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Cane Corso vs Neapolitan Mastiff: A Complete Guide

Have you been trying to decide whether to get a Cane Corso or a Neapolitan Mastiff? Although these dogs share many similarities, there are also some noteworthy differences between the breeds.

As such, it is smart to do research on both dogs before adopting either. Not to worry, in this guide, we will comprehensively compare the Neapolitan Mastiff to the Cane Corso!

Both the Neapolitan Mastiff and the Cane Corso are large dogs with protective personalities. Neapolitan Mastiffs are extra-large (giant) dogs known for being obedient, bold, fearless, and fairly independent.

Cane Corsos are generally more social with intelligent dispositions and easy-going personalities.

In appearance, the Cane Corso is more muscular than the Neapolitan Mastiff with what some would call a daunting look. However, the Neapolitan Mastiff may be up to twice as large as the Cane Corso.

Understanding Dog Breed Group Differences

When welcoming a new dog into your home, breeding is important to consider. A dog’s breed can determine its personality, temperament, intelligence level, size, and appearance.

With this in mind, each dog must be treated as a unique individual. Although breeding can help you predict what a dog will be like in many ways, not all dogs will be identical.

People have been tweaking and refining an array of dog breeds for hundreds if not thousands of years.

Throughout each canine bloodline, certain breed-specific traits are emphasized to achieve specific desired outcomes.

Not so long ago, dogs were bred for specific purposes to help people complete various tasks and jobs. From lap dogs to herding dogs, many breed categories were created.

The seven major dog breed group categories are Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting, and Herding.

The Neapolitan Mastiff falls into the working group, while the Cane Corso falls into the non-sporting group.

The Non-Sporting Group is made up of various miscellaneous dog breeds that have been bred to do specific jobs or tasks.

However, dogs in this group may also be used for other purposes. Since the Cane Corso can do a range of versatile jobs, it falls into this category.

Alternatively, the Working Group is a subcategory of the Non-Sporting group of dog breeds. These dogs have been bred to perform jobs like protecting their owners, guarding property, pulling sleds, or assisting with rescue tasks.

Many service animals and draft animals come from this group. The Neapolitan Mastiff is a Working Group dog that was originally bred for guarding and catching.

All About the Neapolitan Mastiff

The Neapolitan Mastiff, sometimes known as the Mastino Napoletano, is an Italian breed of large or extra-large dog.

This dog descends from the traditional guard dogs of the Naples area in Italy. Closely related to the Cane Corso, this dog was originally bred for guarding and hunting purposes.

In 1949, the Neapolitan Mastiff was first recognized as a separate breed by the Ente Nazionale Della Cinofilia Italiana.

Although this dog is known as a gentle giant, it can become fierce and protective if provoked. As such, this is a breed for experienced owners with plenty of knowledge about Mastiffs.


110–150 lb


24–30 in





Neapolitan Mastiff Appearance and Physical Traits

Large and powerful, the Neapolitan Mastiff can weigh anywhere from 110 to 160 pounds. It may stand up to 30 inches tall and has a body length that is about 15% greater than its overall height. This dog has an abundant amount of loose skin and a large head with a squared-off muzzle.

This dog is characterized by its imposing size and can also have cropped ears. When left uncropped, these ears are long and Floppy. On the face and head, the skin is particularly loose.

The coat colors of the Neapolitan Mastiff include gray, black, mahogany, van, hazelnut, Isabella Lane, and Duff Gray. This dog’s coat is short and smooth and can be brindle or have white markings on the toes and chest.

Neapolitan Mastiff Grooming

The Neapolitan Mastiff will require regular grooming and bathing. Although grooming this gentle breed should not be a strenuous task, its large size makes grooming feel like more of a chore.

With loose skin around its eyes, nose, and ears, pay close attention to these areas and clean them regularly to prevent bacterial growth.

This is a quiet dog that can be bathed weekly or up to every eight weeks. How much you will need to groom this dog will depend on its unique activity levels.

This dog has a short, dense coat. With regular grooming, it will shed minimally. Regular nail trimming, teeth cleaning, and ear cleaning will also help your dog stay healthy and happy.

Neapolitan Mastiff Health

Like any large or giant dog breed, the Neapolitan Mastiff may struggle with a range of health issues and orthopedic problems like hip or elbow dysplasia.

This breed may also suffer from eye problems and ectropion issues. A heart condition called cardiomyopathy is also possible with this dog.

Neapolitan Mastiff Personality, Training, and Temperament

The “Neo” is quiet, protective, watchful, and known for its gentle nature. However, this is not always a mellow and easy-going dog.

Neapolitan Mastiffs may be suspicious of strangers and aggressive toward people or other dogs that they are unfamiliar with.

This Neapolitan Mastiff bonds closely with its owners and will not appreciate intrusions from strangers.

The possessive nature of this dog makes it a breed best suited for individuals experienced with large protective guard dogs.

It is best to begin training any Neapolitan Mastiff puppy from an early age. Frequent socialization usually leads to a balanced and manageable Neapolitan Mastiff.

If socialized early and often, this dog can do well with other pets and children. Without socialization, this dog may be aggressive toward other animals.

It is recommended that this large dog is supervised when around children due to its potential to accidentally knock kids over.

It is also recommended that Neapolitan Mastiff owners take this dog through obedience training classes at an appropriate age.

A Look at the Cane Corso

Similar to the Neapolitan Mastiff, the Cane Corso is also an Italian Mastiff breed. This dog is usually kept as a companion animal or guard dog.

However, this dog may also be used to protect livestock animals, hunt game, or herd cattle. Cane Corsos are smaller than Neapolitan Mastiffs.

According to experts, the Cane Corso descends from the Molossoid Dogs of Ancient Rome. Though once very popular in Europe, this dog became rare in the 1960s.

The modern Cane Corso has been selectively bred since the 1980s using surviving Cane Corsos from Italy. The breed was recognized in 1994 by the Ente Nazionale della Cinofilia Italiana.


90-110 lbs


26-28 in


Ancient Rome / Italy



Traits and Appearance of the Cane Corso

Well-muscled and stout, the Cane Corso is imposing in appearance and bulkier than most other Mastiffs.

Cane Corsos can stand anywhere from 26 to 28 in tall and weigh from 90 to 115 pounds. Cropped ears are a distinguishing characteristic of the Cane Corso.

The Cane Corso has a large square head and defined jowls. The top of this dog’s head is flat with a slightly convergent slope to the stopped muzzle. This dog has oval-shaped eyes that are set far apart.

The coat of the Cane Corso is short and sleek. It should also be lustrous and shiny. Cane Corso coat colors include black, grey, silver, blue, dark grey, tan, fawn, stag red, and more. This coat may also be brindle with white markings on the feet, chest, or nose.

Cane Corso Grooming

The Cane Corso has a short glossy coat that is fairly easy to groom. This dog should be brushed regularly to prevent shedding. Brushing also helps to distribute the natural oils of the coat evenly throughout the fur.

Most other grooming tasks for a Cane Corso Corso are fairly basic. The ears should be cleaned regularly.

Toenails will need to be trimmed as well. If you plan to take this dog to a professional groomer, it is smart to socialize them with the groomers at your preferred grooming parlor from an early age.

Cane Corso Health

Like any large breed, the Cane Corso has the potential to develop various genetic health problems. Cane Corsos are prone to hip dysplasia, eye problems, and skin-related ailments. However, when bred responsibly, this is a pretty healthy breed.

To help you avoid such issues, only purchase a Cane Corso puppy from a reputable breeder with years of experience.

Since these dogs were only just recently revived from near extinction, genetic health testing should be completed by all breeders.

Temperament, Training, and Personality of the Cane Corso

Cane Corsos are known for being fiercely devoted and unwaveringly loyal to their owners and families.

This is an extremely loving and protective dog that is likely to bond strongly with one or two people in the household.

Since this is a large and powerful dog breed, training should be consistent and begin early. This is a breed that should only be adopted or purchased by an experienced owner. Obedience training can be helpful and proper socialization from a young age is critical.

These dogs are known for having a vigorous temperament. This fearless dog is ready to tackle essentially any challenge with confidence and capability.

Although this is a protective dog with heightened guarding instincts, Cane Corsos are not known for being inappropriately aggressive.

Ideally, the Cane Corso will be gentle with children and affectionate toward its family. However, this dog may also be suspicious of strangers and aggressive towards other dogs if not properly socialized from a young age. Corsos are also highly intelligent and require firm leadership and well-defined boundaries.

Comparing Neapolitan Mastiffs and Cane Corsos Side-by-side

Now that you have a good understanding of both the Cane Corso and a Neapolitan Mastiff, we will compare these dogs side-by-side.

In a nutshell, both the Cane Corso and the Neapolitan Mastiff are protective Mastiff descendants from Italy with devoted dispositions and tenacious personalities.

Similarities Between The Neapolitan Mastiff and The Cane Corso

  • Italian Origins
  • Guarding instincts
  • Imposing appearance
  • Short coat
  • Require daily physical activity
  • Owners should be skilled and experienced
  • Both breeds require socialization from an early age

Neapolitan Mastiff and The Cane Corso Differences

  • The Neapolitan Mastiff is larger than the cane Corso
  • Cane Corsos have more energetic dispositions
  • Neapolitan Mastiffs are prone to more health issues
  • Cane Corsos are more aggressive toward other dogs
  • Neapolitan Mastiffs are more protective of property

The Neapolitan Mastiff is slightly quieter and more subdued than the Cane Corso. With that in mind, this is still a powerful dog that must be trained and socialized from a young age.

In comparison, the Cane Corso is slightly more energetic and athletic than the Neapolitan Mastiff. The Cane Corso is also vigorous and confident, with a tendency to become dominant if not well trained.

Exercise Requirements and Feeding Comparison

The Neapolitan Mastiff and a Cane Corso will require about the same amount of food. Although the Neapolitan Mastiff is much larger than the Cane Corso, it is far less active.

As such, it will not usually require as much food. Also, Neapolitan Mastiffs are prone to obesity. So, be sure to feed your dog a well-balanced diet.

Both of these dogs should be given a large-breed-friendly puppy food to help prevent the development of hip dysplasia as they grow.

In most cases, the Cane Corso will require more exercise than the Neapolitan Mastiff. Cane Corsos have similar energy levels to pit bulls.

Neapolitan Mastiffs are less energetic but require regular walks and daily physical activity to maintain their health and fitness.

What to Know Before Adopting a Cane Corso or Neapolitan Mastiff Puppy

If you are considering adopting a Cane Corso or Neapolitan Mastiff puppy, be sure to only purchase a dog from a reputable breeder.

Experienced breeders conduct genetic health testing to ensure that potential large breed health issues are minimized.

If you are thinking about rescuing an adult Cane Corso or Neapolitan Mastiff from a shelter, it may be wise to have an experienced trainer on speed dial.

This dog will need to be carefully cared for and handled by an owner with lots of Mastiff experience. Adult dogs may be significantly harder to train than young puppies.

Both dogs are best suited for experienced owners with lots of knowledge about large breeds, giant breeds, and Mastiffs in general.

With proper training and socialization from a young age, both can be fantastic dogs for various families.