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Black Cane Corso: Facts, Origin & History (with Pictures)

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on July 3, 2024 by Dogster Team


Black Cane Corso: Facts, Origin & History (with Pictures)

The Black Cane Corso is an Italian breed of dog that has been around for centuries. Known for its strength, intelligence, and loyalty, the Cane Corso is a large breed that can weigh up to 120 pounds. This breed is loyal and devoted to its family, making them excellent guard dogs. With their black coats and blocky heads, they are a strikingly handsome sight.

The Cane Corso was traditionally used as a hunting companion and guard dog on Italian farms and estates. Their size made them well-suited for protecting livestock from predators such as wolves or wild boars. They have a strong protective instinct, which makes them great watchdogs today, too, alerting their owners of potential danger when necessary.

In this article, we will explore the unique characteristics and history of the Black Cane Corso.

Breed Overview


23–28 inches


88–120 pounds


9–12 years


Black (also gray, fawn, and red)

Suitable for:

Knowledgeable dog owners, households with older children, and homes with spacious yards


Faithful, guarding, assertive, and clever

Black Cane Corsos are a variation of the Cane Corso breed, which also includes other colors. Cane Corsos are available in various colors and markings, and the breed allows for a variety of these. Acceptable colors include black, various shades of gray, different shades of fawn, and red. Cane Corsos that are solid fawn or red feature a black or gray mask that should not extend beyond their eyes. Some Cane Corsos also have a white patch on their chest, throat, chin, backs of the legs, and toes. Any Cane Corso that has tan pattern markings, as seen in black-and-tan breeds, is disqualified by the AKC. Among all these colors, Black Cane Corsos are considered highly sought after.

Black Cane Corso Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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Earliest Records of Black Cane Corsos in History

The Cane Corso breed originated in Italy, where it was used for various purposes such as hunting, guarding, and fighting. The Cane Corso is an intelligent, teachable, and dignified breed that exudes confidence and assertiveness, making them unparalleled guard dogs. The breed has a long history that dates back to ancient Roman times. In those days, the Romans used large breeds like the Cane Corso for a variety of tasks, including guarding their homes and estates, as well as hunting game such as boar and deer.

In addition to being loyal sentinels, these dogs were also used for herding cattle and sheep, which often required them to be aggressive when necessary. The name “Cane Corso” literally translates from Latin into “protective dog,” which speaks volumes about its purpose throughout history.

cane corso with collar and leash
Image By: Dioniya, Shutterstock

How Black Cane Corsos Gained Popularity

In the 1800s, these dogs spread throughout the Italian peninsula, becoming known as the Cane Corso. Their power, strength, and intelligence made them highly prized. Soon, they spread to other parts of Europe. It is quite amazing to think that a century later, the breed had almost vanished. In the early 20th century, the Cane Corso was in danger of disappearing due to World War II. Nonetheless, a group of enthusiastic Italian breeders took on the challenge of reviving the breed and promoting it as a working dog.

Today, Black Cane Corsos are acknowledged as a distinct variation of the breed and are admired for their faithfulness and protectiveness.

Formal Recognition of the Black Cane Corso

The AKC and the UKC acknowledge Black Cane Corsos as a variation of the Cane Corso breed. The breed received official recognition from the AKC in 2010. The Cane Corso is included under the working category alongside other large dogs, such as Boxers and Rottweilers. The working group category includes breeds that were traditionally used for tasks such as guarding, pulling carts, and performing other useful functions.

The AKC recognition helped increase the breed’s popularity in the US and also enabled Cane Corsos to compete in various AKC events and dog shows. Today, the breed is considered one of the most sought-after working dog breeds and is a beloved companion for many families.

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Top Unique Facts About the Black Cane Corso

1. Black Is the Most Common Coat Color in Cane Corsos

A study published in BMC Genomic Data found that when two black Cane Corso parents are bred, the resulting offspring have a 70% likelihood of being black. This study sheds light on the genetics behind coat color in this breed and highlights the prevalence of black Cane Corsos in the breed’s population. Some people think that Black Cane Corsos are rare, but this data proves otherwise.

2. Cane Corsos Came to America as the Result of a Sicilian Wedding

In 1988, Michael Sottile, an American enthusiast of Neapolitan Mastiffs, attended a wedding in Sicily. On the way to the wedding, he noticed a large, athletic dog herding cows. Sottile approached the farmer to talk about the dog and learned that it was a Cane Corso. Intrigued by the breed’s unique qualities, Sottile arranged to import the first Cane Corso to the United States, and the breed’s popularity began to grow. Today, Cane Corsos are beloved for their loyal and protective nature, a testament to the breed’s journey from a small Italian village to homes across the United States.

3. Cane Corsos are Talkers

Cane Corsos have an impressive vocal ability, which can range from yipping, howling, and whining to low growls. They do not bark excessively but instead use their barks to communicate with their human family members and other animals in their pack. In addition, Cane Corsos are very attentive and will alert you when someone or something is out of place. Vocalization is one of their strong points. Corso pet parents come to love the grunts, sniffs, yowls, and sing-song barking signature of Cane Corsos.

Three Black Cane-Corso dogs sit on the field
Image by: Dioniya, Shutterstock

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Do Black Cane Corsos Make a Good Pet?

The fact that these large, loyal canines have been around for centuries gives you a pretty good indication of how well they get along with humans. In addition, these dogs have grown in popularity as family pets over the last few decades.

They are loyal and devoted to their families and will sometimes form a bond with one particular member. This Cane Corso is also very protective of its family and always tends to be alert and watchful. They thrive on human interaction, so plenty of exercise and playtime is essential for this breed’s health and well-being. Despite their size, they can even be gentle with children when properly socialized from an early age.

Even having considered all these benefits, it’s important to remember that any pet ownership comes with responsibility. Black Cane Corsos require early training to prevent aggressive behavior. They may not be suitable for homes with very small children or pets due to their large size and prey drive.

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In conclusion, the Black Cane Corso is a loyal and dedicated breed of dog that can make an excellent companion for any family. They are intelligent, confident, and trainable dogs that are great for families who like to be active. With proper care and attention, this breed can show its true colors—loyalty, protection, and unconditional love. That being said, they can also be haughty and stubborn dogs—they require proper training and exposure to humans, dogs, and other pets to prevent aggressive behavior.

Overall, Black Cane Corsos can make great pets for experienced dog owners who are willing to provide them with the proper care and attention they need.

Featured Image Credit: katenadm, Shutterstock

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