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Are Cane Corsos Good Guard Dogs? What You Need To Know

Melissa Gunter

By Melissa Gunter

brindle cane corso

Companionship isn’t the only reason people go in search of the perfect dog to bring home. In some cases, having one that is willing to protect you and guard your home is what drives people to open their arms to a new canine family member. While protection and guardianship are important, choosing a dog that is also easily trainable and affectionate is also important.

One of the most common dog breeds people consider when looking for a guard dog is the Cane Corso, whose name means “guard of the estate”. Not only does this breed look intimidating, but they are also regal in appearance. The question is, are Cane Corsos good guard dogs? The answer is a resounding yes, they are, but they must be trained and socialized early to avoid any unwanted issues.

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The History of the Cane Corso

The Cane Corso has a history of protection. Experts believe this breed is a descendant of the extinct Greek Molossus dog. In ancient Rome, these dogs were used to fight by the side of Roman legion soldiers. They were even used to hunt boar and other large prey. When they weren’t hunting or fighting, they found themselves on farms protecting livestock and farmers. Later, they were bred with fighting dogs from England. This gave them the title of Roman pugnances, a term used for dogs used for attacking wild animals.

After World War II, the Cane Corso nearly went extinct. Luckily, there was a resurgence in Italy around the 1970s. After this rebirth of the breed, they were then brought to the United States in the 80s. These working mastiffs were recognized for their impressive size, stature, and intelligence by the American Kennel Club in 2010.

woman training a cane corso
Image Credit: Akram Huseyn, Unsplash

Cane Corsos as Guard Dogs

With their background, it’s understandable why people would want a Cane Corso as a guard dog. Cane Corsos can be highly territorial. This instantly puts them on alert when something is off around their home. The breed also shows caution when they are around unfamiliar people or situations. You’ll also find that this breed has a great temperament for guard dog duties. They can be assertive, resolute, and determined. Combine this with the breed’s self-assurance and they can easily be one of the best guard dogs around.

Unfortunately, due to their size and reputation, a bad name is often associated with the Cane Corso. Like with any dog breed, however, no two Corsos are the same. You may have a Cane Corso who is constantly on alert and barks at everything that moves. You may also have one who loves to play games and falls back on their guardian tendencies only when the situation calls for it. As with other large dog breeds with powerful bite force and drive like the Corso, it is mostly up to the owner as to the temperament of these dogs.

With proper training, care, and love, a Cane Corso can be a gentle giant that only protects their home and family when needed. However, due to the power they possess, these dogs can also be used in bad ways by negligent owners and trainers.

Training a Cane Corso

Of course, the best way to have a Cane Corso that is a great guard dog but gentle and part of the family is with proper training. Keep in mind, with this breed, training never stops. Corso must be given proper direction and shown their owner’s expectations early and consistently. If they aren’t, they will fall back on what is natural to them, and protect themselves, their family, and their home from anything and everything. This breed should be consistently introduced to new people and situations throughout their lives. This should start young and be continuous so they can be properly socialized to situations and their owner’s expectations.

Mental stimulation and exercise are crucial when it comes to properly training a Cane Corso. They are working dogs. If they aren’t given what they need, including a job now and then, they will get bored and potentially destructive. Corsos need up to an hour of exercise each day and potentially more according to the particular dog’s energy level. Long walks, outside play, and obstacle courses are great ways to keep your Corso constantly training and exercising at the same time.

dog cane Corso walking
Image Credit: GALINA TARASENKO, Shutterstock

The Softer Side of the Cane Corso

We’ve seen how fierce the Cane Corso can be when it comes to defending their home and family, but what about their affectionate side? Yes, these massive dogs tend to be cautious around people they don’t know but show their families tons of love and affection. Positive attention is a great thing when it comes to socializing a Cane Corso. They can even do great with children and form close bonds. The key is to remember just how big and powerful these dogs can be. Corsos may not be suitable in homes with small children due to falls and bumps, but older children who understand how to treat a dog properly often do well with them.

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Is the Cane Corso the Right Guard Dog for You?

If you’re in the market for a best friend that can keep you, your family, and your home protected, the Cane Corso is a great option. But is it the right dog for you? There are things you should keep in mind before bringing a Corso home. Let’s take a look at those below.

male cane corso standing
Image Credit: Sbolotova, Shutterstock


The Cane Corso is a large mastiff breed that can weigh over 100 pounds. Yes, they are regal-looking dogs but they also require a lot of space. Cane Corsos aren’t ideal for apartment life. They need to be in homes that can accommodate their size and areas where they can get proper exercise.


Again, due to the sheer size of the Cane Corso, they will cost a bit more than other breeds. Health care will be more strenuous as large breeds deal with more health issues. Corsos also need lots of food, toys, and stimulation. With a life expectancy of 9 to 11 years, you should be prepared to meet those needs if you bring one home.


Training is a must with a Cane Corso. While basic commands and training work, life with a Corso means constantly working with and keeping your dog socialized to situations. If this isn’t done properly, aggression and bad behavior can become an issue.

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Final Thoughts on Cane Corsos as Guard Dogs

If you want a canine best friend that is also a great guard dog, the Cane Corso is an amazing choice. Yes, these dogs are powerful and protective, but they are also loving and affectionate. If you are willing to properly train and socialize a Cane Corso, it will act as a great guard dog and family member. As with most powerful dog breeds, a Cane Corso’s actions and behaviors will depend on how you treat and raise them.

Featured Image Credit: Stivog, Shutterstock

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