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Blue Cane Corso: Facts, Origin & History (With Pictures)

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on June 19, 2024 by Dogster Team

blue brindle cane corso hiding behind a bush

Blue Cane Corso: Facts, Origin & History (With Pictures)

The popularity of the Cane Corso, mainly due to its unique personality and coat colors, has made it one of the most sought-after breeds. It’s an Italian mastiff bred as a guardian or companion dog.

Despite this canine being synonymous with narratives of large game hunters, war dogs, farm animal herders, and more, the Blue Cane Corso’s popularity has been making a comeback in recent years. Keep reading for the facts, origin, and history of this awesome breed.

Breed Overview

Height:

23.5–27.5 inches

Weight:

80–120 pounds

Lifespan:

10–12 years

Colors:

Blue, gray, charcoal

Suitable for:

Working, guardian, companion, active families

Temperament:

even-tempered, reserved, stable, quiet, calm, gentle

With a lineage stretching to ancient Rome, the Cane Corso has genes of an extinct Greek Molossus canine and is a muscular working dog with a confident and almost intimidating disposition.

The Blue Cane Corso dog requires an attentive owner who’s able to set aside time for socialization and training, and as such, isn’t for the novice. It’s an active and athletic breed that has a varied range of characteristics.

Cane Corso Characteristics

Energy
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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.
Trainability
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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.
Health
+
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.
Lifespan
+
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.
Sociability
+
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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The Earliest Records of the Blue Cane Corso in History

When the Greek Islands were overrun by the Romans, they found the now-extinct Molossus dogs, which they later took to Italy during the Macedonian wars. It’s believed that these canines were bred with native Italian breeds, which ultimately resulted in the larger Neapolitan Mastiff and their relatives, the Cane Corso.

Cane Corso were initially used as war dogs, or periferi, a term referring to canines that charged across the battlefield and behind enemy lines carrying buckets of flaming oil on their backs. These fire-bearing pups were left with nothing to do once the Roman Empire collapsed, but they had gained vital skills like guarding, hunting, and as farmhands.

Also referred to as the Corsi, this breed was utilized by the Italians as boar and porcupine hunters, badger flushers, or guards for houses and livestock1. However, the breed’s numbers declined as a result of constant upheaval on the Italian Peninsula and changes to farming practices in the 19th and early part of the 20th centuries, barely surviving two world wars.

A few remaining individuals were selectively bred to keep it alive, with efforts in the 1970s seeing breed enthusiasts working tirelessly at locating and preserving them. German Shepherd dog breeders from Mantova, the Malavasi brothers, were the first to breed a litter of Blue Cane Corsos, producing the model for the breed’s standard.

Cane Corso lying on grass
Image by: otsphoto, Shutterstock

How the Blue Cane Corso Gained Popularity

The first Cane Corso made its way through Europe to reach the US in 1988. Michael Sottile, a Neapolitan Mastiff aficionado found one herding cows in Sicily. He was on his way to a wedding, tux and all, when he stopped to discuss the breed with the farmer, eventually leading to the rediscovery of the almost-extinct dog.

Over time, the number and popularity of these dogs increased as beloved family pets, guardians, and protectors. As of 2021, the now well-known Blue Cane Corso appeared at number 21 on the list of the AKCs most popular dog breeds.

It’s known for its loyalty, confidence, intelligence, and sociability, all of which contribute to its rising popularity.

Formal Recognition of the Blue Cane Corso

Efforts at recognition began when Corso enthusiasts formed the first breed society, the Società Amatori Cane Corso, in 1983. However, due to their popularity decline, the Blue Cane Corso struggled with formal recognition, unlike other ancient breeds.

It wasn’t until nearly ten years later, in 1994, that the dog would get officially recognized by the Ente Nazionale della Cinofilia Italiana or ENCI2.

Meanwhile, the FCI accepted the Cane Corso on a provisional basis before the World Canine Organization gave full recognition in 20073. The United Kennel Club or UKC followed in 2008, and lastly the AKC in 2010.

cane corso puppy sitting between ownerš legs outdoors
Image by: otsphoto, Shutterstock

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Top 7 Unique Facts about Blue Cane Corsos

1. Blue Cane Corso Are Black

The Blue Cane Corso is actually a black dog but appears gray due to the recessive dilute gene that causes the varying graying shades of its coat. A pigmentation called eumelanin is found in this breed and is similar to that of the black Cane Corso, but thanks to selective breeding, this trait isn’t rare.


2. The Breed Has Varying Eye Colors

When they’re born, Blue Cane Corsos have dark blue eyes that eventually change to varying shades of amber, gold, and brown. The striking light amber contrasts with their gray coat exceptionally.


3. The Blue Cane Corso Requires a Firm Leader

An exceptionally intelligent breed, the Blue Cane Corso requires constant and consistent training throughout its lifespan. They’re willful, powerful, and massive and can display an independent streak, although they’re eager to please. To make your expectations known, a confident firm leader is required.

Blue gray Italian Cane Corso
Image by: dezy, Shutterstock

4. Blue Cane Corsos Aren’t Lazy Couch Potato Dogs

The Cane Corso breed is a working dog that excels best when they have a job to do or a hard day’s work. While Mastiffs are known as snuggly couch potatoes that typically sleep the day away, not so for this dog as it needs significant mental and physical stimulation to exist happily.


5. Cane Corsos Have Several Recognized Breed Colors

According to the American Kennel Club or AKC, the Cane Corso has seven coat colors in their breed standards, and blue is one of these. Each of these hues holds unique beauty and can either be ingrained with masks of black and gray or brindled, a pattern that counts as a different color variation.

The most prevalent Cane Corso color is fawn, a variation ranging from a slightly dusty brown to cream or very light tan. With subtle color differences, Cane Corsos can also be brindled with chestnut, black, and gray or blue patterns


6. Cane Corsos Have a Ferocious Bite

Although it’s not a naturally aggressive dog, the Blue Cane Corso has an incredible bite force, with some being measured at 525 to 700 pounds per square inch or PSI. That’s impressive for dogs weighing 100 pounds on average, and for perspective, human bite force is 140 PSI on average in comparison.

In dogs, the Cane Corso is only outdone in bite force by the American Bandogge with 730 PSI and 734 PSI for the Kangal. Cane Corsos are considered formidable guard dogs with such bite forces but are generally peaceful canines.

Italian Cane Corso dog
Image By: Svolotova, Shutterstock

7. Blue Cane Corsos Are Vocal Dogs 

While they aren’t frequent barkers, Cane Corsos are vocal, with their vocalizations and noises classified by the AKC as snorting, snuffing, howling, and singing.

Dogster_Website dividers_v1_Jan 18 2024-01-TESTDoes the Blue Cane Corso Make a Good Pet?

Although impressively large, intense, and powerful, under the right circumstances, the Blue Cane Corsos make great pets and excellent companions, though not for everyone. They are vigilant and fearless and may look aggressive, so they have to be socialized to get used to various settings, including other people, pets, or animals.

Cane Corsos are loyal to their owners but wary of strangers and somewhat aloof, displaying their protective nature unless there’s firm and full control.

Being that they are goofy, attention-seeking, and have weird vocals, they make perfect companions in a family with older children. However, considering the breed’s massive strength, proper and consistent training is imperative, especially where there are chances of contact with small children.

These dogs also slobber and snore significantly due to their naturally heavier jowls, but they’re generally healthy except when predisposed to genetic conditions. A Cane Corso’s double-layered short coat sheds all year round, especially during springtime, and their lifespan is shorter than average at 10 to 12 years.

Tips for Keeping Your Cane Corso Dog Healthy, Safe, and Happy

While grooming requirements for the Cane Corso are basic, training and exercise rank significant in the level of importance for this breed. When you allow this dog outdoors, ensure you have a high, sturdy fence, as its drive alone will see it chasing other pets and animals, and even killing them.

You should also take note that due to inbreeding, genetic conditions such as hip dysplasia, gastric dilatation-volvulus, and ectropion are common in this breed. Ensure you’re feeding your Cane Corso, at least 4 to 5 cups of dry food daily mixed with kibble and preferably divided into two daily meals.

Dogster_Website dividers_v1_Jan 18 2024-03 In Conclusion

The Blue Cane Corso is a loving dog that’s powerfully built and possesses a willful disposition. It’s called blue due to the different coat hues of its breed standard, which include gray or a varied shade of black.

While not suited for every dog owner, Blue Cane Corsos make excellent working dogs, or guard and companion dogs. It’s known for its war dog history, and can at times, display a ferocious instinct if not given firm direction.


Featured Image Credit: otsphoto, Shutterstock

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