MAJESTIC, STRONG, PROTECTIVE
History & Origin
The Cane Corso (Italian Mastiff), as a breed, can trace its origins back to antiquity. The breed’s name, incidentally, is believed to be derived from the Latin ‘cohors’ meaning courtyard guard and the Greek ‘kortos’ meaning wall; thus, a dog that guards the yard and walls. This is what the breed was used as for a long time: guard dogs.
However, the buck does not stop there. The Cane Corso can trace its origins back to a Roman war dog, namely, the Canis Pugnax. Besides going into battle with their handlers, they were used in the Roman arenas where they fought bears and other large, wild animals.
The Romans also had large battalions consisting of these dogs where they would go onto the battlefields, kitted with spiked collars around their necks and ankles, and half starved. When these dogs were let loose on the enemy, they were a fighting force to be reckoned with!
Later, the Cane Corso was used as a hunting dog. The breed finally found its niche amongst the Italian farming community where they protected livestock against wild animals as well as thieves, drove cattle as needed, and guarded and protected the homestead. Talk about a varied background!
The Cane Corso was introduced to the U.S.A. in the 1980’s where it has gained popularity as a guard dog and household pet, their legendary gentleness with regards to children making them a firm favorite.
The Cane Corso was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 2010.
PERSONALITY AND TEMPERAMENT
The Cane Corso can only be described as a truly great all-around family dog. It loves being with people, especially those who engage in an active lifestyle- this is quite a high-energy breed, and, as such, have a lot of stamina and energy that it needs to use up!
They are agile and extremely athletic, so for those who enjoy the outdoors and take part in outdoor activities such as running or cycling, your Cane Corso will quite happily run along with you.
As a breed, they quickly become extremely attached to their families, and are fiercely protective of them, especially with the children, with whom they are exceedingly patient, protective and gentle.
As puppies, they are generally friendly with everyone, although they tend to get more aloof as they grow older and will evaluate people they meet before accepting them. Proper socialization with strangers is thus necessary from an early age. They also tend to get along well with other pets if properly socialized from a young age, although it is not recommended having another male dog on the same premises if your Cane Corso puppy is a male.
Your puppy, as it gets older, will not wander around as they are quite a territorial breed that prefers sticking close to home, an attribute that makes them excellent watchdogs as well as guard dogs. They protect their territory as well as their human family!
This is not a breed that likes being left alone, however, and if left to his own devices for long periods of time, can become quite destructive. Their close family bond means they have an inherent desire to be with you.
You need to keep in mind that together with this breed’s wonderful temperament that is geared towards families, he is also intelligent and stubborn at times. This does not mean he cannot be taught, however, as Cane Corsos actually learn fairly quickly as compared to most other mastiff breeds – your puppy will just need a firm, consistent hand at all times and will need to know who the alpha of its human pack is. Once the boundaries are drawn, he will fit into any family environment seamlessly.
NUTRITION AND FEEDING
Your new puppy is going to eat a lot! They do, however, need good quality food on the one hand, and not grow too quickly on the other. This is because, as a larger breed of dog, their bones need time to develop, and quick growth can actually be detrimental in the long run.
So, what kind of food does a Cane Corso need? Raw food is the best, and this includes beef and chicken while vegetables and fruit are also highly recommended. Raw bones are also great. Never feed your dog cooked bones as they are brittle and can cause damage to your puppy’s intestines.
Feeding a dog of this size can be quite daunting, however, therefore, a mixture of raw food and dried dog food is fine. However, do not mix the two in a single serving; interchange them, instead i.e. one meal consisting of raw food, while the next consists of dry, commercial dog food.
When deciding on a dry, commercial brand of dog food, it is recommended that you pick one that is high quality and suited to your puppy’s growing needs as well as age. Yes, their nutritional needs change as they grow up and grow older.
With regards to feeding, a Cane Corso puppy can easily eat six small meals per day, which should ideally be cut down to two meals daily, once in the morning and once in the evening, by the time your puppy is six months old.
Wonderful additions to their meals include hard-boiled eggs, nutritional supplements (for large breed dogs), bacon (with the grease), and fish oil. Raw garlic and onion need to be avoided at all times as they can cause diarrhea in your puppy (or adult dog) while chocolate is considered poisonous for dogs of any breed or age.
COAT AND GROOMING
Your puppy is going to grow up to be a big boy (or girl). Typically, a fully-grown male Cane Corso will stand at a height of 25 inches to 27 inches while a female will stand at 23.5 inches to 26 inches when measured from the withers to the ground. Your boy will also weigh in between 99 pounds to 110 pounds, and if your puppy happens to be female, between 88 pounds to 99 pounds.
Fortunately, as far as grooming goes, your new puppy’s needs are minimal. Their coat is short and flat with an undercoat that gets thicker during the colder months of the year. Generally speaking, a good brushing every week is enough to keep any errant shedding at bay, although you might consider upping this to twice weekly during heavier shedding periods.
Grooming sessions should take place every four to eight weeks, and attention should be given to the ears, anal glands and nails as well.
Ears should be cleaned out with a damp cotton wool ball. If you notice any irregularities, however, such as a discharge, for example, a trip to your veterinarian is advised – it is an indicator of a possible ear infection.
Anal glands can be cleaned out by applying pressure to both sides of the area (not too hard). Most people find this a tricky operation, so if you see constant rubbing of that area on the grass, a professional groomer can help you take care of the problem.
Most dogs of this breed lead active lifestyles and their nails tend to file down naturally. Nails should, however, still be inspected and clipped if overly long as ingrown or torn nails can cause your puppy great pain and lead to infection.
Bathing should ideally be on an as-needed basis, and care should be used when selecting a shampoo and conditioner, as some dogs tend to develop allergic reactions to certain canine bath products. Something that is natural is preferable.
Your new puppy is a high-energy dog with loads of energy to spare! It is not, however, recommended that your new puppy gets formal exercise while small as his bones are still developing, but once an adult, daily jogs or running next to you while cycling is perfect. They are highly athletic but need mental as well as physical stimulation in order to thrive.
Because your new puppy has such a strong instinct with regards to guarding things, socialization needs to be started the moment you bring your new family member home – and this should be with both humans and animals alike!
Although they are exceedingly intelligent, they can also be stubborn at times, so all forms of training need to be done in a firm, consistent manner. Never shout at your dog – that is no way to gain his trust or his respect. Once he realizes his position in a family, however, training is usually easy.
As for housebreaking your new puppy, consistency is important here as well, and by taking it outside to its designated area approximately 10 to 15 minutes after each meal, he will soon learn where it is acceptable for him to go when it is ‘that’ time.
Crate training is also an effective option with regards to housebreaking while it provides your new baby with a safe retreat where it can go to snooze or just get away from the everyday bustle in a household.
He may seem to sleep a lot at first, but this should lessen as he grows – he is, after all, a baby, and like all babies, he needs his rest in order to grow.
Never, ever shout at or hit your puppy. He does not know when he has does something wrong. Instead, praise him when he does something right, and he will soon learn what is acceptable and what is not. Although your Cane Corso might look tough as nails on the outside, on the inside, he is really a huge, sensitive softie at heart.
As with all dog breeds, the Cane Corso also has his share of possible health problems. It is therefore always advised that your purchase your puppy from a reputable breeder that has the breed’s best interests at heart! Also, make sure you know the history of your new puppy’s parents – you can gather a lot of information from knowing the health history of your new puppy’s ancestry.
There are four main types of health issues faced by the breed as a whole:
1. Hip Dysplasia
This is usually genetic in nature and has to do with the development of the dog’s hips at birth and usually manifests when the dog is an adult. The propensity towards the condition can be enhanced due to obesity, over-exercising, or even under-exercising. Nutrition is also a contributing factor.
2. Bloat/gastric torsion
This is a common problem of large breed dogs with barrel chests. It is a condition whereby the stomach actually twists around, and is, more often than not, lethal. Frequent, smaller meals are advised as is adequate rest after a meal.
The Cane Corso seems to have a genetic disposition to develop dermodex mange from birth. Many puppies’ immune systems are such that they seem not able to keep the problem at bay. This is treatable, however, but you need to keep an eye out for it.
4. Eye Problems
Certain breeds have the propensity to develop certain eye problems. In the case of the Cane Corso, it is ‘cherry eye’. This is an inflammation of your dog’s third eyelid and can be corrected surgically. Another common eye problem is entropion, where the top eyelid curls inwards. This can, however, also be corrected by means of surgery.
Immensely loyal, loving to children and protective of its family and home, the Cane Corso is a huge dog with a small heart. Sensitive in nature, he can become fierce with regards to protecting his territory. This is a wonderful family dog that needs an active lifestyle and the comfort of a loving home in order to be happy.
Although fiercely intelligent and obstinate, he is very trainable but needs a firm, loving hand. Your Cane Corso will protect you with his life if the occasion arises, and in return, he asks your unfailing love and support. Adequate socialization is needed with regards to other pets, but he does best as part of a one-pet family. This breed is, however, not recommended for first-time dog owners.
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