Cane Corso Breed Standard

FCI Standard no 343 with comments of AICC, SACC:

Medium-large sized molossoid, unicolor, compact, with a strong skeleton, muscular and athletic, it moves with considerable ease. Its head is massive, with a dignified and proud expression. It has had a selection parallel to that of the mastiff, it comes from lighter progenitors but has maintained that original conformation. It has always been a property watchdog and hunter of difficult game, such as the boar. It originated in the central-southern regions of Italy where it was used as a cowherd for cows and swine raised in the wild. It also defended travelers and carters from highwaymen. Its name is the one by which it has always been known in the south, having the same root as corsiero (courser), the medieval war horse; perhaps it derives from the Latin cohors (courtyard, bodyguard). Due to environmental changes, the Courser risked extinction. A few enthusiasts initiated its recovery which today is complete. Its modern functions are watchdog, defending people and their belongings. An adaptable and courageous worker, of proverbial loyalty, alert and reactive, able to withstand difficult environmental conditions and experiences due to its solid equilibrium. A strong build but not without elegance. Built on rectangle, it absolutely must no resemble the Neapolitan Mastiff. Its skin adheres to its body and does not form wrinkles.

Brief historical summary

Its direct ancestor is the Canis Pugnax (the old Roman Molossian) of which he is the light version employed in the hunting of large wild animals and also as an auxiliary warrior in battles. For years he has been a precious companion of the Italic populations. Employed as property, cattle and personal guard dog and used for hunting purposes too. In the past this breed was common all over Italy as an ample iconography and historiography testify. In the recent past he has found a excellent preservation area in Southern Italy, especially in Puglia, Lucania and Sannio. His name derives from the Latin Cohors which means "Guardian, Protector".

General appearance

Medium-big size dog, strongly built but elegant, with powerful and long muscles, very distinguished, he expresses strength, agility and endurance. The general conformation is that of a mesomorphic animal whose body is longer than the height at the withers, harmonious as regards the form and disharmonious as regards the profile.

Important proportions

The length of the body is about 11% over the height at the withers. The total length of the head reaches 36% of the height at the withers. The length of the muzzle is equal to 34% of the total length of the head. The height of the thorax is 50% of the height at the withers and it is equal to the height of the limb at the elbows.

Behavior and temperament

Intelligent, active and even-minded, he is an unequaled watch and protection dog. Docile and affectionate with the owner, loving with children and with the family. If necessary, he becomes a terrible and brave protector for people, house and property. He is easily trained.


Brachycephalic. Its total length reaches 36% of the height at the withers. The bizygomatic width, which is equal to the length of the skull, is more than half the total height of the head, reaching 66%. The upper longitudinal axes of the skull and of the muzzle are slightly convergent. The perimeter of the head, measured at the cheek-bones, is more than twice the total legth of the head, even in the females. The head is moderately sculptured with zygomatic arches stretched outwards. The skin is firm and sticking to the tissues underneath, it is smooth and quite stretched.



Seen from the front it is wide and slightly curved, seen from the side it draws an irregular curve that, accentuated in the subregion of the forehead, becomes flat along the external saggital crest. Seen from the top, it looks square because of the outstretching of the zygomatic arches and the powerful muscles swatching it. Frontal sinuses well developed and stretched forward, deep forehead hollow and visible median furrow. Occipital crest not much developed. Supraorbital fossae slightly marked.


Very marked because of the very developed and bulging frontal sinuses and because of the prominent superciliary arches.




It is on the same line as the nose pipe. Seen from the side, it mustn't stick out from the front vertical margin of the lips but be, with its front, on the same vertical line as the front of the muzzle. It has to be voluminous, rather flat on top, with wide nostrils, opened and mobile, wet and cool. The pigmentation is black.

SACC and AICC comment: It should be expected to be dark grey in color for the subjects of grey color, grey brindle and fawn with a grey mask.



Very broad and deep. The depth of the muzzle must be almost equal to its length, which reaches 34% of the total length of the head. Due to the parallels of the muzzle sides and to the fullness and the width of the whole jaw, the anterior face of the muzzle is flat and square. The nasal bridge has a rectilinear profile and it is rather flat. The lower side profile of the muzzle is determined by the upper lips, the suborbital region shows a very slight chisel.



Rather firm. Seen from the front, the upper lips form at their disjunction and upside down "U" and, seen from the side, hang moderately. The commisure is rightly evident and it always represents the lowest point of the lower side profile of the muzzle. The pigmentation is black.


Very wide, strong and thick, with a very slight shortering of the upper jaw with a subsequent light prognatism (undershot mouth). The branches of the lower jaw, well accentuated forward, points out well the marked chin. The incisors are firmly placed on a straight line.


The masseter region is full and evident, but not hypertrophic.


White, big, complete in growth and number. The lower jaw incisors pass only slightly (about 0.5 cm) their correspondent ones on the upper arch, so the bite is slightly undershot.

SACC and AICC comment: The bite should be slightly undershot (maximum 0.5 cm) or level. A scissor bite would be tolerated only if all the other parameters (length of the muzzle. parallel muzzle sides, the upper longitudinal axes of the skull and of the muzzle are slightly convergent) are correct.



Of medium size compared to the size of the dog, in a sub-frontal position, well spaced. Rima palpebrarum nearly oval, eyeballs slightly protruding, adherent eyelids with the borders pigmented with black, the eye mustn't let the sclera be seen. Third eyelid strongly pigmented. Iris as dark as possible according to the color of the coat. Look intelligent and alert.

SACC and AICC comment: Color for the subjects with a black muzzle (black, fawn and brindle): iris as dark as possible. For the subjects with a grey muzzle (grey, formentino and grey-brindle): light brown color, lighter colorations are approved.



Of medium size in relation to the volume of the head and to the size of the dog; covered with short hair, of triangular shape, with rather pointed apex and thick cartilage, in a high position, much above the zygomatic arch, with a wide bottom. Hanging, they stick to the cheeks without coming down to the throat. Quite outstretched and slightly protruding at the joint, they become semi-erect when the dog is watchful. They usually get amputated in a equilateral-triangular shape.


Top line

Slightly arched.


36% of the height at the withers, that is equal to the total length of the head.


Of oval section, strong, very muscular, with a marked disjunction form at the nape. The perimeter, at half length of the neck, is about 80% of the heigth of the withers. Harmoniously joined with the withers, shoulder and chest, the neck has its ideal direction at 450 from the ground and at right angle with the shoulder.


The lower margin of the neck is practically without dewlap.


Compact, strong and very muscular. Its length is 11% over the height at the withers, with an allowance of +/- 1%.

Top line

The back region is rectilinear with a slightly lumbar convexity.


They clearly rise on the dorsal line and over the rump level, high, long, wide. They are lean and join harmoniously the neck to the back.


It is wide, very muscular as the whole upper line of the trunk, slightly climbing from the back to the front and with a strictly rectilinear profile. Its length is approx. 32% of the height at the withers.


The lumbar region has to be short, wide, well joined to the back and to the rump, very muscular, very solid and seen from the side, slightly convex. Its length, slightly higher than its width, is equal to 20% of the height at the withers.


Long, wide, slightly inclined.


Well developed in three dimensions, reaches to the elbow.

SACC and AICC comment: Its width, in close relation with the width of the thorax, reaches 35% of the height to the withers, the breast-bone is at the same height as the tip of the shoulders. Seen from the side, the chest is outstretched forward between the fore legs and slightly convex Thorax - it has to be well grown in the three dimensions with long, oblique, wide and well hoped ribs with wide intercostal spaces. The 4 false ribs are long oblique and open.


Set on fairly high; very thick at the root. The tail is docked at the fourth vertebra. In action carried high, but never curled nor erect.




Long, oblique, very muscular.

Upper arm



Straight, very strong.

Carpal joint and pasterns



Cat feet.


Upper thigh

Long, wide, back line of thigh convex.

Lower thigh

Strong, not fleshy.


Moderately angulated.


Thick and sinewy.



Long stride, extended trot. The preferred gait is the trot.



Fairly thick, rather close fitting.


Short, shiny, very dense with a light undercoat.

SACC and AICC comment: Short hair but not smooth, with vitreous texture, shiny, adherent, stiff, very dense, with a light layer that becomes thicker in winter (but never crops up on the covering hair). Its average length is approx. 2-2.5 cm.


Black, lead-grey, slate-grey, light grey, light fawn; stag red and dark fawn; brindle (stripes on different shades of fawn or grey); in fawn coloured and brindle dogs the black or grey mask on the muzzle should not go beyond the line of the eyes. A small white patch on the chest, on the tips of the feet and on the bridge of the nose is acceptable.


Height at withers: Males from 64 to 68 cm, females from 60 to 64 cm. Tolerance of 2 cm more or less.

Weight: Males from 45 to 50 kg, females from 40 to 45 kg.


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.


Axes of muzzle and skull parallel or too converging; lateral surfaces of the muzzle converging.

Partial depigmentation of the nose.

Scissor bite; pronounced undershot mouth.

Ring-tail, tail in vertical position.

Permanent amble when trotting.

Over-or undersize.


Aggressive or overly shy.

Axes of muzzle and skull diverging.

Total depigmentation of the nose.

Bridge of nose very hollow, rams's nose.

Overshot mouth.

Partial or complete palpebral depigmentation. Wall eye; strabism.

Tailless, short tail (docked or not).

Semi-long, smooth or fringed hair.

All colours not indicated in the standard; large white patches.

Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioral abnormalities shall be disqualified.

N.B. : Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.