, the Cane Corso looks back on a violent history: These intrepid Mastiffs bravely fought alongside the soldiers of the ancient Roman army. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Cane Corso very successfully adapted to civilian life - and soon proved itself to be an outstanding property- and livestock guardian as well as a fiercely loyal personal protection dog. In addition, the Cane Corso’s strength and agility made it an excellent coursing Mastiff and catch-dog who was tasked with hunting down wild boars and other large game. The intelligent dog quickly took to driving cattle in ways that other breeds of the times could not – simply because they lacked the physical presence needed to effectively control large bulls. Before the Cane Corso’s fame spread throughout the world during the last few decades, it was the farm dog of choice in all of rural Italy since the fall of the Roman Empire. What is their temperament like? Perhaps due to its long history as battle companion for Roman soldiers, the Cane Corso is an extremely talented protection- and guard dog. This breed comes with a strong drive to defend their own, and the Corso’s pronounced wariness of strangers is a part of their instinctual make-up. This protective nature often seems to blossom in the breed after the dogs have passed the 1 year-mark of age: Sometimes quite suddenly, playful and trusting young dogs turn into adolescents who regard strangers as potential threats to their owners and territory. When it comes to the breeds’ levels of devotion and affection for their favourite humans, the Cane Corso is off the scale: Owners swear that no one loves them as much as their Cane Corso loves them! These dogs are extremely devoted to their family and form extraordinarily strong emotional bonds with them. They adore all children living in the household and are excellent indoor dogs and family companions. For their considerable size and bulk, Cane Corsos are very calm, quiet, laid-back and gentle in the house. How intelligent and trainable is the Cane Corso? Here is where our discussion of the majestic Italian Mastiff gets even more exciting. The simple answer to the question ‘how intelligent and trainable are these dogs?’ is: EXTREMELY intelligent and – for a Mastiff-breed – very trainable! Whilst many other descendants of the ancient Greek Molossus come with a strong stubborn streak, the Corso responds delightfully well to training. They can reach as high levels in obedience and guarding work as German Shepherds, and often are trained as professional personal protection dogs. However, being a Mastiff-type breed, the Cane Corso is not as easy to train as a German Shepherd or a Border Collie: As we said, these dogs are very trainable for a Mastiff-breed, but they still have a strong tendency to think and act independently. Add to that the Corso’s sensitivity, and you have a breed who does require firm, but gentle handling. Because believe it or not, these muscle-packed giants are quite touchy. Losing your temper and shouting at them, for instance, can set you back weeks in your training progress. The strong-willed, but sensitive breed takes lots and lots of patience. This is why these dogs’ education takes an experienced owner who has mastered high levels of canine leadership and can direct a Corso’s high energy and prey drive into constructive avenues. Are Cane Corsos healthy dogs? Unfortunately, the Cane Corso comes with a number of health issues. Due to its size and bulk, the breed is prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, bloat as well as congenital heart conditions and cancer. Also, they are prone to epilepsy, skin and coat issues, seasonal allergies and eye-conditions such as cherry-eye and entropion. Therefore, you definitely want to make sure you buy your Cane Corso puppy from a responsible breeder who screens their breeding stock for dysplasia, idiopathic epilepsy, eyelid deformities and demodex mange. You basically want your breeder to provide you with documentation that your puppy’s parents have been cleared of all these health issues known to affect the Cane Corso. The life-expectancy of the breed usually ranges from 10 and 12 years. To ensure a healthy growth of muscles and bones, Cane Corso puppies should be fed a diet with a high protein and fat content. In fact, a raw food diet is perfect for them – preferably with products sourced from organic farming: Out of all the possible diets for your dog, raw food has the highest nutritional content. In case feeding raw is not an option for you - a high quality grain-free kibble is the second-best solution. Due to their delicate health, feeding your Cane Corso a low-grade diet can easily result in severe health problems – ranging from mild stomach upsets all the way to lethal forms of cancer. How much exercise does the Cane Corso need? These large and energetic dogs need lots of exercise and mental stimulation to stay healthy and well-balanced. If not provided with enough outlets for their energy, they can turn extremely destructive in the house: Their powerful Mastiff-jaws can quite efficiently tear apart the interior of your home. But there is an even greater risk with this breed: An under-stimulated and bored Corso may channel its pent-up energy into unruly or even aggressive behaviour towards humans or animals. After all, these dogs have been employed as catch dogs by the farmers of Italy for centuries, if not millennia. When given enough vigorous exercise and mental stimulation in the form of walks, play and obedience work, Corsos are quiet in the house and happy to be around their favourite people. But we should keep in mind that these dogs are immensely capable athletes and they need to work their muscles – and their minds! - on a daily basis. Therefore, average levels of walks and playtimes that would tire out the average dog will not suffice for this breed. Here is where smart tools come in handy, such as a spring pole, flirt pole or even a treadmill for dogs. Such stimulation through play and obedience drills will also satisfy the breed’s considerable prey drive. What are their grooming requirements? The very good news is that the glorious Cane Corso hardly requires any grooming. Even when they spend a lot of time outside, Corsos have the tendency to stay amazingly clean. Because of the texture of their short and tight coats, they very rarely accumulate dust or dirt. Grooming the Cane Corso is easy and straightforward: Their short and sleek coats require only the occasional brush. As with various other short-coated breeds, bathing them every few weeks is not necessary, unless they have gotten themselves dirty. Because of their sensitive skins, however, you should make sure to only use a mild dog-shampoo.