The Cane Corso is a powerful guardian with a gentle soul. They have a long history as war dogs, farm protectors, and loyal family companions. This is a beautiful, majestic breed that continues to rise in popularity all over the world.
One reason for this is the sheer variety of coat colors that Cane Corso can come in. They can be black, white, gray, blue, brindle, and many combinations in between.
Of these, only a handful are recognized by organizations like the AKC. We’ll talk about those in this article, along with the reason why not all coat colors are included in the official Cane Corso breed standard.
The 5 AKC Standard Colors for the Cane Corso
Black Cane Corsos display a deep, solid black coat that can occasionally feature small white markings on the chest or toes. The black coat color can vary in shade, with some appearing jet black while others exhibit a more charcoal tone. A pure black Cane Corso looks intimidating, but don’t be fooled: they’re softies at heart!
The gray coat on a Cane Corso is a result of getting two recessive back genes from each parent. The result is a gorgeous, sleek coat pattern that can range from a light, silvery gray to a darker, slate gray. Like their black counterparts, Gray Cane Corsos are allowed to sport small white markings.
A Cane Corso with a fawn coloration has a warm, tan-colored coat ranging from light cream to a rich, golden shade. This coloration is a result of the diluted red pigment gene. Some Fawn Cane Corsos may have a black or gray mask on their face, giving them a more imposing look.
Brindle Cane Corsos feature a beautiful, tiger-like striped pattern that can vary greatly in color and intensity. The base coat color is usually fawn, with darker stripes in shades of black, gray, or brown. Due to the camouflage nature of their brindle coats, these Cane Corsos are incredibly popular among hunters.
Finally, these dogs have deep, rich red coats that can be a dark chestnut shade to all the way to light copper. As with other colors, Red Cane Corsos may have small white markings on their chest or toes.
Rare Cane Corso Colors
Aside from the official colors above, Cane Corso dogs can also be born with rare colors like straw or all-white, liver/chocolate coloration, blue, or formentino (similar to fawn but much lighter). Some Cane Corsos are also born with black-and-tan patterns, like those on Rottweilers.
The Problem With Diluted Cane Corso Coat Colors
Diluted coat colors are caused by a mutation in the genes responsible for producing pigments in the coat, resulting in a lighter color. For instance, blue is the diluted version of black, and formentino is a diluted shade of fawn.
As stunning as these Cane Corsos look, that dilution also makes them vulnerable to genetic health issues.
One of the primary health concerns associated with dilute coat colors is color dilution alopecia (CDA), a condition that affects the hair follicles and can result in hair loss, skin irritation, and infections.
These dogs also have a higher risk for ocular defects, such as cataracts, sensitivity to light, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), since the dilution also affects the pigment in the eyes.
Disallowing these colors is actually a protective measure by the AKC. By excluding diluted coat colors from breed standards, the AKC is encouraging breeders to focus on developing healthy genetic profiles for the Cane Corso, rather than solely on visual appeal.
The Cane Corso’s power, size, and character makes them a sought-after dog breed. If you want one of your own, make sure to only get your puppy from a reputable breeder who conducts genetic testing and conforms to breed standards. Your new buddy deserves a healthy start in life, and ethical breeding practices play a huge role in that.
Featured Image Credit: Tymoshenko Olga, Shutterstock