AKC Cane Corso Breed Standard
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.
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.
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.
Yellow bird of prey, blue eyes. Wall eyed.
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.
More then 2 missing teeth, wry mouth. Pronounced and undershot more then ¼
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.
A natural tail that is
atrophied or a natural tail that is knotted and laterally deviated or
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.
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
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
Classification: Group 2: Pinscher and Schnauzer Type, Molossians and Swiss
Section 2: Molossians
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".
Medium to large-sized. Robust and struly built, nevertheless elegant. Thin, with
powerful long muscles.
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.
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.
(see chart above)
Nose: black and large with ample, open nostrils on the same line as the
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
Shoulder: long, oblique, very muscular.
Upper arm: strong and solid.
Forearm: straight, very strong.
Carpal joint and pasterns: elastic.
Forefeet: cat fect.
fairly thick, rather close fitting.
Upper thigh: wide, posteriorly convex.
Lower thigh: thin, strong.
Hocks moderately: angulated.
Metatarsals: thick and narrow.
Hindfeet: slightly less compact than the forefeet.
Hair: short (not smooth), shiny, sticking, very thick with a light
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 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.
- 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.
male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into
- 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,
- Tail: tailless, short tail (atificial or congenial).
- Hair: semi-long, smooth, fringed.
- Colour: all colours not indicated in the standard; white patches too