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Cane Corso vs Pitbull: Differences Explained (With Pictures)

Written by: Chris Dinesen Rogers

Last Updated on May 14, 2024 by Dogster Team

Cane Corso vs. Pitbull

Cane Corso vs Pitbull: Differences Explained (With Pictures)

The Cane Corso is recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). They’re a relatively new addition to the ranks and were officially recognized in 2010. The Pitbull isn’t a breed but an umbrella term that describes a group of dogs, including the American Pit Bull Terrier, Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and others.

The United Kennel Club (UKC) recognizes the American Pit Bull Terrier, which we’ll discuss in this article. Cane Corsos and Pit Bull Terriers have similarities, but their differences can help you determine which dog is ideal for your home.


Visual Differences

Cane Corso vs Pitbull - Visual Differences
Image Credit: Left – Cane Corso (Didkovska Ilona, Shutterstock) | Right – Pitbull (CrystalHeadbandz, Pixabay)

At a Glance

Cane Corso
  • Average height (adult): 23.5–27.5 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 85–110 pounds
  • Lifespan: 9–12 years
  • Exercise: 1+ hours a day
  • Grooming needs: Low to moderate
  • Family-friendly: Yes, with adults
  • Other pet-friendly: Sometimes
  • Trainability: Intelligent, loyal, affectionate
  • Average height (adult): 17–21 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 30–60 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12–13 years
  • Exercise: 1+ hours a day
  • Grooming needs: Moderate
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: Rarely
  • Trainability: Intelligent but nippy


Cane Corso Overview

blue brindle cane corso puppy dog lying on grass
Image Credit: otsphoto, Shutterstock

There’s no denying that the Cane Corso and American Pit Bull Terrier look similar. They are muscular animals with characteristically small ears. It’s worth noting that the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) opposes cosmetic ear cropping and tail docking. However, neither the AKC nor UKC penalizes pups in the show ring if their ears and tails are a normal length.

The Cane Corso is an ancient Greek breed related to the Mastiff and excelled as as a livestock guardian dog. However, they’re not ideal pets for first-time pet owners. Their strength requires an experienced individual who will provide the proper behavior management.


With the proper training, the Cane Corso can be an excellent family pet. They’re loyal to their family but less tolerant of young kids and other canines. The Cane Corso does best in homes where they’re the only pet. They’re guarding instincts make them less tolerant of strangers, but they can learn to accept unfamiliar faces with enough socialization.

Cane Corsos form strong bonds with their owners and dislike being left alone for long periods. They aren’t clingy, like some breeds, but they’re better for owners who spend most of their time around the home and don’t travel often.

cane corso resting at the beach
Image Credit: Sbolotova, Shutterstock


The Cane Corso is an intelligent animal that is easy to train. They’re not as independent as other breeds that serve similar roles, but positive reinforcement is essential. They need intensive training to become well-behaved dogs, but they’re sensitive and don’t respond to harsh punishments. Cane Corsos don’t have a strong wanderlust but have a strong prey drive.

Daily training is essential and should begin when the dogs are young. They also must be exposed to several animals and people to prevent them from becoming apprehensive in novel situations.

Health & Care

Fortunately, the Cane Corso is relatively healthy with few health issues other than what you’d expect with a large dog, including elbow and hip dysplasia. However, reputable sellers conduct pre-breeding health screenings to prevent it from being passed on to their dogs’ offspring. The Cane Corso is also susceptible to bloat, which isn’t unusual for pups with massive chests like this one.

Maintaining regular veterinary appointments, providing daily exercise and playtime, and serving a well-balanced diet will allow your Cane Corso to live a long, happy life.

male cane corso jumping
Image Credit by: OlesyaNickolaeva, Shutterstock

Suitable for:

The Can Corso is best for those who can dedicate time to training them and have a home with a large fenced-in yard. They’re strong, athletic, and energetic, and they’re too much to handle for an inexperienced owner. They’re better for homes with older children but must be supervised whenever they interact with kids or new visitors.

Cane Corsos may be appealing to many would-be dog owners. However, property managers often include them on their banned breed lists. Before adopting a Cane Corso, ensure you can legally own one in your area.

divider-dog paw

Pitbull Overview

a pitbull terrier puppy on a wicker dog bed
Image Credit: Jordan Bigelow, Unsplash

Sadly, the history of Pitbulls, including the American Pit Bull Terrier, is violent and cruel. It reflects the dogs’ use in fighting. Fortunately, the breed’s other favorable qualities shine. American Pit Bull Terriers are loyal companions and capable guardians of livestock. They’re friendly to their family, kids, and the people they meet, and they’re less aloof than Cane Corsos.

The American Pit Bull Terrier is smaller than the Cane Corso. However, that doesn’t take anything away from their strength and athleticism. They excel at canine sports, but they’re maligned for their history of dogfighting and prominence in dog-bite reports. However, through selective breeding, breeders have reduced the aggressiveness that defined their ancestors.


The muscular frame and intimidating appearance of the American Pit Bull Terrier contrast with their friendly nature. Their strength doesn’t translate into aggressiveness. They’re sweet, goofy dogs, especially with their family. Like the Cane Corso, the American Pit Bull Terrier is not the best choice for first-time pet owners.

They also become anxious when left alone for long periods, and they thrive in homes where someone is around most of the time. They’re less anxious around small children but should be supervised when engaging with kids due to their strength and size.

brown pitbull with collar standing outdoors on grass
Image Credit: Caroline Ziemkiewicz, Unsplash


The American Pit Bull Terrier is intelligent and relatively simple to train. Of course, treats make it infinitely easier. They have a moderate tendency to bark and can be nippy when they’re young, which you’ll need to curb from the start. We strongly urge you to use positive reinforcement since the American Pit Bull Terrier can be sensitive to harsh words or scolding.

Health & Care

The American Pit Bull is another healthy breed with few health concerns other than those common in larger breeds. They’re more vulnerable to hypothyroidism and heart disease than many breeds, but you can reduce the chances of your dog suffering from a severe condition with regular veterinary exams. The same AVMA recommendations for ear cropping and tail docking apply to the American Pit Bull Terrier.

american pitbull terrier dog playing
Image Credit: Nata Bene, Shutterstock

Suitable for

The Pit Bull is best suited for families with older children and experienced owners. They’re affectionate and loyal but require plenty of training and socialization to become well-behaved pups. Like the Cane Corso, they’re often on banned breed lists, and you must ensure they’re legal to own before adopting one.


Which Breed Is Right for You?

The Cane Corso and American Pit Bull Terrier are best suited for experienced pet owners. It’s not that the dogs are mean, but it’s imperative to establish the proper pet-owner bond from the get-go when dealing with dogs known for their athleticism and strength. The American Pit Bull Terrier is ideal if you have older children. They’re more tolerant of kids and the associated activity levels. However, with adequate training, the Cane Corso and American Pit Bull Terrier make exceptional pets.

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Featured Image Credit: Dogster/Shutterstock

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