Considering the Cane ("kah-nay") Corso Breed?
Are they good with kids?
Yes. But will they accidentally knock them over sometimes? Probably. it is also important that the parents teach small children how to behave around large dogs. Respect, space, and fairness. A general rule of thumb: as long as the kids are old enough to say "NO!" to the dog, you may be ready for a corso. (As always, with ANY breed-- do not leave very young children/babies unattended with dogs.)
Are they aggressive?
No, they are defensive. These are "defensive" guardians. A correctly temperamented corso should not go out of it's boundaries or out of its way to be aggressive. Though you can expect that they WILL protect the home in a defensive manner when needed. I always say "it depends on what side of the fence you are on". Which means, that once someone is accepted in as a guest, the corso should follow your lead by welcoming the guest or ignoring them. Anything else is unacceptable. Some will need to be taught these manners, while others may be a bit more passive. But once you've established the ground-rules as a puppy, then they should follow suit. If you have a well-bred corso that does not, then you need to look inward to yourself and see if you are projecting a weakness they feel they need to protect.
Are they easily trained?
They are VERY smart and easily trained. Though they for sure will go through stubborn phases in training. Therefore, the most difficult part of training, is your ability to follow-through. They will also attempt to outsmart you in training as well.
Are they hyper?
As puppies, they can be pretty energetic and a little wild. But as they grow into adults, this will calm down and be channeled into their work. They should not be energetic like Boxers, or lay around all day like huge mastiffs either. They are athletic and moderately active.
Should I use a Crate?
YES!!! This is their own little quiet retreat. They usually need at least a couple of hours of "down time" in a day to ponder what they learned in training, and chill out. It is literally their "mental down time". And just like we appreciate that, so do they. It will also help with potty-training. And learning boundaries. And it's a SAFE place for them to be when you leave the house. It also is a good & safe way for them to travel if you can fit the crate in your SUV.
What should I feed them?
My #1 Food Recommendation is Abady Dog Food. It's not cheap, but I can guarantee you will spend less money at the vet during the year if you feed Abady. Otherwise, a good quality kibble is okay as well. I like a 26/14 or a 26/18 protein to fat ratio with as few carb fillers as possible. Fromm is a good quality kibble with not a lot of fillers.
Do NOT feed from the table if you don't want the dog begging for the next 10 years.
How much space to I need for a cane corso?
Space correlates to your activity level. If you are a runner and run with the dog once a day, then a smaller space is okay. But if you just let them outside to run and do not have structured exercise, then you will need more space.
Mental Exercise as well as Physical!
A cane corso needs just as much mental workout as a physical one. Some people get confused when they physically exercise their puppy a lot, but still can't get him/her to settle down of an evening..... almost invariably, if I ask about training, they don't do it daily. There is the key. Mental + physical exercise = a well-behaved dog.
Do YOU have what it takes to raise this breed successfully?
The cane corso is NOT for the faint of heart. This breed takes a consistent owner, with good routine and rules. You MUST consistently enforce the house rules. If you don't-- these guys WILL find a way to out-smart you or manipulate you. They are very good people-trainers!! It is essential that you are able to maintain a balanced "Alpha" role. A Balanced and Fair approach is equally important. A corso has a very good sense of justice. So I always tell people that "the punishment must fit the crime". For example, it's not necessary to yell at a corso puppy for messing on the floor accidentally. But if they are 2 years old & knowingly violate the rules, they need a correction of equal degree to the severity of the violation.Which leads into another point:
TRAINING TRAINING TRAINING....
It is through training that you can build a healthy relationship with you cane corso. An untrained corso is not living up to its potential, and can become quite unruly. And you do NOT want a 120lb unruly guardian breed dog. These guys are SMART. And they enjoy the "work" or learning and training. So please, bring out the best in your dog, by spending the time and effort on training. There is nothing more heartbreaking to me than to see a puppy cheated out of his/her potential (even potential at home-- not just showing/working/titles) by not being trained. The cane corso instinct is unmatched. A correctly temperamented corso is intuitive to it's owner's wants & needs. They have varying levels of instinctual prey drive. If raised with small animals, and he has a moderate prey drive, they will see those small furry things as "theirs" to protect. But if you have a more drivey dog, and try to bring a cat into the home later, then you will need to prepare for some thorough training.
Recently found this link. It's pretty good reading!
Items of Caution when Purchasing:
I always tell people there are 5 main things to keep in mind when searching for your puppy:
#1. Do NOT be in a rush!
Your puppy is out there. Be patient and be sure to find the RIGHT one. There's nothing worse than getting the wrong dog for your home and having to deal with a 120lb nightmare for the next 10 years. Take your time. Be comfortable with the breeder and their dogs. You will "know when you know".
#2. If you are "looking for a good deal", then you will probably get screwed.
Sure, there are "good deals" out there. But are they actually Cane Corsos? Do they come with guarantees? Are the parents TRULY health tested? (OFA or PennHip) Will the breeder stand behind what they produce? Does the breeder have a clue about the breed? If you have questions, will they pick up the phone with sound advice? Does the dog have a good temperament? Definitely things to consider.
#3. Research, research, and more research.
Did I say Research?
#4. You are buying your Breeder every bit as much as you are buying your Puppy.
I cannot begin to tell you how many "fly by night" backyard breeders are popping up these days. It's very scarey for this breed. Be sure to buy a puppy from a responsible breeder who do these things:
health tests (and will show you results)
keeps their dogs in good healthy condition
will pick up the phone when you have questions
does not breed tons of litters per year
carefully screens potential puppy homes
is open and forthcoming with information
is willing to let you see their dogs
backs up their claims with titles on their dogs
breeds for the BREED and not to line their pockets
has a contract with protections for all parties
#5 Finally- GO WITH YOUR GUT.
If something doesn't feel right-- or if you are seeing RED FLAGS... WALK or RUN AWAY!!! You are FAR better off losing a deposit than you are dealing with the wrong dog for the next 10 years. Trust your gut!! If it feels wrong, then it probably is wrong.