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American Pit Corso (American Pitbull Terrier & Cane Corso Mix): Info, Pictures, Characteristics & Facts

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By Nicole Cosgrove

American Pit Corso (American Pitbull Terrier & Cane Corso Mix)

If you are looking for a big dog with an even bigger heart, the American Pit Corso hybrid should be at the top of your list. This loving watchdog is incredibly solid and can grow to well over 100 pounds, so you should only consider one if you are an experienced dog owner with plenty of space for them to grow.

To get a better idea of what to expect from this relatively new hybrid, we’ll need to look at each of the parent breeds: the American Pitbull Terrier and Italian Cane Corso.

The Italian Cane Corso is an ancient breed that is a descendant of Roman Mastiffs. They came close to disappearing after World War II but have since been revitalized by dedicated breeders. They were used primarily to drive cattle, guard homes and livestock, and hunt large predators. The Cane Corso is a very protective, and sometimes aloof dog. Today they are often trained as guard dogs and police dogs.

Breed Overview

Height: 22–28 inches tall
Weight: 65–110 pounds
Lifespan: 10–14 years
Colors: Black, fawn, brown, gray, brindle
Suitable for: Active families or individuals, experienced dog owners, people interested in a low-shedding dog, those looking for a guard dog
Temperament: Confident, stoic, fun-loving, even-tempered, quiet, loyal, intelligent

The beginnings of the American Pitbull Terrier were in the 1800s when the English started crossing bulldogs and terriers. Immigrants brought the resulting cross-breeds to the United States where they were developed as guard dogs, livestock drivers, cattle catchers, and companions.

Unfortunately, due to their notorious use as pit fighters, the American Pitbull Terrier is one of the most intimidating and legislated-against dogs in the world. Though especially friendly with people and children, they are often judged by their looks and their bad reputation.

American Pit Corso Characteristics


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American Pit Corso Puppies

Though they grow to be quite physically imposing dogs, American Pit Corso pups start out gangly and utterly charming. These affectionate, adventurous, and goofy puppies will steal your heart. Because of their semi-legendary reputation as protectors, many breeders cultivate these dogs specifically for guard work. If you plan on going to a breeder, get to know them and the way they raise the puppies.

Prepare some questions for the breeder ahead of time: how and when do they start socializing their puppies? Have the puppies received any training yet? Do they recommend any books or trainers for new owners? Find out if the breeder’s approach meshes with your own.

Parent Breeds of the American Pit Corso
Image Credit: Jumpstory

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Temperament & Intelligence of the American Pit Corso 🧠

Every dog is unique and has its own personality. But many character traits have been bred into the American Pit Corso and its parent breeds over hundreds of years. Here is a look at what kinds of traits you can expect from the parent breeds.

The American Pitbull Terrier is athletic, confident, sometimes stoic but usually fun-loving, and very friendly towards people—especially children. Owners and fans often describe them as having a “zest for life” and a certain goofball-ish charm. On the other hand, the Cane Corso is a bit more reserved. They are calm, trainable, and quiet dogs that are devoted and affectionate with their family, including kids. However, they are also extremely wary of strangers. A very protective dog, they are quite smart and aloof at times.

The steadfast American Pit Corso inherits many of these excellent qualities. They are watchful and attentive when outside the home and take their job as family guardians seriously. Inside, they are calm and sweet, though you should be careful not to let them throw their weight around—literally or metaphorically!

Also, their intelligence and protective instincts make them naturally good watchdogs. With appropriate training by an experienced owner, they are easily some of the best guard dogs in the world.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

Both the parent breeds are exceptionally well suited for families and children, and so is the American Pit Corso. In fact, they are so affectionate that we recommend them specifically as family dogs. They want a lot of attention and, mixed with their large size, that can be a bit overwhelming for just one person.

As a dog that can easily exceed 100 pounds, proper socialization with family members and children is incredibly important. Make sure you socialize your children with them too—big dogs can get bullied, just like little dogs—but when a big dog has finally had enough you are in a much more dangerous situation!

These large sweeties do best with a moderately active family in a rural or suburban setting with plenty of outdoor space. They will love spending time outside with you, playing and exercising, and, of course, keeping their ever-watchful eye on their loved ones.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽

The American Pit Corso is a generally mellow dog and is known to get along well with other animals. But with their massive size, it is especially important to socialize them with other pets as early as possible to promote harmony in the home.

A note on other dogs: due to their unfortunate history as dogfighters, the American Pitbull can have aggressive tendencies toward other dogs—especially those of the same sex. Early socialization of your American Pit Corso will go a long way toward avoiding these issues, but to be safe we recommend that any other dogs in the family be of the opposite sex.

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Things to Know When Owning an American Pit Corso

Getting a dog is a very serious life decision. To help you better understand if an American Pit Corso is the right choice for you, here are some further considerations to ponder.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Similar to humans, canines are omnivores that require a wide range of nutrients from animal and plant sources. The American Pit Corso does well on a diet rich in proteins and fatty acids like omega-3s, but you can also give them a variety of fruits and veggies approved by your vet too!

We recommend a high-quality kibble as the base of your American Pit Corso’s balanced diet. Avoid the brands with lots of byproduct ingredients and grain fillers — a quality kibble will have a variety of whole foods, as well as vitamins and minerals. Inquire with your vet for appropriate portion sizes.

The American Pit Corso is muscular and energetic enough that they do not tend toward being overweight. However, keep an eye on their weight especially as they age. Larger dogs are more prone to hip and joint conditions later in life and carrying any extra weight will exacerbate those issues.

Exercise 🐕

Though quite athletic, an American Pit Corso does not demand an extreme amount of exercise. But even though they are not the type to hound you with a tennis ball, don’t forget that a little pent-up energy in a big dog is a recipe for an in-home disaster! You’ll want to give them access to a large, fenced-in yard and at least one long walk a day.

Give this big and athletic dog plenty of opportunities to exercise and roam, and you are sure to have a relaxed and happy companion indoors.

Training 🦮

With a breed this large that is guard-work oriented, it is always essential that you, as the owner, remain in control.  If they are not taught their place in the family hierarchy, the American Pit Corso can go from “sweet and mellow” to “large and in charge” as they get bigger.

For this reason, we do not recommend the American Pit Corso to those new to dog ownership, or those inexperienced with large dogs. You will need to start training them at a young age and instill reliable obedience commands.

Consider contacting a professional dog trainer who can teach you how to better communicate with your pup. Training doesn’t have to be a chore—especially with hardworking dogs like the American Pit Corso, you will find that training can be a fun and enriching activity for both dog and human!

Grooming ✂️

The short, smooth hair of the American Pit Corso requires minimal grooming. A weekly brushing and the occasional bath should be the maximum coat maintenance you’ll need to worry about.

You should check their nails regularly, and trim as necessary—including the dewclaw that they may have inherited from their Cane Corso parent. Teeth should also be brushed from time to time to promote gum health. And to prevent ear infections, clean their ears periodically of dirt and wax buildup.

Health Conditions ❤️

Minor Conditions
  • Cherry eye
  • Cataracts
  • Ectropion and entropion
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Allergies
  • Demodectic mange
Serious Conditions
  • Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) or bloat

Male vs Female

Every dog has its own personality, so general differences based on sex are just that—generalities. Though it is not possible to totally predict your dog’s character traits, male American Pit Corsos are large dogs, and more likely to hump or display sexual aggression. Females tend to be smaller and more nurturing.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the American Pit Corso

1. The American Pitbull Terrier is not recognized by the American Kennel Club.

The American Pitbull Terrier is a recognized breed in multiple other kennel clubs, including the United Kennel Club. However, it is not recognized by the American Kennel Club. The AKC maintains that the name “Pitbull” does not correspond to a specific enough breed to merit distinction from other mixed breeds.

The AKC does, however, recognize the dogs that contributed to the American Pitbull Terrier breed, like the American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and various bulldogs.

2. The Cane Corso’s ancestors fought lions and wolves.

The breed is said to have originated over 1,000 years ago in Tibet, where they were used to guard monasteries. The Romans were so impressed by this dog that they brought some back and began their own breeding program to get the Roman Mastiff.

These ancestors of the Cane Corso were used to fight lions, protect their families and farms from wolves, and hunt the huge and ferocious wild boar. They are commonly thought to be some of the best guard dogs in the world.

3. The American Pit Corso is in the top 15 largest dogs in the world.

The American Pitbull Terrier is not often a massive dog. But mixed with the Italian Cane Corso, which is one of the largest dog breeds in the entire world, you get one big canine.

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Final Thoughts

So, is the American Pit Corso the right dog for you? If you do not have the experience or inclination to train an imposingly large dog and keep them properly exercised, consider a different breed. But if you are attracted by the idea of an athletic, highly protective family dog that needs special attention, then look no further!

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Left – American Pitbull (Ivanova N, Shutterstock); Right – Cane Corso (Sbolotova, Shutterstock)

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