Cane Corso vs. Italian Mastiff: The Definitive Comparison

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Written By Penny Parnell

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Italian Mastiffs and Cane Corsos are both large, powerful breeds with a long history. Though they share some similarities, there are also several key differences between the two breeds. Deciding which is right for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. 

The Cane Corso is a descendant of the ancient Roman Molosser, while the Italian Mastiff descends from the Etruscan Wolfhound. Both breeds were used for hunting and as watchdogs or guard dogs. The Cane Corso was also popularly used in dogfights, while the Italian Mastiff was not. Today, both dogs are gentle family companions. 

Comparison of the Cane Corso and the Italian Mastiff in terms of their most fundamental features

Cane Corso

The Cane Corso is the larger of the two breeds, with males reaching up to 28 inches at the shoulder and females up to 26 inches. Italian Mastiffs can reach 24-26 inches at the shoulder for both males and females. Corsos also have a more muscular build than Mastiffs. Their short coats can be black, blue, grey, or fawn, with or without brindle (stripes). The coat of an Italian Mastiff is longer and less dense than that of a Cane Corso and can be brown, red, black, or brindle.

Compare the temperaments of the Cane Corso and the Italian Mastiff in two key areas: how they act around children and other animals.

Italian Mastiff

When it comes to choosing a family dog, it’s important to consider the breed’s personality and temperament. And while both the Cane Corso and the Italian Mastiff are large, gentle breeds, they do have some differences in their personalities. 

The Cane Corso is a very loyal breed that loves being around its family. They’re also very protective, which can make them good watchdogs. However, they can be wary of strangers and may not be the best choice if you have young children in the home. 

Italian Mastiffs, on the other hand, are known for being sweet and affectionate dogs. They’re also patient and good-natured, making them great around kids. But like most mastiff breeds, they can be stubborn and may not do well if left alone for long periods of time. 

Lifespan and Common Health Problems of the Cane Corso and the Italian Mastiff

Cane Corso

Cane Corsos have an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years, while Italian Mastiffs typically live 8 to 10 years. One common health issue for both breeds is hip dysplasia, a condition that causes the hip joint to develop abnormally. This can lead to pain and lameness in the dog. Other health problems that may affect Cane Corsos include elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand disease (a bleeding disorder). Italian Mastiffs are also prone to cardiomyopathy (a heart condition) and gastric dilatation volvulus (bloat). 

Food Requirements and Prohibited food for Cane Corso and Italian Mastiffs

Italian Mastiff

Cane Corsos are large, powerful dogs with high-energy levels. They require a diet that is rich in protein and calories to help them maintain their muscular body, as well as provide the energy they need for their daily activities. Adult Cane Corsos should be fed two to three meals per day, while puppies may need four to six smaller meals.

Italian Mastiffs are also large dogs with high energy levels. However, because they are prone to bloat, it is important that they don’t eat too much at one time. Italian Mastiffs should be fed two or three small meals per day instead of one large meal. 

Both breeds of dogs require a high-quality diet that meets their nutritional needs. Proteins should come from sources such as chicken, beef, lamb, or fish; carbohydrates can come from rice, pasta, potatoes, or oats; and healthy fats can come from olive oil or flaxseed oil.

Comparing the Grooming Needs of the Cane Corso and the Italian Mastiff

Cane Corso

Both the Cane Corso and the Italian Mastiff have short, easy-to-care-for coats. However, the Cane Corso’s coat is slightly more demanding than the Italian Mastiff’s. The Cane Corso should be brushed at least once a week to remove dead hair and keep its coat healthy and looking its best. The Italian Mastiff only needs to be brushed about every other week. Both Cane Corsos and Italian Mastiffs have short, thick coats that require minimal grooming. However, the Cane Corso’s coat is oily and tends to shed more than the Italian Mastiff’s coat.

Comparison of the Cane Corso and the Italian Mastiff in terms of Crate, House, and Guard Dog Training

Italian Mastiff

Crate Training: Both the Cane Corso and the Italian Mastiff are intelligent and eager to please, making them both very trainable. When it comes to crate training, however, the Cane Corso may have the edge. This breed is known for being independent and self-sufficient, which makes them easier to train when it comes to being comfortable in a crate. The Italian Mastiff, on the other hand, is more social and needs more attention from their owners. 

House Training: House training can be a challenge with either breed due to their size and strength. However, with consistency and patience, both breeds can be successfully house-trained. With their strong will and independent nature, the Cane Corso may take slightly longer than the Italian Mastiff to house the train. However, once trained, they will remain obedient for years to come. 

Guard Dog Training: Both breeds make great guard dogs due to their large size and intimidating presence. The Cane Corso is known for being loyal and protective of its family while also having an even temperament. On the other hand, the Italian Mastiff is known for being more aggressive by nature but still makes an excellent guard dog with proper training and socialization. 


Cane Corso

Both the Cane Corso and Italian Mastiff are large, loyal breeds that make great guard dogs. With proper training, they will be obedient and protective of their families for years to come. These dogs are not for first-time dog owners, as they require a firm hand and consistent training. However, if you are looking for a loyal, loving companion, either of these breeds would be a great choice.


Is Cane Corso more aggressive than Italian Mastiffs?

While Cane Corsos are more aggressive than Italian Mastiffs, with the proper training, they can make excellent guard dogs.

Does Cane Corsos get along with Italian Mastiffs?

Yes, both breeds are loyal and loving, and with proper training, they will get along great.

Are both breeds related in some way?

Yes, both breeds come from the Molossus bloodline.

Which breed is smarter? 

Both breeds are intelligent, but Cane Corsos are considered to be the smarter of the two. 

Italian Mastiff

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