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AKC Cane Corso Breed Standard

General Appearance
The Cane Corso is an ancient Italian breed, medium-large sized molossoid. Sturdy, with a strong skeleton, muscular and athletic.  It moves with considerable ease and elegance. It has always been a property watchdog and hunter of difficult game such as the wild boar.

 Size, Proportion, Substance
A muscular, balanced, large boned dog, rectangular in proportion. The length of the dog, measured from the point of the shoulder to the point of buttock, is 11% percent greater than the height of the dog measured from the highest point of the shoulder to the ground. Height: Dogs: 25 to 27.5 inches, Bitches: 23.5 to 26 inches. Weight: Proportionate to height.

Mollossoid, large, its total length reaches 36% of the height at the withers.  Planes of the skull and muzzle are slightly convergent, they are not parallel. The circumference of the head measured at the cheek bones is more then twice the total length of the head; skin is firm and smooth.

Skull: Viewed from the front is wide and slightly curved, width is equal to the length. From the side a prominent arch begins above the eyes and then flattens backwards towards the occiput, viewed from the top it has a square appearance due to the zygomatic arches and powerful muscles swathing it. Stop: Well defined due to developed and bulging frontal sinuses and prominent arch above the eyes. Expression: Very alert and attentive. Some wrinkling on forehead occurs when alert. Eyes: Medium sized, almond shaped, not round or bulging, tight fitting rims preferred with only a minimal amount of haw being visible.  Eye Color: Dogs with black muzzles (black, fawn, red, and these colors brindled) dark brown eyes are preferred. Gray muzzles (gray, fawn, red and these colors brindled) lighter shades are acceptable. Pigmentation of the eye rims is complete, pigmentation of eye rim matches pigment color of dog. Disqualification: Yellow bird of prey, blue eyes. Wall eyed.  Ears: Set well above the cheekbones. May be cropped or uncropped, if cropped it is in an equilateral triangle. If uncropped, they are medium sized, triangular in shape, held tight to the cheeks, and not extending beyond the jaw bone. Nose: Large with well-opened nostrils, pigment color to match pigment color of the dog. Dogs with black pigment have black noses, gray pigmented dogs have gray noses, and pigmentation is complete. The nose is an extension of the topline of the muzzle and does not protrude beyond nor recede behind the front plane of the muzzle.  Muzzle: Very broad and deep, width is almost equal to its length which reaches 34% of the total length of the head; the depth of muzzle is more then 50% of the length of the muzzle. The top and bottom muzzle plains are parallel and the nose and chin form a perpendicular line. Viewed from the front the anterior face should look flat and form a trapezoid. Muzzle is not narrow or snipey. Lips: Rather firm. Upper lips moderately hanging, they join under the nostrils to form an inverted “U”. Pigmentation matches color pigment of dog, Dogs with black pigment have black lips, gray pigmented dogs have gray lips. Bite: Slightly undershot (no more then1/4 inch) and level preferred, scissor bite is acceptable if parameters of the head and muzzle are correct. The incisors are firmly placed on a straight line. Dentition is complete with no more then two missing teeth. Disqualification: More then 2 missing teeth, wry mouth. Pronounced and undershot more then ¼ inch.

Neck, Back and Body
Neck: Slightly arched, flowing smoothly into the shoulders with a small amount of dewlap. The length of the neck is 36% the height at the withers. Body: Depth of the ribcage is equal to half the total height of the dog, descending slightly below the elbow. Ribs are long and well sprung. Moderate tuck up Chest: Broad, well muscled, strong forefront.  Back: Wide, strong, muscular. Highest part of shoulder blade slightly rising above the strong, level back. Loin: Well-muscled, and harmoniously joined to the back. Croup: Long, wide, slightly sloping. Rump should be quite round due to muscular development. Tail: Tail set is an extension of the backline.  It is thick at the root with not much tapering at the tip. When not in action carried low, otherwise horizontal or slightly higher than back, not to be carried in a vertical position, it is docked at the 4th vertebrae.  Natural tails are accepted, though not preferred.  In the case of natural tails, the tip reaches the hock but not below. Carried low, it is neither broken nor kinked but supple. Hanging when the dog is in repose; generally carried level with the back or slightly above the level of the back when the dog is in action, without curving over the back or being curled. Disqualification: A natural tail that is atrophied or a natural tail that is knotted and laterally deviated or twisted.

Strong and muscular, well proportioned to the size of the dog. Straight when viewed from the front or side, height of the limb at the elbow is equal to 50% of the height at the withers. Shoulders: Muscular, laid back. Upper arms: Strongly muscled, with good bone, powerful. Elbows: Held parallel to the ribcage, turning neither in nor out. Forelegs: straight and with good bone well muscled.  Pasterns: Almost straight, strong but flexible. Feet: Round with well arched, toes (cat like).Lean hard dark pads and nails except in the case of white toes.

As a whole, they are powerful and strong, in harmony with the forequarters. Thighs: Long, wide, angulated and well muscled. Stifle: Should be moderately angulated, strong. Legs: Strong bone and muscle structure. Hocks: Wide, thick and clean, let down and parallel when viewed from behind. Rear pastern: straight and parallel. Rear dewclaws: Any rear dewclaws are removed. Hind feet: Slightly more oval shaped and less arched toes than the front feet.

The coat is short, stiff, shiny, adherent and dense with a light undercoat that becomes thicker in cold weather.

Acceptable colors are black, lighter and darker shades of gray, lighter and darker shades of fawn, and red. Brindling is allowed on all of these colors. Solid fawn and red, including lighter and darker shades have a black or gray mask; it does not go beyond the eyes. There may be a white patch on the chest, throat, chin, backs of the pasterns, and on the toes. Disqualification:
Any color with marking pattern as seen in black and tan breeds.

The movement is free flowing, powerful yet effortless, with strong reach and drive. As the dog accelerates, the feet converge towards a center line of gravity in a near single track. When viewed from the side, the topline remains level, with minimal roll or bounce.

The Cane Corso as a protector of his property and owners is unequaled. Intelligent he is easily trained. Noble, majestic and powerful his presence is impressive. He is docile and affectionate to his owner, loving with children and family.

The overall confirmation of the dog should be well balanced and proportionate. The foregoing description is that of the ideal Cane Corso any deviation from the above described dog is penalized to the extent of the deviation.


  • More then 2 missing teeth, wry mouth.

  • Undershot bite more then ¼inch

  • Yellow bird of prey, blue eyes. Wall eyed.

  • Any color with marking pattern as seen in black and tan breeds.

  • A natural atrophied tail or a natural tail that is knotted and laterally deviated or twisted.

FCI breed standards

F.C.I. Classification: Group 2: Pinscher and Schnauzer Type, Molossians and Swiss cattle dogs
Section 2: Molossians

Brief historical summary
Its direct ancestor is the old Roman Molossian. Formerly scattered all over Italy, in the recent past the breed is only prevalent in the Province Apulia and in the adjacent region of Southen Italy. His name derives from the Latin "cohors", which means "protector, guardian of the farmyard".

General appearance
Medium to large-sized. Robust and struly built, nevertheless elegant. Thin, with powerful long muscles.

Important proportions (see chart above)
The length of the head reaches 36% of height at withers. The dog is somewhat longer than high.

Guardian of property, family and livestock; extremely agile and responsive. In the past, it has been used for herding cattie and hunting big game.

Cranial region
Skull: wide, at the zygomatic arch its width is equal to or greater than its length. Convex in front, it becomes fairly flat behind the forehead as far as the occiput. The medio-frontal furrow is visible.
Stop: marked.

Ficial region

  • Nose: black and large with ample, open nostrils on the same line as the nasal bridge.
  • Muzzle: noticeable shorter than the skull (ratio muzzie: skull = 1:2), strong, extremely square, with a flat front face and parallel, nearly as wide as long, lateral surfaces. The profile of the nasal bridge is rectilinear.
  • Lips: the upper lips hang moderately and cover the mandible ,so that the lower profile of muzzle is determined by the lips.
  • Jaw/teeth: jaw very large, thick and curved. Slightly undershot. Level bite acceptable, but not sought after.
  • Eyes: medium-sized, ovoid, looking directly forward, slightly protruding. Eyelids close fitting. Color of iris as dark as possible, depending from the color of the coat. Expression keen and attentive.
  • Ears: triangular, drooping, with a large set on high above the zigomatic arch. Almost always cropped in the shape of an equidateral triangle.
  • Neck: strong, fairly thin, muscular, as long as the head.
  • Body: the body is somewhat longer than the height at the withers. Sturdily built, but not squat.
  • Withers: pronounced, rising above the level of the croup.
  • Back: rectilinear, very muscular and firm.
  • Lions: short and solid.
  • Croup: long, wide, slightly inclined.
  • Chest: well developed in three dimension, reaches to the elbow.
  • Tail: set on of the tail fairly high; very thick at the root. The tail is docked at fourth vertebra . In action carried high, but never curved nor erect.
Forequartes (see chart above)
  • Shoulder: long, oblique, very muscular.
  • Upper arm: strong and solid.
  • Forearm: straight, very strong.
  • Carpal joint and pasterns: elastic.
  • Forefeet: cat fect.
  • Upper thigh: wide, posteriorly convex.
  • Lower thigh: thin, strong.
  • Hocks moderately: angulated.
  • Metatarsals: thick and narrow.
  • Hindfeet: slightly less compact than the forefeet.
Skin: fairly thick, rather close fitting.

  • Hair: short (not smooth), shiny, sticking, very thick with a light undercoat.
  • Color: : black, lard grey, slate, light grey, light fawn, stag red and dark fawn, brindle (stripes on different shades of fawn or grey), in fawn colored 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 feet and on the bridge of nose is acceptable.
Height and Weight
  • Height at the 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 feregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault shoild be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.

Severe faults:
  • Parallelism or very marked converging of axes of muzzle and the skull; converging side lines of muzzle.
  • Scissors bite, pronounced undershot mouth.
  • Nose: partial depigmentation.
  • Tail: ring-tail, tail in vertical position.
  • Size: over-or undersìze.
  • Movement: permanent amble.
Eliminating fault:
  • Axes of muzzle and the skull diverging.
  • Overshot mouth.
  • Bridge of nose resolutely hollow, ram's nose.
  • Nose: total depigmentation.
  • Eyes: partial and bilateral palpebrai depigmentation, wall eye, bilateral strabism.
  • Tail: tailless, short tail (atificial or congenial).
  • Hair: semi-long, smooth, fringed.
  • Colour: all colours not indicated in the standard; white patches too large.
Note: male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
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