• Thu. Jun 20th, 2024

How Aggressive Are Cane Corsos? Temperament & Personality Traits


Mar 22, 2023
Italian Cane Corso dog


Italian Cane Corso dog

Aggression can be a serious issue in dogs. If not promptly and properly managed, aggression can lead to dangerous situations. Aggressive dogs may lunge, bite, or attack another dog or person, causing serious injury.

Since aggression is such a serious problem, it is natural that prospective dog owners want to know how aggressive certain dog breeds can be. The Cane Corso is not inherently aggressive. While some breeds may do more damage due to their size and power, any species can be aggressive, and the Cane Corso is no exception. Keep reading below to learn more about aggressive behavior in the Cane Corso.


About the Cane Corso

The Cane Corso is a working breed that belongs to a subcategory known as Molossus dogs. Molossus dogs are named after the Molossi, a people in ancient Greece believed to have bred massive, Mastiff-like dogs to be guardians. When the Roman Empire occupied Greece, they captured some Molossus dogs and took them to Italy to cross them with Italian dogs. This crossbreeding resulted in the ancestor of two massive modern dogs: the Neapolitan Mastiff and the Cane Corso. The ancestors of the Cane Corso were used on the front lines of battle.

As the generations progressed, the Cane Corso was steadily developed and eventually adapted to new roles. This dog was often used for hunting wild boars, farming, protecting livestock, and guarding property.

Due to its background, the Cane Corso is intelligent and trainable. They are confident protectors with noble bearing and an assertive attitude. They are dignified, independent, and alert, always watching to protect their families.

This breed can stand at 28 inches and weigh well over 110 pounds. With a large head and powerful muscles, the Cane Corso strikes an imposing figure. It is eager to please and loyal to humans, but their size and power make them unsuitable for a first-time dog owner.

Since this protective guardian dog can grow into an energetic, massive dog, proper training and socialization are vital. If the owner of a Cane Corso cannot reliably rein in their dog, the willful Cane Corso may walk all over them. In the worst-case scenario, untrained dogs not living in appropriate environments can turn aggressive.

two cane corso dog sitting
Image Credit: EKATERINA SOLODILOVA, Shutterstock

Is the Cane Corso Prone to Aggression?

The Cane Corso is not inherently aggressive, although they have been bred over generations to be vigilant and protective. If the owner of a Cane Corso does not establish themself as the boss right away, the Cane Corso may take its guardianship duties too far in unnecessary situations. A well-trained Cane Corso is eager to please its owner and will heed any direction given. Still, they will remain suspicious of strangers.

If you are a new dog owner or unfamiliar with training large guard dogs, the Cane Corso is not the right fit. But if you have experience training and socializing large, vigilant dogs, you’ll have a loyal companion.

Signs of Aggression in the Cane Corso

Knowing the signs of aggression in your dog is the first step to interfering and preventing such behavior in the future.

Signs of aggression include:

  • A stiff and rigid posture
  • Intense, threatening barking
  • Muzzle punching, when a dog punches a person or dog with his nose
  • Lunging or charging
  • Growling
  • Showing teeth
  • Snarling (a combination of a growl and bared teeth)
  • Snapping
  • Nipping without tearing the skin
  • Biting and tearing or puncturing the skin
  • Biting hard enough to bruise
  • Multiple bites, one after another
  • Biting and shaking

Reasons Your Cane Corso May Behave Aggressively

When looking for signs of aggression, it is important to note that aggression can be your dog’s response to various situations. To put an end to your dog’s aggressive behavior, it is important to know what might be causing your dog’s behavior.

Territorial Aggression

Territorial aggression is common with Cane Corsi. This quality can be a benefit when your dog is scaring away intruders, but it can be a serious issue if your Cane Corso is territorial at inappropriate times. If your dog displays aggression toward anyone who enters the house, such as friends, family, or other visitors, you will need to manage your dog’s behavior.

cane corso puppy outdoors
Image Credit: Sophie Hollies, Unsplash

Protective Aggression

Dogs are social creatures that form strong bonds with their families, and the Cane Corso is no exception. If your Cane Corso does not allow anyone to get close to you, it may display protective aggression. Again, protectiveness is a trait that the Cane Corso was intentionally bred to possess, and at appropriate moments, it can be desirable. But when your dog’s protectiveness turns to aggression, people are liable to get hurt.

Possessive Aggression

If you have a multiple-pet household, your dog may behave aggressively towards other pets if it notices them playing with its toys or eating its food. Possessive aggression can also be targeted toward humans, such as when someone draws too close to your dog’s food bowl.

Fear Aggression

If your Cane Corso is fearful, the source of its anxiety will trigger a flight or fight response. When the dog cannot flee, its only option is to fight. If fearful behavior is causing your dog’s aggression, the best thing you can do is remove your dog’s stressor or find a way to help it overcome its fear.

Defensive Aggression

Defensive aggression is often a form of fearful aggression. However, rather than lash out as a response to fear, your Cane Corso may take the first strike rather than wait for fear to overwhelm him.

male cane corso jumping
Image Credit: OlesyaNickolaeva, Shutterstock

Frustration Aggression

Like with children, frustration may cause your dog to lash out. Dogs often experience frustration when they want to go somewhere but are prevented from doing so by a leash or cage. This may cause your dog to associate the leash or cage with frustration, causing it to become aggressive each time it is restrained.

Pain-Induced Aggression

A dog with an injury or medical complication can become aggressive. If your normally relaxed dog suddenly becomes aggressive with seemingly no cause, contact your vet. There is a chance that an underlying health concern is causing these issues.

Sex-Related Aggression

Unsterilized dogs (particularly males) may attack each other to establish themselves as the most powerful male and attract a mate. This can also occur in female dogs, though it is less common. Even if there is no animal of the opposite sex in your dog’s area, it still may attack another male dog due to instinct, although this behavior tends to wear off after 3 years of age in sterilized dogs.

Predatory Aggression

Since dogs are closely related to wolves, they have a strong prey drive. This is especially true of the Cane Corso, whose ancestors were put on the front lines of battle and were used to hunt boars. If a squirrel or other smaller animal runs by your dog, it may activate its prey drive and cause it to become aggressive.

two cane corso dog running
Image Credit: DTeibe Photography, Shutterstock

How to Handle an Aggressive Cane Corso

Always supervise your Cane Corso when it is around others, especially strangers. Correct the dog and separate it from the situation if it begins behaving aggressively. Do not allow strangers to approach your dog and pet it without your permission; that way, you can ensure that your cane Corso is ready to accept affection from a stranger and behave properly. When your dog behaves well in social situations, reward it.

Never challenge an aggressive dog. Challenging an aggressive dog could result in an attack. Instead, observe the dog’s body language. If it is standing in a way that makes it appear larger than it really is, this could be a sign that the dog views itself as the authority between you two. If this is the case, you need to reach out to a behavior specialist immediately for modification and management.



Although the Cane Corso is a powerful, protective watchdog, it is not inherently aggressive. Any dog, from the largest Great Dane to the tiniest Chihuahua, can display aggressive behavior. What is important is that you train and socialize your Cane Corso from an early age to adapt to new situations and people. If your Cane Corso knows you are the boss, it will be a friendly and loyal companion.

Featured Image Credit: Svolotova, Shutterstock

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *