Are Cane Corsos Dangerous Dogs? (Aggression Facts)

The Cane Corso is a reasonably large Italian breed of Mastiff known for its loyalty and protective nature. Originally bred as a working dog, the Corso is still used today for tasks such as herding cattle and hunting. However, this versatile breed is also a great family pet and well-suited to homes with older children and other pets. 

But there’s a lot of debate surrounding the temperament of this intelligent, majestic canine. Some people claim they’re gentle giants, while others believe they are dangerous dogs prone to aggression.

are Cane Corsos dangerous
Are Cane Corsos dangerous dogs? (Aggression Facts)

So, what’s the truth? Are Cane Corsos dangerous dogs? In this blog post, we’ll look at the facts about the breed’s aggression and help you decide if a Cane Corso is the right dog for you.

Are Cane Corsos Dangerous Dogs?

Cane Corsos are large, muscular dogs, and their size can be intimidating to some people. Males can weigh between 100 to 110 pounds, and females can weigh anywhere from 88 to 99 pounds. But just because they’re big doesn’t mean they’re automatically aggressive.

In fact, the Corso is often described as being calm, loving, and gentle.

However, like any other breed of dog, a Cane Corso can be prone to aggression if they’re not adequately trained and socialized. Without the proper training and socialization, a Corso may become aggressive towards people or other animals. But with consistent obedience training and plenty of positive reinforcement, the Corso can make fantastic additions to most families.

Cane Corso dog
A Cane Corso dog. Loved by owners, but banned in some countries.

Does the Cane Corso Have a Reputation for Being Aggressive?

Sadly, the Cane Corso has something of a reputation, but this is often due to bad press and misunderstandings stemming from their history. 

According to the Clubs, their lineage dates back to ancient Greece, where they were called Molossus, or Molossers, named after the Molossi who inhabited the region. This working breed served various purposes during this time, including hunting, herding, and guarding property.

Eventually, the Romans adopted the Molossus and bred them with native Italian breeds. The resulting offspring were the ancestors of the Corso and Neopolitan Mastiffs we know today. 

These lumbering giants quickly became prized dogs of war, used to fight alongside the Roman legions on the frontlines. Indeed, the Cane Corso was a formidable battle opponent thanks to their size, strength, and courage, further solidifying their aggressive reputation.

While the Corso is no longer used as a war dog, its reputation as a dangerous breed has lingered. However, it’s important to understand that aggression is not inherent in the breed. In fact, their name roughly translates to “bodyguard dog” in Latin, which is indicative of their loyal, loving nature.

Cane Corso runs towards owner
Cane Corso looks aggressive and runs towards owner.

What Factors Affect a Cane Corso’s Aggression?

Multiple factors are in play that can influence a Cane Corso’s aggression level. First, studies have shown that aggressive behaviors are more likely to occur in dogs bred from other aggressive dogs

In other words, aggression is often passed down from generation to generation. Because of this, owners should be prepared to firmly and gently train their Corso pups from an early age.

Cane Corso and owner
Cane Corso and owner walks together.


As mentioned, the Cane Corso comes from a long line of working dogs, and their genetics plays a part in determining their temperament. However, aggression is not a universal trait among the Corso. With the right environment and training, any dog can be a loyal and loving companion regardless of its genes.


Socialization is critical for all dogs but particularly important for breeds like the Corso. Early socialization exposes your puppy to different types of people, animals, and situations in a positive way. This helps them become used to new experiences and learn how to interact with other people and animals.

Obedience Training

Like all dogs, a Corso needs to undergo training. Consistent obedience training will help your Corso understand what is expected of them and teach them how to behave around. Without obedience training, they’re much more likely to display unwanted dominant behavior that could lead to aggression.


Every dog has its own unique personality. One Corso may be more laid-back and easygoing, while others may be more high-strung and excitable. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to predict precisely how your Corso will turn out. Still, early socialization and obedience training can go a long way in shaping their personality.


Last but not least, how you raise a Corso will have a significant impact on their temperament. If you show them the love and respect they deserve, they’re more likely to be loving and gentle in return. However, if you mistreat them or neglect their needs, they may become aggressive as a way to protect themselves.

How To Curb Aggression in Your Cane Corso?

Luckily, the Cane Corso is one of the easiest Mastiff breeds to train. They’re quick learners and respond well to obedience training. However, they can also be stubborn, so stay calm and be patient and consistent with your training.

Early socialization as a puppy is one of the best ways to prevent a Cane Corso from becoming dangerous. This means taking them on walks, to the dog park, on playdates with other dogs, etc. The goal is to introduce them to as many experiences as possible so that they learn how to handle the stimuli without fear or anxiety. 

The more comfortable you can help them feel around people and other animals, the less likely they’ll react aggressively.

In addition to socialization, positive reinforcement training is vital. This type of training relies on rewards and praise to reinforce desired behaviors. So, whenever your dog exhibits good behavior, give them lots of verbal praise and treats.

The Corso is highly-intelligent and eager to please, and rewarding the correct behavior goes a long way toward curbing aggression.

If you ever feel like the training isn’t working, seek professional help from a certified dog trainer or animal behaviorist. They can assess the situation and create a customized training plan to help your dog overcome their aggression. Please don’t wait until things go too far; confront the problem as soon as you notice your dog exhibiting aggressive behaviors.

two Cane Corso puppies
Cane Corso should be expose to other people or dogs at earliest to avoid future aggression.

How Does a Cane Corso React to Strangers?

Because they’ve been bred as guard dogs for so long, a Cane Corso is naturally suspicious of people they don’t know. Although they can be trained to be more accepting of strangers, it’s important to remember that they will always have a strong protective instinct

They may never be warm and welcoming to everyone they meet, but with proper socialization and training, they can learn to tolerate strangers and not react aggressively as long as they don’t sense a treat.

If you prefer a dog who’s more outgoing and friendly towards people they don’t know, the Cane Corso probably isn’t the right breed for you. They take time to warm up to people; even then, they may never be the “love at first sight” type of dog. 

It’s tough to change a Corso’s protective nature; better to accept them for who they are and not try to force them into being something they’re not.

Cane Corso and humans
Cane Corso can be welcoming to strangers if properly trained.

Is a Cane Corso a Good Family Dog?

The Cane Corso is a loyal, loving, and protective breed that makes a great family dog. However, they’re not the right fit for every family. Because of their size and strength, they thrive under an owner who is confident and capable of handling them.

They also require early socialization and obedience training to prevent aggression from developing – it’s a long-term commitment.

In addition to needing a firm hand, the Corso can also be high-energy dogs that require a lot of exercise and stimulation. They’re not a good breed for families who live a sedentary lifestyle as they enjoy having a job to do. If you’re considering getting a Corso, be prepared to provide them with the necessary exercise and training.

While a Corso would do anything to protect their loved ones, keep their size and energy level in mind if you have small kids. They may not mean to, but they could easily knock over a child while playing. Also, if there will be infants or toddlers around your Corso, never leave them alone unsupervised.

Cane Corso plays with owner
A young Cane Corso plays with owner.

The Bottom Line

So, are Cane Corsos dangerous dogs? The Cane Corso is a dedicated and affectionate dog that can make a great addition to the family. While they were initially bred as war dogs, they’ve now taken on a new role as loyal protectors of their families – and they sure are good at it.

But like other working breeds, they can be prone to aggression if not properly trained and socialized.

The best thing for a Cane Corso is a firm hand, early socialization, and positive reinforcement training to prevent potentially dangerous behavior. As a result, a Corso can be a gentle giant that’s an absolute joy to be around with the right owner.