English Mastiff vs. Cane Corso

Last Updated on May 10, 2023 by Becky Roberts

Compare the English Mastiff to the Cane Corso for your next pet or home guardian. Although the Mastiff and Cane Corso are very similar breeds, they also have their own unique characteristics. These differences are what help owners choose which one to adopt. This breed guide will help you understand all the similarities and differences, as well as some fun facts.

Both dog breeds are giant dogs. They will both easily weigh in at over 100 pounds, making them a lot to handle for new dog owners. We recommend that you avoid these breeds if you’re not a seasoned dog owner. Despite this, the English Mastiff and the Italian Mastiff are the most loyal dogs, also known collectively as the Cane Corso.

This guide answers questions like which breed is best for protection and which is better for family dogs. The English Mastiff and the Cane Corso were bred for different purposes, so it is important to fully understand their differences before you decide which breed is best for your family. Let’s compare these gentle giants!

English Mastiff vs. Cane Corso

Breed History

It is important to examine a dog’s past as it can give you more insight into their personality and potential future. Understanding their past will help you decide what to do for them as a dog mom or dad. It is always a good idea to have a few fun facts about your dog.


During the Roman invasion in 55 BC, the Romans encountered the beastly dogs who protected the British Isles. They were the ancestors of the Mastiff, and Julius Caesar was super impressed by them. They were taken back to Rome by Julius Caesar, where they fought against gladiators as well as other ferocious beasts.

Over time, we lost favor with blood spots and soon realized how affectionate and loving he was as our family pet. We were able to subdue his fearsome traits and created the breed we love today. He is one of the largest dog breeds known to mankind.

Zorba, the heaviest Mastiff known to man, weighed an impressive 343 pounds. Due to their size, the English Mastiff is often compared with the Saint Bernard , and facing off against the Great Dane.

Cane Corso

The Cane Corso also descends from large Roman war dogs. He was a versatile farmer dog . and he did not fight. He was a herder, drove cattle to market and pulled carts. He also protected his family and their property. He also hunted wild boar and other game for his livelihood.

He almost died shortly after the Industrialization era. He was saved by breeders in Italy who used his bigger cousin, the Neopolitan Mastiff, to bring him back to life. In 1988, the Corso made his way to America. He quickly became popular and is often confused for the American Pitbull Terrier.


Those unfamiliar with these breeds might say they look somewhat similar because of their shapes and builds. Those who are familiar with the Mastiff or Cane Corso will be able to see the differences.

It is obvious that the Mastiff has the largest breed of both the Mastiff and Cane Corso. The Mastiff is considered a giant dog breed. The Mastiff’s heaviest weight can be twice the Corso’s . This is the main reason many families base their decisions. Fewer families have the space to house the majestic Mastiff.

They are both stocky and square in appearance. You can also see that both are descendants of large Mollaser dogs. With a smaller canine chunk, the Cane Corso is more muscular . Both have large square noses, skin rolls, and droopy cheeks.

Both have sleek, short coats with double-layered layers to keep them cool in summer and warm in winter. Mastiffs usually wear a fawn-and-apricot jacket and a black mask on their faces. He may also sort a brindle jacket. The Cane Corso comes in a few other color options , like solid black, red, gray, red and fawn.


The Mastiff and Cane Corso have a similar personality. Both love their families and are extremely affectionate. They are far more than their large, bloated appearance. They are sweethearts.

Both breeds are aloof from outsiders .. Both the Corso and the English Mastiff share this trait with the Neapolitan Mastiff, which is why they are excellent guardian dogs.

The difference lies in how they approach strangers. While mastiffs are known for being calm and collected, they can sometimes bark occasionally. He will look out for his family and take a step back. He is a strong, courageous man who will protect his family whenever he feels it necessary.

But not for the Cane Corso. He will instead stand beside his family and guard them. Corso’s have been known to be the ‘bodyguard dogs.’ They can also become very protective. Corso’s have a natural instinct and should be handled by an experienced owner who is familiar with how dominant dogs work.

The Cane Corso can be stubborn and intelligent, while the Mastiff can be stubborn and stubborn. (Sorry Mastiff lovers!) not so intelligent. He a stubborn puppy ,, but that is part of his charm. You should not choose either breed if you are looking for a dog that can do all kinds of tricks.

Talking about goofballs, they are both entertaining and enjoy playing with their families. They are great dogs for family games and are a good choice if you’re looking for a dog that can get involved in them. They make great family dogs, despite their intimidating exterior. They get along well with children and can live together with other pets if socialized as puppies.


The exercise requirements of the Mastiff and Cane corso are different. The Mastiff needs far less and would be happy with approximately 30-45 minutes every day. His large size means that he doesn’t require a lot of exercise. Fun and steady exercise are the best. You may have to persuade this boy to go for a walk, as he loves to lie on a comfortable mastiff-sized dog bed.

On the other hand, the Corso will need a bit more at around 60 minutes every day. To expel his energy, however, his exercise must be intense He will never be satisfied if you try to convince him. It is a good idea to include a variety of activities in his week to keep him engaged.

While they need to exercise to keep them happy and healthy, the Cane Corso can become restless and destructive when he is kept locked up for too long. The Mastiff will be happy to skip exercise, but the Corso is more active than that. The Corso is a better choice if you want a more active dog. The Mastiff, on the other hand, is a great choice if you prefer a more active dog and a friend to snuggle with most days.


The training needs of the Mastiffs and Cane Corso are slightly different. Both breeds are stubborn and require obedience training immediately if you want to make them polite dogs. You also need to understand that you will never find a 100% obedient pooch in either of these breeds.

Because they are stubborn and very loyal, we don’t recommend them to first-time owners. The Cane Corso can be a dominant dog and needs a strong owner who is sensitive to dog mentality. The Mastiff is less dominant. The training of the Cane Corso is a lifetime commitment and should not be attempted by the weak-hearted.

As protective dogs, both must be socialized as well as their pups in order to avoid becoming overprotective. You should make every encounter with unfamiliar dogs and people as enjoyable as possible to help them learn that not all is bad.

The motivation of the Cane Corso will be a combination of human praises and tasty treats. Comparable to the Mastiff who will choose a treat (or five!) over praise. Positive reinforcement training is the best for them both. Keep training lessons brief and sweet to spark their interest.


The Cane Corso lives longer then the Mastiff. This is due to the Mastiff being a large dog breed. Giant dog breeds generally live a shorter life expectancy than others. On average, the Mastiff lives between 6 to 10 years, compared to the Cane Corso, who enjoys 9 to 12 years.

Reputable breeders must test both breeds to ensure they are compatible exactly the same health concerns .. This includes hip and elbow dysplasia and ophthalmology testing for eye conditions like progressive retinal atrophy (or cataracts). Also, cardiac problems, including dilated cardiomyopathy.

They can also both suffer from a life-threatening condition known as gastric torsion, also known as bloat. This is when the stomach dilates and causes pressure and oxygen starvation to other parts of the body. You should seek immediate medical attention ,. Please be familiar with the symptoms.


Both breeds love to eat. An English Mastiff will be more expensive due to its size. Mastiffs can eat up to eight full cups of Mastiff appropriate dog food, every single day. This can vary depending on what kind of food you feed your dog. Mastiffs have sensitive stomachs. So there’s a possibility you’ll need to rely on a Grain-Free, or Pea-Free dog food, all of which can become expensive.

The Cane Corso consumes less. They are smaller but will typically eat between three to six cups of dry food per day depending on their gender. Cane Corsos also have a higher activity , which means they are more likely to lose calories faster than the Mastiff and are less likely become overweight.


The Mastiff’s grooming routine is very similar to the Cane Corso’s. Both have short, tight coats. Both breeds shed moderately during the year, and are heavier during shedding seasons. Both breeds only require a brush once per week to keep their hair shiny and clean. If you are lucky enough to own a Mastiff with long hair, expect to groom your dog more frequently.

Cane Corso and Mastiff bath time should happen once every 8 to 12 weeks. A gentle shampoo made with natural ingredients is recommended. Although the Mastiff has a stronger doggy smell than other breeds, this should not be a problem. The Mastiff is also one of the most prolific dribblers. If you don’t like doggy dribble, either of these breeds might be the right one for you.

Puppy Prices

As large breeds of similar popularity, they are both about the same price . From a reputable breeder, prices start at around $1,000. You may need to pay more if you wish to work with a well-known breeder.

Please ensure that any breeder you choose to work with is reputable and an ethical breeder. Puppy mills should be avoided at all cost, even if the price is lower. They will not socialize their puppies and they will breed unhealthy puppies. This can prove disastrous for large, protective dogs like these. The lower price is no bargain.

Alternatively rescuing can be an option, but prices will likely be lower. However, it is extremely unlikely that you will find a puppy. Visit your local rescue shelter, or search dedicated breed rescue websites. The Cane Corse Rescue and the Mastiff Club of America Rescue Foundation list dedicated breed centers.

Final Thoughts

So there you go. These are the differences and similarities between the Mastiff Mastiff and Cane Corso. Both are enormous dogs. However, the Mastiff is the larger of the two. Both breeds require experienced dog owners. The Cane Corso is more difficult to train. Both make great guard dogs, but the Cane corso is more sensitive to safety for his family.

They will be great dogs if you are able to give them what they need. Both dogs love children and bring lots of fun to the table. You only need to choose which breed is more in line with your lifestyle. The rest will be easy.

Becky Roberts

Becky Roberts

One of Becky's favourite things to do every morning is to browse the top pet-related forums, looking for issues and questions that people have. She then shortlists the most common ones, and turns them into blog posts for Fuzzy Rescue. She's had over 4 cats and 2 dogs over the past decade, so she does know a thing or 2 about raising/training, and more importantly, loving them. She's the only one on our team that doesn't like coffee, but it seems to us she really doesn't need more energy :). We're very fortunate to have her on board as she does most of the heavy listing for the site, outputting an insane amount of content each month. Read More

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