Is the Cane Corso a Good Family Dog?

is the cane corso a good family dog?

TLDR – Is the Cane Corso a Good Family Dog?

  • The Cane Corso requires a large investment of time and money in training & socialisation, but in time can become a good family dog. 
  • The Cane Corso is naturally suspicious of strangers whilst also having a high prey drive. Therefore you must consider how this impacts your household and lifestyle. 
  • The Cane Corso can be great around children, but the difference in size and power can be a cause for concern and precautions are very important. 

The Cane Corso is a large and majestic breed that has been gaining popularity amongst fans of larger breeds, but is the Cane Corso a good family dog? 

If you’ve been researching the Cane Corso for a little while, you’ll know that these dogs were bred to be guardians and protectors. They are known for their loyalty, intelligence and courage. 

And yes, while they may look intimidating, with their muscular build and distinctive features, it’s totally possible to mould a Cane Corso into a wonderful family dog, with the right tools. 

But first, it’s important to note that the Cane Corso is a working breed. This means that they have specific traits and instincts that make them suited for certain jobs, which in the case of the Corsi is guarding and protecting. As such, they do have a tendency to be protective of their families and can be very wary of strangers.  

The Cane Corso also has a strong willed temperament. Its intelligence, dominance and stubbornness is not for the faint hearted. This dog certainly requires an owner with experience in handling large and strong breeds. Excellent leadership is an absolute must for these pooches. 

Cane Corso With Children & Other Pets

Although this can be seen as an uphill battle, there are many positives to owning the breed, especially in the context of a family dog, such as:

1. Excellent Guardian

Cane Corsos make excellent guardians for families due to their strong protective instincts. They are highly alert and always on the lookout for danger. In addition, their huge size and muscular build make them physically intimidating to intruders. 

If you have a fair bit of land or a small hold, then a well behaved Cane Corso can be a good match for you and your family lifestyle.

2. Loyal and Affectionate

Cane Corsos are known for their loyalty and strong bond with their owners and family. They are very affectionate and love to be around their family. Some people say that they have a tendency to be a single owner dog, and there is some truth to this.

However, if raised correctly, the Cane Corso can get along just fine with children and family friends.

3. Exercise Partner

Cane Corsos are a high energy breed that requires daily exercise. They make great exercise partners and can encourage you to stay active. They love to run, hike, and play with their owners. Games like tug of war and fetch are also enjoyed, but owners should look to take things a bit further with sniff puzzles and agility training. 

Exercising with your Corso is also a fantastic way to build a lasting bond with them, which is what makes dog ownership so fulfilling. 

4. Intelligent

Cane Corsos are intelligent and require consistent mental stimulation. They are eager to please their owners and can quickly pick up new commands, once you get over the initial stubbornness that is so often seen in puppies and adolescence. This makes training easier and enjoyable for both the owner and the dog, which is great for building a strong bond.

Things to consider before getting a Cane Corso as a family dog

Before bringing home a Cane Corso as a family pet, it’s important to consider several factors to ensure that this breed is the right fit for your family’s lifestyle. Here’s a list of considerations that potential Cane Corso owners will want to keep in mind:

1. Training and Socialisation

Cane Corsos are strong-willed dogs that require early obedience training and consistent socialisation, likely throughout their entire life. They have a natural guarding instinct and can become suspicious of strangers if not properly socialised. It’s crucial to implement training and socialisation programs at an early age to prevent any behaviour problems. Furthermore, this breed requires a strong and confident leader that can provide them with clear rules and boundaries. 

DO NOT commit to the Cane Corso breed as a family dog if you can’t invest the time into training and socialising them. In order to give your Cane Corso the required amount of training and socialisation it needs. We recommend investing in puppy classes from a young age. But be sure to go beyond this, introduce them to family friends, teach them to be friendly with other dogs whilst out on walks, etc.

2. Exercise and Space

The Cane Corso is a large and energetic breed that thrives in outdoor environments. They require regular exercise and plenty of space to run around. If you live in a small apartment or don’t have access to a yard, a Cane Corso is not the right fit for you. On the other hand, if you have a large garden or live near a park, this can work just fine. 

3. Temperament

While Cane Corsos can make excellent family pets, their intelligence, stubbornness and confidence makes them a bit of a handful. If you’re experienced, then this may be fine. But in the context of family life, it’s likely that other members of the family will be interacting with the dog on a daily basis. 

Teaching your Cane Corso boundaries early is obviously great, but also be sure to educate other members of the family on how best to interact with the dog. Even from a play perspective, their size and power may be threatening to many. 

It’s important to maintain safety in Cane Corso ownership. Their natural distrust of strangers is a risk factor like it or not. The dog’s bite pressure alone is around 700 psi, which almost tops the charts when it comes to dog bites. Therefore, when walking the dog, you’ll want to invest in a heavy duty leash and harness and potentially even a muzzle. Do not risk letting strangers pet them. That’s not to say your Corso will definitely bite, but it’s not a risk that we want to take lightly. 

4. Grooming Maintenance

Cane Corsos have a short coat that requires minimal grooming. However, they do shed regularly and can benefit from weekly brushing to remove any loose hair. While grooming may not be a major concern, it’s important to consider any allergies that members of your household may have to pet dander. It’s equally important to ensure you tame your puppy from an early age to be okay with dental cleaning and nail trimming, which are two of the most intimidating grooming tasks for any owner. 

Secondly, issues such as slobber may be a bit of a turn off for you as an owner. The Cane Corso does drool, but its tighter face and jowls means it drools a bit less when compared to other members of the Mastiff family. 

5. The Cost of Cane Corso Ownership

We can’t talk about family without mentioning the impact on the family finances. Thanks to its increasing popularity, the cost of owning a Cane Corso is not cheap. Prices for puppies can start upwards of $1,000 but also go way beyond that if you’re more interested in pristine bloodlines and more desirable colours such as the blue blood Cane Corso. Of course, rescues should be explored, so long as you can be sure there are no long standing behavioural problems.  

But the costs don’t stop there, it’s estimated that your annual costs may exceed between $1,500 – $2,000 a year. There are vet bills to pay, higher insurance premiums, puppy proofing the house, supplies, toys and of course the food bill. Many owners are choosing to invest more money into the food and diet of their dog these days, which is great! For more information, read our guide on what to feed a Cane Corso

6. Behaviour around Children

We’ve spoken a lot about temperament and how important training and socialisation are when it comes to owning a Cane Corso as a family dog. But what are they like when it comes to being around children? 

There’s no doubt that the Cane Corso can in fact be brilliant around kids. It is affectionate and may enjoy cuddling up to them from time to time. The big question is more concerned with the size and power difference. 

Here are some considerations that parents and potential owners might want to keep in mind:

  • Their size can be intimidating to some children and the friends of children outside of your family. Parents should always supervise interactions between their children and a Cane Corso, especially if the child is very young or has never been around a large dog before. 
  • While Cane Corsos can be very loyal and loving, they can also be strong-willed and require firm training from a young age. Consistent obedience training can help ensure that the dog understands what is expected of them and can prevent any unwanted behaviours around children.
  • Educate your children on how to interact with the dog. Your children need to know boundaries, just as your dog should. This means they should know the basic commands of “no”, “sit” and control themselves when playing without getting physical. It may sound like basic commonsense, but no yanking the tail, pulling ears or jowls, no climbing on their back and certainly no wrestling. Fetch and hide and seek are both good alternatives. 
  • Don’t under-estimate the importance of exercise. Sufficient mental and physical stimulation can help curb a lot of unlikable behaviours. We want to avoid pent up frustration and a full tank of energy due to a lack of stimulation.

7. Behaviour around other pets

When it comes to Cane Corso behaviour around other pets, it’s really a mixed bag. The Cane Corso should get along fine with other dogs, but even then the other dog should preferably be female and of a mid to large size. 

Cats are a big, fat no. The natural prey drive of the Cane Corso is too high and therefore poses a risk to other smaller animals, which unfortunately includes cats. You can extend this to other animals such as rabbits too.

Wrapping up, Does the Cane Corso make a good family dog?

As with any breed of dog, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons and make an informed decision before bringing them into your home. 

The Cane Corsos can make good family pets, but the topic is full of caveats. The right precautions are taken!  Early socialisation, consistent training, and supervision around children are all important considerations to keep in mind. 

Although this dog is low maintenance in terms of aspects like grooming, it is by no means low maintenance in areas such as companionship, training, exercise and supervision. 

Like it or not, it’s hard to get away from the fact that this breed is big, strong, powerful and has a desire to protect, along with a high prey drive. That’s simply the nature of the dog.

Many owners adore the breed because of their love of big dogs. And that’s understandable, I’ve been brought up with Mastiff type breeds my whole life. My suggestion would be that this topic is heavily caveated, and it has to be. 

Can they make a good family dog? Yes. But what if your children are too small? What if you don’t have enough space or time to give the dog its best life? Do you have too many strangers visiting the house? These are all valid questions. Why not look at alternative Mastiff breeds? For example, the Old English Mastiff or the Dogue de Bordeaux? Both are large breeds, but both have a more docile manner that is likely more favourable around children.

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