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Cane Corso vs. Neapolitan Mastiff (Difference Explained)

Cane Corso vs. Neapolitan Mastiff (Difference Explained)

Neapolitan Mastiff and Cane Corso are both dog breeds. These are names given to the farm dogs of Italy.

The history of these large dogs traces them back to ancient Rome. Although they’re a similar breed, they have many differences.

If you’re a dog lover looking for one to keep as a house pet, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, I’ll provide all the differences you need to know between a Cane Corso and a Neapolitan Mastiff.

Let’s get started!

Which 2 breeds make a Cane Corso?

The Cane Corso is a descendant of a Roman breed of dog. This breed was once used in war. It’s regarded as one of the two Italian “Mastiff” type breeds descended from this war dog.

The other one is the Neapolitan Mastiff. The Cane Corso is a lighter version and is more adept at hunting.

The breed was getting close to becoming extinct. However, it was rescued by enthusiasts in the 1970s. Then, it was crossbred with select breeds, which led to the creation of a very different-looking Cane Corso compared to the pre-1970s Cane Corso.

This dog was then brought to the United States in 1987. It has since then gained widespread popularity. The UKC (United Kennel Club) acknowledged it as a breed and officially named it the “Cane Corso Italiano” in 2008.

It’s a muscular and large-boned breed which radiates a very noble, majestic, and powerful presence. Cane Corso also received the official AKC (American Kennel Club) breed status 2010.

Cane Corso Characteristics

This dog is between medium to large. They usually have a broad head with a square muzzle, which is as wide as long. This gives the Cane Corso a superior bite strength.

Its coat comes in a variety of colours. For instance, it’s usually black, light or dark shades of grey, light or dark shades of fawn, red, or brindle. It’s also very dense and coarse.

They also have common white patches, which can be found on the chest, toes, chin, and nose.

Moreover, their ears are naturally dropped forward. However, it’s preferred by the breeders to crop the ears into small and equilateral triangles which can stand upright.

What dogs are bigger than Cane Corso?

If you’re interested in big dogs like the Cane Corso, then here’s a list of the world’s largest dog breeds:

  • Great Dane
    You might be able to recall this breed from your favourite old cartoon show, Scooby-Doo! This breed originates from Germany and has possibly been cited to have existed around the Roman Empire times. They are 32 to 34 inches tall and range from 120 to 200 pounds. One of the Great Dane named Zeus won the Guinness World record for being the tallest dog in the world.
  • Mastiff
    This dog has helped breed several other dogs. This dog is believed to have originated in Britain and was initially used in hunting sports. Male and female Mastiff have differences in their size and weight. Males weigh around 150 to 250 pounds and can be 30 to 33 inches tall. Females are 27.5 to 30 inches tall and weigh between 120 and 180 pounds.
  • Saint Bernard
    They’re regarded as the gentle giants of the dog world. They’re seen as lovable and prefer an indoor life close to their family’s comfort. However, one of the downsides to this breed is that it constantly drools. Their coats also attract a lot of mud and other debris. It’s a hefty breed that weighs 140 to 180 pounds and is 28 to 30 inches tall. Their lifespan is shorter than other breeds, only 8 to 10 years.
  • Newfoundland
    This breed is very strong and hard-working. They require much more space due to their size and need for exercise. They can grow to be as tall as twenty-eight inches. They also weigh quite a bit, anywhere from 130 to 150 pounds. They have extremely thick coats, which are known for being water-resistant. This breed is often used as rescue dogs in situations.

Like these, many other dogs are giant and also pretty loveable! While their size can be intimidating for some, others might enjoy having them more due to their huge size.

Are there main differences between a Cane Corso and a Neapolitan Mastiff?

cane corso
A Cane Corso.

While they seem to be similar in appearance, there are many differences between the two dogs. Even if their appearance is hard to distinguish, all dog breeds have distinct features and traits. You should know about them.

The Neapolitan Mastiff is an ancient Italian breed of dog known for its large size. It’s generally used as a protector or a guard of the family. This is because it has to protect traits and frightening looks.

These dogs are fearless. They require extensive training and proper socialization.

This helps them learn to accept strangers, or else they might become dangerous. They’re also more athletic.

On the other hand, the Cane Corso is also an Italian dog breed valued as a hunter, companion, and guardian. They’re muscular and less bulky than other mastiff dogs. They have very large heads.

It’s strictly advised that amateur dog owners must not keep them. This is because they need regular training and strong leadership. They’re naturally suspicious of strangers, and they need to be socialized at an early age.

A notable difference between the two is in their coats. Neapolitan Mastiffs have coats that are harsh, rough, and short.

Whereas Cane Corso is shorthaired. Neapolitan mastiff has a common nickname, which is “Neo”. The Cane Corso is commonly nicknamed an Italian Mastiff.

They also have different colours. Neo comes in black, blue, mahogany, tawny, and brindle. The Cane Corso comes in fawn, black, red, grey, black brindle, and chestnut brindle.

As compared to Cane Corsos, Neos are more obedient. However, sometimes, they can be stubborn and dominant. They make good guard dogs as they’re protective.

They’re considered fearless dogs. Cane Corso, on the other hand, is more cheerful and social. They’re also pretty courageous, intelligent, and loyal.

Which is bigger, Neapolitan Mastiff or Cane Corso?

The Neapolitan Mastiff is much bigger than a Cane Corso! They can be anywhere between 26 to 31 inches, and their average weight can go up to 200 pounds. The females are 24 to 29 inches tall and weigh between 120 to 175 pounds.

Whereas the average height of a Cane Corso ranges from 24 to 27 inches tall. The males are at the higher end of the spectrum, and the females are at the lower. Their weight is anywhere between 88 to 110 pounds.

Take a look at this table summarizing the main differences between a Neapolitan Mastiff and a Cane Corso:

Neapolitan MastiffCane Corso
8 to 10 years10 to 11 years
30 inches- Male
28 inches- Female
28 inches- Male
26-28 inches- Female
60 to 70 Kg- Male
50 to 60 Kg- Female
45 to 50 Kg- Male
40 to 45 Kg- Female
Not an FSS breedFSS breed
Hope this helps!

Neapolitan Mastiffs are calmer and less aggressive than Cane Corso. Both can be great hunting dogs. However, Corsos were specially bred to hunt bears. While Neos have more wrinkly and loose skin, Corsos have more tight skin with a muscular figure.

Is the Cane Corso a good family dog?

The Cane Corso can be a very loving and devoted companion to someone. It would want nothing more than to please its owner.

They’re considered great guard dogs with a very sharp sense of alertness. However, due to their large size, they’re not a preferred choice for families with small children.

They’re very powerful, intelligent, and active. They also love their family but typically don’t show affection. They’re not demanding in terms of physical touch or attention.

While people find them a wonderful addition to their families, proper training is necessary for these dogs. They can make a stable and reliable companion.

However, they’re naturally possessive, territorial, and suspicious towards strangers. Therefore, one must think many times before keeping such a dog near them.

cute family dog
They are pretty cute!

Why you shouldn’t get a Cane Corso?

Many believe dogs like the Cane Corso shouldn’t be kept as house pets. This is because it could lead to potential animal aggression.

Many Cane Corsos don’t tolerate another dog of the same sex and won’t even tolerate the opposite sex in some cases. They have strong instincts to chase and seize cats and other creatures.

As they’re naturally suspicious of new people, this could lead to aggressive behaviour. This type of behaviour can continue even after years of training. Therefore, this breed must be constantly trained to keep them civil.

Moreover, usually, they’re very quiet. However, they bark when there’s a reason to and become very alarmed when they sense trouble. This transforms them from friendly pets to protective and aggressive animals.

If you can’t get the right way to control them, they might end up causing harm. This is why one should be cautious before petting such dogs.

Is the Neapolitan Mastiff a family-friendly dog breed?

Neapolitan Mastiff can be very loyal to your family. However, they may not be comfortable around strangers or visitors. Therefore, you must consider this before getting one.

They’re very friendly dogs if they’re socialized correctly. They are not necessarily guard dogs but watchdogs. It takes an extreme incident before they bite.

Neapolitan Mastiffs are incredibly large and massive dogs. They’re intended for protection. They require constant walks of one or two miles a day.

However, they get tired easily due to their massive size. You’d also have to feed them a lot!

Moreover, they’re also gentle and affectionate. This nature makes them a very popular family pet. Sometimes, they might forget they’re very large and want to be a lapdog.

They love spending time with their families, and their loving nature makes them great companions for homes with older children.

Here’s a video stating 10 facts about a Neapolitan Mastiff:

It’s pretty interesting!

Final Thoughts

  • Neapolitan Mastiff and Cane Corso are two distinct dog breeds originating from Italy.
  • Both breeds have historical significance, tracing back to ancient Rome.
  • Despite their visual similarities, they have several differences in size, temperament, and appearance.
  • Neapolitan Mastiffs are larger, more athletic, and tend to drool more than Cane Corsos.
  • Cane Corsos have tight skin and a more muscular build.
  • When considering these breeds as pets, it’s essential to understand their unique characteristics. It’s important to realize the need for proper training.
  • Big dogs like Saint Bernards and Great Danes need extra care and special training. Newfoundlands also fall under this category of lovable dogs.
  • Choosing a Neapolitan Mastiff and a Cane Corso should align with your lifestyle. It depends on your preferences for a canine companion.

One should be very careful when keeping these large dogs as pets. They need to have proper and continuous training so as not to harm anyone, or else they can become potentially dangerous.

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