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It’s funny that two breeds from the same “family” – mastiffs, can be so different. Most mastiffs are more similar than not, but the Rhodesian Ridgeback and the Cane Corso are quite different. Hang around and let’s find out how. First of all, their origins are quite different. The Cane Corso originates from the roman empire as war dogs and ended up in Italy where they have been herding, guarding and protecting. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a mix of a multitude of breeds from both Europe and Africa, and ended up being a glorious hunting dog, also used for guarding and protection.  Despite they are both considered mastiffs, they don’t look much alike. Both breeds are quite large, but the Rhodesian Ridgeback is leaner and lighter than the Cane Corso, who looks much more like the typical mastiff. The Ridgeback has a longer nose and floppy ears, whereas the Cane Corso has a shorter nose and depending on where in the world he is, his ears are cropped. His natural ears are floppy, though. The Rhodesian Ridgeback has his ridge on the back which is the trademark for the breed. Colour wise, the Ridgeback comes in one single colour which is wheat, while the Cane Corso can be black, gray, brindle, fawn and red.  Now, their looks is the least interesting about these dogs. None of them can be considered a good choice for first-time-owners, and let me tell you why.  All mastiffs have been, and are used for guarding and protecting. All these breeds are used to working alone with little, if any, contact with their human companions. Therefore, they are used to making decisions on their own. Independence and strong will are built into their gene pool. This is extremely useful in their natural environments where they guard and protect livestock, but less practical when living under other circumstances. These dogs need people who can control them with strong but fair, yet consistent leadership. If these qualities are lacking, you are likely to have a disaster on your hands. Now; there are couple of more similarities between these breeds that are worth noticing.  First; as most mastiffs, none of these dogs are extreme in energy levels. None of them need any extreme amounts of daily exercise, although both breeds enjoy coming along on hikes or a tour with your bike, rollerblades or anything else that requires a lot physically from them. But they do need their daily exercise and mental stimulation, especially if you live in the city where they have no land to guard and protect. Please remember that with these kinds of breeds, both temperamentally and size-wise, it is imperative that you start the day you bring your pup home, with socialization and training. Considering their background, you need to find a good balance in their lack of interest in other people, so they don’t get afraid or aggressive towards strangers. Social manners and obedience for these dogs is extremely important.  Let’s talk a little about health before we go into the presence of these dogs. Large dogs are prone to have problems with their joints. Being the heavier breed, the Cane Corso may be more exposed to hip and elbow dysplasia, but any responsible breeder of both breeds should check their breeding stock before producing litters. The Rhodesian Ridgeback are known to sometimes have problems with thyroid function and eye anomalies. They can also suffer from dermoid sinus, which is a tube-like opening in the skin that can sometimes be present at birth.  The Cane Corso on the other hand, can suffer from bloat, which is a deadly condition, idiopathic epilepsy, demodex mange and eyelid abnormities.  But if you take good care of your dog, these dogs can live up to 10 – 12 years, surprisingly enough, the Cane Corso is more likely to reach 12 than the Ridgeback who usually lives up to 10 years.  Now, let’s get back to what it feels like to be in the presence of these glorious dogs. mastiffs in general are considered very independent, strong-willed and with a strong integrity. These two breeds are no exception. And come to think about it; the Ridgeback has been hunting lions, bears and boars. They need a strong presence to keep these wild animals at bay. The Cane Corso, having carried buckets with flaming oil on their backs during Roman wars, must have had courage beyond belief as well.  Standing in the presence of any of these dogs is to be impressed. Very impressed. Impressed to the degree where it’s easy to take a step back, because they are so present if you know what I mean!? While none of them may not be the most extreme mastiff, one should still remember that they are impressive and very, very powerful dogs. This is also the reason why it is so important that you yourself equal their strong will, their independence, integrity, stubbornness and presence. If you don’t, it is more than likely that they will take over, and trust me – that’s not a good thing with these breeds. So, let’s try to gather the knots and see what we can conclude about these amazing breeds. While they are not very much alike when it comes to looks, there are definitely tons of similarities in mentality. None of these dogs would be a good choice for a first-time-owner, nor is it a good idea for a timid person to own one. These are dogs that needs a human who equals their strength and power – at least.  But if they are lucky enough to find a person who is strong enough to control them, both the Rhodesian Ridgeback and the Cane Corso are glorious breeds that can really excel. So do yourself a favour and think this through many, many times, before you make a decision.

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