Cane Corso vs. American Pitbull Terrier: breed comparison

The Cane Corso (Italian Mastiff) and the American Pit Bull Terrier are two very popular breeds. If you compare the Cane Corso to the American Pit Bull Terrier, you will find that it is both very different but have some notable similarities. They are similarly tall and muscular in appearance, but the Cane Corso is the larger of the two. Both of them require 1 hour of exercise a day to stay healthy and happy, and they are both very sociable and loving with their immediate family. It is not unusual to find the Pitbull and Corso as a mix.The APBT is much more sociable with others, however, and the Cane Corso is known to be very suspicious and very vocal towards strangers. He also needs a more solid master who will set the rules, and he is not for the inexperienced dog owner. Although the Cane Corso is an Italian mastiff, they differ from most mastiff breeds because of the activities for which they were bred.

They are both beautiful dogs who are loyal family companions, but they just need to be placed with the right family. To find out which breed is better for you and your family, let’s take a closer look at the similarities and differences between the two.

Race comparison table

Cane Corso
Pitbull terrier
24 – 27 inches (M)
23-25 ​​inches (F)
18 – 21 inches (M)
17-20 inches (F)
Up to 90-110 pounds (M)
Up to 85-100 pounds (F)
36-65 pounds (M)
30-50 pounds (F)
Loving, intelligent, majestic
Loving, energetic, loyal
Low-regular exercise
High energy
Above average
Above average
life span
9-12 years
12-16 years
$ 1,500 +
$ 800 +

Racial stories

Both breeds are from the Molossian dog family, but it’s important to understand the roots of both dogs before we can find out anything about how they behave as family pets. Both breeds can make excellent family pets if properly raised and socialized early on.

Both breeds also have slightly misinterpreted pasts, making them common rescue/shelter pets, meaning you can likely find one without going to a breeder. Let’s take a look at these puppies and compare their origins before looking at what makes them different from one another.

Cane Corso

Cane Corsos (Italian mastiffs) has a long and storied history.

The Cane Corso, pronounced phonetically as “Kay-Nah Kor-So”, is also known as the Italian Mastiff and is descended from the great Roman war dogs. Originally as a Farm dog, he accepted employment in many roles such as sheep raising, ranching, cart pulling, and guarding the estate. The Cane Corso breed was almost extinct, but thanks to breeders, its numbers were soon restored, and the Neapolitan mastiff its use in the restoration program has had a major impact on the breed we know and love today.

The first litter of Cane Corsos was imported to America in 1988 and since then it has proven to be a popular pet and family companion. In 2019 the American Kennel Club (AKC) has classified him as the 32ndnd most popular dog in America. Although it wasn’t recognized as a recognized breed by the AKC until 2010, its popularity has steadily increased from 60th 1st place in 2012. Cane Corsos are often confused with other Mastiff breeds like the Boerboel or the Presa De Canario.

American pit bull terrier

American Pit Bull Terrier story
The American pit bull terrier has a story that doesn’t always provide a great picture.

The American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) is one of four races that fall under the Umbrella term “Pitbull”, although it is believed by many that he is the original pit bull. The APBT is a descendant of dogs bred in England for bull bait and rat pits and was formed from the largest and most powerful dogs that fought dogs that then became known as the APBT. His combative origins spawned his reputation as a vicious dog, but unless he’s trained to be vicious, he isn’t at all.

For some, he is known as an intelligent farm dog and a sweet family companion. For others, he is still considered a wild dog that has no place in the family home. Through education and race advocates like Roofus and Kilo and their family farm, Pitbull, rescues them, becoming American family favorites again, as he was once called in the 1930s comedy “Our Gang,” with Petey the Pitbull being one of Hollywood’s main stars. APBTs are also usually misclassified, which has given them a troubled past. Many puppies that are classified as APBTs actually are APBT mixes or even other races that the APBT is confused with, like the Staffordshire Terrier or American Bully who looks very similar.


Cane Corso versus American Pit Bull Terrier appearance
If you compare the Pitbull to the Cane Corso, you will find that they can look similar, just different sizes.

The Cane Corso and APBT are similar-looking dogs, with the Cane Corso looking like the much larger sibling. The Cane Corso is bigger than 23 to 27 inches in height, while the APBT is shorter 17 to 21 inches. The Cane Corso also weighs a lot more in between 88 and 110 pounds, compared to the lighter APBT which weighs between 30 to 65 pounds.

They both have one muscular appearance, but the APBT looks a lot leaner, and its muscles look a lot more defined. The Cane Corso often has a thicker and fuller body, sometimes with additional folds of skin. Both of Their coats are short and shiny, but the Cane Corso’s fur feels much denser and rougher than the smooth fur of the APBT. They both wear the same color coats and both wear that brindle gene. The APBT is very popular, though wearing a red coat or a blue coat.

Because of their looks and the fact that they are both stocky, muscular, and with a wide muzzle and face, they often find each other again subject to breed-specific legislation (BSL). States that impose BSL require other things, sometimes public muzzling or extended insurance is required, and in some states, some breeds are directly banned. Therefore, before considering welcoming any of these men into your home, be sure to check local laws.


The APBT and the Cane Corso are both silly and playful with their immediate family and you can expect lots of fun and play with these two breeds. They are both very dear and protective of their children’s siblings, and you will often find them snuggled up next to the smaller pack members on the sofa. Because of their size, both should be supervised with children and other animals, only in the event of an accidental bump. Because of their sociability, both are prone to suffering Separation anxiety and so it is important to provide them with brain games or treat rewarding puzzle games while you are away to preoccupy their thoughts.

They are both very obedient dogs trying very hard to please their master, and therefore they are both trainable. The Cane Corso is much more of a dominant dog, however, and as such, he needs a master who can rise to the challenge of being much more dominant than him. Cane Corsos must be housed with a family that understands and Follow the rules of the pack mentality otherwise he can become a rather unruly and disgusting dog. However, if you can achieve the perfect balance, he makes a wonderful family pet.

The APBT is very sociable with almost everyone be it, friend or stranger, so friends can relax when they knock on your gate. The Cane Corso, however, is very suspicious of strangers and will not allow anyone around his family unless instructed. He is very protective and even if told to take others into the property, he will keep an eye on the newcomer and never completely let go of his guard. However, he will be kind and accept newcomers when prompted. So if you are looking for a guard dog, the Cane Corso is the only option among these two breeds.

With the protective effect of the Cane Corso and the potential fear of the APBT against aggression against other dogs, this is the case It’s really important to get to know these two guys from a young age. This ensures that they are comfortable with all other animals, especially other dogs, and other people. This massively increases the chances that your pooch will be a well behaved and well-balanced family pet who isn’t overly cautious. Without this pet, like any other dog, it can create a turbulent environment.


Both the Cane Corso and the APBT take approximately 1 hour of exercise per day and because of their strength and intelligence, the exercise must be of high intensity as a long walk just isn’t enough. Interactive recall sessions, a swim in the local lake, or agility classes are great ways for both to burn off their energy and Be sure to mix it up during the week. A bored or restless APBT or Cane Corso is a highly destructive dog. So do not underestimate your training needs.

With that said, it is they both sleep partially in the evening While relaxing and watching a movie, expect the Cane Corso to sleep with one eye open. The APBT, on the other hand, will likely be found on his back with four paws to the sky, dreaming and snoring.


As mentioned earlier, because both the Cane Corso and the APBT are so keen to please their master, They are easy to train with consistent training. Positive reward training is key for these two guys. So be sure to reward them with toys or an abdominal massage when they’ve shown the desired behavior and no doubt the weird little treat will work wonders too.

Make sure the whole family is on board their exercise routine and that the command words are simple, clear, and consistent. It is also important to include children in their training routine, especially the Cane Corso, so that they see children as one of their caregivers, higher in the pack than they are.

Many Cane Corso owners suggest that the Cane Corso is Not for a first-time dog owner as he will challenge the pack hierarchy if he feels that his master is not dominant enough. For this reason, it is ideal to enroll your Cane Corso in obedience classes as soon as possible in order to maximize your chances of having a very obedient puppy who doesn’t feel the need to challenge you. It is also important to realize that the Cane Corso training will take place in a lifelong commitment to how to remember who the boss is. In general, APBTs don’t challenge their master, making them much better suited for families with little experience in dog training.


Both the Cane Corso and the APBT are very healthy dogs who have fewer health problems compared to most other purebred dogs. The life of the Cane Corso is 9 to 12 years and the lifetime of the APBT is 12 to 16 years.

It is known that the APBT suffers from skin allergies, with grass allergies being the most common, followed by nutritional intolerance. However, this can be alleviated with medication and quality nibbles. Occasionally he is also known to suffer from it Cerebellar abiotrophy. Which leads to a decrease in mobility caused by damage to part of his brain.

It is known that both suffer from it Hip dysplasia and the Cane Corso is also known to suffer from it Elbow dysplasia, which is characterized by an abnormally shaped joint that causes pain and difficulty when walking. The Cane Corso also needs to be tested for heart problems such as dilated cardiomyopathy.


The Cane Corso eats around 3 cups of food a day and the APBT will be eating around 2 ½ cups. Of course, this varies between individuals depending on their size and energy level, but most snack wrappers suggest a lot to feed him based on his weight. If you think this isn’t entirely right for your Cane Corso or APBT, then it is a good thing to do Talk to your veterinarian for tailor-made nutritional advice.

They should both be fed a good quality nibble specifically designed for larger breeds. As muscular and energetic dogs, it is important that they kibble provides you with a protein content of at least 25%. Many APBTs suffer from grain intolerance, so you may need to feed your pitbull grain-free dog food If you find he has skin conditions, be sure to speak to your veterinarian. Make sure your Diet is age-appropriate and don’t allow them to graze freely as they can get pretty piggy if left to their own devices.


The APBT and the Cane Corso are relatively easy to maintain in terms of their grooming needs. You need both a brush once a week to make sure their fur looks smooth and shiny, and to promote blood flow to their skin. You just need a bath about every two months unless, of course, they get super dirty during exercise. The APBT may need to be bathed more often just because it has an affinity for rolling around in mud pits, which is why it is nicknamed the “velvet hippopotamus.”

Since the APBT is known for skin allergies and sensitive skin, it is important to purchase dog wash Products designed for sensitive skin. This is especially true if you need to wash it more often than the desired amount, as this will help prevent irritation and damage to its natural skin oils.


The Cane Corso is more expensive than the APBT, mainly because it is rarer than the APBT, but also because it is larger and requires more resources to collect. A Cane Corso puppy from a reputable breeder cost between $ 1,500 and $ 1,800while an APBT puppy costs between 800 and $ 1,000. It is important that you work with a reputable breeder to make sure their puppies are being bred by healthy parents and that have had the best start in life too.

It’s important to consider saving here too. Both the Cane Corso and the APBT are in rescue homes simply because their previous owners underestimated their training needs and intense personality. While you may not become aware of his parental ancestry or where or how he was raised, you can be assured that rescue centers will only accept healthy and well-behaved pooches. And you won’t just save a dog’s life, You’ll also save a lot of money as rescue fees averaged between $ 100 and $ 300. To start your rescue search, go to the Pitbull Rescue Center Website or the Cane Corso Rescue Website or speak to your local rescue center.

Final thoughts

Both the Cane Corso and the APBT are loving, affectionate, and loyal dogs with their family. They are just misunderstood by many who haven’t met them or don’t know much about them. Hopefully, by now you are equipped with the information you need to make a decision about which is better for you and your family, but you know that with either breed you are getting one of the most loyal and loving dogs out there!

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