Italian Mastiff Vs Cane Corso

Italian Mastiff vs Cane Corso: What are the Differences and Similarities?

When it comes to large and imposing guard dogs, the Italian Mastiff and Cane Corso are two of the most popular breeds. But what sets these two breeds apart? Are they similar in any way? In this article, we will take a closer look at the Italian Mastiff and Cane Corso breeds and compare and contrast the differences and similarities between the two.

Background and Origin

Both the Italian Mastiff (also known as the Neapolitan Mastiff) and the Cane Corso originated in Italy. However, they have different histories and were developed for different purposes.

The Italian Mastiff, as its name suggests, was developed in Naples as a guard dog. Their origins date back to ancient Rome when they were used for war and fighting in arenas. Later, they were used to guard estates and animals, and even today, they are still used as watchdogs and protectors.

On the other hand, the Cane Corso was developed in the southern regions of Italy, namely Puglia and Campania. They were bred to be hunting dogs, specifically for wild boar, and also as guard dogs. However, the breed almost went extinct in the mid-20th century until a group of enthusiasts revived it in the 1970s.

Appearance and Size

Both breeds are large dogs and can be intimidating to strangers. However, there are some noticeable differences in their appearance.

The Italian Mastiff is a massive dog with a large, wrinkled head and a thick, muscular body. They are typically gray in color, with black or blue highlights. They have a short coat that requires minimal grooming, which is an advantage for owners who don’t have the time to groom their dogs regularly.

The Cane Corso, on the other hand, is a slightly smaller dog than the Italian Mastiff. They have a thick, muscular body and a large head with a shorter muzzle than the Italian Mastiff. They come in a variety of colors, including black, light gray, blue, and fawn. They have a short, thick coat that requires regular grooming to keep it healthy and shiny.

Temperament and Personality

Both breeds have strong personalities and are known for their loyalty and protectiveness. However, there are some differences in their temperaments and personalities that owners should be aware of.

The Italian Mastiff is known for being a calm and laid-back dog. They often have a serious expression on their face and can be reserved with strangers. However, they are fiercely loyal to their owners and will defend them if necessary. They are also great with children and make excellent family dogs, as long as they are socialized properly.

The Cane Corso is a more active and energetic dog than the Italian Mastiff. They are intelligent and easy to train, but they also have a high prey drive and are not recommended for households with small pets. They are very protective of their families and can be suspicious of strangers, which makes them excellent guard dogs.

Health and Lifespan

Both breeds are generally healthy and have few health problems. However, as with any breed, there are some health issues that owners should be aware of.

The Italian Mastiff is prone to certain health problems, including hip and elbow dysplasia, bloat, and skin problems. They have a lifespan of between 8-10 years.

The Cane Corso is also prone to hip and elbow dysplasia as well as heart problems. They have a lifespan of between 9-12 years.

Training and Exercise

Both breeds require regular exercise and training to remain healthy and happy. They are intelligent dogs that respond well to training and thrive on physical activity.

The Italian Mastiff is a lower energy dog than the Cane Corso, but they still require regular exercise to maintain their physical and mental health. They are not recommended for apartments or small homes as they do require quite a bit of indoor space.

The Cane Corso is a more active dog and requires at least 30-60 minutes of exercise each day. They are also highly trainable and excel in obedience training.


In conclusion, the Italian Mastiff and Cane Corso are two distinct breeds with unique characteristics. Both breeds are excellent guard dogs and fiercely loyal to their families. However, they have different histories, temperaments, and physical characteristics that set them apart. Ultimately, the choice between the two breeds will depend on your individual lifestyle, personality, and preferences.