Both the Cane Corso and the Pitbull can make formidable guarding and protection dogs. Both dogs can also make loving and loyal family pets.
But while the Cane Corso is a respected and recognized purebred dog breed under the auspices of the American Kennel Club (AKC), the pitbull is actually not a true dog breed at all.
Rather, the term pitbull is used to describe a dog’s appearance more than the specific breed. There is widespread misuse of this term and consequently widespread misunderstanding about these dogs, their temperament, and their needs.
In this article, we will compare the Cane Corso against the American Pit BullTerrier, which is currently not recognized by the AKC but comes closest to the true nature of the term pitbull.
Cane Corso vs Pitbull
The Cane Corso is a truly massive dog breed, while the Pitbull is considered a medium to large dog breed. But both dogs are prized for their watchdog and protection dog instincts and capabilities.
This proves you don’t need huge size to be hugely effective! These dogs also score very similarly on a number of other important traits which we will review in the remainder of this article.
Compare a Cane Corso vs Pitbull Side by Side
In this short YouTube video, you can follow along with point by point to compare the Pitbull vs Cane Corso dog breeds.
Learn about similarities and differences in size, height, weight, coat type, temperament, personality, exercise and training needs, and much more. If time is of the essence, you can learn a ton about each breed just from watching this video.
Cane Corso vs Pitbull History
To start off our comparison, let’s take a look at the history of the Cane Corso and the Pitbull side by side.
Cane Corso history
According to Vetstreet, the Cane Corso comes from Italy and hails from the lineage of mastiffs. Mastiffs are truly ancient dog breeds and are also truly massive dogs.
Mastiffs, in general, have been used for the toughest jobs, including drover (hauling), fending off fearsome wild predators (boars, bears, big cats), and, of course, protection and security.
The Cane Corso was bred to help humans hunt wild boar and this breed dates all the way back to the time of the ancient Roman empire.
These dogs did everything – herding livestock, hauling heavy loads of supplies, guarding the camps at night, fighting alongside Roman soldiers and so much more.
While the World Wars nearly wiped out the breed, a timely magazine article gave the Cane Corso a much-needed boost in the public eye. Today Cane Corsos can be found around the world and are beloved for their unique gifts and loving temperaments.
Pit Bull history
The American Pit Bull Terrier, the closest approximation to a true pitbull for American standards, is sometimes also called the Pit Bull (not to be confused with “pitbull”) and the American Bull Terrier.
While the American Pit Bull Terrier is recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) and the American Dog Breeders Association (ADBA), the American Kennel Club (AKC) has elected not to recognize this dog breed.
As PetMD points out, from the earliest days of the American Pit Bull Terrier breed development, these dogs were bred for dogfighting sports, specifically bear-baiting and bull-baiting.
Thankfully, these sports have now been outlawed, but the reputation of the “pitbull” as a relentless killing machine has not abated, which is why the AKC currently refuses to recognize the breed.
In many circles outside the AKC, the American Pit Bull Terrier is beloved and embraced for their many other important qualities, including loyalty and loving nature towards their family and their protectiveness.
Cane Corso vs Pitbull Size
As we mentioned in an earlier section here, the Cane Corso is a mastiff-type dog breed. The Cane Corso has inherited the huge size of their mastiff ancestors, typically weighing anywhere from 88 to 120 pounds or more and standing 23.5 to 27.5 inches tall.
These dogs are heavyset and muscular with a large frame and deep chest with thick necks and jowly faces. They are imposing to look at and even more imposing when in full-on “protection mode.”
The United American Pit Bull Terrier Association (UAPBTA) states that the American Pit Bull Terrier is a medium-sized working dog breed.
However, they can weigh anywhere from 30 pounds to 90 pounds, which means they can be small, medium, or large size dogs in adulthood. They are stocky in build with solid bodies that are all muscle and generally stand 17 to 19 inches tall.
Cane Corso vs Pitbull Coat and Shedding
One of the biggest questions new aspiring dog owners have revolved around coat type, coat care, and the amount of shedding a dog breed will do.
One thing to know about working dog breeds like the Cane Corso and Pitbull is that both dogs have a double layer coat. Double layer coats are typically only found on working dog breeds that need the extra seasonal protection these coats provide.
The under a layer of the coat that is closest to the skin is soft and thick. This layer is like a winter coat and functions very similarly for working dogs. It sheds out seasonally as temperatures warm up to keep the dog from overheating.
A working dog’s outer coat layer typically has moisture-resistant properties and functions as a windbreaker and protection from pests, abrasion, injury, and dampness.
This coat layer has to be shed out all year long to make sure the hairs are doing their jobs well.
What this means is that whether you choose a Cane Corso or a Pitbull, you are going to be choosing a shedding dog breed that sheds seasonally and lightly all year long.
Cane Corso vs Pitbull Exercise Needs
As the American Kennel Club points out, the Cane Corso breed name in the original Latin basically means “bodyguard-dog.”
These dogs are energetic and active. However, you must be careful not to let your Cane Corso puppy or young adult run or exercise too vigorously until the long leg bones have finished growing. Your veterinarian can use X-rays to confirm this.
The American Pit Bull Terrier is also bred to stay active at a job and can be a very energetic canine companion. These dogs excel at canine athletics and obedience and love to stay busy.
So here, these two dog breeds are very much the same.
Cane Corso vs Pitbull Trainability
According to the Cane Corso Association of America (CCAA), the Cane Corso needs early and ongoing socialization and training before their large size make them hard to control and handle.
Cane Corso dogs may test the boundaries of their human family’s tolerance in many areas, so these dogs are generally not recommended for first-time or inexperienced dog handlers.
According to the Villalobos Rescue Center, the well-bred, healthy Pit Bull is an eager and willing student in canine training classes.
However, Pitbulls can also be large, strong dogs and need firm, positive direction, training, and reinforcement from puppyhood to fit in well in a home and community environment.
Cane Corso vs Pitbull Good with Kids and Other Pets
Another key question to ask before choosing between the Cane Corso and Pitbull is whether these breeds are good with other family pets or with children.
The Cane Corso is not known to tolerate other dogs, other family pets, or small children especially well. However, there are exceptions.
As San Rocco Cane Corso breeder explains, a young Cane Corso puppy that is socialized and trained around young children from puppyhood can grow up to be an excellent family companion and a reliable babysitter and family guard dog.
The Pitbull can also be a devoted and loving companion to kids with the right type of early and ongoing training and socialization. Pitbulls also tend to tolerate other family dogs better than some breeds.
Cane Corso vs Pitbull Health and Life Expectancy
One area where the Cane Corso and Pitbull differ is in health and life expectancy.
The Cane Corso has a life expectancy of nine to 12 years. The Pitbull has a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years.
The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals states that Cane Corso dogs can suffer from genetic health issues such as these:
- Hip and elbow dysplasia.
- Eye and cardiac issues.
- Patellar luxation.
- Autoimmune thyroiditis.
PetMD states that the Pitbull can suffer from these genetic health issues:
- Degenerative myelopathy.
- Hip dysplasia.
- Patellar luxation.
- Thyroid and cardiac issues.
- Skin allergies.
Cane Corso vs Pitbull: Which Breed Is for You
Now you know the important areas where the Cane Corso and Pitbull breeds are similar and different.
So you can decide which breed is the best fit for your family, lifestyle, activity level, and experience with dog training.