As descendant of the ancient, Mastiff-type Molossus Hound, the Cane Corso is born with immensely strong guarding instincts. Which no doubt came in handy when the breed was recruited as dog of war by the ancient Roman army: Driving back the enemies’ front lines, these dogs knew no fear and contributed to many Roman victories. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Cane Corso quickly adapted to civilian life, where it mainly served as hunting companion, herding dog for cattle as well as farm- and livestock guardian.
Contrary to the Cane Corso, the Dogo Argentino is relatively young breed. First developed in Argentina in 1928, this stunning-looking white Mastiff was created for hunting large game like water buffalos and even pumas. The Dogo’s role consisted in tracking, cornering, and holding the prey until the hunters’ arrival. To precisely create the dog he wanted, breeder Antonio Nores Martínez crossed the extinct Fighting Dog of Cordoba with other breeds - such as the Great Dane and the Spanish Mastiff. The result of his work is an absolutely amazing dog: Beautiful and elegant in appearance, but fierce and fearless on the job. Apart from its original role as hunter, the Dogo Argentino is a formidable property guardian and personal protection dog.
DIFFERENCES IN LOOKS
Both breeds are large and muscular dogs. However, the Cane Corso is far bulkier than the elegant and light-footed Dogo: With its high legs and comparatively slender built, the Dogo Argentino rather resembles a Pitbull than a Mastiff. The Cane Corso, however, does have the large-boned body and blocky head typical for Mastiff-type breeds.
Adult male Corsos can reach up to 70 cm at the withers – which amounts to almost 28 inches. They weigh up to stunning 68 kg – that is 150 pounds.
Argentinian Mastiffs are about as large as Corsos, but much lighter. In their overall appearance, they give the impression of great speed and agility. Their height at the wither is up to 68 cm for adult males – which amounts to 27 inches. They can weigh up to 45 kg – that is 99 pounds. For both breeds, the females are slightly smaller and lighter.
Traditionally, both breeds come with cropped ears, and Corsos used to have docked tails. However, the practise of cropping and docking has become illegal in many countries. Both Mastiffs have short, soft, and naturally shiny coats. And whilst the Dogo’s satiny coat is exclusively white, the Cane Corso’s can be black, fawn, red, grey, or brindle.
INTELLIGENCE & TRAINABILITY DIFFERENCES
The Cane Corso and the Dogo Argentino are formidable working breeds who come with high levels of intelligence and trainability. And whilst they both learn fast and well, they can be amazingly resistant when it comes to performing what they have learned: Strong-willed and confident, these powerful Mastiffs will make their own decisions, unless guided by a calm, consistent canine leader. Because of their high prey drive, they get easily distracted during training sessions.
Conventional methods and harsh corrections lead nowhere with these independent, yet sensitive breeds. What will work is a balanced approach with lots of positive reinforcement. Both the Cane Corso and the Dogo Argentino need to be well-socialised from early puppyhood onwards. If not, especially Dogos can become dog aggressive. And both breeds’ natural wariness of strangers can escalate and make the dogs dangerous around people.
Dogo Argentinos and Cane Corsos are equally unsuitable for beginners: To become safe and dependable canine companions, they need an experienced leader. Provided with such leadership, they both can reach amazingly high levels of obedience.
And this brings us to the temperaments of these strong and smart Mastiff breeds. As we saw at the beginning of this video, Corsos come with an extremely strong protective instinct – a gift from their history as war dogs and guardians. And even though Dogos were primarily bred for hunting purposes, they are no lesser suited for guarding roles. Both the Italian and the Argentinian Mastiff are true naturals when it comes to defending their own. And they do not require any training for that either. However, having a professional guard dog trainer work with your dog is not a bad idea with these powerful breeds: Such training will enhance the control you have over your dog in any given situation.
When it comes to these canine companions’ devotion and affection for their owners, they are almost equally loving and devoted. Compared to other guardian breeds, these beautiful, athletic Mastiffs form exceptionally strong emotional bonds with their people. They adore their owner’s children and are very protective of them. Which makes both the Cane Corso and the Dogo Argentino superb family guardians. And house dogs, for that matter: For their size, these dogs are amazingly gentle when walking around indoors. When exercised enough, they are pleasantly calm and laid-back in the home. EXERCISE AND GROOMING DIFFERENCES
Despite their calm demeanour in the home, Cane Corsos and Dogo Argentinos are very energetic dogs with a high prey drive. To satisfy their desire for running, chasing, and playing, they need lots of physical exercise and mental stimulation – at least 2 hours per day. To prevent these highly active dogs from giving chase to everything that moves, diligent obedience training is a must. Most importantly, you should not let them off leash in public unless they have mastered perfect recall under distraction.
As normal walks will not satisfy their desire for movement, you will need to get creative: As both breeds are very intelligent, you can teach them trotting next to a bicycle, or engaging with a spring-pole. They also love interactive play with their owners, for example with retrieval dummies or flirt-poles.
When it comes to grooming, these amazing guardian breeds hardly shed (apart from during shedding season in spring and autumn). Dogos and Corsos require next to no brushing. To keep their short and tight coats clean, you merely need to give them a quick once-over with a soft bristle brush once or twice a week. The Dogo Argentino’s smooth, white coat is especially easy to care for and stays remarkably clean. Dogos are known to be extraordinarily neat and clean house dogs with little doggie odour.