Breed Standards

Ancient Italian breed medium-large size Molossus Dog. Sturdy, with a strong skeleton. Muscular and
athletic, it moves with considerable ease and elegance. It has always been a property watchdog and
hunter of difficult game such as the wild boar.

Size, Proportion, Substance

A muscular, balanced, large-boned dog, rectangular in proportion. The length of the dog, measured from
the point of the shoulder to the point of buttock is 11% greater than the height of the dog measured from
the highest point of the shoulder to the ground.
Height: Dogs: 25 to 27.5 inches; bitches: 23.5 to 26 inches.
Weight: Proportionate to height.

Molossus, large, its total length reaches 36% of the height at the withers. Planes of the skull and muzzle
are slightly convergent; they are not parallel. The circumference of the head measured at the cheekbones
is more than twice the total length of the head; skin is firm and smooth.

Skull: Viewed from the front, skull is wide and slightly curved; width is equal to the length. From the side, a
prominent arch begins above the eyes and then flattens backward toward the occiput. Viewed from the
top, it has a square appearance due to the zygomatic arches and powerful muscles swathing it.

Stop: Well-defined due to developed and bulging frontal sinuses and prominent arch above the eyes.

Expression: Very alert and attentive. Some wrinkling on forehead occurs when alert.

Eyes: Medium-size, almond-shaped, not round or bulging, tight fitting rims preferred with only a minimal
amount of haw being visible.

Eye Color: Dogs with black muzzles (coat colors of black, fawn or red, and these colors brindled) dark
brown eyes are preferred. Gray muzzles (coat colors of gray, fawn or red and these colors brindled),
lighter shades are approved. Pigmentation of the eye rims is complete, pigmentation of eye rim matches
pigment color of dog.

Disqualification: Yellow bird of prey; blue eyes.

Ears: Set well above the cheekbones. May be cropped or uncropped. If cropped, it is in an equilateral
triangle. If uncropped, they are medium size, triangular in shape, held tight to the cheeks, and not
extending beyond the jaw bone.

Nose: Large with well-opened nostrils, pigment color to match pigment color of the dog. Dogs with black
pigment have black noses; gray pigmented dogs have gray noses; pigmentation is complete. The nose is
an extension of the topline of the muzzle and does not protrude beyond nor recede behind the front plane
of the muzzle.

Muzzle: Very broad and deep, width is almost equal to its length, which reaches 34% of the total length of
the head; the depth of muzzle is more then 50% of the length of the muzzle. The top and bottom muzzle
plains are parallel, and the nose and chin form a perpendicular line. Viewed from the front, the anterior
face should look flat and form a trapezoid. Muzzle is not overly narrow or snipey.

Lips: Rather firm. Upper lips moderately hanging, they join under the nostrils to form an inverted “U.”
Pigmentation matches color pigment of dog. Dogs with black pigment have black lips; gray pigmented
dogs have gray lips.

Bite: Slightly undershot (no more than 1/4 inch) and level preferred. Scissor bite is acceptable, if
parameters of the head and muzzle are correct. Dentition is complete. Incisors are in a straight line. No
more than two missing teeth.

Disqualification: More than two missing teeth; wry mouth. Undershot more than ¼ inch.

Neck, Topline, Body

Neck: Slightly arched, flowing smoothly into the shoulders with a small amount of dewlap. The length of
the neck is 36% the height at the withers.

Body: Depth of the ribcage is equal to half the total height of the dog, descending slightly below the elbow.
Ribs are long and well sprung. Moderate tuck up.

Chest: Broad, well-muscled, strong forefront.

Back: Wide, strong, muscular. Highest part of shoulder blade slightly rising above the strong, level back.

Loin: Well-muscled, and harmoniously joined to the back.

Croup: Long, wide, slightly sloping. Rump should be quite round due to muscular growth.

Tail: Tail set is an extension of the backline. It is thick at the root with not much tapering at the tip. When
not in action, carried low, otherwise horizontal or slightly higher than back, not to be carried in a vertical
position. It is docked at the fourth vertebrae. In the case of natural tails, the tip reaches the hock but not
below. Carried low, it is neither broken nor kinked but supple. Hanging when the dog is in repose;
generally carried level with the back or slightly above the level of the back when the dog is in action,
without curving over the back or being curled.

Disqualification: An atrophied tail or a tail that is knotted and laterally deviated or twisted.


Strong and muscular, well-proportioned to the size of the dog. Straight when viewed from the front or side;
height of the limb at the elbow is equal to 50% of the height at the withers.

Shoulders: Muscular, laid back.
Upper arms: Strongly muscled, with good bone, powerful.
Elbows: Held parallel to the ribcage, turning neither in nor out.
Forelegs: Straight and with good bone, well muscled.
Pasterns: Almost straight, strong but flexible.
Feet: Round with well-arched toes (catlike). Lean, hard, dark pads and nails, except in the case of white


As a whole, they are powerful and strong, in harmony with the forequarters. Straight when viewed from the
rear or front.

Thighs: Long, wide, angulated and well-muscled.
Stifle: Should be moderately angulated, strong.
Legs: Strong bone and muscle structure.
Hocks: Wide, thick and clean, let down and parallel when viewed from behind. Rear pastern: straight and
Rear dewclaws: Any rear dewclaws are removed.
Hind feet: Slightly more oval-shaped and less-arched toes.


The coat is short, stiff, shiny, adherent and dense with a light undercoat that becomes thicker in cold


Acceptable colors are black, lighter and darker shades of gray, lighter and darker shades of fawn, and red.
Brindling is allowed on all of these colors. Solid fawn and red, including lighter and darker shades, have a
black or gray mask. The mask does not go beyond the eyes. There may be a white patch on the chest,
throat, chin, backs of the pasterns, and on the toes.
Disqualification: Any color with tan pattern markings as seen in black-and-tan breeds.


The movement is free flowing and powerful, yet effortless, with strong reach and drive. As the dog
accelerates, the feet converge toward a center line of gravity in a near-single track. When viewed from the
side, the topline remains level, with minimal roll or bounce.


The Cane Corso as a protector of his property and owners is unequaled. Intelligent, he is easily trained.
Noble, majestic and powerful his, presence is impressive. He is docile and affectionate to his owner, loving
with children and family.


The overall conformation of the dog should be well-balanced and proportionate.
The foregoing description is that of the ideal Cane Corso; any deviation from the above described dog is
penalized to the extent of the deviation.


Yellow bird of prey; blue eyes.
More than two missing teeth; wry mouth.
Undershot more than ¼ inch.
Any color with tan pattern markings as seen in black-and-tan breeds.
An atrophied tail or a tail that is knotted and laterally deviated or twisted.