Our obsession with extremes is evident in our focus on our dogs’ sizes. If you have a small breed like a Chihuahua, you want to know how small she can get.
All kinds of pet names suddenly apply to the entire class such as toy, pocket, mini, and teacup. Curiosity about large dogs runs in the opposite direction with assertive nomenclatures like a giant, king, and oversized.
On the one hand, smaller is cuter, and on the other, larger is better. As a badass large-breed protection dog, the Cane Corso also attracts attention to its size.
How big do Cane Corsos get?
Genes play a major role in size determination because generations went into the creation of the breed.
Selected from the get-go to be lighter and fleeter than the other Italian Mastiff, the Neapolitan, the average and optimal Cane Corso should be 25 to 27.9 inches tall. Many sources assign a weight standard of 90 to 110 pounds.
According to the AKC, however, the breed’s weight should only be proportionate to its height.
You will notice our focus in this article on males. That is only the case because, in a discussion about how big Cane Corsos can get, the male is larger than the female.
A Comparison of the Cane Corso with the Tallest Dog
The tallest dog ever as of 2021 was a Great Dane named Zeus. He entered the Guinness Book of World Records in 2012 and died in 2014. He measured 44 inches or 111.8 centimeters tall at the top of the shoulders.
The average Great Dane is 28 to 32 inches or 71 to 81 centimeters tall. The AKC favors dogs that are over 32 inches tall and bitches taller than 28 inches.
Although Great Danes hold the height records with a couple of individuals, the Irish Wolfhound is the tallest of dog breeds.
Males are a minimum of 32 inches and females 30 inches tall. Many dogs routinely reach 34 or 36 inches tall from the ground to the shoulders.
A Great Danes strikes you with a sense of its height more than other breeds because of its long, graceful neck.
While the Cane Corso is a far cry from the tallest dogs, the males approach the female Great Dane standard at 25 to 27.5 inches tall.
Female Corsos are 23.5 to 26 inches tall at the withers. You will be hard-pressed to find a purebred Corso over 28 or 29 inches tall at the shoulders.
This video illustrates how a Great Dane towers over a Cane Corso. Granted, the Cane Corso is a mix and is probably on the short side but still is near 25 to 26 inches tall.
He is taller than everyone else but looks very short any time the Great Dane approaches. Even the Great Dane puppy shows evidence he will be much taller than the Cane Corso.
Comparing Cane Corsos with the Largest Dogs
Experts, registries, and fanciers classify a dog as large or small based on its weight.
Cane Corsos are medium-large to large dogs but only medium-sized mastiffs. A purebred Cane Corso that is not overweight will weigh 99 to 110 pounds or 40 to 45 kilograms.
Even if you allow for a 25% increase at the upper range for an exceptionally large male, the largest Cane Corso is still under 140 pounds, much smaller than other mastiffs.
However, uncommonly, you will find dogs that might top out at 30 inches tall but weigh 150 to 160 pounds.
This is occurring more often as some lines promote larger dogs. Oversized dogs are likely to sacrifice much in the way of mobility and may suffer more health problems such as joint and heart disease from excess weight and strain.
You may ask why Cane Corsos are so limited in size. From ancient times, Cane Corso breeders have selected dogs to be lighter than their counterparts to improve speed, endurance, and agility.
Their use as herding, hunting, and guard dogs precluded any extremes in weight or height.
The AKC and other registries have supported size stability in the Cane Corso breed because each specimen’s weight must correlate harmoniously with its height, creating a balanced and dog.
In fact, the American Kennel Club does not specify a weight standard for the cane Corso, only saying it must contribute favorably to your impression of the dog’s proportions.
This video shows how the Cane Corso compares to other dogs. The Cane Corso is similar in height to the German Shepherd and Akita. The Corso is possibly even a little shorter than the Akita at the shoulder.
This Corso shows considerably more girth than all the dogs present except the Akita. The Akita has thick fur, so it is difficult to tell, but the two breeds are usually very similar in size. The Akita is another speedy and agile versatile working dog.
This is an example of a dog that is at the upper range of the Cane Corso breed standard. You can see that at 152 pounds and 28 inches tall, this dog looks neither obese nor out of balance.
It gives you an idea of how a 29- or 30-inch dog can easily reach 150 to 175 pounds without losing proportional balance.
However, a dog’s more massive size will affect how nimble she is, transforming the original purpose of the breed. Beware that some breeders will cross Neapolitan Mastiffs and Cane Corsos.
They then register the puppies as Cane Corsos, and these dogs may reach 200 to 250 plus pounds.
The Neapolitan Mastiff, the closest relative to the Cane Corso, has played an integral role in recreating the Molossus dogs from early Greek and Roman war times. Unlike Corsos, these dogs were for heavy combat and were colossal.
The American Molossus, likewise, is massive at 27 to 35 inches tall and weighing 150 to 200 plus pounds. Some breeders classify them as the largest of Corsos.
However, a more accurate description is that the American Molossus is closely related to the Italian Mastiffs but still a hybrid, a designer dog, or the start of a new and separate breed. Moreover, if anything, they are oversized Neapolitans, not Corsos.
Believe it or not, the Cane Corso is small for a mastiff. Females can be a mere 88 pounds. The English Mastiff is the largest dog on record, but there are plenty of massive breeds in the group.
The largest dog on record was a Mastiff named Zorba who weighed 345 pounds or 156.5 kilograms. He was 37 inches or 94 centimeters tall at the shoulders and almost 100 inches or 251 centimeters long.
- English Mastiff or Mastiff – 120 to 230 plus pounds
- Tibetan Mastiff – males 90 to 150 pounds
- Neapolitan Mastiff – 120 to 200 plus pounds
- Bullmastiff – 100 to 150 pounds
- Great Dane – 120 to 200 plus pounds
- Rottweiler – 95 to 150 pounds
This list is not close to exhaustive. Many countries such as Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Korea have their own mastiffs that are most commonly between 120 and 220 pounds.
The Dogo Argentino (Argentinian Mastiff) and Preso Canario (Canary Islands Mastiff) are slightly smaller than the Italian Mastiff at 85 to 100 pounds.
Massive Breeds Larger than Cane Corso
There are several breeds not in the Mastiff family that are among the largest dogs. Comparisons with Cane Corsos are frequent to provide points of reference.
- St Bernard – 28 to 30 inches tall, 140 to 225 pounds
- Caucasian Shepherd – 27 to 30 inches tall, 125 to 220 pounds
- Leonberger – 29 to 31 inches tall, 90 to 180 pounds
- Russian Terrier – 27 to 30 inches tall, 80 to 130 pounds
- Irish Wolfhound – 36 plus inches tall, 180 to 225 pounds
- Anatolian Shepherd – Classified as mastiff by some; 90 to 150 pounds
What Are the Dimensions of a Male Cane Corso?
A Cane Corso’s proportions illustrate balance. The optimal height is 26 to 28 inches tall at the shoulders with a head length that is a third that.
If you measure the total height of a Cane Corso from the ground to the top of his head, he will be 32.5 to 43 inches or 83 to 109 centimeters tall.
From this standpoint, you can see a Cane Corso’s head barely comes to a Great Dane’s shoulders. Cane Corsos should be about 28.6 to 30.8 inches long from the shoulders to the base of the tail.
Finally, the circumference of the chest should be 27 to 30 inches.