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The Unique Character and Personality of the Cane Corso Breed



Many potential Cane Corso owners who contact us have the same question: How does the temperament and personality of the Cane Corso breed compare to that of other working group "Molosser" breeds, and in particular, how does the breed compare to a Rottweiler? 

First of all, there are several realities that impact every working breed of canine, if not every canine of any breed, as it relates to the development of their overall temperament, intelligence, and/or personality: 

  • Some portion/percentage of their overall temperaments and personality will be based upon their genetics, which will be the foundation that is built upon, importantly, molded;
  • Some portion/percentage of the canine's overall temperaments/personality will be based upon the amount of socialization, training, and varied external experiences that the individual is exposed to from the time all their senses are available to them as puppies several weeks old;
  • In the end, each canine will become an "individual" as they mature. They are not carbon copies of each other, and each will have distinct temperament, personality, and intelligence characteristics...just like humans. The degree to which this "distinct and complex" personality can develop is one of the defining/differentiating characteristics of the Cane Corso breed.


There exists a wide variety of opinions as to "how much" of either factor, genetic disposition versus social experience and training, contributes to the overall temperament, personality, or intelligence of any individual canine. A good rule of thumb is that it is probably a 50/50 contribution in terms of genetics versus environmental/training. That being said, that ratio can be pushed significantly to either side of the spectrum, as canines with a weaker genetic disposition towards a stable and intelligent temperament/personality can be effectively molded into outstanding members of society, with incredibly stable, fearless, and outgoing temperaments, and with high degrees of intelligence. Conversely, even the strongest genetic disposition or foundation that is initially contributed to the individual canine can be completely ruined via poor socialization, training, and environment...resulting in a canine of any breed that is fearful, non-social, or aggressive to both man and beast alike. 

In summary, canines in general: "are largely what you make them" as it relates to their mature temperaments, personality, and aptitude towards intelligent thought processes. Moreover, it is the social, ethical, and legal responsibility of every canine owner, particularly in relation to large, powerful breeds, to ensure that their canines receive every possible positive reinforcement to their initial genetic dispositions, with the goal of producing a highly stable, outgoing, social, and intelligent canine member of society. This is particularly true in this unfortunate era of BSL legislation, media sensationalism, and "breed discrimination" towards many large breeds of canine. 

As to "how" the Cane Corso breed is "different" or "unique" in regard to other working group breeds, and in particular the Rottweiler (which everyone seems to want to use as a measuring stick), that is a question that can only be addressed via personal perspective and opinion. Given our direct and varied experience with the Cane Corso breed at Darkstone Kennel, for more than a decade, we believe that we can summarize the unique aspects of the Cane Corso temperament and personality in the following ways:

  • In general, the Cane Corso is quite similar to many other "Molosser" working group breeds, including the Rottweiler, Bull Mastiff, Dogue de Bordeaux, Black Russian, Schnauzer, Boxer, Bouvier, etc. as it relates to their general or overall disposition and intelligence;
  • In our opinion, it can be said that the Cane Corso has a greater range and depth of "emotions" than other working breeds. As such, in many ways, they are metaphorically "more human" than other breeds. They express their "joy" overtly and in huge abundance; they show their sorrow and depression very visibly, and can literally pout for days when they feel unfairly slighted; and when angered, they can be terrible to behold. It is this depth and range of emotions that we believe differentiates the overall Cane Corso breed from other breeds, including the Rottweiler;
  • Due to this increased depth and range of emotions and personality, many Corsi demonstrate a greater "differentiation" or "uniqueness" of temperament and personality. Even within a single litter, each sharing the same genetics, there can be a very wide range of temperaments and personalities that are very clearly evident;
  • Because the breed demonstrates such a depth of emotions, and can be incredibly intelligent (again, each dog is individual in their intelligence...but a "smart" Corso can be incredibly intelligent), they can at times be very stubborn and difficult to train. While they are very eager to please, they also tend to "think" about everything very deeply compared to many breeds, and if they don't agree with you...they can be downright stubborn;
  • We can honestly say that in our experience we have never seen a breed that is so completely dedicated to "family." In general, the Cane Corso is emotionally attached to its family members to a degree we have seldom seen amongst other breeds. The Cane Corso wants nothing more than to share its life completely with its human family, and spend every moment with them. The Cane Corso, as the breed standard explains, is completely devoted to family, and somewhat "uninterested" in other people they do not know. They will tend to be standoffish to strangers, as they simply do not care about them. They are in no rush to race up to every stranger and say "hello." Once they become highly familiar with a new person, and consider them "family," they will extend great love and devotion to that individual as well;
  • From our own experience, the Cane Corso, if reared properly, is wonderful with children. As with any large breed, we always caution that small children should never be left completely alone with large breed dogs...it only takes one completely unexpected incident, with a completely unexpected cause...to leave a life time of scars on a family. That being said, the Cane Corso we have placed with families with small/younger children have been nothing less than exceptional in their love, devotion, and gentleness with those small children. They almost seem to become "nannies" to the family, and absolute protectors of the children;
  • From our experience, in regard to "how" the Cane Corso breed interacts with other canines in general, it is very much related to the "individual" dog, and how well it has been socialized. In general terms, the Cane Corso is not determined to socialize and play with every dog it sees, nor is the breed inclined to be aggressive towards other dogs. As with strange or unfamiliar humans, the Cane Corso tends to be "disinterested" in other dogs. A very well socialized Cane Corso can interact very well with other canines, generally speaking, in nearly every situation. Conversely, a non-socialized Cane Corso should not be expected to "play well with others."


We believe that three things differentiate the Cane Corso from other working breeds: 
  • Their unique and striking appearance;
  • Their incredible athletic ability (a Cane Corso is incredibly powerful, fast, and agile);
  • Their unique temperaments and personality described above.


Due to the complexity of the Cane Corso temperament, personality, and intelligence, most individual Cane Corso have the potential to become the most incredible canine companion imaginable. However, if not adequately socialized and trained, those same characteristics can also contribute to an individual Cane Corso becoming a very difficult and malicious individual. That is why we clearly inform everyone: 
  • The Cane Corso is NOT a breed for everyone;
  • The owner/family of the individual Cane Corso MUST recognize the required personal commitment and social responsibility of owning a Cane Corso, or they should NOT own one.
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