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Is a Cane Corso Smarter Than Other Dogs? Intelligence & Training Abilities Explained

Written by: Kristin Hitchcock

Last Updated on July 8, 2024 by Dogster Team

Cane corso sitting on the ground

Is a Cane Corso Smarter Than Other Dogs? Intelligence & Training Abilities Explained

Cane Corsos are considered to be pretty intelligent. They can quickly pick up on commands and be very devoted to their owners. Cane Corsos aren’t the smartest dog out there but are more intelligent than average.

That said, this doesn’t mean they always listen to commands. For much of their history, Cane Corsos were bred to follow their instincts and function without the supervision of their owner. Therefore, they aren’t the best if you’re looking for a dog that will always listen.

For much of history, Cane Corsos spent their time laying around and watching for threats. Therefore, they didn’t need to respond to their master’s every whim. Cane Corsos are quite territorial. They’re aloof with strangers and not very good with other dogs, either. Therefore, training and socialization at an early age are absolutely necessary to prevent potential aggression later on.


Are Cane Corsos Easy to Train?

Evaluating intelligence in dogs is challenging, leading many to measure their willingness and attentiveness instead. Others attempt to evaluate problem-solving skills, but this can prove difficult.

For example, a mastiff may view lounging around and keeping watch as the best solution to a problem. It can be hard to distinguish a lack of interest from a lack of intelligence, making it an insurmountable issue. However, despite these challenges, mastiff breeds can still learn if trained by a competent handler who appreciates their slow-moving nature, as long as the task isn’t unreasonable, like herding sheep, which Cane Corsos are ill-suited for.

I have witnessed impressive performances from mastiffs and other large breeds in sports, such as when a Newfoundland jumps, causing the whole building to tremble. I’ve also seen big dogs clear very high jumps in agility competitions. Nevertheless, these breeds are not well-suited for tricks and are not generally inclined to understand what you want them to do without proper communication or incentives. If they don’t see the point of a command, they may decide to just not follow it.

Additionally, if a protective dog doubts your judgment, they may not obey you in an emergency, which does not indicate a lack of intelligence, but a lack of trust.

For this reason, a Cane Corso may need more practice than other dogs. They need to know exactly what you mean and trust that you’re correct—two factors you may not have to consider when training more devoted breeds.

The young dog Cane Corso watching at the human hand
Image By: Ksenia Raykova, Shutterstock

How to Train a Cane Corso

Training a Cane Corso isn’t particularly difficult. However, you should give your dog plenty of practice and always use clear communication. The last thing you want is to confuse a Cane Corso, as they’d probably just give up.

You should remain consistent, using the same rewards and commands each time. If you have more than one person in your family, work through the commands together so that everyone is doing them exactly the same. Cane Corsos aren’t going to put in much work figuring out what you need.

Build trust whenever possible. Often, this can be accomplished by using commands as much as possible in your daily life. Over time, the dog will get plenty of practice obeying commands, which can help overcome their usual stubborn attitude.

Start with basic obedience commands as you would for any dog. Puppy classes are highly recommended, as they can help socialize your dog, too.

On top of regular obedience, be sure to get your canine around as many other dogs, animals, and people as possible. These dogs are extremely territorial and can be aggressive if not properly socialized. Getting them around many different people early helps prevent them from being fearful, which can cause aggression.

Are Cane Corsos the Smartest Dog?

By most methods, rating a dog’s intelligence is difficult, if not impossible. Some dogs were bred to be obedient and listen to their master. However, other dogs weren’t. These latter dogs may be smart but not show it in traditional situations.

However, Cane Corsos are very smart. They’re considered to be one of the more intelligent dog breeds. They aren’t particularly obedient, though. Instead, they’re more independent and tend to make a lot of decisions on their own. It’s worth noting that intelligence in dogs can also vary individually, even within a breed. Some dogs may be more adept at certain tasks or better understand certain concepts than others.

Dogs that are bred for working in real-life environments tend to be more intelligent than show dogs. More intelligent dogs succeed in these environments, which leads to them being bred. On the other hand, show dogs are evaluated purely on appearance.

cane corso playing
Image By: Miroshnikova Arina, Shutterstock

Are Cane Corsos Hard to Control?

Cane Corsos are extremely large dogs. Therefore, it is practically impossible to control them physically when they are fully grown. They’re also strong-willed and independent, which makes training a challenge.

However, that doesn’t mean that all Cane Corsos are hard to control. Training and socializing them from an early age is essential to ensure they are well-behaved and obedient. Proper training and socialization can help prevent potential behavior issues, such as aggression, fearfulness, and excessive barking.

Cane Corsos are also a large and powerful breed, so it is crucial to have the physical strength and ability to control them if necessary. They require a firm and consistent approach to training and positive reinforcement techniques to encourage good behavior. Working with a professional trainer is highly recommended.

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Cane Corsos are considered intelligent dogs. However, that doesn’t mean they’re the most intelligent dog. Measuring intelligence in dogs is challenging. Dogs weren’t bred to perform the same tasks. Therefore, it’s hard to compare them.

Cane Corsos often have an easy time assessing situations and people. However, they won’t always listen to commands in a real-world setting. They tend to be independent and even a bit stubborn.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock

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