Cane Corso vs. American Pitbull Terrier

The Cane Corso and Pitbull are two distinct breeds with different characteristics. The Cane Corso is a larger, more muscular breed originating from Italy, known for its protective nature and guarding skills.

On the other hand, Pitbulls are generally smaller and come from a line of breeds created for combat sports, but nowadays they are mostly known for their companionship and loyalty. Both breeds are intelligent and require consistent training, but the Cane Corso may require a more experienced owner due to its size and protective nature.

As for their energy level, Pitbulls usually have more endurance and may require more physical activities compared to Cane Corsos. Health-wise, both breeds are prone to certain breed-specific issues, so potential owners should research and prepare for these potential health concerns.

Last Updated on September 20, 2023

*. The Cane Corso, an Italian Mastiff, and the American Pitbull Terrier are both very popular breeds. The Cane Corso and the American Pitbull Terrier are very different but have some striking similarities .. It is not unusual to find the Pitbull or Corso mixed .

The APBT is more social and can be vocal and suspicious of strangers. He needs a strong master to guide him and is not suitable for novice owners. The Cane Corso Mastiff is Italian Mastiff. However, their breeding program makes them different from other Mastiff breeds.

Both are beautiful dogs and loyal family members. Let’s take a closer look at the similarities and differences between these two breeds to help you decide which one is right for you.

Cane Corso vs. American Pitbull Terrier

Breed History

Both Breeds are part of the Molosser dog family, but it is important to know the history of each breed before we can make any predictions about their potential performance as family pets. If socialized and raised well, both of these breeds make great family pets.

Both breeds have misunderstood pasts. They are common rescue/shelter pet, so you won’t need to go to a breeder. Let’s take a look at these puppies and see what their pasts are before we look at the differences between them.

Cane Corso

The Cane Corso is phonetically pronounced ‘Kay Nah Kor-So . He is also known as the Italian Mastiff ,. His lineage comes from large Roman war dogs. He was originally a farmer dog , and he worked in many different roles, including sheep herding, cattle driving, cart pulling, and guarding his estate.

The Cane Corso breed nearly became extinct, but thanks to breed fanciers his numbers were soon restored, and the Neapolitan Mastiff, being used in the restoration program, heavily influenced the breed we know and love today.

The first litter of Cane Corsos was imported to America in 1988. He has been a beloved companion and family pet since that time. In 2019, the American Kennel Club (AKC) ranked him as the 32nd most popular dog in America.

Despite only being accepted as a recognized breed by the AKC in 2010, his popularity has steadily increased from 60th place in 2012. Cane Corso’s are often mistaken for other mastiff breeds like the Boerboel or the Presa De Canario.

American Pitbull Terrier

The American Pitbull Terrier (APBT) is one of four breeds that fall under the umbrella term ‘Pitbull,’ although it is believed by many that he is the original Pitbull.

The APBT is a descendant from dogs bred in England to bull bait and rat pitting. He was formed from the largest and most powerful fighting dogs and became the APBT. Although he has a reputation for being a vicious dog due to his fighting roots, he can be trained to not to be.

He is known to be an intelligent farmer dog and a loving family friend .. Others see him as a fierce dog that is out of place in the home. However, through education and breed advocates such as Roofus and Kilo and their family farm of Pitbull rescues, they are once again becoming the American family favorite.

APBT’s can also be incorrectly classified, which has led to a troubled past. Many pups classified as APBT’s are actually APBT mixes or even other breeds that the APBT gets mistaken for, like the Staffordshire Terrier or American Bully who looks very similar.


The Cane Corso is a similar looking dog to the APBT, while the APBT looks like the larger sibling. The Cane Corso stands taller at 23 to 27 inches in height, whereas the APBT stands shorter at 17 to 21 inches. The Cane Corso weighs much more too, between 85 and 110 pounds, compared to the lighter APBT who weighs between 30 to 65 pounds.

Both have a muscular appearance , but the APBT has a much slimmer look with more defined muscles. The Cane Corso has a thicker, fuller body with more skin folds.

Both have short, shiny coats ,. However, the Cane Corso has a much denser coat than the APBT’s smooth coat. They both sport the same color coats too, and both carry the brindle gene. The APBT is extremely popular when sporting a red coat, or a blue coat.

Due their stocky appearance with a muscular build, a broad muzzle, and a wide face, they are often subjects to Breed Specific Legislation . BSL is a state law that requires different things. Some states require public muzzling, enhanced insurance, or ban certain breeds. Before you decide to welcome one of these dogs into your home, make sure to verify your local laws.


The APBT and Cane Corso both silly with their immediate family , so you can expect lots of games and fun with these two breeds. Both are protective and affectionate of their human siblings. You will often see them snuggling up to the smaller members of the family on the couch. They should be both supervised with other animals and children due to their large size.

Due to their social nature, both are prone to suffering from separation anxious ,. Therefore, it is important to provide them with brain games and reward-oriented puzzle games while you are away, to keep their minds occupied.

They are both very loyal and eager to please their master .. Both dogs are easily trainable because of this. The APBT can be friendly with anyone , so that friends can feel at ease when they come knocking on your door.

The Cane Corso can be a dominant dog and needs a master who is able to take on the role of being more dominant than he is. A Cane Corso must be accompanied by a family who understands and follows the rules of pack mentality . Otherwise, he can become a disruptive and unruly dog. He is a great family pet if you are able to find the right balance.

The Cane Corso is also very suspicious of strangers and will not allow anyone to come near his family, unless directed. He is extremely protective and will not let his guard down. He is friendly and will accept newcomers if asked. The Cane Corso is the best choice if you’re looking for a guard dog.

Because of the Cane Corso’s protective nature and the APBTs potential fear of aggression towards other dogs, it is important to socialize these two guys . early on. It makes them feel comfortable around other animals, including dogs and humans. This greatly increases your chances of your pet being a calm, well-mannered family pet who isn’t too protective.


Both APBT and Cane Corso require one-hour of exercise per day ,. Because of their intelligence and power, they need to be intensely exercised. A long walk won’t cut it. They can both burn energy by engaging in interactive fetch sessions, swimming in the local lake, and agility courses .

A bored or restless Cane Corso or APBT can be destructive and dangerous dogs.

With that being said, they are both partial for a snooze during the evening while relaxing to watch a film. You can expect the Cane Corso not to open one eye. The APBT will, however, likely be lying on his back, with four paws up to the heavens, dreaming and snoring away.


Because both the Cane Corso as well as the APBT are eager to please their masters, they can be easily trained through consistent training. Positive rewards training is key for these guys. Be sure to reward them with toys and a belly rub after they’ve done the desired behavior. And, of course, the occasional small treat can work wonders.

Make sure that everyone is onboard with the training program . Also, make sure that the command words are clear, concise, and consistent. Children should also be involved in their training, especially the Cane Corso. This will allow them to see children as a caregiver who is higher than them.

Many Cane Corso owner suggest that the Cane Corso be not for first-time dog owners , because he can challenge his master if he doesn’t feel respected enough. It is best to start obedience classes for your Cane Corso as soon as possible to ensure a loyal and well-behaved pup.

It’s also important to understand that Cane Corso will need to remember his boss and make a lifetime commitment , to his training. He is more at home with families who have little experience in dog training.


Both the Cane Corso’s and the APBT are healthy dogs who have fewer health issues than other purebred dogs. The Cane Corso’s lifespan is 9 to 12 years and the APBT’s lifespan is 12 to 16 years.

The APBT can suffer from severe skin allergies. Among them are grass allergies and nutritional intolerances. However, medication and high-quality kibble can help. Sometimes, he may also suffer from Cerebellar Asphyxia ,. This is a condition that causes a decrease in mobility due to damage to one part of his brain.

They are both known to suffer from Hip Dysplasia, and the Cane Corso is also known to suffer from Elbow Dysplasia, which is characterized by an abnormally formed joint that causes pain and difficulty when walking. Also, the Cane Corso must be tested for Dilated Cardiomyopathy and other cardiac problems.


The Cane Corso consumes approximately three meals per day , while the APBT eats about 2 half cups. This will vary depending on the size of the individual and their energy level, but most kibble packaging will indicate a recommended amount for him to eat based on his weight.

If you feel this is not right for your Cane Corso, APBT, or any other reason, please speak with your Veterinarian for tailored nutrition advice.

They should both be fed a high-quality kibble that is specifically designed for larger breeds and being muscular and energetic dogs, it is important that their kibble provides them with a protein content of at least 25%.

Many APBT’s suffer from grain intolerances; therefore, you may need to feed your Pitbull a grain-free dog food if you find he is suffering from skin discomfort, but again be sure to speak to your Veterinarian. Make sure their nutrition meets their needs. They shouldn’t be allowed to graze unsupervised as they can become very porky.


The Cane Corso and the APBT are easy to groom. Both require a brush once per week to maintain their shiny coats and promote blood circulation.

They only need to take a bath every two months ,, unless they get really dirty from playing or exercising. The APBT may need to be bathed more frequently because of his affinity for playing in mud pits. This is why he is called the “velvet hippo “.

Because APBT can cause skin allergies and skin irritations, it is important that you purchase doggy cleaning products for sensitive skin , especially if you need to clean him more frequently than necessary. This will prevent skin irritation and damage to natural oils.


*The Cane Corso puppy is more expensive than the APBT. This is due to the fact that he is less common than the APBT and also because he requires more resources to raise. A Cane Corso puppy from a reputable breeder will cost between $1,500 and $1,800, whereas an APBT puppy will cost between $800 and $1,000.

It is crucial that you partner with a reliable breeder to ensure that your puppies come from healthy parents and have had the best start in life.

It is important that consider rescuing also. The Cane Corso as well as the APBT are in rescue homes because their owners underestimated their intense personalities and exercise requirements. Although you won’t be able to know his parents or whereabouts, you can rest assured that rescue centers will only rehome well-mannered, healthy dogs.

Not only will you be saving a doggy life, but you will also be saving a lot of money as rescue fees range, on average, from $100 to $300. To start your rescue search, head over to the Pitbull Rescue Center website, or the Cane Corso Rescue website, or speak to your local rescue center.

Final Thoughts

Both APBT and the Cane Corso are loving, loyal, and affectionate dogs. Many people don’t understand them or haven’t had the opportunity to meet them. You should now be able to decide which breed is best for you and your family. But, know that either one will give you one of the most loving and loyal dogs you’ll ever meet!

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