• Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

Cane Corso vs Pitbull: How Are They Different?


Mar 14, 2023
Cane Corso vs Pitbull - Featured Image


Cane Corso vs Pitbull - Featured Image

We must start with a clarification before comparing these two breeds. The Cane Corso is indeed a dog recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). It’s also a relatively new addition to the ranks, getting its official status in 2010.1 Pitbull isn’t a breed, per se; instead, it is an umbrella term that describes a group of dogs, including the American Pit Bull Terrier, Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and others.

The United Kennel Club (UKC) recognizes the American Pit Bull Terrier.2 We’ll use that dog for our comparison since it’s a classic example of the descriptive term. When you hear its name, you’re probably thinking about a pup along these lines. It also epitomizes the purpose many Pitbulls serve as an athletic and trustworthy companion.


Visual Differences

Cane Corso vs Pitbull - Visual Differences
Image Credit: Left – Cane Corso (Didkovska Ilona, Shutterstock) | Right – Pitbull (CrystalHeadbandz, Pixabay)

At a Glance

Cane Corso

  • Average height (adult): 23.5–27.5 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 85–110 pounds
  • Lifespan: 9–12 years
  • Exercise: 1+ hours a day
  • Grooming needs: Low to moderate
  • Family-friendly: Yes, with adults
  • Other pet-friendly: Sometimes
  • Trainability: Intelligent, loyal, affectionate


  • Average height (adult): 17–21 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 30–60 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12–13 years
  • Exercise: 1+ hours a day
  • Grooming needs: Moderate
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: Rarely
  • Trainability: Intelligent but nippy


Cane Corso Overview

blue brindle cane corso puppy dog lying on grass
Image Credit: otsphoto, Shutterstock

There’s no denying that the Cane Corso and American Pit Bull Terrier look similar. They are both muscular animals with their characteristically small ears. It’s worth noting that the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) opposes cosmetic ear cropping and tail docking.3 However, neither the AKC or UKC penalizes pups in the show ring if their owners have opted against either procedure.

The Cane Corso is an ancient Greek breed related to the Mastiff. That explains its solid form. It was an excellent choice as a livestock guardian dog, given its size and temperament. However, it’s not the best dog for just anyone, particularly first-time pet owners. Its strength requires an experienced individual who will provide the proper behavior management.


The Cane Corso was reared as a family pet. Thus, it is loyal to its owner and housemates. It is affectionate with them but not as tolerant of kids and other canines. It does best in homes where it is the top dog. It’s also aloof with strangers.

Remember that it was originally a guardian. This pup is just doing what comes naturally to it. Interestingly, this gentle giant does like being alone, so it could be a good option if you have to spend several hours away from the house.

cane corso resting at the beach
Image Credit: Sbolotova, Shutterstock


The Cane Corso is an intelligent animal and is easy to train. It’s not as independent as other breeds that served similar roles. However, positive reinforcement is essential.

It’s unexpectedly sensitive for a dog of its size and stature. On the positive side, this breed is neither nippy nor possesses a strong wanderlust. Nevertheless, it has an intense prey drive.

Health & Care

Fortunately, this breed is relatively healthy with few issues other than what you’d expect with a large dog—that means elbow and hip dysplasia. However, reputable sellers will conduct pre-breeding health screenings to prevent it from being passed on to their dogs’ offspring. The Cane Corso is also susceptible to bloat,4 which isn’t unusual for pups with massive chests like this one.

male cane corso jumping
Image Credit: OlesyaNickolaeva, Shutterstock

Suitable for:

The dog is best for those who can dedicate time to training it. The Cane Corso is a strong and athletic dog. It is also energetic. All these things mean that previous pet experience is essential to raise this pup properly.

There’s no doubt it is a striking animal that may attract many would-be dog owners. Nevertheless, it’s also an example of the importance of researching a breed before bringing home a puppy.

divider-dog paw

Pitbull Overview

a pitbull terrier puppy on a wicker dog bed
Image Credit: Jordan Bigelow, Unsplash

Sadly, the history of Pitbulls, including the American Pit Bull Terrier, is a violent and cruel one. It reflects the dogs’ use in fighting. Fortunately, the breed’s other favorable qualities shine. It proved to be a loyal companion and a capable guardian of livestock. It is a friendly pooch with its family, kids, and people it meets. Its personality is less aloof than the Cane Corso.

The American Pit Bull Terrier is smaller than the Cane Corso. However, that doesn’t take anything away from its strength and athleticism. It’s an Olympic champion among canines. The breed suffers from the stigma of its early history. We can thank enthusiasts for selectively breeding this pup to make it the gentle companion it is today.


Its look belies the friendly nature of the American Pit Bull Terrier. Its strength doesn’t translate into meanness. This pup is a sweetheart, especially with its family. Like the Cane Corso, it’s not the best choice for first-time pet owners. It’s also a baby when it comes to being left alone, so it’s not a dog to leave at home alone for hours on end.

brown pitbull with collar standing outdoors on grass
Image Credit: Caroline Ziemkiewicz, Unsplash


The American Pit Bull Terrier is intelligent, making it easy to train. Of course, treats make it infinitely easier. It has a moderate tendency to bark. However, it can be a nippy pup, which you’ll need to curb from the start. We strongly urge you to use positive reinforcement since it can be sensitive to harsh words or scolding.

Health & Care

The American Pit Bull is another healthy breed with few issues other than the ones you’d expect with a dog of its size. You should also keep hypothyroidism and heart disease on your radar because of their greater propensity for these conditions. The same AVMA recommendations for ear cropping and tail docking apply to this dog.

american pitbull terrier dog playing
Image Credit: Nata Bene, Shutterstock

Suitable for:

This breed is best suited for families with older children. The American Pit Bull Terrier is the antithesis of what people may associate with a dog of its name. This dog is anything but mean. Nevertheless, the stigma still exists.

Sadly, some people are missing out on the love and joy this pooch could bring to their lives. This breed requires a pet owner who can devote the necessary time to training and attention.


Which Breed Is Right for You?

The Cane Corso and American Pit Bull Terrier are best suited for experienced pet owners. It’s not that the dogs are mean. Instead, it’s imperative to establish the proper pet-owner bond from the get-go when dealing with canines of their athleticism and strength. It will also cultivate a stronger relationship between you and your pet.

The American Pit Bull Terrier has the edge if you have older children. It’s more tolerant of kids and the associated activity levels. It’s an energetic dog that will keep up with them. We think they’re both handsome animals that anyone would be proud to invite into their homes.

Featured Image Credit: Top – Cane Corso (Eudyptula, Shutterstock) | Bottom – Pitbull (Lunja, Shutterstock)

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