Can Cane Corsos Swim

Can Cane Corsos Swim? Willing and Capable Water Dog

Have you often wondered if your Cane Corso can swim? Maybe you do not question it because you already had your dog in the pond and saw her happily paddling. But are there risks to permitting your Cane Corso to swim?

You feel confident that most dogs can naturally swim. However, are Cane Corsos like Labrador Retrievers or closer to English Bulldogs?

Cane Corsos can swim, and they even like water as long as they do not have a bad experience with it. Although the Cane Corso is not as proficient a swimmer as those bred for the water, it can hold its own. The Corso breed has a large body mass compounded by a dense coat.

Its athleticism makes it a powerful swimmer with sufficient exposure. You must take several precautions to ensure that your dog is safe when she enjoys the swimming pool or a lake.

Cane Corso Qualities and Background

The Cane Corso is a large breed of dog. It stands 23 to 28 inches tall and weighs about 75 to 120 pounds.

Cane Corsos are smaller than many of the other Mastiffs, allowing them to be more active and quicker on their feet. Nevertheless, they still exhibit strength through their muscled shoulders and neck.

They have a deep and broad chest, sturdy limbs, and powerful hindquarters. Their silhouette is rectangular, being 10% longer than their height. Their gait is ground-covering and springy.

Cane Corsos descended from a Roman molosser type used in ancient wars over 2,000 years ago. A light (Cane Corso) and heavy (Neopolitan Mastiff) war dog emerged from this giant ancestor.

The Cane Corso carried out tasks as a versatile and indispensable farmhand once the Roman Empire collapsed. They guarded families, their homes, and livestock. They also hunted wild boars.

How Cane Corsos Compare to Bred Swimmers

The best canine swimmers are those that people bred to work in water. The overwhelming majority are medium-sized sporting dogs. Several examples follow:

  • Retrievers – Labrador, Curly-Coated, Nova Scotia Tolling, Chesapeake Bay
  • Spaniels – Boykin, Cocker, American Water
  • Water dogs – Portuguese, Irish, Spanish
  • Poodle
  • Otterhound
  • Newfoundland

Most of the dogs range from 18 to 25 inches tall at the shoulders and weigh between 50 and 80 pounds.

Their size and frame ensure they do not expend too much energy staying afloat and yet also help them not to lose excessive body heat.

Small dogs can easily become cold because of their lower muscle mass and larger surface area to body volume ratio.

Great swimming breeds have paws with more extensive webbing than other breeds. Webbing makes a dog’s paddling in the water more effective.

Many fantastic swimmers have dense dual coats or curls to help insulate and waterproof them.

When they leave the water, a couple of shakes are all it takes for them shed the droplets. Some breeds, like the Labrador Retriever, have oily fur that makes their coats even more waterproof.

Newfoundlands are a notable exception to the size parameters as they can be 28 inches tall and weigh close to 200 pounds. They are also heavily boned with the build of a Mastiff.

Therefore, the idea that a Cane Corso cannot swim because of its bulk is based on a fallacy.

However, a Cane Corso’s background means it will have more challenges taking to the water than a Lab or a Newfie.

There are a few physical traits that do make it more difficult for Cane Corsos to swim than retrievers.

  • Their tails are usually docked short – the tail can be used as a rudder, especially in larger dogs
  • Muscular frame – although not as bulky as some other dogs, the heavy musculature provides more stamina on land than on the water
  • Webbing – normal minimal webbing of the Cane Corso compared to the more extensive webbing of the sporting dogs
  • The lack of innate swimming abilities – comes from genetics
  • Coat – a Cane Corso’s coat is short but it is dense and comprised of two layers; it can become waterlogged and heavy
  • Low fat to muscle ratio – Cane Corsos are vulnerable to tiring because of their bulky muscles and the effort to stay afloat

Features that Make Cane Corsos Powerful Swimmers

Cane Corsos often may surprise you with how well they can swim. Several features make them potentially proficient in the water with a little encouragement and training.

Many of the traits that keep a Cane Corso from being as wonderful a swimmer as a retriever also make it more skilled in the water than most nonsporting dogs.

  • Size – the same dimensions that make it difficult for a cane Corso to stay afloat also help her stay warm in the water
  • Muscles – Cane Corsos have the strength to surge through the water
  • Coat-insulating dual coat
  • Love of water – despite their lack of generations of breeding for swimming, Cane Corsos often show a natural joy for lakes, rivers, and pools
  • Athleticism – Cane Corsos are among the most athletic of dogs, strong, agile, and extremely agile for their size

Introduce Your Cane Corso to Swimming

If you want your Cane Corso to swim, expose him to water early. Start small with a wading pool and then work your way up to the shallow end of a swimming pool.

Puppies benefit from playing in the water, but keep in mind that your Cane Corso will not be strong enough to swim until she is ten to fifteen weeks old.

It is helpful to have a seasoned dog that can lead the way, but there is a good chance your Cane Corso will have an affinity for water. If your dog is initially wary, do not force the issue.

Make frequent introductions to water, even if it is a hose one day and puddles on another occasion. By no means should you ever throw your dog into the deep end of your pool because such an experience may traumatize him for life?

Even seemingly trivial frights can set your dog’s relationship with the water and trust in you back by several weeks.

One of the most effective ways to introduce your puppy or dog to water is to play games like chase or fetch. Such activities provide a fun and nonthreatening means to interact with the water.

If you cultivate your dog’s willingness to be in the water, he will enjoy several benefits.

  • Exercise – swimming is a great aerobic exercise for your dog and spares the muscles, joints, and tendons
  • Cooling – an excellent way for your large dog to cool down in hot weather
  • Play – pools and other bodies of water create a natural distraction for your Cane Corso to play with children and other dogs
  • Good for older dogs with arthritis or other mobility challenges
  • Great non concussive exercise for puppies to preserve their growing joints – they still will not have the stamina to swim for long periods until eight months of age or older

Precautions for a Swimming Cane Corso

While you and your Cane Corso can enjoy the water together, it is important that you know your dog’s limitations and that you take appropriate precautions.

  • Dogs, not just puppies, should have supervision around deep bodies of water.
  • Consider a life jacket for your Cane Corso around deep water; always use a life jacket on boats
  • Avoid waters with deep currents – they are notoriously unpredictable and dangerous
  • Do not allow your dog to swim too long – if your Cane Corso becomes fatigued, it is difficult for her to get out of the water; her weight will make it hard for you to help her
  • Approach unfamiliar waters with extreme caution and proceed slowly with the introduction – get information from experts or locals

Making Your Cane Corso a Proficient Swimmer

Not everyone needs to swim with their dog. Many people do not care if their dogs go in the water. Perhaps they do not live near any bodies of water or do not have a swimming pool.

However, if you want your Cane Corso to experience playing in the water, be assured that she can swim.

While many dogs are content to venture along the outskirts of lakes without attempting so much as a toe-in, Cane Corsos seem to approach the water with the boldness and enthusiasm they do most anything else. However, your dog will likely require training to learn how to swim well.

Cane Corso Activities that Require Swimming

If you own a Cane Corso, you know she is a courageous and athletic dog that requires a lot of exercises.

Some activities foster a bond between you and your dog and are fun and satisfying. A few activities may require your dog to swim.

  • Hunting
  • Dock diving
  • Hiking
  • Camping


This video illustrates the amount of encouragement some Cane Corsos need to immerse themselves in water. However, it also shows how well a Cane Corso can swim.

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